American Us

My LB homegirl Griz got the media’s attention after Anonymous delivered this handwritten note to her windshield.

Griz waved it across the internet, and the Long Beach Post, OC Weekly, and Huffington Post interviewed her about (the piece of sh)it.

While nobody has ever slid hate mail under one of my windshield wipers, a classmate once breathed, “Yer mom’s a wetback,” very close to my face.

My muffin hands tossed the bitch, waited for her to hit the sand, and, then, my feet told my fists to take the afternoon off. They danced across the bitch. They made wine out of her hate.

Never underestimate a pocha in Payless cleats.

Since I didn’t want to murder my classmate, just teach her to respect my mother, I untangled my foot from her dress as recess bell rang. My victim crawled away.

Cowering on the blacktop, she turned and yelled, “I’m gonna tell!”

“Tell,” I echoed, “and I’ll do it again.”

Wonder Gurbz! La Mujer Gurbavilla!

Griz’ mom was hanging out with her the afternoon their car got hatemongered. She was visiting from Mexico.

Imagine how Griz felt when her mom asked, “What does the note say?”

I would’ve reached for my cleats.

The hatemonger had tucked similar notes against other windshields. It was Labor Day, but this yahoo was working, patrolling Belmont Shore, racially profiling each driver and s/his passengers, watching them park, waiting for them to go do their thing in order to ambush their windows with…free speech?

Coastal minuteman, you are a coward whose heart has twisted into an ironically dark coal lump! Jealousy of our flavorful cuisine and ability to easily tan consumes you, Anonymous!

Ernest Walton and John Cockcroft might have split the atom, but Mexicans have found a way to squeeze dinner into dessert: molé!

Let’s return to the original piece of hate mail.


Why Baja? Why such a particular state to tell people, who could very likely be from El Salvador, to go back to?

I’ve never yelled, “Return to Rhode Island!” at a pale vacationer. They might be from Ohio.

I suspect that Anonymous felt alliteration would supercharge his message.


Stories like Griz’s typically incite three reactions from me. These reactions depend on whether or not I’m ovulating.

I may go numb. I may cry. I may look for my cleats.

Histories of Mexicans who, when confronted with gringo silliness, strap on their legal cleats, bolster me. One clan of legal cleat-strappers was Orange County’s Mendéz Family.

The Fam.

One day, the Mendézes went to enroll their children in school. The light-skinned Mendez, Alice, was told, “You’re good enough for white school. Get your snowflake of an ass in there!” The district told the dark kids, “We’ve got room from you…at the Mexican school!

This OC Mexican school was called “the barn.” The orginal L’il Puppet is pictured throwing signs front and center.

Not wanting their molé-colored children to attend school with chickens, the Mendézes proposed, “Why don’t we build a bigger, better school where all the kids can go?” to the school board.

The idea of integration bored them. The board yawned.

The Mendézes kept pushing till the school board cried it had done enough, enough already, “the problem of the complaint from the Mexican-speaking people was discussed at length!”


The Mendézes found a wonderful Jewish lawyer, David Marcus, who advised them to make like a Jew and sue.

At their trial, the superintendent took the stand. He testified about the need to segregate Mexicans. He explained that Mexicans carry impetigo. Our ears are dirty enough to sow corn. Our accents prevent us from reciting Mother Goose rhymes. Alas, Mexicans are too stoopid to rhyme.

You can keep Mother Goose. I’ve got Gansito.

Big Mama Mendéz took the stand. She testified, “We always tell our children they are Americans!”

OC whites forced Mexicans to play the all American sport of baseball in segregated leagues, because they were extremely worried that with all the practice we got with piñatas, we had an unfair advantage. Today, some still accuse us of having an unfair advantage: affirmative action.

Attorney Marcus entered exhibit R into evidence.


Marcus played American Me and stunned, the judge watched a film about the founding of the Mexican Mafia, a film in which the protagonist’s cholo soul speaks ENTIRELY IN RHYME.

“I thought I knew it all/ended up in juvie hall.”

“I was proud I didn’t let my feelings get in the way/of doing what we had to do to Pie Face that day.”

“The state is so lame/they paid for the game.”

“Not only can Mexicans rhyme,” argued Marcus, “they rhyme while they commit crime! I don’t think you have to ask, but Mexicans can multitask!”

The judge took a year to deliberate, perhaps doing something that rhymes with deliberate, and finally, he issued his ruling:

Afraid of dark-skinned kids,

Of them you may want to get rids,

But the Fourteenth Amendment

Provides equal protection

And besides, they’ve cliqued up with the yids!

I know you just racially profiled this orange.

The court integrated the Mexican children with the OTM children, Other Than Mexican children, who at least had the decency to call them wetbacks to their faces, during recess, where they could tough it out in the sand, instead of leaving them anonymous notes.



  1. Racism. For someone as politically bleu as me, America’s history with racism is among the most embarrassing things in my life! So many youth would be embarrassed to wear omutsu, but I think racism and the genocide of Native Americans are 10^8 times more embarrassing!

  2. As a woman of an interfaith family, Bill Maher speaks on my behalf:
    “I was raised half-Jewish and half-Catholic. When I’d go to confession, I’d say, ‘Bless me, Father, for I have sinned… and you know my attorney, Mr. Cohen.'”

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