Ask The Mexican Guy!

Um, hey. I am starting this again, 'cause I am bored, and I feel a bit sensative whenever someone call me/one of my friends a spic. Oh well.

I am from Monterrey, Mexico, my family emigrated to Sanata Barbara about 16 years ago, but I go to Mexico a lot. I speak Spanish and I know a good deal about the culture.

Any other Mexicans/Latinos/Spanish speakers are free to answer, correct, or join in.



Is Cheech Marin a Mexican? Or does he just play one on T.V.?

Born and raised in South Central LA, son of a police offcer, and a straight-A studnt, Richard (Cheech) Marin is Chicano.


Why is there so much animosity between people who are of Mexican decent and people who are from other Latin American countries? At the company I work for, it seems like there are always disputes between these groups, and I’ve never understood it. The most common complaint that I’ve heard is that Central Americans describe Mexicans as being very arrogant. Is this just because they are often in competition for the same jobs?

Why are your steering wheels so small?


Freddy Fender’s most recent album, “La Musica de Baldemar Huerta”: It seems (to me) to be traditional Mexican music, and I love it! What do Mexicans think of it? Or rather, What do you as a Mexican think of it?

I should mention I’m white, never been to Mexico, in fact never been close to Mexico except for three days in San Diego once. I have had carne asada made by Mexicans over an open campfire though… It was wonderful.

Looking forward to your opinion.



What do you prefer to be called? Probably American. But should you care to provide an ethnic label, would it be Mexican, Latino, Chicano, Hispanic, etc.?

Does anyone read Oscar Zeta “the brown buffalo” Acosta these days?

That could be one factor, but the problem with seeing Latinos as one “race” or “nationality” is that . .we are not. Is the same thing if were to talk about “Europeans”. Though we speak Spanish (though, remember, not all Central Americans and Mexicans speak Spanish, some speak Dutch, English, Indigenous Languages), there are certain cultural norms that do cause friction or at least we think they do.

The animosity that exists is one that is historical and goes back to the days of independence agains Spain and one with economic roots since Mexico is economically stronger than most Central American countries (I think the exception being Costa Rica). Also, if my history is correct, Mexico in it’s early days as a Republic sought to take over Guatemala and excert force in that region.


So, does the name of the restaurant “Chi Chi’s” really translate to “hooters”?

Well, minor hijack . . .Well speaking as a Mexican, born in 1969 in Tamaulipas, raised in Mexico until 1980, and lived in South Texas since 1981, . …well . .I love what you would call traditional music. Traditional Mexican music would be cosindered: Norteño, Mariachi/Rancheras, Banda, Folkloric, and Indigenous. I am not including cumbias or other types of “musica tropical” nor Tejano since it’s a genre in Texas among Tejanos. As far as what Mexicans think of it . . .well . .it’s same thing as with C&W vs. Rock&Roll vs. Rap vs Jazz vs Blues. It depends who is listening to it. Stereotypically, traditional music is rural wheras rock en español is urban, BUT that is not always the case. Monterrey, one of the largest metropolitan cities in Mexico, has the best “traditional” music stations.


Not quite . .:stuck_out_tongue: . …Chiches does! :smiley:


1)The labels have many politica/cultural/sociological “land mines”. Myself, I have no preference. Mexicano and Chicano they are the same to me (except I don’t like being called Hispanic). For many of carnales that are were born and raised in the US and are politically involved in the Left, they would prefer Chicano/Mexicano or concede to Latino. To those who are more of the Liberal or Moderate persuasion, Mexican-American. To those who are apolitical or not into finding a label, probably Hispanic or Latino.
2)Only the Chicanos who know their Chicano literature. Unfortunately, not many know of Zeta outside the contemporary chicano circles.


buenos dias a todos.

I can pop in and help out with answers, too.

we always called them Chichis. We always giggled at the name ChiChi Rodiguez.

(chiches?really? never heard of that!)

It all depends on what region you grew and what Latin American you are from. Specifically for Mexico, I have heard “chichis”, but in usage of diminutive. An English similarity is “Tts" (Chiches) vs "ttt*s” (chichis). But, you can click at

BTW, I remember a lawyer friend of mine who was talking to a couple older Mexican ladies about bedbugs/ticks (chinche) problems in his house when he blurted out in Spanish “Yeah, I have lot of problems with chiches in my bed.” Well . …the ladies burst out laughing and my friend stood there thinking" WTF?!" I told him what he said and he just blushed. :slight_smile:



That’s why I keep asking.Well, actually, the reason is I grew up in Norcal in the 60’s and 70’s, and believe me people faught to be called Chicano. Obviously, times change, and I’ve lived outside of the US for quite some years, so I’m just curious about the term. I used it do describe someone a year ago, and then wondered if it was an okay term to use or what. Anyhoo, thanks for the answer.

OK, a couple of questions - and I hope that they don’t sound stupid:

  1. Is the difference between Latino/Latina and Hispanic a matter of geography? A friend of mine is from Panama and I’ve always secretly wondered what I would call her if the situation ever arose. Of course, I usually just call her Cristina and forget about the “who’s who” of ethnicity! :slight_smile:
  2. For all you Spanish-speakers: have you ever had a conversation in Spanish with someone who learned it totally in a classroom? Does it sound weird? I have taken Spanish (Senior year VP of the Spanish club!) but could not carry a conversation unless it consisted of asking “Where is the table?” or “Do you have cats?” Is the normal classroom Spanish taught in the States a generic version in your experience?

Yep, they fought to be called “Chicano”, but you know, the 60’s and 70’s were a different political environment in the US. As to whether is appropriate, well it depends:

  1. if the person is a conservative Mexican-American (a Republican conservative, not Leftist), he might take offense.

  2. if the person is pretty much apolitical or not aware of the Civil Right’s Movement in the US or is 1st generation immigrant to the US, the Chicano term has no meaning.

  3. if it is someone knowledgeable about the term and somewhat political aware, Chicano is a good term.

I use the word “Chicano” to describe people who are Mexican-American and even when they would not describe themselves as such.


On 1) nope, it’s a matter of the individual and/or political/cultural beliefs. As to what you should use, well, neither term is derogatory, so you can use both. If she is on the Left of things, she might tell you upfront that “Hispanic” is not her label of choice. Of course, you can always call her mamasita. :smiley:

On 2) well, if they learned Spanish in High School like I learned French in High School and never kept up on it . .not good. The problem is that most people who are learning language at that level have problems with the three basic things: Proper verb tense, incorrect usage of gender (i.e. la perro, el computadorad), and the accent. So does it sound weird, yeah . .it does. :wink:


Depends on how applied they were. I am taking an accelerated Portuguese course in the university, and all of the students have at least second college year level of Spanish proficency(which is not much, :slight_smile: ) or already know Portuguese but not how to read or write it. I can talk with about half the non-Spanish speakers in the class relatively well, they understand me but they have problem answering me. Others just don’t talk to me in Spanish, or don’t seem to understand me.

My roomates all know Spanish, taking between 5-7 years of it. They understand it, but I heard them talk in Spanish just once…decided to talk to them in Spanish sometimes while they answer in English.

It all depends on how applied the person was speaking the language and practicing. Most of the English I know I obtained by reading books, listening to music, consulting with the dictionary, and seeing TV. I learned most of my English that way, on my own. The classes just served to taught me the rules of grammar and composition(some which I will probably never master).

I also think Chicano fell out of mainstream use because people misused it - for instance calling Puerto Ricans or Salvadorean migrants “Chicanos” - or using it to describe people who were not residents of the United States to begin with. Latino and Hispanic are very generic catch all labels.

Also there is a slight difference between Hispanic and Latino…actually many millions of people are involved so it isn’t to slight. “Hispanic” means Spanish speaking. So a Castillian Spaniard (not a Catalan or Basque perhaps), a Mexican, Cuban, or Argentine can be Hispanic. However a Brazilian or Surinames person is not Hispanic - provided they are not part of some group there that might speak Spanish.

On the other hand “Latino” is short for Latinoamericano - Latin American. That label would include a Brazilian, Surinamese, or Haitian - but not a Spaniard. Yes I know Antonio Banderas or Penelope Cruz are often called “Latino/a” in the American media or by a lot of people. But they are Europeans. They can be “Latin” - but so could Roberto Begnini or Gerard Depardieu as well.

Antonio Banderas on being classified a “Latino” in the USA.