Read Ask a Mexican by Gustavo Arellano Online


"Inquiring Gringos Want to Know" is how the Los Angeles Times headlined a story about Gustavo Arellano's popular "¡Ask a Mexican!" column in the alternative magazine OC Weekly. This delightfully informal QA feature reveals what every Latino and Latina already knows: That non-Hispanics face a steep learning curve about Mexicans and other New World immigrants. The collection"Inquiring Gringos Want to Know" is how the Los Angeles Times headlined a story about Gustavo Arellano's popular "¡Ask a Mexican!" column in the alternative magazine OC Weekly. This delightfully informal QA feature reveals what every Latino and Latina already knows: That non-Hispanics face a steep learning curve about Mexicans and other New World immigrants. The collection of Arellano's columns ventures to answer all the questions that you were too embarrassed to ask about Mexican culture, lifestyle, family life, cuisine, and, of course, immigration status....

Title : Ask a Mexican
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781416540021
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Ask a Mexican Reviews

  • Malbadeen
    2019-05-03 00:04

    sometimes I over think things, case in point: this book. I started reading it at Sarah's a few weeks ago and found it entertaining enough but this weekend I tried to listen to more of it on audio and I couldn't stop thinking about it enough to listen to it.reason #1. should I be laughing at this? why not, I laugh at my own American-ness all the time. the fact that I'm worried about laughing at this might indicate that I feel some sort of affinity to protect Mexicans which might also indicate that I feel a superiority that would put me in a position of allowing myself to feel protective. that's no good.reason #2. My tolerance for people asking idiotic questions like, "why don't Mexicans learn English" or "why do Mexicans pronounce their names with an accent" are so far gone that their ignorance is no longer laughable but rather nauseating.reason #3. If I were to get an occasional chuckle from the ignorance of the people asking questions aren't I defining myself as intelligent enough to not share their perspectives? and then I'm separating myself from them, classifying myself as "smart" and them as "stupid" and how is that better than classifying "them" as Mexican" and me as not? IT'S ALL CLASSIFYING/SORTING/DEFINING!!!!!! AHHHHHH!!!!

  • Book Concierge
    2019-05-02 22:27

    ¡Ask a Mexican! – Gustavo Arellano2**This is a collection of columns written by Arellano in California’s OC Weekly news magazine. It was originally suggested by his editor, and Arellano had been answering his “Why do Mexicans…..?” questions for five years. He didn’t mind being the source of cultural information, and figured “why not?” so the column was born. It’s become wildly popular and has now been syndicated in several other newspapers across the country.Like most such satirical / humorous columns, they are best taken once a week. Reading all of them at once was a bit much. Yes, he does impart some history of Mexico and Mexican culture, and even I (the daughter and granddaughter of Mexican immigrants) learned a few curse words. However, on the whole I was bored and didn’t find his “humor” very funny. I did like the descriptions of food … especially how his mother would buy three kinds of tripa for her menudo (same as my Aunt Pepa). And, why can’t Goodreads manage to include the appropriate punctuation in the official title?

  • LonewolfMX Luna
    2019-05-06 23:20

    From Orange County's Gustavo Arellano columns he create a book which he answers the questions to those who are curious about Mexicans and the Mexican culture.As a Mexican/Chicano I took a look at this book thinking it would be offensive, but to my surprise it was highly informative and humorous in which he would poke holes in the arguments of racists and Neoconservatives with facts. As well he doesn't let political correctness hold him back as he would poke fun of Mexican mannerisms. Yes I don't like people dissin my culture and stuff, but I don't like the extreme political correctness yea I know we must respect each other BUT COME ON!! learn to laugh with others and at yourself.Many first generation Mexican born Raza and extreme politically correct Xicano/a's might find it offensive. But like it or not there many truths/problems we as Raza must come face to face by confronting it head instead of avoiding it so we came move forward here and find our place in this country.Parody, humor and political satire are great weapons against the forces of ignorance bigotry.

  • Rosemary
    2019-05-15 21:08

    Absolutely loved this book. As a Chicana I couldn't help but laugh at myself. Arellano has a very unique approach in dealing with racist questions. When others will get outraged he prefers to counteract those comments and questions with comedy and sprinkling in some historical info along the way. I really was facinated by the knowledge I gained about my own self. Kudos to Gustavo Arellano and I can't wait for the next book. Gracias

  • Jennifer
    2019-05-08 00:14

    Very repetitive... And not nearly as fun, fierce or naughty as I had expected. Just a lot of pinche pendejo gabacho and other vocabulary fillers my El Salvadorian friends at high school already taught me...

  • Sus
    2019-05-02 20:10

    In general, I think this is great -- I really like Arellano's blend of no-holds-barred, vernacular lewdness with his periodic (and totally coherent) references to journal articles and his academic experience as a sociology M.S. (Do you want the lewd answer, the Catholic answer, the socioeconomic answer, or the pre-Christian-cultural-traditions answer?) It does, yes, deploy a lot of stereotypes and a lot of hard language, but I agree with Arellano that there's a lot to be said for engaging equally hard cultural conflicts and ignorance with vulgar humor. It reminds me of the early days of Dan Savage's groundbreaking sex column -- back when he still invited writers to address him as "Hey, Faggot!"Honestly, as I read the book the main problem that's striking me is -- how to put this? It's not that Arellano doesn't take Mexican culture to task for its ingrained sexism (the "virgin-whore" dichotomies, the hardworking-housewife expectations). But he never seems to get around to exploring how Mexican or Mexican-American women actually feel about them. Which seems like a huge lacuna. He develops both nuance and accessibility (call it, if you must, "universality") in his discussions of Mexican male thought and culture, but he kind of does it at the expense of women. All he usually has to say about women, in contrast to what he says about men, is that the stereotypes are "documentary": Mexican women really are as hot, as 'spicy,' as fertile and as hardworking as all that! Thanks, hermano. That really tells me a lot about how Mexican women think, live and feel.So that's my major problem with Arellano: in the process of "explaining" Mexican culture to gabachos, he recapitulates the sexism that he's theoretically interested in exposing, and winds up leaving half the Mexican American population to stand as nothing but sexy culos and fertile mamis. That's not exactly what I was hoping to learn when I read that the author had trained as a sociologist.

  • J.M. Cornwell
    2019-05-08 22:26

    Everything you wanted to know about Mexicans and aren’t afraid to ask.What began the editor’s idea for filler in the Orange County Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Orange County, California, became a true gold mine of information and fascinating facts in Gustavo Arellano’s hands. ¡Ask a Mexican! is irreverent, bold, politically incorrect and wonderfully witty and informative. Riding the razor’s edge of wit and intelligent information, Arellano pulls no punches as he explains what it is to be Mexican in the United States. The questions range from rude and silly to honest curiosity and the answers at times are no less incendiary than a bowl of green chili. Arellano admits when he doesn’t know something (after all, he was born here) and goes to the source to find out, even allowing readers to answer the questions for him. ¡Ask a Mexican! is a mixture of the historically sublime and the culturally ignorant and Arellano pulls it off with a stylish tongue in cheek liberally spiced with a bold and erudite style that makes this book more than just reference but a direct jab to the heart of politically correct language that will leave you laughing and much better informed about the rich Mexican culture in our midst and at our southern borders without hiding the ridiculous and the sublime.

  • Regina
    2019-05-12 20:03

    A mostly lewd and crude question-and-answer style book highlighting Mexican stereotypes written by a Master’s Degree holding son of two illegal tomato canning immigrants. Sometimes insightful-- his chapter about the plight of illegal day laborers is heart wrenching—but he manages to get his point across with humor. Arellano addresses the most important of the Mexican questions when he answers, “What’s with Mexicans’ obsession with Morrissey?” The answer is simple: death and disenfranchisement are two themes that emote from both the immigrant culture of Mexicans living in the US and from Morrissey’s call to arms. “Morrissey sings to the disaffected, and God knows alienation is part of the assimilation tradition…”

  • Suzanne Moore
    2019-05-05 20:18

    The questions asked are anonymously given, creating a no-holds-barred kind of feel for the Q&A format Arellano uses. I understand his intentions where meant to be humorous and to a degree I can see that. But the topics seem a bit heavy on the sexual side of Hispanic culture. Maybe it would be better to say repetitive with use of the same vulgarities to describe just about everything. Yes I get it that Latinos are "hot, sexy lovers" but I would have liked hearing more about everyday Mexican culture rather than a sexed-up stereotypical side to the majority of questions covered. It seemed that the Hispanic gangster lifestyle was also a focus.

  • Lupe
    2019-04-26 01:17

    This satirical book is full of information AND opinions. It's not for the easily offended but if you can read between the lines, it's informative and insightful. As a fifth-generation Mexican-American, it helped me understand why new immigrants act in certain ways. Sharing with friends and family!

  • Sphinx Feathers
    2019-05-21 22:26

    I am very divided about this book. On one hand, there was clearly a lot of research put into the answers the Mexican gave, but on the other hand the answers were sometimes too dry and relied on overly used jokes. Overall it is better than it is worse, if only for the cultural insight.Pop Sugar 2017: A book with pictures

  • Dave
    2019-05-22 01:04

    Not a quick read because it is chock full of factual information. It is good if you know at least a little bit of Spanish because there are a lot of quotes in Spanish, and introduction to many words. There is a dictionary in front that has the meaning to most but not all of the introduced words. Worthy read if you want to learn more about Mexican culture in the U.S.

  • Adam
    2019-04-29 21:12

    Got a question you’ve just been dying to ask your pocho Mexican friend but you’re too afraid to ask? Ever wondered why a lot of Mexican music sounds just like polka? Or curious about what type of tequila is the best? What to call a group of them? Mexican? Hispanic? Chicano? Well here’s your not-so-official guide to Mexicans, or more poignantly, your guide to Mexicans living in south Los Angeles. Gustavo Arellano, author of “Ask a Mexican!,” has collected some of his most hilarious, outlandish, and down-right racist letters and comments from his weekly column at the OC Weekly and put them into a book. It shapes out to be an entertaining read, even if you’re not that intrigued by the Mexican immigrant culture. Fair warning: there are parts of the book that’ll make you feel as if you’ve just flipped the channel to the Jerry Springer Show and peeked into the trashy world of the seediest citizens this country has to offer. Because every question in the book is anonymous, people feel entirely liberated to ask whatever question pops into there head, and Arellano, God bless him, answers their questions right back with little shame, which makes for an honest book with little shade to hide under from the hot Mexican sun.

  • Angel
    2019-05-14 22:09

    The book has some slow parts, but most of it has some good humor. Maybe because I am Latino (but not Mexican; I am Puerto Rican), I was able to appreciate some of the humor more. There are some things that Latinos, no matter which part of Latin American, say and do universally. The best part of the book were the short question and answer questions. I could read through those pretty quickly. Some of the longer essay segments were hit and miss. Some were interesting; others were a little on the slow side. Yes, the book deals with stereotypes. That is part of the humor. If you are easily offended or sensitive, this may not be for you. But if you can laugh, sometimes at the author and his stories, other times with the author and his stories, then you will probably like this book. The real strength of the book lies in the fact that in addition to using humor and jokes, he actually teaches you something. Arellano is knowledgeable and well-read when it comes to his culture, and he shares that in the book along with the jokes. From discussing spiritual beliefs of mother goddesses to La Raza Cosmica, you get a small preview of Mexican culture and history along with the humor. You do learn something while you laugh.

  • Jim
    2019-05-15 18:08

    Drawn from the author's column in the Orange County Weekly, this is, by turns, funny, off-color, outrageous, and informative. I think it's one of the better books I've read in my quest to understand my neighbors.The son of immigrants, Arellano mixes humor and a lot of solid information, answering questions like: - Why do Mexicans like tamales so much? - Why are Charles Bronson's Death Wish movies so popular?- Why are Mexican obsenities so creative and expressive?- Why is Morrisey the most popular gabacho singer in Mexico?- What the heck is a gabacho?- Why do Mexicans want to come here anyway?Arellano is an antidote to the politically correct seriousness that has infected discussions about our fastest-growing immigrant community. He's also great at dealing with crypto-racist questions from nativist idiots.

  • Christina
    2019-05-02 20:19

    The author of this book write a Q-&-A column for the OCWeekly newspaper called "Ask a Mexican," and "the Mexican" answers any & all questions about everything & anything Mexican. It's funny, rather insightful, sarcastic and blunt. Very no-holds-barred. And rather 99.9% correct. (The .1% is deducted for subtle variances with language...otherwise, very good to go!) My Mexican boyfriend & I are both enjoying it -- I'm reading it, and I share parts with him and we discuss them...often, laughing, too. :) It's giving him some food-for-thought about his own culture, making me compare & contrast with my own non-Mexican culture, and talking about current events with Mexicans...I recommend it. :)

  • Sandy Bielinski-Rice
    2019-05-15 23:23

    Gustavo Arellano addresses everything we are curious about Mexicans and are afraid to ask. Have you ever wondered why many Mexicans have two last names? Mexicans often name their children with a first name, fathers last name, and then mothers last name. My favorite part of this book talks about music. The first song Arellano explains is “La Cucaracha” which most of us know means “the cockroach.” Come to find out “La Cucaracha is one of the oldest songs in Hispanic culture” and the lyrics are making fun of Pancho Villa (Arellano, 2007). This chapter also mentions the Frito Bandito and La Bamba. The information on food, fashion, and everything you can think of will make you laugh and want to share what you learned.  

  • Mark
    2019-05-18 20:21

    Everything that is wrong and right with alternative press newspapers (since the book is essentially a compilation of an alt newspaper column by the same title as the book):RIGHTA willingness to tackle touchy subjectsA specific tone & viewpointA blistering sense of humorWRONGAn overweening love for shock ("how lewd can I be?")A tendency to beat dead horses to death a second time (we get it - it's all about sex)Difficulty viewing complex problems from any viewpoint but their ownWith all that, Arrellano is a good comedy writer... but the book is not for the easily offended. (His 2nd book, Orange County, was better.)

  • Stacey
    2019-04-22 19:05

    Very funny and the Spanish was terrific with lots of great pinche words! I have loved Mexico and its people since my first visit there in 1977 (the best thing my mom ever did was take me on vacation there at 14) and have been back many times. This book gave me a more realistic picture of the country and Mexicans.Arellano is funny, but at times irritating and seems to sum up all the answers to readers' questions and his views with some form of negativity against the Guatemalans (not cool) and us gabachos. It was so tiresome and predicable after awhile that the Mexican often came across as a pinche pocho douche!

  • Kristi
    2019-04-29 20:11

    not loving it. the author totally relies on cliches and stereotypes (he says he "explores" them, which doesn't really happen). i realize stereotypes are often grounded in reality, but it bugs me that, much like african-americans using the "n" word, this book is supposed to be humorous because it is written by a mexican, but if written by anyone else, it would be offensive and racist. i don't think it adds much or helps in the way of explaining a culture. instead, the author just seems to rely on stereotypes to make jokes (e.g. why do mexicans have so many kids? because we're spicy and we are hot in bed.) um, wha?

  • Just_Me
    2019-05-02 02:07

    As a mexican myself, I found this book to be funny. I've never read his newspaper column, but a lot of what Arellano says is true. He tells it like it is while mixing in some humor. Some of my favorite parts are: How porn changed his life, When he hangs out with the day laborers, and his guide on how to "Live Like an Illegal Immigrant!"."Insurmountable odds have a way of bringing out thebest in humans. And its the poorest of the poor whonot only survive in tough times, but also thrive"BTW... I had never heard of Morrissey before reading this book. =)

  • Chechoui
    2019-05-08 02:07

    I've read the author's newspaper column and have heard him on the radio numerous occasions. I very much respect his body of work, but this book wasn't for me. I thought there was going to be more educational answers to cultural questions along with the humor. I though there would be more inclusion of the sociological etymology of various Mexican cultural customs, not just tongue in cheek answers to many borderline racist questions posed. I got about 80 pages through and gave up as I wasn't learning anything and nor did I find it funny.

  • CynthiaScott
    2019-04-22 01:07

    This is an irreverent but probably pretty accurate culture history, anthropology if you will, of the people who have immigrated to the United States in the last sixty years to better their lives. It is compiled for Arrellano's widely newspaper column, "Ask a Mexican." It answers the questions to lots of curiosities about the habits of the relocated Mexican villagers who settle in tight communities retaining many habits while adopting new ones. Very funny, very spicy! A very good book to read if you live in California, Texas, Chicago, Florida and want to appreciate your neighbors.

  • Natalie
    2019-05-04 20:32

    I heard about this book in a magazine. Apparently, the book is based on a running article in the Orange County Weekly. A Mexican answers questions from readers. Many of the questions are racist and insulting but the writer responds with clever, tongue in cheek answers. Warning: there are a lot of swear words in the book, both in English and Spanish. Also, some discussion of sex. But it reveals a lot of cultural biases and some of the truths or misconceptions behind them.The writer pokes fun at everyone while really digging into why people feel as they do. I laughed a lot reading this.

  • Paul
    2019-05-05 02:16

    Growing up in a Hispanic family, I often found myself wondering why we and people people we knew did some of the things we did - and apparently we weren't the only ones! Gustavo Arellano's book is an interesting and irreverent look at Latino culture, told with just enough attitude to keep it fun. If you can't take a little ribbing or are easily offended when someone brings up tired old stereotypes of Hispanics - even to bash them - this proably isn't the book for you, but if you can laugh with us about some of the things we do, it's a fun read.

  • Joyce
    2019-05-22 21:06

    Reading this book was like reliving the last 12 years of me asking Eddie questions about why Mexicans do this that or the other thing. Gustavo Arellano is (usually) a bit more caustic than Eddie, but is entertaining nonetheless. I was a bit disappointed at times when I was hoping for a real answer to a question and just got a joke or insult for the question asker. Sometimes he does a lot of research into the answer, and some times not so much. I have to say I appreciate it a lot more when he does put in the time.

  • Laura Kerby
    2019-05-16 21:17

    I first heard of this book while watching an interview with the author on Fox News. The author takes stereotypical, often racist questions that are posed to him in his newspaper column and answers them. His answers are funny and pointed while poking holes in a lot of gringo stereotypes about Mexicans. Pretty funny-some of the questions applied more to California than the rest of the country and some were decidely raunchy, but an entertaining read.

  • Anna Mojica
    2019-05-22 00:03

    The book is based on a columnist for the OC Weekly newspaper. I have read his column for years. I read this book with an open mind. I figured that I have some Mexican in my then why not?! Some of the things I already knew. I learned a lot about the Mexican culture that family can not tell me. Yes some things were repetitive or plain ignorant but I know from the author he was just being sarcastic and funny. Some things might offend people, if this is you then don't bother to read.

  • Leslie
    2019-05-16 21:32

    The author has a column and website in which he answers crazy questions about Mexicans from Mexicans and non-Mexicans alike. The author usually responds with a well-researched answer, citing statistics and studies. The author takes a humorous approach, all the while enlightening us with facts such as Mexicans like Morrisey (who knew?) and big butts. He also answers questions about illegal immigration, etc. Call him the Dear Abby of Mexicans. He answers all the questions you're afraid to ask.

  • Mary
    2019-05-06 22:12

    I wanted to really like this book but as I read the language just got worse. There are so many things you just don't need to know in it. Vulgar and gross. So I skipped through to some of the stuff that I thought was okay and enjoyed the very few there were. Could've been so much more fun. The parts that weren't foul were funny and entertaining. I don't really recommend this book to anyone unless you don't mind bad language and sexual content. Books need ratings.