Mock Spanish: A Site For The Indexical Reproduction Of Racism In American English

Jane H. Hill
University of Arizona


  1. Introduction
  2. A Brief History of Mock Spanish
  3. Mock Spanish As A System Of Strategies For Borrowing
    1. Strategy I: Mock Spanish Semantic Derogation
    2. Strategy II: Mock Spanish Euphemism
    3. Strategy III: Affixation of Spanish Grammatical Elements
    4. Strategy IV: Hyperanglicization And Bold Mispronunciation
  4. Further Evidence For Racism in Mock Spanish
  5. Conclusion: Mock Spanish Is A New Kind Of Elite Racist Discourse
  6. Notes
  7. References

1 Introduction

I was first drawn to the study of ``Mock Spanish''1 by a puzzle. In the southwestern United States, English speakers of ``Anglo''2 ethnic affiliation make considerable use of Spanish in casual speech, in spite of the fact that the great majority of them are utterly monolingual in English under most definitions. However, these monolinguals both produce Spanish and consume it, especially in the form of Mock Spanish humor. Mock Spanish has, I believe, intensified during precisely the same period when opposition to the use of Spanish by its native speakers has grown, reaching its peak in the passage of ``Official English'' statutes in several states during the last decade.3

As I began to explore this question, I realized that I had also engaged a larger one: In a society where for at least the last 20 years to be called a ``racist'' is a dire insult, and where opinion leaders almost universally concur that ``racism'' is unacceptable, how is racism continually reproduced? For virulent racism unquestionably persists in the United States. People of color feel it intensely in almost every dimension of their lives. Studies by researchers of every political persuasion continue to show substantial gaps between the several racialized groups and so-called ``whites'' on every quantifiable dimension of economic prosperity, educational success, and health (including both infant mortality and life expectancy). I argue here that everyday talk, of a type that is almost never characterized (at least by Anglos) as ``racist'', is one of the most important sites for the covert reproduction of this racism. ``Mock Spanish'', the topic of this paper, is one example of such a site.

``Mock Spanish'' exemplifies a strategy of dominant groups that I have called, following Raymond Williams (1977), ``incorporation'' (Hill 1995). By ``incorporation'' members of dominant groups expropriate desirable resources, both material and symbolic, from subordinate groups. Through incorporation, what Toni Morrison (1992) calls ``whiteness'' is ``elevated''. Qualities taken from the system of ``color'' are reshaped within whiteness into valued properties of mind and culture. This process leaves a residue that is assigned to the system of color, consisting of undesirable qualities of body and nature. These justify the low position of people of color in the hierarchy of races, and this low rank in turn legitimates their exclusion from resources that are reserved to whiteness. By using Mock Spanish, ``Anglos'' signal that they possess desirable qualities: a sense of humor, a playful skill with a foreign language, authentic regional roots, an easy-going attitude toward life. The semiotic function by which Mock Spanish assigns these qualities to its Anglo speakers has been called ``direct indexicality'' by Ochs (1990). ``Direct indexicality'' is visible to discursive consciousness. When asked about a specific instance of Mock Spanish, speakers will often volunteer that it is humorous, or shows that they lived among Spanish speakers and picked up some of the language, or is intended to convey warmth and hospitality appropriate to the Southwestern region. They also easily accept such interpretations when I volunteer them.

The racist and racializing residue of Mock Spanish is assigned to members of historically Spanish-speaking populations by indirect indexicality (Ochs 1990). Through this process, such people are endowed with gross sexual appetites, political corruption, laziness, disorders of language, and mental incapacity. This semiosis is part of a larger system by which a ``fetishized commodity identity'' (Vélez-Ibáñez 1992) of these populations is produced and reproduced, an identity which restricts Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans largely to the lowest sectors of the regional and national economies. This indexicality is ``indirect'' because it is not acknowledged, and in fact is actively denied as a possible function of their usage, by speakers of Mock Spanish, who often claim that Mock Spanish shows that they appreciate Spanish language and culture.

The purpose of this paper is to argue for this semiotic analysis of ``dual indexicality''. The argument, in summary, is that speakers and hearers can only interpret utterances in Mock Spanish insofar as they have access to the negative residue of meaning. Those who hear Mock Spanish jokes, for instance, cannot possibly ``get'' them -- that is, the jokes will not be funny -- unless the hearer has instant, unreflecting access to a cultural model of ``Spanish speakers'' that includes the negative residue. Furthermore, I suggest that Mock Spanish usages actively produce this residue. They carry with them, of course, a debris of racist history that is known to most speakers: they ``presuppose'', to use Silverstein's (1979) expression, a racist and racialized image. But insofar as speakers laugh at Mock Spanish jokes, or, indeed, interpret Mock Spanish expressions in any of the several appropriate ways, such imagery is also entailed, locally re-produced in the interaction, and thus made available in turn as a presupposition of ensuing interactions.

I suggest that Mock Spanish is a new (at least to the theory of racist discourse) type of what van Dijk (1993) has called ``elite racist discourse''. While it is often represented as a part of working-class white vernacular, I think that this is incorrect. A few elements of Mock Spanish are unquestionably used by working-class people, especially in the Southwest. But the most productive usage of the system is, I have found, among middle- and upper-income, college-educated whites. Mock Spanish is not heard, nor are printed tokens of it usually encountered, at truck stops, country- music bars, or in the ``Employees Only'' section of gas stations. Instead, the domain of Mock Spanish is the graduate seminar, the board room, the country-club reception. It is found issuing from the mouths of working-class whites only in the mass media, and is placed there by writers who come from elite backgrounds. I am, myself, a ``native speaker'' of Mock Spanish. I grew up in West Los Angeles, in a neighborhood where the notoriously wealthy districts of Westwood, Brentwood, and Belair come together. On school playgrounds populated by the children of film directors, real estate magnates, and university professors I learned to say ``Adios'' and ``el cheapo'' and ``Hasty banana''. The explosion of Mock Spanish that can be heard today in mass media is produced by the highly-paid Ivy-Leaguers who write ``The Simpsons'', ``Roseanne'', ``Northern Exposure'', and ``Terminator Two: Judgment Day'', and by the more modest literati who compose greeting-card texts and coffee-cup slogans. This suggests an extremely important property of the large structure of racism -- that it is ``distributed'' within the social system of whiteness. Racist practice in its crudest forms -- the obscene insult, the lynching -- is assigned within this larger structure to the trailing edge of the upwardly-mobile social continuum of ``whiteness''. People who overtly manifest such practices are often defined by opinion makers as a minority of ``white trash'' or ``thugs'' (even when many surface signs suggest that they are members of the social and economic mainstream). Those who aspire to advancement within whiteness practice instead what is often called ``New Racism'', the various forms of exclusion and pejoration that are deniable, or justifiable as ``fair'' or ``realistic''. The covert practices of Mock Spanish can even be contributed to the system of whiteness by people who are not, personally, racist in any of the usual senses. However, by using Mock Spanish they play their part in a larger racist system, and contribute to its pernicious and lethal effects.

I first review the history of Mock Spanish. I then illustrate contemporary Mock Spanish usage, emphasizing that it constitutes a linguistic system of substantial regularity. In the course of exemplifying this system, I argue for the semiotic interpretation of Mock Spanish as manifesting ``dual indexicality'' by which desirable qualities are assigned to Anglos, and undesirable qualities are assigned to members of historically Spanish-speaking populations. A number of the examples are illustrated with photographs, and a few are also illustrated with video clips, as indicated in the text. I have discussed several of these examples in previous published work (Hill 1993a and 1993b). However, it was not possible to include illustrations in those publications. The present electronic format permits the reader to see some of the evidence that I draw on, and confirm its organization and ``feel''. For those readers who may not be able to access the illustrations, I provide descriptions and at least partial texts in the discussion below. I conclude with a brief discussion of additional evidence, beyond the semiotic analysis, that Mock Spanish constitutes a racist discourse.

2 A Brief History Of Mock Spanish

Mock Spanish is quite old in American English. The earliest attestation I have found is from the Dictionary of American Regional English (Cassidy 1985:508; henceforth, DARE), where we are told that the jail in the city of Mobile was called, in 1792, the ``calaboose''. This word is from Spanish calabozo ``prison'' (especially, a subterranean cell, or an isolation cell within a prison). DARE (p. 13) attests the word ``Adios'' (from the Spanish farewell) in the full range of senses in Mock Spanish, from the merely ``warm'' (``The attentive host, who gently waves, with his hand, a final `dios' from a window'' (Gregg Commerce 156), to the insulting dismissal (``An overworked, spavined, broken-down set -- but adios, Amigo'' (New York Mirror 23 Dec 208/1, 1837). This latter sense is especially clear in DARE's passage from Mark Twain's Screamers, set in Missouri: `` `You are the loser by this rupture, not me, Pie-plant. Adios.' I then left''. The DARE attestations also illustrate the national spread of such usages at a very early date. Willem de Reuse has told me about a very interesting example he found in his ethnohistoric research on the Apaches in the 1860's. De Reuse found a reference to a Mexican who was a famous scout for American troops during the Apache wars, named Merejildo Grijalva. Local English speakers called him ``Merry Hilda''. DARE (p. 411) attests metalinguistic awareness of what I call Mock Spanish as a pejorating and vulgar register at an early period, in a citation for ``buckaroo'' from Hart's Vigilante Girl, set in Northern California: ``I can talk what they call `buckayro' Spanish. It ain't got but thirteen words in it, and twelve of them are cuss words''.

Turning to the twentieth century, while DARE provides ample attestations, evidence for my claim that Mock Spanish is especially productive among elites can be found in an article published in American Speech in 1949 by a University of Arizona faculty member and a few of his (obviously Anglo) students (Gray, Jones, Parker, Smyth, and Lynd 1949). They attest a wide variety of Mock Spanish greetings and farewells that illustrate the strategy of absurd hyperanglicization: [ædi'yows] ``adios'', ``buena snowshoes'' (from buenas noches ``Good night''), ``hasty banana'' (from hasta mañana ``Until tomorrow''), ``hasty lumbago'' (from hasta luego ``until later''). Gray and his students suggest that such usages emerged in border towns among knowledgeable Spanish speakers who were mocking the attempts of eastern tourists pronounce Spanish by eastern tourists. This is a very typical rationalization of Mock Spanish and is almost certainly wrong. The importance of the article is the attestation of the intensively productive use of Mock Spanish by Anglo students on a college campus.4

The mystery writer Raymond Chandler, who lovingly documented the dark side of Los Angeles in the 1940's and '50's, is credited by critics with a keen ear for the local vernacular. Chandler does not document Mock Spanish in Los Angeles until his 1953 novel The Long Goodbye. Attestations of Spanish in earlier novels are placed in the mouths of characters who are Spanish speakers (or pretending to be Spanish speakers, in one case of an aspiring actress who is trying to sound ``exotic''). In The Long Goodbye, an insulting dismissive greeting occurs when Philip Marlowe, Chandler's long-suffering detective, goes to visit a ``Dr. Vukanich'', whom he suspects of writing illegal drug prescriptions. The doctor threatens Marlowe with a beating if he doesn't leave. As Marlowe turns to go, Vukanich's speech is represented thus: ``Hasta luego, amigo'', he chirped. ``Don't forget my ten bucks. Pay the nurse''. (Chandler 1981 [1953]:131). In this farewell, of course, every word means its opposite: ``Hasta luego'' (``until later'') means ``Never come back'', and ``amigo'' does not mean ``friend''.

Today, I think it would be fair to speak of an ``explosion'' of Mock Spanish. I hear it constantly, and it is especially common at what I call ``sites of mass reproduction'': films, television shows, including the Saturday morning cartoons watched religiously by most children, greeting cards, video games, political cartoons, coffee-cup slogans intended for display on the office desk, bumper stickers, refrigerator magnets, and the like. These items are marketed far beyond the Southwest.

3 Mock Spanish As A System Of Strategies For Borrowing

Mock Spanish is produced according to quite regular strategies. Before detailing these, it is important to emphasize that Mock Spanish is used almost entirely by Anglo speakers of English, addressed to other Anglos. All parties to the usage can be (and usually are) monolingual speakers of English. The first photograph, Slide 1, is intended to illustrate a usage that is not part of Mock Spanish. It shows a billboard at the corner of First and Glenn, a neighborhood where many Spanish speakers live, and advertises a radio station, KOHT, La caliente (``The hot one''), which features eclectic Latin and Anglo selections of music and heavy codeswitching by announcers. The billboard slogan, ``Más música, less talk'' (``More music, less talk'') expresses the station's preferred style, which station managers state is intended to be attractive to second- and third-generation Mexican-Americans.5

``Mock Spanish'' is only one of at least three registers of ``Anglo Spanish'', which I have detailed in an earlier paper (Hill 1993a). ``Cowboy'' Spanish is a register of loan words for plants (mesquite), animals (coyote), land forms (mesa), food (tamale), architecture (patio), legal institutions (vigilante), and (the source of my name for it), an extensive terminology associated with the technology of managing range cattle from horseback, among which the words ``lariat'' and ``bronco'' are among the best known. ``Cowboy'' Spanish is largely restricted to the U. S. southwest, but has some overlap, in both lexicon and usage patterns, with Mock Spanish. The second register is ``Nouvelle'' Spanish.6 This is used in marketing the Southwest as ``the land of mañana'', a place for a relaxing vacation or a peaceful retirement. It produces luxury hotels named ``La Paloma'', street names in upscale Anglo neighborhoods like ``Calle Sin Envidia'', and restaurant placemats that wish the diner ``Buenas Dias''. The grammatical error (it should be ``Buenos Días'') in the last example is quite typical; both Cowboy Spanish and Nouvelle Spanish share with Mock Spanish a more or less complete disregard for the grammatical niceties of any dialect of Spanish itself. Slide 2 shows an especially banal example of Nouvelle Spanish, a small hair salon in a strip shopping center called ``Hair Casa''.

Mock Spanish itself is a system of four major strategies for the ``incorporation'' of Spanish-language materials into English. These strategies yield expressions that belong to a pragmatic zone bounded on one end by the merely jocular, and on the other by the obscene insult. They include (1): ``Semantic derogation'': the borrowing of neutral or positive Spanish loan words which function in Mock Spanish in a jocular and/or pejorative sense; (2) ``Euphemism'': the borrowing of negative, including scatological and obscene, Spanish words, as euphemisms for English words, or for use in their own right as jocular and/or pejorative expressions, (3) ``Affixing'': the borrowing of Spanish morphological elements, especially el ``the'' and the suffix -o, in order to make an English word especially jocular and/or pejorative, and (4) ``Hyperanglicization'': absurd mis-pronunciations, that endow commonplace Spanish words or expressions with a jocular and/or pejorative sense and can create vulgar puns.

3.1 Strategy I: Mock Spanish Semantic Derogation

In ``semantic derogation''7 a positive or neutral Spanish word is borrowed as a Mock Spanish expression and given a humorous or negative meaning. The first two photographs illustrate Mock Spanish uses of the Spanish greeting Adiós. In Spanish Adiós is an entirely neutral farewell. While it includes the root Dios ``God'', it has about as much to do with ``God'' for most Spanish speakers as English ``goodbye'', a contraction of ``God be with ye'', does for English speakers. But it is at the very least polite, and, like ``Goodbye'', it is not in the least slangy. Slide 3 and Slide 4 are the front and inside of a greeting card from the ``Shoebox'' division of Hallmark Cards, which is advertised under the slogan ``A Tiny Little Division of Hallmark'' (one assumes that Shoebox Cards are intended for buyers who see themselves as especially discerning, a bit outside and perhaps above the mainstream). On the front of the card a small figure coded as ``Mexican'' by his big sombrero and striped serape says, ``Adiós''.8 Turning to the inside of the card we find the message shown on Slide 4. The message is not a standard, ``Best of luck in your new job/house/etc''. That is, ``Adios'' here is not signaling a laid-back Southwestern warmth. Instead, it is glossed as follows: ``That's Spanish for, sure, go ahead and leave your friends, the only people who really care about you, the ones who would loan you their last thin dime, give you the shirts of their backs, sure, just take off!'' The second, even more obvious, illustration of the semantic pejoration of ``Adios'' is seen in Slide 5. ``Adios, cucaracha'', with a picture of a fleeing roach, is a bus-bench advertisement for a Tucson exterminating company. The bench is at the corner of Ina and Oracle Roads in one of the most exclusive Anglo neighborhoods, so it is highly unlikely that the ad is addressed to a Spanish- speaking audience. Note that Spanish cucaracha is chosen over English ``cockroach'', to convey heightened contempt.

The final example of ``Adios'' appears in a video clip from ``Terminator 2: Judgment Day'', a film which made heavy use of Mock Spanish. In the film (at its release in 1991, the most expensive movie ever made) the child ``John Connor'' must live, because thirty years into the future he will successfully lead a bedraggled band of human survivors in the final war against machines. The machines have twice sent an evil cyborg, a ``Terminator'', into the past to kill him. But the humans of the future send a good terminator, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, into the past to protect the boy. The ``Adios'' scene is at the end of the film (and at the end of the clip). The Good Terminator has finally destroyed his evil opponent by throwing him into a vat of molten steel. The Good Terminator, John Connor, and Connor's heroic mother Sarah have stolen the arm of the first Terminator (who tried to prevent Connor's conception by killing Sarah!) from scientists who foolishly preserved it for study. The arm must be destroyed, so that the Terminator technology can never threaten humanity. As young Connor tosses the evil artifact into the vat, he says ``Adios''. Then we realize that the Good Terminator, whom the humans have come to love and admire, must also destroy himself -- his futuristic metal body is as dangerous as those of his evil opponents. Sarah must lower him into the steel. As he descends, he looks one last time at his human friends and says, ``Goodbye'' speakermovie . The contrast could not be more clear: ``Adios'' for evil, ``Goodbye'' for good.

These uses of ``Adios'' cannot be understood except under the ``dual indexicality'' analysis. By direct indexicality they project variously humor, a streetwise acquaintance with Spanish, a sense of Southwestern regional identity (especially for the greeting card and the advertising sign), and, for the ``Terminator 2'' screenwriters, a representation of what they take to be the appropriate speech for a white street kid from Los Angeles.9 Finally, they are all obviously intended as insults. Neither the humor nor the insult is available as a meaning unless a second, indirect, set of indexicals is present. By indirect indexicality these instances of ``Adios'' evoke ironically (in the sense suggested by Sperber and Wilson 1981) a greeting that would be uttered by an untrustworthy and insincere person, the kind of person who might stab you in the back, the kind of person who would use a word to mean its opposite. The person thus conjured up is, clearly, a speaker of Spanish. And of course this stereotype, of the sneaky and untrustworthy ``Latin lover'' or the sneering ``Mexican bandit'', is undeniably available to American English speakers. Only this presence makes possible the humorous and/or insulting quality of ``Adios'' in these usages.10

A second derogated Spanish greeting, ``Hasta la vista, baby'' also appears in ``Terminator 2'', from which origin it became an immensely popular slogan that continues to circulate in American usage, in a variety of variants including ``Hasta la bye-bye'', ``Hasta la pasta'', and ``Hasta la baby, vista''.11 The clip shows the two occurrences in the film. In the first scene, the Good Terminator is driving John Connor and his mother to a desert hideout. The dialogue is as follows speakermovie :

Mother: Keep it under sixty-five, we don't want to be pulled over.

Terminator: Affirmative (in a clipped, machine-like tone)

John Connor: No no no no no no. You gotta listen to the way people talk. You don't say ``Affirmative'', or some shit like that, you say ``No problemo''. And if someone comes off to you with an attitude, you say ``Eat me''. And if you want to shine them on, you say, ``Hasta la vista, baby''.

Terminator: Hasta la vista, baby (still in a machine-like voice)

John Connor: Yeah, ``Later, dickwad''. And if someone gets upset, you say, ``Chill out'', or, you can do combinations.

Terminator: Chill out, dickwad (in a machine-like voice)

John Connor: That's great! See, you're gettin' it.

Terminator: No problemo (in a somewhat more natural voice)

This fascinating scene clearly locates Mock Spanish in the same register with extremely vulgar English expressions. But notice that this register, and its Mock Spanish component, is ``the way people talk''. If the Terminator is to become human, to be redeemed from his machine nature, he must learn to talk this way too. By learning Mock Spanish, the Terminator becomes more like the witty, resourceful young John Connor, and gains the boy's approval. This is a superb demonstration of the direct indexicality of Mock Spanish: it recruits positive qualities to whiteness. However, the indirect indexicality is also made vivid in this passage. By associating ``Hasta la vista'' with ``Eat me'' and ``Dickwad'', an image of Spanish speakers as given to filth and obscenity, and of their language is expressing such qualities, is both presupposed and entailed.

In the next scene we see the most famous token of ``Hasta la vista, baby'' speakermovie , when Schwarzenegger utters his newly-acquired line as he destroys the evil terminator with a powerful gun.12 During the 1992 presidential campaign Schwarzenegger, a Republican stalwart, appeared on many occasions in support of President George Bush, uttering the famous line as a threat against Bush's opponents. Bush himself also used the line occasionally. It was used again, by both candidates, in the senatorial campaign conducted in the state of Texas to replace Lloyd Bensen, who was appointed by Clinton as Secretary of the Treasury. Thus it was clearly judged by campaign managers and consultants as highly effective, resonating deeply with public sentiment.13 This suggests that the simultaneous pleasures of feeling oneself streetwise and witty, while accessing an extremely negative image of Spanish and its speakers, are widely available to American politicians and voters.

Three further examples illustrate the strategy of semantic derogation. Slide 6 is a political cartoon from the Arizona Daily Star, caricaturing Ross Perot, running for President in 1992 against George Bush and Bill Clinton on a third-party ticket. Perot, who is much given to speaking from charts, holds a list that urges support for him because (among other reasons), there are ``Bucks flyin into my 'Perot for El Presidente' treasure trove''. Here, the direct indexicality is humorous, and permits the comprehending reader to feel cosmopolitan and streetwise. However, the expression is clearly intended to criticize Perot, to suggest that he is pompous and absurd. In order to interpret the insult, the reader must have access to a highly negative image of the sort of person who might be called ``El Presidente''. This is, of course, the classic tin-horn Latin American dictator, dripping with undeserved medals and presiding in a corrupt and ineffectual manner over a backwater banana republic. Through indirect indexicality, the Mock Spanish expression reproduces this stereotype.

Slide 7, of a ``Calvin and Hobbes'' comic strip, shows Calvin and his tiger friend Hobbes in one of their endless silly debates about who will be the highest officer in their tree-house club. Hobbes proclaims himself ``El Tigre Numero Uno''. This is not, however, mere self-aggrandizement: mainly, the locution satirizes the grandiose titles that Calvin makes up for himself, like ``Supreme Dictator for Life''. Again, by direct indexicality, ``El Tigre Numero Uno'' is funny, and is also part of Hobbes' cool and witty persona. But to capture the absurdity and the insult, we must also have access to indirect indexicality, which picks out, again, the stereotype of the tinhorn Latin American dictator.

Slide 8 illustrates a very common Mock Spanish usage, of Spanish nada ``nothing''. In Mock Spanish the word has been pejorated from this merely neutral meaning into a more extreme sense, meaning ``absolutely nothing''. One formulaic usage, ``Zip, zero, nada'' (and minor variants) has become wildly popular; I have seen it in television commercials for free drinks with hamburgers, in newspaper announcements for no-fee checking accounts, and, most recently, in an editorial piece in the Arizona Daily Star (August 20, 1995) in which an urban planner chastises the Pima County Board of Supervisors for spending ``zero dollars - nada, zip'' on improving a dangerous street intersection (note the classy scholarly italics, present in the original). The comic strip shown in Slide 8, ``For Better or for Worse'', is by a Canadian artist, and has Canadian content and ambiance. In the strip a group of teenagers are skiing. Gordon ``hits on'' a pretty girl on the slopes, saying ``Hey-What's happening?'' She replies, ``With you? Nada!!'' The Mock Spanish expression seems to heightens the insult over what might be achieved by English ``nothing''.14

Finally, Slide 9 illustrates a common use of semantic derogation, the use of Mock Spanish to express ``cheapness'' (this is in striking contrast with the most common uses of French in mass media in the United States). Slide 9 is a newspaper advertisement for a sale at Contents, an exclusive furniture store in Tucson. The deep price cuts are announced under the headline ``Contemporary and Southwestern Dining, For Pesos''. Here, the direct indexicality is not only ``light'' and jocular; it is almost certainly also invoking regional ambiance. The store flatters its clientele by suggesting that they are ``of the Southwest'', able to interpret these Spanish expressions. However, in order to understand how these customers could interpret ``For Pesos'' (which is surely not intended literally), we must assume that the indirect indexicality presupposed and/or entailed here is that the peso is a currency of very low value. ``For Deutschemarks'' or ``For Yen'' would hardly serve the same purpose! This advertisement is dense with Mock Spanish, driving home the message about bargains with, ``Si our menu of fine southwestern and contemporary dining tables and chairs at prices that are muy bueno, now during our Winter Sale... Plus, caramba, there's Master- plan, our interior design service that helps you avoid costly decorating errors ...Hurry in today before we say adios to these sale savings, amigo''.

The strategy of semantic derogation is highly productive, and includes such well-known expressions as ``macho'', ``the big enchilada'', and ``No way, José'' in addition to the examples above. For every one of these usages, in order to understand how the expression can be properly interpreted, we must assume the division between a set of direct indexes (such as ``humorous'', ``streetwise'', ``light-hearted'', and ``regional identity'') and a set of indirect indexes which presuppose or entail a highly negative image of the Spanish language, its speakers, and the culture and institutions associated with them.

3.2 Strategy II: Mock Spanish Euphemism

The second strategy borrows Spanish words that have highly negative connotations even in the original language, including scatological and obscene expressions. The Mock Spanish form serves as a euphemism for the corresponding rude English word, or creates a new, especially negative semantic space. The first slide illustrating this strategy, Slide 10, is of a coffee cup. Coffee cups bearing silly slogans are popular in many contexts in the United States. They are often the only means of self-expression available to those who toil in offices where the decor of the work space is closely regulated, right down to the color of the blotter, how many pictures can be kept on the desk, and the color and content of posters or prints on the walls. The coffee cup shown was purchased, attractively packaged in its own gift box, in a card and gift shop only a few doors from the University of Arizona campus (the source of many of the items discussed here; the store is, of course, targeting its merchandise at the campus community, thus supporting my claim that Mock Spanish is part of elite usage). The cup bears the slogan, ``Caca de Toro'', obviously a euphemism for the English expression, ``Bullshit''. There exist, of course, coffee cups that say ``Bullshit'', but it seems clear that the ``Caca de toro'' coffee cup would be more widely acceptable, seen as less vulgar and insulting, than a cup with the English expression. Again, the direct indexicality of this cup is that its owner is a person with a sense of humor, the independence of mind to express a negative attitude, and enough sophistication to understand the Spanish expression (although this expression is not formulaic in Spanish; it is a translation from English). The indirect indexicality required for understanding why the slogan is in Spanish, however, must be that this language is particularly suited to scatology, and that its speakers are perhaps especially given to its use, failing to make the fine distinctions between the polite and the vulgar that might be made by an English speaker.15 The second illustration of the strategy of borrowing negative Spanish words is seen in Slide 11, of a gift coffee cup bearing the expression ``Peon''. Unlike ``Caca de Toro'', which does not exist as an idiom in Spanish, peón is well-established in that language in a negative meaning, originating as the insult pedón ``one with large feet'', and referring today to people in low occupations, including foot soldiers and unskilled day laborers. In Latin America it came to designate a person held in debt servitude in a low occupation. The same word is found also Italian and French (suggesting that the ``big-foot'' insult was part of the Latin Vulgate), and the English borrowing of the word in the form peonage is almost certainly from the last language. The Oxford English Dictionary attests peon from 1634 (by Samuel Purchas). The OED citations all attest a fairly straightforward referential usage of the word in the meaning ``an unskilled laborer'', and include no example of the ironic and insulting sense of the word that is clearly intended on this coffee cup. It is highly unlikely that the anticipated owner of the cup would be ``an unskilled laborer''. Instead, the owner could even be a manager, but would be expressing an ironic complaint about being exploited and maltreated. Indeed, precisely such a sense is clearly attested in my morning paper; in a letter to the Arizona Daily Star August 31, 1995, a reader complains about a previous correspondent who argued that people who make low wages (a serious problem in minimum-wage Tucson) do so because they are ``lazy and don't care about bettering themselves''. The respondent points out that she received a B.A. with honors, but has received no job offers after filing more than 100 applications. She concludes, ``Wake up ...., if you weren't born into the conservative Noble Class before the cutoff date, you are a peon''. While the letter to the editor probably expresses more bitterness than humor, the coffee cup is almost certainly intended to be funny, directly indexing the ability of the owner to laugh at him or herself. Furthermore, the cup expresses a certain courage, since it says something negative about the bosses. Again, however, the indirect indexicality required for full understanding of why a word of known Spanish origin16 is used for this humorous self-deprecation and complaint must be that the best choice for a prototype for an exploited low status laborer would be one in a Spanish-speaking context.

Slide 12 illustrates a case of the second strategy that is not at all humorous. This slide is the cover of the Tucson Weekly, a weekly free newspaper (paid for by advertising) known for its outspoken, even radical, point of view. The cover shows a young Mexican-American man along with the title of the feature article: Gang-Bangers: La Muerte y la Sangre en el Barrio Centro, ``Death and Blood in the Barrio Centro''. What is curious here is the unusual choice of Spanish for the language of the subtitle; I cannot remember another case where the Tucson Weekly used such a long expression in Spanish. Unfortunately, the Spanish title (and the phenotype of the young man in the photograph) suggest a stereotyped association between gang membership and Chicano ethnicity that is not borne out by the facts; many young people in gangs in Tucson are Anglos (and there are also a few African-American gangs). I believe that the Spanish title intends to convey the special direness of the gang threat: ``La Muerte y la Sangre'' has a sort of Hemingwayesque ring, suggesting that the author of the essay will plumb the most profound depths of the human condition. However, at the same time, the Spanish title has a softening effect -- just as ``Caca de Toro'' is less offensive than ``bullshit'', ``La Muerte y la Sangre'' is somehow more distant, less immediate for the English-speaking reader than ``Blood and Death''. ``La Muerte y la Sangre'', in short, is something that happens to ``Mexican'' kids. Here, the direct indexicality thus is probably the sophistication, the ethnographic depth, enjoyed by the author and, in turn, by the reader of the essay. The indirect indexicality is that ``muerte'' and ``sangre'' are at the same time more horrible, and yet less serious, than ``death'' and ``blood'' -- they are, in short, a peculiarly ``Spanish'' condition capturing some quality of existence in the lower depths that is not available to Anglos in their own language.

The final example of the strategy of euphemism is illustrated by a video clip from the 1992 film Encino Man. This film was obviously aimed at young people, and carried, astonishingly, a ``PG'' rating. The hip (white) teenage subculture of Southern California is apparently viewed by young people across the country as highly attractive, and the film features the actor Pauly Shore, a former MTV announcer, who exemplifies it. Shore is famous for using the variety of English that is closely associated with this subculture, a variety that makes heavy use of Mock Spanish.17 Indeed, there are far more instances of Mock Spanish in the film than I have space to include. The example that I have chosen is an elaborate and extraordinarily vulgar and obscene joke at the expense of a Chicana character, that is acceptable in a film aimed at children because it is uttered in Spanish. It is an especially clear and dramatic attestation of the Mock Spanish strategy of euphemism.

The plot of Encino Man is that two teenage boys who live in Encino (a wealthy suburb of Los Angeles) dig a swimming pool in their backyard and find a Cro-Magnon man encased in a block of ice. They thaw him out, name him ``Linc'' (as in ``Missing''), and take him to high school. The clip opens as ``Stoney'', Pauly Shore's character, escorts ``Linc'' to his Spanish class. ``Spanish'', explains Stoney, ``is guacamole, chips, and salsa'' speakermovie . Stoney then raises his leg and makes a farting noise. The stereotyped and racist vision of Spanish-speaking culture thus conveyed needs no further comment. Stoney continues in ``Spanish'': ``The dia es mi hermanos, the day is beautiful...'' (the stereotype reproduced here is that Spanish is a language studied by the dimmest scholars). The two proceed to Spanish class (past a pair of [white!] hip-hoppers), where a supposedly Latina teacher begins an absurd lesson. Grossly mispronouncing the language, the teacher tells the class, ``Vale, repítame en espæ ñol: The cheese is old and moldy''. The class utters a variety of versions of ``El queso está viejo y podrido'' (we can hear the last word being pronounced as both ``video'' and ``radio''). The lesson continues with the teacher modeling, ``Where is the bathroom, [donde Esdá18 el sanItE:Riyow]''. The students dutifully repeat this sentence. As the lesson continues, one of the film's absurd ``babes'' begins flirting with Linc and Stoney. The teacher overhears the clandestine conversation and flicks Stoney hard on his language-class earphones. He objects, ``Hey, señorita ['sey'nyoRiy't@], you hurt my lobes!'' speakermovie , with a loud glottal stop before [iyt] that is simultaneously a stereotyped expression of his California white-boy ``stoner'' character and an absurd and insulting hyperanglicization of señorita.

The clip continues with a scene from much later in the film. Stoney and his friend have taken Linc to a bar frequented by cholos, stereotyped as absurd in dress and manner. As the scene opens, the lead cholo threatens Stoney and Dave, warning them not to bother his ``muchacha'', or he will make sure that they are ``no longer recognizable as a man''. Linc does not hear the threat, because he is already approaching the cholo's girlfriend, shown as a ridiculous Latin sexpot, writhing hotly in time to the salsa beat of the dance music. Linc grabs the girl and carries her off- screen in classic cave-man style. The cholo finds them dancing together and pulls a knife on Linc, saying, (with subtitles), ``Te dije, si yo veo a alguién con mi mujer, lo mato''. (``I told you, if I see anybody with my woman, I kill him''). Linc extricates himself from the situation by using the two lines from the morning's Spanish class: ``El queso está viejo y podrido. ¿Dónde está el sanitario?'' (``The cheese is old and moldy. Where is the bathroom?''). The astounded cholo gapes at him and then begins to laugh. ``You're right, ese'', he chuckles. ``She's not worth it!'' speakermovie . The girl slaps the cholo, who collapses, weeping, into the arms of his supporters. Just as when, in ``Terminator 2: Judgment Day'', the Good Terminator becomes fully human when he learns Mock Spanish, Linc the cave-man is at his most clever and resourceful when he uses the language.

While the direct indexicality of Linc's vulgar joke is positive, enhancing his image, the indirect indexicality of the Spanish in ``Encino Man'' is almost entirely negative. Indeed, here the indirect indexicality is really not indirect, but fully expressed in the visual images that accompany the talk. The film is trivial and deeply sexist. But what is especially striking about the film is its casual racism: Here, the indirect indexicality projected by the obscene Spanish joke (and by the absurd Spanish class) is amply reinforced by the grossly racist depictions of the cholo and his girlfriend. If similar depictions of African-American characters were to appear in a release from a major studio, there would almost certainly be public outcry. However, as far as I know, ``Encino Man'' passed quite unnoticed. The implications of this fact for the socialization of white youth are quite horrifying.

There are, of course, innumerable examples of this second strategy. The example of ``calaboose'' for ``jail'' discussed above is a case that functions semantically much like ``peon''. ``Cojones'' is widely used as a euphemism for the vulgar English ``balls''. Like semantic pejoration, Mock Spanish euphemism is highly productive, and every case of it I have ever encountered requires the dual-indexicality analysis: Speakers express their sense of humor and cosmopolitanism by direct indexicality, while pejorating and denigrating Spanish language and culture by indirect indexicality, the latter being absolutely required for successful interpretation and appreciation of the humor.

3.3 Strategy III: Affixation Of Spanish Grammatical Elements

In the third strategy, two elements of Spanish grammar, the definite article el and the masculine-gender suffix -o, are used with English words to give them a new semantic flavor, ranging from jocularity to insult, or to enhance an already somewhat negative connotation of the English word. Slide 13 is a picture of the box for a piece of software for personal computers, called ``El Fish''. Using ``El Fish'', one can create a picture of an aquarium with water plants, decorative miniature figurines and buildings, and swimming fish. The software offers a diverse menu for each component of the aquarium, permitting many different combinations. The on-screen effect is surprisingly attractive, and ``El Fish'' was very popular in the early 1990's. The interest here, of course, is that the software is called ``El Fish'' as a joke, because the fish are not ``real'' fish, but simulated fake fish. Again, we see the split indexicality, between the direct projection of mildly self-deprecating humor, and the indirect presupposition that something labeled in Spanish is cheap and of lower quality.

The very common Mock Spanish expression ``No problemo'' (that we already encountered in the first scene from the video clip from ``Terminator 2: Judgment Day'' speakermovie ) is an excellent example of this strategy. The source here is not Spanish; instead, this is the result of -o suffixing. The Spanish word meaning ``problem'' is problema, not problemo.19 Furthermore, there is no Spanish formula No X; one must say No hay X. So the source of this expression must be the colloquial English expression, ``No problem''. By adding -o, this expression is made ``lighter'', more humorous. ``No problemo'' is ubiquitous. Slide 14 is an advertisement for a candy store in Tucson, but Slide 15 illustrates a cartoon from The New Yorker magazine, entitled ``God's Subcontractors''. In the last panel, God's ``Animal man'' says, ``You want animals? No problemo''.

While ``No problemo'' is perhaps the most frequent example of -o suffixing in Mock Spanish, the technique is extraordinarily productive, far beyond standard examples such as ``el cheap-o'' for an especially low-quality product. Once, browsing in my university bookstore, I overheard the following remark made by an employee to her colleagues: ``I'm going to lunch now. Bye, guys, sell mucho bookos''. (Here, the use of Mock Spanish ``mucho'', which is extremely common and probably exemplifies the first strategy, but which is also interpretable as a case of -o affixing to an English word). A colleague, criticizing a sister department for its approach to undergraduate education, proclaimed, ``Over there, it's all T.A.'s. Period-o [piRi'owdow]. No professors''. A particularly interesting example comes from the student-run newspaper at the University of California at San Diego; it is a ``Personal ad'' that reads as follows: ``Don Thomas -- Watcho your backo! You just mighto wake uppo con knee capo obliterato. Arriba!''20

The frame ``Numero X-o'' is highly productive. ``Numero uno'' is of course common, lending a jocular tone to enumeration, or rendering more colloquial a proclamation that some entity is ``Number one'' (``the best of its kind''). A virtuoso user of this type of enumeration is Joe Bob Briggs, for several years a columnist for the Dallas Times-Herald, where he created a hilarious column in which he reviewed drive-in movie monster and horror films, using the persona of a sex- and violence-crazed redneck. The columns (which have been collected in a book (Briggs 1987) are dense with Mock Spanish, including enumeration (usually of the erotic and violent qualities of the films) up to ``Numero ten-o'', ``Numero eleven-o'', and the like. The well-known political columnist Molly Ivins was Briggs's colleague on the Times-Herald, and her own use of this enumeration frame in her columns in the service of the creation of a colloquial Texas English is probably borrowed from him.21 In summary, examples of this third strategy again provide evidence for the split indexicality analysis: in order to ``get'' the humor of these usages, an indirect indexicality of denigration of Spanish and its speakers is required.

3.4 Strategy IV: Hyperanglicization And Bold Mispronunciation

For those readers of this paper who have never heard Mock Spanish, it is important to know that it is almost always pronounced in entirely English-language phonology; Mock Spanish cannot be understood as ``code-switching'' in the usual sense. However, Mock Spanish forms are often more than merely Anglicized. Instead, they undergo what I call (Hill 1993a) ``hyperanglicization'', yielding pronunciations that are widely known to be ludicrous departures from their Spanish originals. These absurd mispronunciations provide a rich source of vulgar puns, some of them best rendered in writing, as in the following examples.

Slides 16 and 17 show a Christmas card (it is printed on environmentally-sensitive recycled paper, as are many of my Mock Spanish greeting cards). Slide 16 shows the front of the card, with the legend ``Pablo, the Christmas Chihuahua, has a holiday wish for you'' over a drawing of a ludicrously ugly little dog wearing a huge sombrero and scratching frantically at the many fleas visibly jumping around on his hairless body. The greeting inside the card (Slide 17) is ``Fleas Navidad'', a pun on the Spanish Christmas salutation, Feliz Navidad. The second pair of slides is of a thank-you card. Slide 18 shows the front of the card, with a tiny mouse crouching in a sea of grass, and the word ``Muchas'' (``Many''). Opening the card (slide 19), we find more grass and the word ``Grass-ias'', a hyperanglicized version of Spanish gracias ``Thanks'' that yields the pun.22 Slides 20 and 21 show a birthday card; the front shows a cow, clad in sombrero and serape. The greeting inside is ``Happy Birthday to a guy who's `Moo-cho terrifico' ''. This card, of course, illustrates the third and fourth strategies together.23

Slide 22 is from a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. Hobbes is teasing Calvin by pretending that the detested little neighbor girl, Susie, has sent Calvin a Valentine's Day card. As Calvin reads the mushily romantic greeting, Hobbes rubs in the insult by gloating, ``Muchas Smooches for el con-kiss-tador!'' Slide 23 reproduces a menu from a Mexican restaurant in Tucson. This slide requires brief contextualization. Tucson enjoys many very good and quite serious Mexican restaurants, some of them internationally famous for authentic and creative development of this cuisine. The best are on the South-central side of town, in neighborhoods with many Spanish-speaking residents. ``Baja Bennie's'', the source for this menu, is on the very far north-east side in an area that is notoriously almost exclusively Anglo. It is a favorite place for young Anglo professionals. The Baja Bennie's menu parodies the menus in legitimate Mexican-food venues with silly Mock Spanish section headings like ``El Figuro Trimmo''. This section is explained as ``Bennie's answer to the `Border Patrol', sort of our Mex-er-size area...'', a note that would be interpreted as the grossest sort of insult by almost any Chicano. The menu parodies the ``pronunciation guides'' that are sometimes found on Mexican restaurant menus; the section entitled ``Especiales de Casa'' (instead of Especialidades de la casa) is followed by the parenthetical ``(spesh-al tees)''.

My final example for the strategy of hyperanglicization is a video of a very complex and ambivalent skit from the television program ``Saturday Night Live''.24 The skit features the well-known Latino actor Jimmy Smits, a role model for youth who is frequently featured in literacy and anti-drug campaigns. The skit opens in a conference room where a television news program is finishing up; the reporter closes her story with the words, ``This is Robin Fletcher, reporting live from Managua, Nicaragua''. ``Robin Fletcher'' pronounces the place name in a reasonable approximation of educated second-language Spanish. This line, however, opens the way for an increasingly absurd performance, in which members of the cast pronounce everyday names for places and people that have standard Anglicizations in exaggeratedly phony Spanish accents. For instance, one character uses [horr'Tega] for ``Ortega''. Into the middle of this absurdity comes Jimmy Smits, who is introduced as ``Antonio Mendoza'' an economics correspondent. One male cast member shows off his Spanish expertise, asking the new arrival whether he should pronounce his name [men'dosa] or as Castilian [men'dotha]. Smits replies mildly that [mEn'dowsdh@] (the normal Anglicization) would be fine, or even [mEn'dowz@]. Mexican food is delivered, yielding another round of absurd pronunciations. ``Mendoza'' observes that the others present really like Latino food; one character proudly announces that his taste for such food was developed growing up in [loh 'hangeles]. Next, the famous sportscaster Bob Costas appears in a cameo role, introduced as ``Bob'' ['kosTas]. He is briefly quizzed about his predictions for the coming Sunday's football games, with absurd pronunciations of team and place names ([brrronkos], [Tampa] Bay, [san frrran'siysko]), until he is called out of the room because he has left the lights on in his car, a [ka'mahrrro]. ``Antonio Mendoza'' listens to these performances with increasing consternation, finally volunteering, ``You guys really seem to be up on your Spanish pronunciation. But if you don't mind my saying, sometimes when you take Spanish words and kind of over-pronounce them, well, it's kind of annoying''. Stunned, one offender asks him to explain what he means. ``Well'', says ``Mendoza'', ``you know that kind of storm that has winds that whirl round and round?'' ``Of course'', answers the butt, ``a [torrrr'na:ddho]''. ``Mendoza'' shrugs his shoulders and gives up. Then another actor offers him Mexican food. Mendoza has declined before, but he says, ``OK, I guess I'll have an [EnchI'laDdh@]'' (in the normal Anglicization). The other actor says, ``What?'' Mendoza repeats, still mildly and politely: ``An [EnchI'laDdh@]. I said, I'll have an [EnchI'laDdh@]''. The other actor still refuses to understand him, and ``Mendoza'' loses it finally, leaping to his feet and shouting, ``An [e:nchi'la:dha]! [an:'to:nyo men'do:sa] would like an [e:nchi'la dha]! It would be very muy bueno because [an:'to:nyo is very ['ha:ngri:]! It would make him feel really good to have an [e:nchi'ladha]!'' The other actors nod approvingly at one another, observing ``Hey, this guy's all right!''. The skit ends.

I have played this video clip several times to academic audiences consisting largely of Anglos, and it never fails to get huge laughs -- indeed, the hilarity from the early examples makes many of the later ones inaudible. I think the skit permits the release in laughter of some of the discomfort such people feel about Spanish. Hyperanglicization in Mock Spanish can be partly explained as expressing this discomfort, and as constructing a ``distance'' between the pronouncer and the language that is endowed with low status by repeated parody. The ambivalence is especially acute for academics, who may not want to seem ignorant about Spanish pronunciation. The skit also seems to imply that Anglos who try for a correct pronunciation, like the ``Robin Fletcher'' television reporter who opens the skit, are out of line and should stick to good all-American Anglicized versions of place names and personal names. Under this interpretation, Jimmy Smits is in fact playing into the hands of anti-Spanish sentiment. However, I am told by Spanish-speaking Americans that the skit has, for them, quite different readings. The ``Antonio Mendoza'' character expresses for them their own negative feelings about English accents in Spanish, which they find grating. Further, they understand the character as sharing their resentment at the fact that Anglos with even moderate skills in Spanish are admired as highly educated, and are clearly proud of their linguistic sophistication, while their own greatly superior knowledge of the language is suspected of being ``Unamerican'', or taken as a mark of inferiority. Finally, the Smits character expresses exasperation that he cannot be an ordinary ``economics consultant'', but has to play out an image of being ``Chicano'' that will satisfy Anglos. On any reading, the skit captures the extreme ambivalence and complexity of ideologies about Spanish in the United States.

Hyperanglicized examples of Mock Spanish are nearly always interpretable only under the analysis of split indexicality developed above. However, they add an additional dimension to the indirect indexicality: hyperanglicized pronunciation expresses iconically the extreme social distance of the speaker, and of Mock Spanish itself, from actual Spanish and any possible negative contamination that a speaker might acquire by being erroneously heard as a real speaker of Spanish.25

4 Further Evidence For Racism In Mock Spanish

Thus far, I have argued that Mock Spanish is ineluctably racist because it can only be understood by speakers insofar as they have access to its indirect indexical force, of relentless denigration of the Spanish language, culture, and people. However, there is additional evidence that Mock Spanish is a racist discourse.

Occasionally Mock Spanish usage reveals its fundamental character by being embedded in grossly racist texts. I owe one example to Jodi Goldman, who found an article from The Koala, the University of California at San Diego student satirical newspaper, from April 6, 1994. This satirical piece requires contextualization: college students from institutions along the border often choose to spend ``Spring Break'' at beach resorts in Mexico, a dislocation which many take as an excuse to go on an alcohol-fueled orgy of misbehavior that is a source of exasperation to Mexicans and enormous concern to college officials and parents in the United States (serious injuries and even deaths are unfortunately not rare). The article in The Koala is a fantasy about being arrested on a beer-sodden Spring Break at Rosarita Beach in Baja California, and is entitled ``¿Que pasa en tus pantalones?'' The author provides a parodic ``pronunciation guide'' to her name: ``By Pamela Benjamin (Pronounced: Pahm-eh-lah Ben-haam-een)''. The article features many elaborate instances of Mock Spanish, but I will restrict myself to one revealing paragraph, which the author introduces by noting that ``I have no knowledge of Spanish''. She continues:

``My brother taught me a few phrases: ``Cuanto cuesta es tu Madre?'' (How much does your mother cost?), ``Que pasa en tus pantalones?'' (What's happening in your pants?), and the answer for that question, ``Una fiesta en mi pantalones, y tu invito''. (There's a party in my pants, and you're invited.) These phrases were of no help to me when captured by Mr. Hideous, Huge-sweat-rings-on-his-uniform, Body-oder[sic]-of-a-rotting-mule, Must-eat-at-least-10-tortas-a-day, Mexican Federale guy. I thought I was going to die, not only from his smell, but from the killer cockroaches the size of hamsters in the back seat. I thought to myself, ``No problem, Pam. You can deal with this. Stay calm, don't scream, and say something in Spanish. He'll notice your amazing brilliance and let you go''. Unfortunately, the first thing that popped out was, ``Cuanto Cuesta es tu Madre?'' My doom was sealed''.
Here, one hardly needs the ``dual indexicality'' analysis: Mexico is clearly depicted as a corrupt and filthy country, where the only Spanish one needs are the few phrases necessary to buy the services of a prostitute.

Mock Spanish in print is very frequently associated with patently racist imagery. Several slides illustrate the association of Mock Spanish with racist imagery. First are two greeting cards that are ``bean jokes''. ``Beaner'' is a racist epithet for Mexican American. The clip from ``Encino Man'' shows the Stoney character pretending to fart as he describes Mexican food. ``Bean jokes'' in Mock Spanish clearly associate Spanish and its speakers with the lowest and most vulgar forms of humor. Slides 24 and 25 show the front and inside of a greeting card (on recycled paper). On the front the words ``¿Como frijoles?'' are spelled out in small brown beans. The inside of the card translates this with the pun, ``How have you bean?''.26 Slide 26 shows a ``Mexican'', dressed in huge sombrero, serape, and white pajama- like suit, jumping over a bean, over the caption ``Mexican Jumping Bean.'' Above this picture is the word ``Amigo''. Opening the card, we find the greeting, ``Señor friend a letter, or I'll never get over it''. The image of a stereotyped ``Mexican'' shown on this greeting card (it also appears on the ``Adios'' card in Slide 3) is repeated on slides 27 and 28. The front of this Christmas card (from the same series as the one featuring ``Pablo, the Christmas Chihuahua'') shows barefoot ``Mexicans'', wearing huge sombreros and shaking maracas, singing ``Deck the halls with hot frijoles, 'tis the season to eat tamales''. Inside the card (Slide 29) reads, ``Fa la la la la, la bamba''. Slide 30 shows a card by the famous cartoonist Gary Larson. An enormous Tyrannosaurus, dressed in huge sombrero and serape looms across a river from a wary herd of vegetarian dinosaurs. The caption reads, ``However, there was no question that on the south side of the river, the land was ruled by the awesome Tyrannosaurus mex''. The card not only reproduces a racist image; it also uses the vulgar epithet ``Mex'', which can hardly be uttered in polite discourse today (here, of course, the excuse is to make the pun on ``rex''). The card is probably intended to poke fun at worries about immigration from Mexico, but it does so by using imagery and language that reproduce the racialization of Mexicans.

Many Mexican-Americans find caricatures of Mexicans hidden under huge sombreros to be grossly offensive. They have precisely the force for them that the picture of a grinning black boy with a slice of watermelon, or a fat-cheeked mammy with her head done up in a kerchief, have for African Americans. Following many years of effort by Latino citizens' groups, this image has been largely eliminated from mainstream advertising and mass media (an important example was the agreement by the Frito-Lay Corporation to give up its trademark caricature of the ``Frito Bandido''). However, it survives vigorously in a variety of minor media such as on these greeting cards.27

Teun van Dijk, in Elite Discourse and Racism, argues that in a theory of racist discourse it is essential to take into account what he calls ``minority competence'', the assessment of a situation, as racist or non-racist, by ``those who experience racism as such, that is, the competent or `conscious' members of minority groups''(van Dijk 1993:18). This is a fundamental departure from the tradition that regards the views of the targets of racism as unreliable, because biased. Instead, it suggests that we view competent members of minority communities as especially likely to be able to make nuanced discriminations between racist and non-racist or anti-racist practice, because it is precisely they who have the most at stake in making such distinctions. Van Dijk recognizes that there may be wide variation among minority-group members in general. I have never addressed an audience on this topic without having an Anglo member of the audience tell me that my analysis is incorrect, because a Mexican-American or Puerto Rican friend of theirs once sent them a card, or told them a joke, with Mock Spanish content. I have no doubt that they are telling the truth about their experiences. Certainly some Mexican-Americans find the tokens of Mock Spanish that I have shown them (including many of the items described above) to be entertaining. However, I find that those Mexican-Americans who laugh at Mock Spanish are generally very young (many of them have been college freshmen or sophomores) or relatively naive and uneducated. Older people are almost unanimous in immediately reacting negatively to these tokens. Many of them recognize the Mock Spanish genre immediately, and volunteer stories about times that Anglos have offended them by using Mock Spanish to them, such as calling them ``Amigo'' or asking them ``Comprende?'' One Mexican-American colleague, the business manager in a neighboring unit, has an absolutely accurate eye for good examples and has found some of my best attestations. She finds Mock Spanish advertising to be offensive and disrespectful. Ral Fernandez, a Professor of Chicano Studies at the University of California-Irvine, shared with me a letter to the editor that he wrote to the Los Angeles Times, objecting to the use of the word ``cojones'' in a film review (I do not know if the letter was printed). Fernando Peñalosa pointed out many years ago, in his book Chicano Sociolinguistics (1980), that the egregiously ungrammatical and misspelled public uses of Spanish that he identified in Southern California, including place names and public notices, were a manifestation of racism.28 In summary, thoughtful people among the Latino and Chicano population in the Southwest usually define Mock Spanish as a racist practice.29

5 Conclusion: Mock Spanish Is A New Kind Of Elite Racist Discourse

I have shown that Mock Spanish usages cannot be interpreted unless interlocutors reproduce, through indirect indexicality, very negative images of Spanish and its speakers. It functions, therefore, as a racist discourse in itself. I have also shown that uses of Mock Spanish often cooccur with grossly racist imagery, as in the film ``Encino Man'', and in greeting cards showing stereotyped ``Mexicans''. Furthermore, I have shown that many Mexican-Americans of my acquaintance concur that it is racist, and I have argued, following van Dijk (1993), that their views must be taken very seriously. However, I have found in discussing this work that many Anglos find my conclusions implausible. How, they argue, can Mock Spanish be racist? They use it, and they are not racist. Molly Ivins uses it; surely she is not racist. How could anyone call ``Calvin and Hobbes'' a racist comic strip, or ``Terminator 2: Judgment Day'' a racist film? I would argue, along with many contemporary theorists of racism such as van Dijk (1993), Essed (1991), and Goldberg (1993), that to find that an action or utterance is ``racist'', one does not have to demonstrate that the racism is consciously intended. Racism is judged, instead, by its effects: of successful discrimination and exclusion of members of the racialized group from goods and resources enjoyed by members of the racializing group. It is easy to demonstrate that such discrimination and exclusion not only has existed in the past against Mexican Americans and other members of historically Spanish-speaking populations in the United States, but continues today. Furthermore, the semiotic analysis that I have proposed above demonstrates that Mock Spanish is discriminatory and denigrating in its indexical meaning, that it cannot be understood without knowing about the stereotypes that such indexes presuppose and entail, even if speakers believe that what they are doing is inoffensive joking. Mock Spanish is effective precisely because of its relative deniability, because people are not aware of ``being racist'', even in a mild way, let alone in a vulgar way. Through its use, the ``upwardly mobile system of whiteness'' is created covertly, through the indirect indexicality of hundreds of taken- for-granted commonplace utterances that function to ``racialize'' their targets, constructing them as members of a human group represented as essentially inferior. Elinor Ochs (1990) argued that it is through these covert indexes that the deepest structures of the self, those that are least accessible to inquiry and modification, are laid down. Indeed, the notion that covert semiosis is at least as, if not more, powerful than overt meaning in the construction of the world through linguistic practice goes back in linguistics and anthropology through the work of Silverstein (1979) to that of Whorf and even before.

A second argument that is often used against my analysis is that there are in American English many expressions that mock other languages besides Spanish. This is, of course, correct. One can hear Americans say ``beaucoup trouble'' and ``Mercy Buckets'', just as one can hear them say ``mucho trouble'' and ``Much Grass''. ``Spinmeister'' mocks German, and ``refusenik'' plays with Russian. It seems to me obvious, however, that these other ``mock'' usages are today scattered and relatively unproductive, in stark comparison with Mock Spanish. The only register of borrowing that seems to me to be even remotely comparable is that of jocular Yiddish. Jocular Yiddish is, however, used by people with a claim on a Yiddish-speaking heritage, quite unlike Mock Spanish, which is used almost exclusively by English speakers, most of them monolingual.

Finally, I suggest that ``Mock Spanish'' constitutes a new type of racist discourse. The kinds of examples that van Dijk (1993) treats as illustrations of ``elite racist discourse'' are nearly all far more overt, addressing directly whether privileges and rights (such as immigration, or access to public housing) should be extended to members of racialized populations. For instance, van Dijk points out that elite racist discourse can be identified when it is accompanied by qualifying expressions. Someone might say: ``Of course I don't dislike foreigners, some of them are fine people, but our country has already admitted too many immigrants''. Even though such a speaker would deny that the statement ``Our country already has too many immigrants'' was racist, the qualifying statement shows that the speaker knows that it could be heard in that way, rather than only an absolutely neutral scientific judgment that shows that the speaker is in control of statistical evidence about what percentage of immigrants is optimal for national development. People who use Mock Spanish do not use such qualifying expressions. Nobody would say, ``Of course Arnold Schwarzenegger has many Mexican-American friends, but he said ``Hasta la vista, baby'' at the rally for Bush'' Or, ``I have the highest respect for the Mexican people, but no problemo''. Or, ``Excuse the expression, but, numero two-o ...''. These facts enlarge our understanding of the continuum of racist discourse. A picket sign that says ``Wetbacks go home!'' is obvious vulgar racism. Van Dijk has demonstrated that expressions like, ``I don't have anything against Mexicans as such. But we can't pay to deliver the baby of every pregnant lady in Mexico who wants her kid to be an American citizen'' constitute clear cases of ``elite racist discourse''. To these two types we need to add a third, at the most covert end of the continuum, reproducing racism almost entirely through indirect indexicality. This type is exemplified by cases like ``Hasta la vista, baby''. The first is easily identifiable as racist and is almost always avoided by the powerful; indeed, public vulgar racism precisely indexes powerlessness. The second sounds sleazy and weaselly to many thoughtful Anglos. But the last seems to most Anglos to be utterly innocent, even delightful and clever. I would argue, however, that this last is the most powerful of the three. Because of its seeming innocence, it can find its way into a film seen by literally hundreds of millions of people, and can become a clever new casual expression, functioning in that useful range of meanings that range between light talk and insult, that is used by everyone from six-year-olds to senatorial candidates. And each time that it is used, it inexorably reproduces a highly negative stereotype of speakers of Spanish.

American racism almost certainly includes other, similar strategic systems that might be identified by careful research. Especially, similar devices that function to pejorate and racialize African Americans and Asian Americans should be sought and analyzed. Furthermore, many questions remain about Mock Spanish itself. For instance, its history needs more careful investigation. We need to develop techniques by which to show when it has been more, and when less, intense and productive, and whether this ebb and flow of productivity coincides with economic cycles or other possibly related phenomena. More information is needed about who uses Mock Spanish. I have concluded, on the basis of limited and informal observation, that it is largely an elite usage, but it may be extending its reach across the social organization of the system of Whiteness. What are its functions in parts of the English-speaking world like Canada and Ireland (a friend has pointed out to me instances in the novels of Roddy McDowell), where Spanish-speaking populations are minuscule and largely irrelevant to the local racist system? Furthermore, Mock Spanish raises a whole range of fascinating questions about the role of humor in discrimination. One of the most compelling arguments of conservative foes of what is called ``Political Correctness'' is that the ``politically correct'' have no sense of humor.30 It strikes me that vulgar racism, for those who practice it, also seems to be fun, full of shared humor. Signs saying ``No Mexicans or Dogs served here'' were obviously intended to be hilarious. The Good Old Boys at a recent weekend retreat of ``law enforcement officers'' featured on the national news probably found the ``Nigger Check Point'' sign (assuming that it was really there, and not faked by their enemies) to be a real thigh-slapper. The drunken laughter of the lynch mob is a stereotype of American history. Unlike the deadly serious, careful register of ``elite racist discourse'' that van Dijk has identified, systems like Mock Spanish share humor uncomfortably with the cackling of the mob, in the snickering of the corner boys as one of their number sticks out a foot and trips up a black man. How important is humor and joking in the reproduction of racism? (And, of course, of sexism, anti-Semitism, and other systems of discrimination and exclusion). In summary, much remains to be done. I believe that linguistic anthropologists are especially well-qualified, by the power and subtlety of the analytical tools that are available to us today, to make progress in these matters that are so important to the health of our society.