The Blog

Cure For Hispanic Hysteria and Swine Flu the Same: Chill Out

The nation has gone from zero to hysterical and the "Dirty Mexicans" everyone has been fretting about since the illegal immigration issue reared its ugly head just got dirtier.
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I have the diagnosed cure for the Mexican Swine Flu Heebie-Jeebies, folks: Take a chill pill.

Yes, just relax. All this stress about whether Juan Gonzalez is going to sneeze on you and make you sprout a pig-snout is just weakening your immune system.

And it's not just the light-skinned, bilingually challenged among us who are nervous about heading down to 26th street for the enchilada run, the brown-skinned, soccer-skill-blessed among us are trippin', too. I've gotten email messages from Latinos all over the country who are re-interpreting every sideways glance as some sort of anti-Mexican snub.

Not that it takes much for some to get freaked out, but there is, if you'll pardon the pun, a germ of truth there. Since Sunday, the nation has gone from zero to hysterical and the "dirty Mexicans" everyone has been fretting about since the illegal immigration issue reared its ugly head exactly four years ago just got dirtier.

The White House press corps were nearly hyperventilating Sunday about whether Obama had been tested for Swine Flu since he'd been cavorting in the United States of Mexico with the likes of President Felipe Calderon two weeks before. Then they freaked out Monday when they found out one of the dignitaries Obama met while in Mexico dropped dead last Thursday. Not to worry. Mr. Felipe Solís, Director of Mexico's National Anthropology Museum, died of a non-Swine-related pre-existing condition.

There's been something for everyone in this almost-crisis: Mainstream media have been having a field day with this health scare because it's made them feel necessary and relevant. Immigrant bashers who've been waiting for just such an occasion to gleefully announce that this is exactly why we should have sealed the borders after the '86 amnesty are lovin' it. And the special interest groups who are offended by everything are enjoying rightfully calling these extremists, um, extreme.

This press release arrived in my inbox from the National Council on La Raza:

NCLR CONDEMNS THE SHAMELESS EXPLOITATION OF A PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY: NCLR today condemned the assertions made by some members of the media that the outbreak of swine flu is linked to immigrants.

Tip for NCLR, don't dignify the likes of a Michael Savage -- who makes his dinero on talking smack about people -- when, in reference to a U.S. outbreak that might well be linked to rich kids who went to Mexico on Spring Break, says something silly like: "Make no mistake about it: Illegal aliens are the carriers of the new strain of human-swine avian flu from Mexico."


It's news that the Mexican soccer team Club America was asked to wear face masks as they walked through O'Hare airport, as Nick Firchau reported in the SouthtownStar, that creep me out. They were also asked not to touch the fans, but you gotta admit, that's probably decent advice.

In other bummer Mexican news, Chicago has canceled a Cinco de Mayo celebration this weekend over swine flu concerns. We've also got all manner of travel between Mexico and the U.S. suspended -- which is a downer for the 1,357,353 people of Mexican descent living in the Chicago area.

And the organizers of this year's Million Mexican May Day March might be disappointed with a low turnout at Friday's rally -- the city is pressuring them to cancel or at the very least promise to wear face masks -- though I'd imagine it's hard to get too wound up for that sort of thing anyway, seeing as how the president and his whole administration have solemnly vowed to fix the country's batty immigration laws.

Nope, like a May 6 Dos Equis and Jose Cuervo hangover, this too shall pass. Scary Mexican Swine Flu 2009 (has FOX composed a special ominous theme jingle yet?) is no Captain Tripps, it will come and go like the Avian Flu scare did.

Remember, just relax. Keep your wits about you and like 99.9 percent of your continent-mates, you'll be just fine.

Esther J. Cepeda has been battling a cold since Sunday but she doesn't have The Swine Flu. Read more of Esther's work on, 100%germ-free, guaranteed!