Dear Mexican: Where I recently started working, Latinos make up about 95 percent of the work force. We are, however, prohibited from speaking Spanish. Our supervisor tells us that if we can so much as speak one word of English, that we cannot speak in Spanish. We are constantly being threatened about it. My manager constantly makes racial remarks about all cultures and always says that we live in
— Spanish Speaking and Proud
Dear Wabette: The racial remarks are illegal; the ban on Spanish isn’t — with a caveat. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has consistently filed lawsuits over the past 15 years against companies that require workers to speak only English on the basis that such a policy violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race and national origin. The strategy hasn’t always worked — in 1994, the Supreme Court declined to hear Garcia et al. v. Spun Steak Co. a case in which the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a company could ban employees from speaking their native tongues at work. What you can do is contact the EEOC and file a complaint, but why bother with that? Let your employer keep such ridiculous rules — I betcha they don’t allow Casual Fridays, either, huh? Have a Spanish speak-in with your fellow wabby workers. Since you say that the vast majority of your co-drones are Mexicans, they’ll probably join in solidarity. And since your employer hires so many of your kind, I’ll make the easy assumption that you’re either living in Aztlán or homeboy likes to pay cheaply and probably illegally. Either way, he’s chingado.
Other than the infamous
— The Amazing Gabachos
Dear Gabacho: Before I delve into a short history of Mexican comics, let’s get your references straights. Memín Pinguín is a comic-book series about a noble negrito who unfortunately looks like a gorilla; Tijuana bibles — cheap, pre-television-era, porno comics skewering celebrities — had nothing to do with Mexico except act as an easy repository for perverted American fantasies. “How perfect, expected, and fortuitous (not to mention profitable) that Tijuana Bible evolved as the go-to moniker for pornographic mod-texts,” says Dr. William Nericcio, the muy-loco, muy-smart head of the English department at
As to your pregunta: Mexican historietas started with the Aztecs and Mayans, both of whom used pictographic writing systems for their codices. You can see this legacy in the popularity of epic, largely wordless murals in both
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