'Ask a Chola' Compares Grilling of Top Gear Hosts for Anti-Mexican Statements to Her Public Outing for Brownfacing

You'll remember late last year that a group of Chicano activists unmasked the person behind the mildly amusing "Ask a Chola" web persona as Chloe Michalopoulos, a SanTana loft dweller who's about as much a Mexican and a real-life chola as I am a CCIR member. The Internet condemnation of her was fast and furious--and rightfully so--because Michalopoulos couldn't own up to her attempts at satire for reasons known only to her, but probably better explained by cowardice.

Fast forward to last week, when anti-Mexican stereotypes uttered by the hosts of the BBC's wildly popular auto program Top Gear inflamed wabs worldwide.

No need to reiterate them here (besides, my own commentary on the matter is forthcoming), but the Lads did them in front of a studio audience and have been more than happy to engage furious Mexis--the exact opposite of Michalopoulos' hide-and-seek approach. But that didn't stop Ask a Chloe from trying to grasp at straws to compare her work with theirs.

One tweet:
askacholatwitter1.jpg
Another:
askacholatwitter.jpg

"PC police"? One of Michalopoulos' fiercest critics has been Lalo Alcaraz, the legendary Chicano editorial cartoonist who has unleashed more political incorrect humor than a decade of Saturday Night Live skits--but unlike Michalopoulos, he owns up to his transgressions and doesn't try to pretend to be another ethnicity, like the gabacha Michalopoulos, who once claimed to be a Mexican named Soledad who lived in East Los Angeles. But enough bitching--let's see Michalopolous with bandanna off at her Swiftian best (sarcasm aside, I get what she's trying to get at here, so why try to hide your identity, Chloe?)

Chloe Michalopolous Goes to a Protest! from Ask A Chola on Vimeo.


My Voice Nation Help
26 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
julio g
julio g

I am incredibly sick and tired of people trying to shield their racism under the guise of 'irony' or 'postmodernism'. The gimmick works like this: someone puts out a racial gag thats so obivously a caricature that we acknowledge and affirm that this is just a satirical parody of actual racists; we know racism is wrong and so we're supposed to laugh at how lame racists are. Once these circumstances are established and we know its a parody, the gimmick then feels it has gained license and permission to go all out in making fun of and stereotyping minorities. And really that's what is offensive here is that someone went out to acquire that license and permission to ridicule minorities because in a fair and just world, such a license wouldn't exist. The pigs at Top Gear as well as Chloe's unwillingness to apologize for their racism and shield it with hollow claims of 'satire' are really just attempts at trying not to cede even an ounce of the white privilege that allows them to feel comfortable with mocking minorities, and deciding who and who cannot be offended or have their feelings hurt.

dabrownman
dabrownman

Seriously, no else but me thinks she F'ING HOT!?!?!?

Vera Moya
Vera Moya

This whole article is stupid.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

And your comment is...

Lalo Alcaraz
Lalo Alcaraz

I forgot how much posting replies on blogs is like the Monty Python "Argument Clinic" sketch...lots of accusations, little content. At least it's free!

final solution for mexicans
final solution for mexicans

who the hell wants to be a mexican? if this stupid white girl wants to pretend to be a spic, you wetbacks should feel flattered.. i mean, with the avg mexican having a 5th grade education, making 8 bucks an hour and living like pigs, i would think this would be good pub for you...

Lizzstergiou
Lizzstergiou

Dear Final Solution for Mexicans,Get well soon.

A Mexican

Samuel Tecpaocelotl Castillo
Samuel Tecpaocelotl Castillo

Great job on the article.

Lalo and Gustavo are great people. They aren't hacks and have done smalls things to please the fans.

One thing though, Gustavo:

Don't you think you're giving more recognition to Ask A Chola?

Lalo Alcaraz
Lalo Alcaraz

See: Look at this:Mass. company draws fire for immigration game appRUSSELL CONTRERAS, The Associated PressPublished: 01:06 p.m., Monday, February 7, 2011BOSTON (AP) — A Boston-based tech company is drawing fire from immigrant advocates for developing a game that allows users to drive a truck full of immigrants through the desert and try not to have them tossed out."Smuggle Truck: Operation Immigration," a proposed iPhone and iPad app by Owlchemy (OWL'-cheh-mee) Labs, lets players navigate through the U.S-Mexican border over cliffs, mountains and dead animal.

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/bu...

Lalo Alcaraz
Lalo Alcaraz

Comm. WEE WEE, I'm down with good satire, I didnt see it in that clip. I think the show is funny, but I think they blew it with that, it came off as ignorant, disdainful, hateful, not "cute" not funny.

Commissar Wee Wee
Commissar Wee Wee

The Top Gear "gentlemen" are hugely popular for being classic English bores. They mock the Welsh for being stupid, Scots for being violent, Australians for being drunk, the Irish for being drunk AND stupid, every German is a Nazi, every Frenchman is a cheese eating surrender monkey and whaddya know, they regularly go after Yanks for being dumb, loud and annoying. Main host Jeremy Clarkson is an ardent foe of Political Correctness in the UK and in my opinion is an admirable figure.

Overly sensitive Mexicans and Mexican / Americans should get over their hurt feelings and feel grateful to belong in the top rank. You know you've arrived when you don't care how other cultures mock you, and can actually laugh along with them.

Nobody respects thin skinned crybabies that can't play in the sandbox with the big kids.

Besides, the most blatant stereotypers and name callers I've ever come across, shameless in their brutality (and pretty damn funny to boot), are Mexican and Central American day laborers.

Liz
Liz

To Chloe: Yiati les pou eisai Chola esi? Den eisi Mexicanida vre pedi, asi tis sakhlamres kale...yes I am a Chicana who speaks Greek and I said to Chloe: "Why do you say you are a chola? You aren't Mexican kiddo, so stop the stupidity."

S.J.R.
S.J.R.

Lalo is anything but a "hack" - maybe not your cup of tea but not a hack. How many other nationally syndicated Chicano artists are there again...? Right.

As for Chloe and her Brownface schtick, I'm, tired of it. A lot of us are tired of it. Were she forthcoming about who she is then that would be something. She is not. She gladly allows her "fans" to believe whatever they want about her, which is complete bullshit.

For her to defend the know-nothings on Top Gear only reinforces the fact that she is not laughing with you but at you.

Context is important. Chloe and the Top Gear people didn't imagine these stereotypes on their own - they are derived from decades of U.S. propaganda. Is it funny? Maybe to you it is but that doesn't lessen the fact that it only serves to further dehumanize Mexico and its people as well as Xicanos everywhere. It adds fuel to an already out of control blaze right now.

These aren't "funny" times for La Raza odiada in case you haven't noticed. Substitute the context and punchlines with Jew and or Black - keeping the same condescending tone - and I guarantee you have a very different reaction from people.

But hey, fuck it - Mexicans are comedic fodder, yeah? Fuck that.

Lalo Alcaraz
Lalo Alcaraz

Yes, it is important to speak out about these BBC/Top Gear comments, why make them OK for people to dehumanize other cultures? And I want to know who okayed that shit for US broadcast...interesting. Right wing anti-immigrant hysteria / atmosphere/ mythmaking leads to violence against brown people. Plain and simple.

Lalo Alcaraz
Lalo Alcaraz

Well, it's true, I'm not PC. But I do it all in the name of presenting Raza in a well rounded, more realistic portrayal. Most of us are tired of lame stereotypical representations that don't add anything to any dialogue. But since people of color are not well represented in the media, I try to do my bit in a somewhat intelligent, occasionally almost humorous manner. And I own up to what I do as my work because in the end I'm an artist who believes in what he does. If I had wanted to be a wildly wealthy sellout, I think I would have picked a different topic than Latinos in the US to write and draw about...

Julio
Julio

Since when is being Greek equated as "gabacha"? Te pierdes. I think it's lame for her to side with the Top Gear folks but I for one had no problem with her whole 'satire.' If you were stupid enough to believe she was a chola to being with than you have other issues to deal with. And 'chola culture' is something I hardly think we should be putting our efforts into defending. Any how, the chola-ness that she espoused was of that of an archetype that doesn't exist anymore. Cholas have moved on, so to speak.

And I for one do not get easily offended by mere slurs; what offends me is this whole capitalist system forcing me to be a wage slave. The comments from Top Gear did nothing to tarnish how I feel about myself. It tarnished them for being wildly ignorant and probably is just a publicity stunt. I've never heard of the show until rather recently. And Lalo Álcaraz is a no-talent hack riding the wave of his"mexican-ness."

- Your local LA Chicano Anarchist

julio g
julio g

Good for you that you weren't personally offended by Chloe or Top Gear. But your personal feelings on the matter are irrelevant. Regardless of how you feel, things like this do tarnish the image and reputation of latinos, especially at a time when latinos are increasingly the targets of political racism. And nice of you to qualify your opinion with the "local LA Chicano Anarchist" tag. Just really makes your whole post look vain.

Julio
Julio

My view on this is that that which is important is not the "image" of latinos but the reality of latinos. A focus on the image of what the mass-media/Spectacle creates of latinos only turns our gaze to it, clamoring for "proper" representation instead of contesting it. The target of political racism is not an "image" but actual people. A confusion between an object and what the image-factory of the Spectacle creates.

My placing my own 'tag' was to detract from the usual name-calling of being a right-wing wingnut, or actually a white supremacist.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

That you called Lalo a hack tells us everything we need to know about your supposed Chicanismo AND anarquismo. Have fun in your loft!

Lalo Alcaraz
Lalo Alcaraz

"JULIO" thinks cholas don't exist? Does he not get out of his loft much? I guess cholas don't go to his favorite Starbucks...

Julio
Julio

I hate to have to say "where I'm from" to gain traction for arguments on the internet but here we go: I'm a lifelong resident of Lincoln Heights/El Sereno neighborhoods which are hardly loft-heavy neighborhoods. I never said cholas do not exist, but that the type of Chola that AskAChola uses does NOT exist. The streets don't look like "Mi Vida Loca" anymore. I worked at a high school in Lincoln Height school for the last 4 years and cholas are more apt to wear baggy sweatpants and Winnie the Pooh sweaters than bandanas.

I won't reply to Lalo's asking "what that makes me" because what I put forth was not a real argument just me venting.

Lalo Alcaraz
Lalo Alcaraz

If I'm a no-talent hack, what does that make you Julio?

Now Trending

Anaheim Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Fashion

General

Loading...