It’s Natural

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[RE: Letters, “Football with the Don,” May 17-23] So now our boy Don Schrader looks to justify his lifestyle by holding up the behavior of “mammals, birds, reptiles, insects and other animals" as models for human social behavior. Don has read that some of those critters do it, so it must be a good idea for us humans, too. For the sake of Don’s neighbors, let’s hope he doesn’t extend that concept to digging up their flowerbeds or going potty on the front lawn. I wonder if Don now lives in a tree and eats worms—after all, birds are into that, so it’s gotta be good for us at the top of the evolutionary chain, too.

Don tells us the main reason for sex is “pleasurable connection between persons.” Somehow, I always thought reproduction ranked fairly high on that scale, maybe even a tie for first place. After all, without a little reproduction, there wouldn’t be any persons to pleasurably connect between.

I’d be curious about the basis for Don’s conclusion that most of us guys are secretly hankering for affairs with other guys. Personally, I can’t even understand what women find attractive about us (although I’m glad something is evidently there). I’d be equally curious as to why Don is so repulsed by gals and what it is I’ve been missing about them all this time.

And yes, it is sad that we humans haven’t found an alternative to war after all these centuries. Although by Don’s criterion, maybe this is perfectly natural since animals resort to conflict occasionally so that must be the order of things for people, too. But given that wars do happen, it’s not hard for me to understand why we honor those who fight on our behalf and protect all our lifestyles in this country. And it shouldn’t be hard for Don to understand that either.

Where My Mexicanos At?

¿Como estas, compa? Me dio mucho gusto conocerte. I am enjoying your book and I always enjoy your column, although I must say I didn’t enjoy the May 9 book-selling (I mean signing) event in Albuquerque. Certain realizations and the room/audience dynamics were problematic. I was completely mistaken as to who your readership/audience is. I went thinking there would be what I thought your readership was: 1) Mexicanos who read English, 2) Mexican-Americans, 3) Chicanos, namesakes or people of political and cultural consciousness, 4) Middle-class Raza, 5) Other people of color who like to see you stick it to the man. I enjoy your column because I enjoy seeing in print what I think you should have named your column and book: "Stupid Gringo Questions."

I actually thought you made these questions up to expose the general unspoken ignorance and racist views of the dominant Anglo-American society and then came up with smart, satirical and articulate answers to set them straight. Well, I was surprised that they are actual questions and even more surprised that "we" would even entertain "them" by answering their questions in person and allowing them to have fun asking not just stupid questions but racist questions.

The event’s question-answer segment together with the Anglo-dominant room/bar became a contentious situation. Some people there were "allowed" and perhaps encouraged by you or the organizers to "play Mexican" (I saw a couple of
gabachos wearing large revolution-type Mexican sombreros and even las gabachas selling your books wore a sombrero and sarape .) Why didn’t you wear the pinche sombrero ? One gringa insisted on asking her question in Spanish— “¿Si porkaye, si la layenguah espaniola es tann bonida porkaye usaun tantus malus palabrus?" Many of us and our parents were sent home from school for speaking Spanish and here "we" entertain her by allowing her to ask her racist question and to practice "her" school-learned Spanish on us— Chingado, ¿Onde ‘sta el orgullo?

The whole thing was just an opportunity for some to play out their fantasies of talking to a real "Mexican" in a safe Anglo environment and then go out into their world of disconnect with the lives of Mexican (read
Mexicano , Chicano, Hispanic, Latino) people. Bro, even though you had the microphone and were the invited author on stage, you were still the funny and safe Tío Taco to them. The event started to look like a brown-face minstrel show with the trading off of the sombrero and non-Hispanic individuals spouting out Spanish words and questions. Perhaps your "Cultural understanding via wetback jokes" [Book News, “Dear Gabachos,” May 4-10] doesn’t transfer very well to a live audience where sensitivity is necessary and should be demanded.

I know many Anglo-Americans or non-Hispanic people that would not fit into the above-mentioned type of ignorant behavior. I wonder what would have been the dynamics with a largely Raza audience or a more sophisticated and culturally aware Anglo crowd. Have you ever had one? Where was the Raza,
compa ? Aguas hombre —you’re going to lose some Raza readership by entertaining or appearing to enjoy seeing la gabachada entertained— todos contentos in a "dialog" about us, while some of the Raza, like myself, felt pretty damn incomado and didn’t join in on the laughter or questions. Compa , stick to writing or perhaps you are just pandering to their stupidity in order to make a profit selling your book. Hey, it’s better we commodify ourselves than them–or is it?



CORRECTION: The blog comment printed in last week’s letters section regarding the Kink fetish performance was inaccurate. No one was arrested and the Albuquerque Police Department was not involved.

Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter.

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