“Ask a Mexican” author Gustavo Arellano is back, only this time he’s not taking your questions. The OC Weekly writer’s latest book, “Orange County: A Personal History,” focuses on his hometown instead. Born and raised in Anaheim, the greatest city in the world, Arellano traces his family’s migrations to OC from their respective ranchos in the municipality of Jerez, Zacatecas in Mexico while at the same time expanding on civic histories untold. What emerges is the dual narrative of Orange County that consists of transplanted Mexican communities living alongside a pre-planned mostly white and affluent suburbia. In recounting his coming of age story, Arellano tells of his ultimate rejection of wearing a Stetson Tejana, while later embracing his Mexican identity amidst the ever-present anti-immigrant hysteria in Orange County. In looking back at the larger history of the county he calls home, Arellano navigates through citrus strikes, segregated schools, ultra-conservative politicians, and mega-church pastors. Readers of “Orange County: A Personal History,” are also treated to a city-by-city profile of the county complete with recommended restaurants.
Listen to Gustavo Arellano speak at length about “Orange County: A Personal History,” which is out today and get to the Yost Theater in downtown Santa Ana on Thursday night for the book signing event. Otherwise, there may come a time again in that historic space where Mexicans are told “Spics in the Balcony!”