Guest Commentary

Let's have a fiesta and celebrate American culture

There's something the matter with white people. We hardly ever admit this but know it in our hearts, writhing in our beds in the wee hours of the morning unable to handle the profound existential angst. We think it's a secret, that no one knows the depth of our desperation, but the truth is everybody knows it, whether they'll admit it or not. Everybody knows we live daily with an ingrained and perpetual horror borne of assumptions of superiority based on no evidence whatsoever, and of the fatigue that results from the enormous energy required to even try to make sense of it all. We're not fooling anyone. Being a white person is like being chained inside a logic problem that goes, P and not P, insisting on the rightness of itself even as the entire universe swirls into the vortex of this massive contradiction.

In short, being a honky ain't as easy as it looks.

So imagine my own horror when, just the other day outside PetCo, I spied a white male in the parking lot, standing alongside his Ford-150 pickup truck, just a-pickin' and a-grinning'. OK, he wasn't really.

Actually he was a-sneerin' and a-fuming', Marlboro hanging from his cakehole, because either A) his underpants were binding or B) I was looking at his bumper sticker, rolling my eyes and laughing. It said, "Welcome to America. Now speak English or go home."

I mean, it doesn't work on so many levels.

First of all, Mr. Bumper Sticker: America is not a country. Colombians, Brazilians and dare I say Canadians all live in America. Jose Ruiz from Guadalajara may not be as American as apple pie, but he's certainly as American as a tasty dish of flan and probably perfectly proud of it, as are Jack Leclercq and his brother Arnold from Banff whenever they plow into, ah ... whatever it is Canadians eat for dessert.

Secondly, while I'm sure your bumper sticker would resonate beautifully in Winterbottom, North Dakota, or Mingo, Kansas, and while I imagine its relevance is as thick as lard on a ham hock in Farmington, Indiana, or Wildwood, Missouri, in this part of the country it doesn't make any sense at all.

Because the truth is if it wasn't for Mexican culture, Tucson, Arizona wouldn't have any culture at all.

I've heard in Winterbottom they eat nothing but American cheese sandwiches on white bread; that in Mingo there are documented cases of people overdosing on massive amounts of potato salad. Oh, they've got apple pie all right, but they sluice it down with soda pop or, worse, sixpacks of Budweiser beer. (Which reminds me of that old joke: Why is American beer like making love in a canoe? 'Cause it's fucking close to water.)

We Tucsonans, on the other hand, get real beer like Corona and San Miguel, get to eat Mexican food, and use Mexican colors to decorate our houses. We wear comfy Mexican clothing styles and Mexican hats when we're feeling festive. At Christmas time we get the choice of luminaria, regular Christmas lights or both if we feel like it.

Speaking of speaking, Mr. Bumper Sticker, if it wasn't for Spanish, Tanque Verde Road would be called Green Tank Road, the Pantano Wash the Marsh Wash, and Agua Caliente Park would have been christened Hot Water Park. Is that romantic, or what? Never mind that our old houses would be made of hay slopped together with mud instead of adobe, or that instead of staying home for Rodeo Days, our kids would get extra vacation time for A Bunch of Guys Fucking Around with Livestock Days. Never mind all that and the fact that without Mexican culture there'd be no fiestas, mariachis, plazas or quesadillas and you've got something about as interesting as the details of somebody's recent hemorrhoid surgery.

So, OK, Mr. BS--can I call you BS for short? Forget about salsa and señoritas. Let's just get rid of all of it and have everyone speak English or go home.


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