Mexican pirates? Hell, yes, there are Mexican pirates.

Dear Mexican:

My wife and I have an argument going on about pirates. And because
you are the source for all things Mexican, I’d thought I’d ask: While I
know there were Spanish and Portuguese pirates back in the early 1600s
and 1700s, were there ever any Mexican pirates? Not pirates from Spain
who pirated in Mexico, but real HONEST TO HAY-SOOS MEXICAN PIRATES?
Would be interesting to know!

Pirates Pat McGroin and the Right Reverend One Eye

Dear Gabachos:

It depends on your definition of “pirate.” If you’re looking for a
famous swashbuckler from the days of Blackbeard, tough tamales:
Historians never bothered to glorify the numerous buccaneers who
ransacked Spanish galleons laden with the gold and silver from Mexican
mines. The most famous Mexican pirate was Fermin Mundaca, who operated
a contraband empire from the island of Islas Mujeres off the coast of
Quintana Roo during the mid-1800s — but Mundaca was a Spanish
native. Why look back in the past, though, when so many Mexican pirates
exist in the present? Piratería is as Mexican an industry
as tortilla making and immigrant smuggling. The International
Federation of Phonographic Industry, an international organization that
fights music piracy worldwide, estimates that Mexicans make more than
$220 million off illegal CDs, most sold at the nearest swap meet,
bodega or taco truck. And before some of you readers start insinuating
that such a startlingly large amount is somehow indicative of the
Mexican culture’s tendency to steal, what would you call file

Dear Mexican:

Do Mexicans get annoyed that whenever a Hollywood movie calls for a
Mexican character actor, Cheech Marin gets the job? This is great for
Cheech but must be bad for Mexican actors struggling to land good parts
in Hollywood. Danny Trejo gets the badass roles, Antonio Banderas gets
the leading-man roles, and character roles go to Cheech (in case of a
small budget, maybe Tommy Chong, but he’s cast more for being an old
stoner than a Mexican). With the blooming careers of truly great
Mexican directors Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro, don’t
you think Hollywood should give some other Mexicans a chance in the
limelight? Cheech is already rich — let someone else have a slice
of the pie!

Celluloid Culero

Dear Gabacho:

No argument from me, except Tommy Chong and Antonio Banderas ain’t

Dear Mexican:

If we tend to stereotype a person by drawing attention to the fact
that he or she is Mexican instead of looking at the content of the
person’s actions, then why do minority cultures celebrate the very fact
that, say, Mexicans fought for certain types of rights? Aren’t they
stereotyping themselves by doing so? If I did the same thing as a white
person, I’d be considered racist. So why aren’t you considered racist
as well?


Dear Gabacho:

I’ve contestado many a silly question in this column, but
yours takes the pastel as the stupidest I’ve yet answered. What
know-nothings such as yourself don’t understand is that when minority
groups struggle for civil rights, they’re merely calling America on its
founding bluff — you know, that whole “all men are created equal”
bullshit. So when Mexican parents in Orange County in the 1940s sued
four school districts for segregating Mexican kiddies away from
gabachitos, the parents didn’t do it just to benefit wabs; the
resulting lawsuit, Mendez vs. Westminster, served as a precedent
to the much-more-famous Brown vs. Board of Education. When Cesar
Chavez marched and fasted for justice in the fields, his ultimate
causa was the same as European unionists at the turn of the 20th
century: a fair shake for the workingman. When millions march for
amnesty for the undocumented, it’s a protest against a hypocritical,
byzantine immigration system that entangles all foreigners, not just
Mexicans. Whites fighting for “white” rights only show how freaked some
gabachos get about realizing that minorities are actually,
finally being treated like Americans. If trying to battle hate makes me
a racist, then here’s a Roman salute to your face, pendejo.

E-mail The Mexican at, find him at, or write to him via
snail mail at: Gustavo Arellano, P.O. Box 1433, Anaheim, CA 92815-1433.
Letters will be edited for clarity,
cabrones. And include a
hilarious pseudonym,
por favor, or we’ll make one up for

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