I’m providing some minor assistance to Ricky, a AAA technician, as he works on my mother’s car. As we’re doing the usual car stuff (filling out paperwork, cranking the engine) he often repeats, “It’s all right”; e.g., “Turn on the A/C, the headlights, and the radio, then rev the engine to 150 RPM. It’s all right. Now turn it all off. It’s all right.”
I don’t notice this verbal punctuation, but Ricky still explains, “That’s what Mexicans like to say: ‘It’s all right.'”
I say, “I know a few Latinos, but I don’t remember them saying that. Maybe I didn’t notice. What’s the right word to use, Latino or Mexican?”
Ricky says, with great pride, “Mexican!”
He goes on to explain that Latinos come from Central or South America, but if you’re from Mexico, you’re a Mexican. I didn’t ask him about Spain or Puerto Rico.
So I’ve learned two things:
– It’s Mexicans who say “It’s all right.”
– There’s a difference between Mexican food and Latino food. I’ll have to try both in the future so I can learn to taste the difference.
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