Some of my least favorite things to be told by a complete stranger:
You don’t look Mexican.
You’re too tall to be Mexican.
You don’t sound Mexican.
Your accent is all wrong to be Mexican.
You’re not brown enough to be Mexican.
And so on.
This happens all the time. Living in upstate New York gave me a nice break from this for two and a half years. But even for being who doesn’t routinely engage strangers in conversation (that’s my polite way of saying I’m antisocial), I get this again, ALL THE TIME.
The need to quantify someone’s Mexicanidad or Mexican-ness is one of the Mexican peoples’ most annoying habit. I’m more Mexican than you because I’m browner, shorter, because my accent is thick and I end every sentence as if I’m asking a question even if I’m not. Or I’m more Mexican because I run all my words together in a real bronco norteño accent like I was born on the back of a horse at the family ranch.
This is all so incredibly stupid.
What I try to tell people is this:
Accents [or heights or skin tone or wheaver] are like tamales. Every family does theirs a little different. In my family we do beef in red chile with potatoes and carrots. And little olives in them. I try not to eat all the olives while making them. Your family maybe doesn’t like olives and maybe that’s why we sound different.
Oh, and yeah, we don’t have that born on the back of a horse norteño accent either. Actually I’m the only one that rides, and I’ve fallen off a few times. That probably messed up my accent too…
Alright, maybe I don’t say that. Maybe I just shrug and walk away because it’s not worth my time to bother.
But hey, that deep sarcastic streak, that’s pure Mexicanidad right there.
Speaking of tamales, if you’re in the Phoenix area, order up some tamales. Made by yours truly, no sarcastic streak included. Visit the Facebook shop to order.