INTERESTINGLY, TO ME at least, I have now spent more than a third of my adult life living in Mexico, and since I’ve additionally been a Mexican citizen for most of that time, since 2005, I can refer to myself as an American-Mexican.
Just as accurately, I could call myself a Mexican-American, but that implies that I’m a Latino citizen of the United States. Many Mexican-Americans hold only one citizenship, the one above the border where they were born.
They are Gringos in brownface, often with attitude.
I, on the other hand, am the real deal.
Well, maybe not because I feel about as Mexican as I feel French or Chinese, which is to say not even a little bit. This will never change due to two things. One, assimilation is very difficult. Two, I’m not an assimilating kind of fellow.
But it’s been an interesting ride, so to speak, and I cannot visualize it ever changing, that I would move back above the border. I have so few ties up there. No driver’s license, no bank account, no address, few relatives, pretty much nothing.
(I suspect the lack of a U.S. bank account means I will not get that cash handout the Blond Bomber is gifting you people. If someone wants to pass by 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue to pick up my share, that would be sweet. Then send it via PayPal.)
Just because I do not assimilate does not mean I cannot learn. I understand fairly well how Mexicans think as a whole. I didn’t when I arrived. Cultures are very different, and few are as different as the Gringo mindset and the Mexican mindset.
When I married into a Mexican family 18 years ago, a door opened very abruptly. While I often got the Octavio Paz (See right-hand column) response before I was a relative, I instantly got the honest response after the marriage. It was like black & white.
Even today, I marvel when I hear one of the kin say something to someone outside the family and then turn right around and say the polar opposite to another relative, me included. It’s like living in two realities.
No, really, if you can stop by the White House for my money, take 10% for your time.