Clint Dempsey’s Strike: From Nac-Town with Love

Yesterday morning at the store, I ran into a friend of mine and he asked me what I thought the outcome would be of today’s England-US World Cup showdown. My response? A draw.

Can’t say that I called it because I didn’t predict a score. Even as my prediction rolled off my tongue, I thought about the feasibility of such an outcome and came to the conclusion that even a draw would be a victory for Team USA, given how loaded the English squad is.

While it would be best to leave the tactical analysis of the match to the experten, I cannot help but discuss Clint Dempsey’s equalizer.

Yes, English keeper Robert Green made the type of mistake which should never be made at the World Cup level or any level of soccer save Fun Fair Positive Soccer . However, not enough credit is being given to the Texan Clint Dempsey, the man who presented Green with the opportunity to embarrass himself, his family and his country before a captivated world audience.

Prior to firing the fateful shot, Dempsey had to break free, and he did so by juking English captain, Steven Gerrard, out of his expensive Adidas cleats. Here’s a shot from mid-juke, (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)


Es OK Esteven, there are embittered Mexican men in Nac-Town who feel your pain

Judging by the display, one might have thought that Dempsey must have learned these skills from Hakeem Olajuwon who as we can see in Exhibit A below, just abused David Robinson back in the 1995 NBA playoffs.

But no, Dempsey honed these moves in his youth while playing in Nacogdoches’ Mexican League matches. As is reported here, Dempsey,

…beat men more than twice his age, proud men from Mexico and El Salvador who’d throw you to the East Texas dirt for trying a fancy move on them.

And according to one of his childhood friends, one time Dempsey

“did some kind of weird trick—it was so awesome—and the guy got mad and spit in his face.”

Due to the fact that us Mexicans think fútbol is our game and not the Americans’, I can certainly understand the ire of the men he schooled.

It’s hard to swallow when someone beats you at “your own game”, just ask British columnist and America’s Got Talent judge, Piers Morgan who penned this:

I honestly can’t believe we drew with the Americans. Soccer is a complete non-sport in the US. It ranks somewhere below tiddlywinks in their national competitive psyche.

Now, Dempsey might have picked up a huge assist from the wildly unpredictable Jabulani but it is certain that the glorified beach ball had nothing to do with his dissecting of Gerrard.

Major props to Dempsey and the rest of Team USA for their win draw against a tough opponent. I do feel bad for Robert Green but I’d feel worse if he played for Colombia.

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SB 1070 visits the Recent White House State Dinner

According to Forbes, Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim is worth $53.5 billion, making him the world’s richest person by em, a slim margin over American Bill Gates.

Slim, son of Lebanese immigrants, made his fortune in telecommunications. Recently, (e)Slim (below) was present at the State Dinner held at the White House in honor of Mexican President Felipe Calderón.


[Photo credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images North America]

What I find interesting is that Slim is wearing some sort of ID badge. In looking at pictures of other luminaries present at this shindig (i.e. comedian George Lopez and actress Eva Longoria-Parker), you’ll find that they’re not wearing badges.

Everyone knows who George Lopez and Eva Longoria-Parker are, Slim? Not so much, hence he has to rock a badge. That’s probably the reason, not to mention his complexion, that White House security might be “reasonably suspicious” that Carlos is the “help” who is trying to mingle with the VIPs.

Might it show that even the world’s richest man isn’t immune to being SB1070’d?

I guess the cowardly Mr. Lopez and the bubbly Longoria-Parker are living proof that it is better to be famous than stupefyingly wealthy.

Looking (Baja) California, Feeling Arizona

The political masters of the state of Arizona have recently passed a bill which will permit police officers in that state to check the legal status of “anyone they suspect of being illegal”.

Not only that but it will make it a violation of state law to be in these United States without the proper paperwork.

According to the LA Times,

The bill, known as SB 1070, makes it a misdemeanor to lack proper immigration paperwork in Arizona. It also requires police officers, if they form a “reasonable suspicion” that someone is an illegal immigrant, to determine the person’s immigration status.

A “reasonable suspicion”? What the hell does that entail? Swarthy men wearing frat/sorority shirts? Heavily tanned men sporting trucker hats for what they are and not as fashion statements?

As a public service to the peace officers of the state of Arizona, here are a couple of examples of the type of people they might be wary of,

(Photo credit: greenelent’s Flickr)


(Photo credit: greenelent’s Flickr)

Just out of curiosity, will the police also be allowed to question the people who take care of lawmakers’ kids, mow their lawns and clean their palatial estates?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

To my paperless paisanos living in Arizona, when you see la chota, take Han’s advice and “fly casual”.

Jim Rome talks to a Soccer Writer?

This morning as I perused my daily haunts and came across an interesting article in the soccer section of Sports Illustrated. The piece was written by Greg Lalas:

U.S. team, an improved MLS fuel growing buzz for sport in America

You might have heard of Greg’s Brother, Alexi, Lalas

This is what many Mexicans think Jesus looked like

Lalas’ thesis is that maybe, just maybe interest in the beautiful game might just be picking up here in these United States. He lays out reasons which by all accounts seem legit.

However, there is one indicator which might trump any of the good ones Mr. Lalas lays out. Jim Rome is actually going to legitimately talk soccer on his show today. He’s talking to Grant Wahl who wrote the controversial book, The Beckham Experiment: How the World’s Most Famous Athlete Tried to Conquer America.

I know that Rome has flip-flopped on other sports (i.e. NASCAR and horse racing), but he’s on record as vowing never to capitulate to soccer. In fact, his recalcitrancy drew the ire of former Team USA player Eric Wynalda who had some unkind words for Rome back in 2007.

We’ll see how this goes, I’m assuming Wahl is familiar with Rome’s loathing for soccer.

Here’s one of Rome’s rants against fake injuries in soccer, which as a fan of fútbol, I strongly object to as well:

Update: This is how the interview ended

Wahl: Nice talking soccer with you Jim

Rome: Thanks Grant, let’s not make it a habit

Hahahaha

Obama’s Hispanic Voting Block?

On our last visit to my native México we stopped by a convenience store and purchased some items one usually purchases at such an establishment, ice, drinks, snacks etc.

My dear sister (who along with her husband also were visiting there) bought me a pastry. A very delicious and thus unhealthy pastry. A pastry which if it were sold in the United States would be subject to much controversy.

The name of the pastry is “Negrito” which is Spanish for “little black boy”. The wrapper for this treat used to have a spear-wielding, bone-through-the-hair, dancing black boy (if you can stomach it, click here). Bread giant, Bimbo, is the company which makes it.

The wrapper housing today’s “Negrito” features a black boy (think Huey from Boondocks) on a skateboard. Who says México hasn’t outgrown colonialist attitudes? By the way the pastry is sold here in the States but understandably so, it is called something else.

Saw it at the local Wal-Mart a few weeks back and I can’t recall what it is called.

Some find it hard to believe that Mexicans are racist (melaninist to be fair). Probably because,

1) it is not understood how a people who are typically on the short end of discrimination can also discriminate others

AND/OR

2) Some mistakenly think us inferior and so can’t understand how one group of inferiors can regard another group of inferiors as well, inferior.

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Elderly Women in front of a Counter in a Small Town

During the winter break of my first year of college I worked as a cashier at a now defunct truck stop in a small town.

The memories I have from said time are lively to say the least. Two incidents are still vivid in my mind after “all these” years.

If you hung around this blog long enough you know that I am Mexican. No, not of Mexican descent only (that is Mexican-American) but actually born in México.

Personally I can’t recall being discriminated against because of that, at least directly. I know there are people who think Mexicans inferior and all that but I haven’t directly been the target of such ignorance.

To be fair, I probably don’t fit the image most people might have of Mexicans for I’m not dark-skinned or swarthy or perhaps even wear a sombrero (If that is your impression of us, well you haven’t been exposed to very many of us). The accent I did have when I first started speaking English on a daily basis, is by all accounts gone.

The 2 incidents which I recall are in this vein. The first involved an elderly inhabitant of the aforementioned small town. The woman, she couldn’t have been younger than 70, and her sister came to buy something or other and as they were paying me they laid out their cash on the counter to count it (after all isn’t that what a counter is for?).

Now the women were Anglo and probably grew up during a time in this country were racism was not only extant but acceptable. As they finished coming up with the cash to cover their purchases one of the women turned to the other and dropped this line,

Put your money away before a Mexican comes and steals it

Now I found this amusing though I didn’t react visibly. My initial thought was, “This woman doesn’t know I’m Mexican or if she does she doesn’t care”.

I know such an incident might send some of my compatriots (real or pretend) scrambling for the nearest phone so they can call some civil rights group and demand so-called justice.

At the end of it I dismissed it as the ignorance of a woman who grew up at a time when such ignorance was believed and perhaps even encouraged. What question did arise in my mind was the following,

Were (are) Mexicans really viewed as thieves? Just waiting to part a fool from his/her money?

The other incident involved a couple of elderly Mexican women. Sometimes I would have to work the graveyard shift (Midnight-8am) and the middle of the night would bring bus after bus of gamblers (the vast majority Hispanic) going to or from the casinos in Louisiana (gambling is not legal in Texas).

One night a bus disembarked and sure enough it was a bunch of elderly Hispanics. Understand that working this shift is hard for it is somewhat unnatural to be awake during these hours. I probably didn’t look as awake as I could have been.

So these 2 Mexican women roll up to the counter to pay for whatever it is they bought and one of them tells the other one in Spanish,

This guy doesn’t even look like he’s awake

Of course she was referring to me and I let her know (in Spanish) that I was quite awake. The reaction was priceless as they always are when one commits such a faux pas. The woman was understandably embarrassed (unfortunately, I’ve been in her shoes and believe me it’s embarrassing) yet didn’t offer an apology.

She merely said, “Well you do look half-asleep”.

I know Pearl Jam sing about an “elderly woman behind a counter in a small town” but as for me the ones in front of a counter have proven more entertaining.

Mexicans and the Color of their Skin

My folks have a neighbor who is Cambodian. Ever since they have lived in that house they have referred to this neighbor (not directly) as El Chino (The Chinese Man), though they know full well that he is not from China.

This is a phenomenon common to Mexicans, namely referring to any person from the Far East as Chinese. Admittedly some do so out of ignorance but most do it out of habit, and well old habits are truly hard to break.

Of course, if someone mistakenly assumes that a Mexican is from El Salvador (pick any Central American country) then it’s on, for that poor chap has just committed a capital offense. For some reason or another, many Mexicans have this strange (and wrong) idea that somehow we are superior to Central Americans.

In his weekly column plainly called ¡Ask a Mexican!®, Gustavo Arellano tackles on questions posed by readers regarding confusing aspects of Mexican culture.

One of last week’s questions (see above link) exemplified what I addressed above,

I recently learned the meaning of güero, which until that point I only knew as a Beck album. I started calling some of my whitish Mexican friends güero/a, and they seemed displeased. Is the term offensive?
The Korean, Employer of Mexicans, Therefore Partners in Crime

Dear Chinito: Not really. Güero technically means “blond” in Mexican Spanish, but it also refers to a light-skinned person and, by association, gabachos. All Mexicans want to be güero; anyone who claims otherwise does it in the face of the country’s topsy-turvy racial history, where white made might and prietos (dark-skinned folks) were little better than Guatemalans.

Though I doubt Arellano is a racist, he answers a question from a Korean by calling him Chinito (little Chinese, the diminutive suffix denotes endearment.)

Another kernel of truth in his answer is here,

All Mexicans want to be güero; anyone who claims otherwise does it in the face of the country’s topsy-turvy racial history, where white made might and prietos (dark-skinned folks) were little better than Guatemalans.

México’s history of racism is well-documented and while the situation might be improving, my people still have a long way to go.   My own grandmother is openly melanist (is it racist when we’re talking about the same ethnicity?) for she favors her grandchildren/great-grandchildren who are güeros to those that are prietos.

Can anyone else relate to what Arellano is talking about?