Dear Mexican: So often when we see Mexican bands perform in the U.S. and Mexico, the crowd at some point starts chanting, "¡Cu-le-ro!" ("Ass-hole!") Why does the crowd yell "Cu-le-ro" at a band that they seemingly adore and paid a lot of money to see perform? Even fellow Latinos are really confused by this one!
Need Más Earplugs
Dear Pocho: "People yelling 'Cu-le-ro!' doesn't happen at every concert," says Javier Castellanos, legendary Latin-music promoter. "It's more of the chilango (nickname for people from Mexico City) crowd—they're always a little bit more rambunctious. And it's not just for any kind of music—it's usually the heavier, more-metal stuff. I see the same rudeness at American concerts for that type of music, too."
Castellanos is being too modest. Fact is, culero (always chanted in the singsong manner you described) is the Bronx cheer of Mexican society. We use it to taunt anybody we think is acting haughty—favored targets include politicians, sports teams, Miss America contestants and especially lollygagging bands who can't return for an encore fast enough, even though their adoring crowd probably shelled out muchos pesos to hear a 45-minute set and drink crappy beer.
"Cu-le-ro" (and its cousin, the chinga tu madre—go fuck your mother—whistle) is a reminder that nothing is safe from criticism in Mexico—except the Virgin of Guadalupe and the right to enter the United States illegally, of course.
I've been on sex-offender-registry websites a couple of times, and it seems there are a lot of names ending with -ez. Is there an elevated rate of sexual deviancy among Mexicans? If so, why?
El Güero Guapísimo
Dear Super-Handsome, Light-Skinned Gabacho: Methinks you doth look for brownies too much. But I don't blame you. Turn on the television and radio, and you're likely to hear anti-immigrant pendejos screeching about how Mexicans will rape you while stealing your job and playing banda music really loud. You'll probably hear them invoke the work of Deborah Schurman-Kauflin. Her 2006 paper "The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Nearly One Million Sex Crimes Committed by Illegal Immigrants in the United States" came to some startling conclusions, not least of which is that there are 240,000 illegal-immigrant sex-offenders in this country, and that 93 of these cretins enter this country daily. Know-nothing politicians and even the House Homeland Security Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management have cited Schurman-Kauflin's paper in arguing against amnesty.
Schurman-Kauflin based her findings on a 2005 Government Accountability Office survey that showed 2 percent of illegals in federal, local or state prisons had committed a sex crime. She then applied that percentage to the illegal-immigrant population at large—voilà! Instant endemic perversity! This statistical sleight of hand, however, withers by employing the very stats she uses. GAO data for 2003 (the most-recent year available) showed about 308,000 criminal aliens (legal as well as illegal immigrants) were in American prisons; they constitute about 3 percent of the nation's 12 million illegal immigrants. If only 2 percent of incarcerated illegals committed a sex crime, then it's intellectually misleading to arrive at the 240,000 figure, ¿qué no?
For the Mexican, a more-telling number in determining sexual deviancy among an ethnic group is the percentage of criminals arrested for such crimes. So, let's go to the scoreboard: In 2003, gabachos incarcerated for sex crimes represented about 18 percent of all gabacho inmates in state prisons; perverted Hispanics, conversely, made up just 11 percent. (Strangely enough, the U.S. Department of Justice doesn't keep the same statistics for federal prisons.) By this comparison, gabachos are more likely as a group to sexually assault you than Mexicans—but I'll bet you won't hear the right repeat that factoid ad nauseum.