No manches


Ford City Mall, Chicago, Illinois

If you ever start to offend a Mexican, they will reply with a remark like, “¡No manches!” In other words, don’t smear my good name.

Well, I was at the Ford City Mall the other day with my sons when I saw this t-shirt stand right there in the middle where you can’t miss it. I immediately saw the t-shirt with the map of Mexico. Underneath the map it read, “United States of Mexico.”

The girl working the stand immediately approached me and handed me a card saying that they had a website. I responded half in English, half in Spanish without really thinking. I assumed that she wasn’t even Mexican because Mexicans, or any Spanish speaker in Chicagolandia, are always happy to meet someone else who speaks Spanish. So, I gathered that she wasn’t a Spanish speaker, or perhaps not even Hispanic. And here she was selling these Mexican-themed t-shirts to–well, actually, no one!

The whole time we were in the mall, I was the only one to approach the stand and actually read the t-shirts. I didn’t even bother to ask the price of the t-shirts. As I read these t-shirts, I was offended. I like to think of myself as very open-minded and I have a high tolerance for political incorrectness and profanity, but I wondered what kind of Mexican would buy a t-shirt that read, “got mica?” and “as seen on immigration”? Maybe I’m missing something here! They seemed more offensive than funny.

If they’re going to be that politically incorrect, they might as well should have named their business, “¡No manches, güey!” Why did they stop short? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not overly sensitive. In fact, I always smile when I see someone wearing the t-shirt that says, “I’m not late. I’m running on Mexican time!”

My favorite Mexican t-shirt.

Look closely at the t-shirt above. I was looking to buy t-shirts as souvenirs from Mexico, but they mostly sold stuff from the U.S.A. Talk about American cultural imperialism! It’s such a good parody of the actual Corona shirt that my cousin and I almost didn’t notice it. I suppose this t-shirt will only be funny for people who know Spanish and Mexicans.

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David Diego Rodríguez, Ph.D.

I write about whatever comes to mind. También enseño español y escribo acerca de los mexicanos y la enseñanza del español.

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