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Inquiring Gringos Want to Know. 'Ask a Mexican,' columnist fields readers' frank questions.
Los Angeles Times ^ | Daniel Hernandez

Posted on 02/23/2006 12:15:19 PM PST by John Jorsett

Dear Mexican, Why do Mexicans call white people gringos?

It was the type of impolite question few people would dare ask in everyday Southern California, much less in print.
"Dear Gabacho," began Gustavo Arellano's answer in the OC Weekly alternative newspaper. "Mexicans do not call gringos gringos. Only gringos call gringos gringos. Mexicans call gringos gabachos."

Arellano went on to explain that gabacho is a sometimes pejorative slang term for white Americans, with "its etymological roots in the Castilian slur for a French national."

"Ask a Mexican," the newspaper headlined it.

The column, published in 2004, was meant as a one-time spoof, but questions began pouring in.

Why are there so many elaborate wrought-iron fences in the Mexican parts of town? What part of the word "illegal" do Mexicans not understand? Why do Mexicans pronounce "shower" as "chower" but "chicken" as "shicken"?

Arellano has responded each week, leading an unusually frank discussion on the intersections where broader society meets the largest and most visible national subgroup in the country: Mexicans.

Nothing is taboo. When asked to explain the inclination of Mexicans to sell oranges at freeway offramps, he fired back:

"What do you want them to sell — Steinways? According to Dolores, who sells oranges off the 91 Freeway/Euclid onramp, in Anaheim, she can earn almost $100 per week hawking the fruit. That averages out to more than $5,000 a year — and since it's the underground economy, she doesn't pay taxes!"

(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: aliens; askamexican; gabacho; gringo; gustavoarellano; mexico; ocweekly; pc
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1 posted on 02/23/2006 12:15:21 PM PST by John Jorsett
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To: John Jorsett

BTTT


2 posted on 02/23/2006 12:18:44 PM PST by Fiddlstix (Tagline Repair Service. Let us fix those broken Taglines. Inquire within(Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: John Jorsett
Why do Americans call Mexicans illegals?

Because so many of them are...........

3 posted on 02/23/2006 12:19:14 PM PST by Red Badger (And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him...)
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To: John Jorsett

Hey gabacho! You want to buy some shicken?


4 posted on 02/23/2006 12:20:26 PM PST by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: John Jorsett

Dear Mexican,
When are all of the Illegals going to leave America? HAH, that was a trick question - I know it's never.


5 posted on 02/23/2006 12:20:29 PM PST by steel_resolve
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To: John Jorsett

As a native Californian we have been referred to Gringos by what we eat but most native Californians are Mexican at hearts because we eat cherizo and eggs where others eat hashbrowns and gritlans..I am still wondering why Northerns call Californians Cake eaters???

In the 40's mexicans were called Pachoocos


6 posted on 02/23/2006 12:20:37 PM PST by laney (I now know who I am a *Crunchy Con*!)
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To: John Jorsett

Would Mexicans consider a different font for the name displayed on their truck's back window? It's very gothic looking and I can't make heads or tails out of the letters. Otherwise....it's nice.


7 posted on 02/23/2006 12:22:44 PM PST by TNdandelion
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To: John Jorsett

I will tell you I use to buy the best homemade Tamale's from this Mexican guy where I work..I have no problem with the Mexicans only the troublemakers, lived around them my entire life...


8 posted on 02/23/2006 12:23:37 PM PST by laney (I now know who I am a *Crunchy Con*!)
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To: John Jorsett

Why do Mexicans who migrate to the US, legally or illegally, turn their back on Mexico? (reference the latest voter turnout results). Is the real problem the Mexican political and social structures, not the Mexican people? How does Mexico plan on addressing these issues such that Mexico is a destination, not an origination port

:-)


9 posted on 02/23/2006 12:23:53 PM PST by mpreston
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To: John Jorsett

"pejorative slang term for white Americans, with "its etymological roots in the Castilian slur for a French national."

French national!? Now I AM mad!!


10 posted on 02/23/2006 12:25:04 PM PST by Spok (Est omnis de civilitate.)
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To: John Jorsett
"Mexicans do not call gringos gringos..."

Actually, thats untrue.

11 posted on 02/23/2006 12:26:20 PM PST by marron
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To: John Jorsett

Lots of Mexicans call Americans gringos. One explanation for the term goes back to the Mexican War and the marching song the Americans sang incessantly that started "Green Grow the lilacs..."


12 posted on 02/23/2006 12:26:49 PM PST by arthurus (Better to fight them OVER THERE than over here.)
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To: TNdandelion

It might be more legible if they weren't all caps. Some lower-case could possibly help.

I can't believe I cannot find a picture of this phenomenon.


13 posted on 02/23/2006 12:27:54 PM PST by Xenalyte (Can you count, suckas? I say the future is ours . . . if you can count.)
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To: John Jorsett
I vaguely remember reading that the word Gringo came from some Texas Americans who became prisoners of war in one of our fights with Mexico. While they were being marched off to some prison camp they sang a song that had the refrain:

"Green grows the ... in Texas".

"Green grows" got bastardized into "gringos".

I have no idea if it is true.

14 posted on 02/23/2006 12:28:10 PM PST by jackbenimble (Import the third world, become the third world)
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To: laney

What's a gritlan? Sounds good, but I've never heard of it, even though I'm a GRITS/GRITTY myself.

Pachuco was what some Tex-Mexicans called gringos in the 60s here. I thought it was a bad word that meant whore.

When we cuss in Spanish here, we say "aye, chicharrones!" It sounds bad, but just means "pork rinds!"

Mostly, I am usually just called a "norteamericano" by Mexican strangers *in* Mexico. Not sure what they would call me here at home. Let me step outside for a minute.


15 posted on 02/23/2006 12:28:26 PM PST by Rte66
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To: jackbenimble

Save


16 posted on 02/23/2006 12:29:50 PM PST by UB355
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To: John Jorsett
"Mexicans do not call gringos gringos."...Well, I guess ti coulda been a "Rican" that darn me ran me down on the parking lot 15 years ago in Ft.Lauderale....But he did yell at me: "Get out of the way Old Gringo!"

I am now on the West Coast of Flori-DUH!

17 posted on 02/23/2006 12:30:43 PM PST by litehaus
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To: litehaus

Oh, sorry, that was me.


18 posted on 02/23/2006 12:31:56 PM PST by marron
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To: TNdandelion

All My friends know the Lowriders!

I know one thing Art LAbelle show has every Mexican in East L.A do song dedications..

To Carmello from Marsella:

I want to dedicate the Song I will always love you by the Dells... Still as Sunday night L.A station..pretty funny..


19 posted on 02/23/2006 12:32:17 PM PST by laney (I now know who I am a *Crunchy Con*!)
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To: TNdandelion

Well, I doubt it's "Toyota." Don't know why, but Hispanic people in the media here, who never even spoke Spanish at home, cannot say the word "Toyota."

They call everything "Tay - ota." Like it's spelled "teoda" or something. Stabien.


20 posted on 02/23/2006 12:33:25 PM PST by Rte66
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To: John Jorsett

"Gabacho?"

Way too much information....

Americans are not Frenchmen. We DEMAND "gringo" be adopted as the only legitimate pejorative to be applied to "norteamericos". We earned it, we deserve it, and by golly, we will fight to keep the term.


21 posted on 02/23/2006 12:33:40 PM PST by alloysteel (Ask all your friends, "Would you want the junior Senator from New York to be your mother-in-law?")
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To: marron

I agree. That is totally untrue and BS.


22 posted on 02/23/2006 12:34:58 PM PST by PA Engineer (Liberate America from the occupation media.)
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To: Rte66

HAHA..Yeah I meant Grits....Well my mother born in Montebello Ca (East Los Angeles told me that Mexicans were called Pachucos by what they wore suit and hat type of thing in the 40's.. I think now they are just called
**hey essay*


23 posted on 02/23/2006 12:35:13 PM PST by laney (I now know who I am a *Crunchy Con*!)
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To: arthurus

Hmm, "Green Grow the Lilacs" was the name of the original play written by Lynn Riggs that became the musical, "Oklahoma!"

Seems like the song itself was really "On Top of Old Smokey," or the tune was the same.


24 posted on 02/23/2006 12:37:40 PM PST by Rte66
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To: Rte66

habla espano'l?


25 posted on 02/23/2006 12:38:12 PM PST by laney (I now know who I am a *Crunchy Con*!)
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To: Rte66

Nope, "puta" means "whore."


26 posted on 02/23/2006 12:38:37 PM PST by Xenalyte (Can you count, suckas? I say the future is ours . . . if you can count.)
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To: John Jorsett
Why do Mexicans pronounce "shower" as "chower" but "chicken" as "shicken"?

If "chicken" is "shicken", why then do they pronounce Chevy as Chevy instead of Shevy?

27 posted on 02/23/2006 12:44:33 PM PST by varon (Allegiance to the constitution, always. Allegiance to a political party, never.)
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To: laney

But I like "gritlans" - I'll have to make something with grits and call it that. A new dish! Like "grits and grillades," but with chittlin's in it! Grittlins!


28 posted on 02/23/2006 12:44:39 PM PST by Rte66
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To: John Jorsett

"Why are there so many elaborate wrought-iron fences in the Mexican parts of town?"

I would like to know. I want one for my yard to impress my snob neighbors.


29 posted on 02/23/2006 12:44:56 PM PST by Sabatier
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To: John Jorsett; PA Engineer

The only people I've heard use the term "gabacho" referring to anglos were Mexican Americans kids in Los Angeles. Someone else can tell me what they say elsewhere.

I have heard the word used to refer to frenchmen, by Spaniards, if memory serves.

South of the border, not only Mexico but points further south, you hear "gringo". It isn't an every day expression, but its used. Sometimes in a friendly way, sometimes its a pejorative, and sometimes its use is entirely neutral.


30 posted on 02/23/2006 12:46:01 PM PST by marron
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To: laney

Nope - usted?


31 posted on 02/23/2006 12:46:45 PM PST by Rte66
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To: Rte66

HAHA...Okay we have eggs and gritlins...

But I would rather have a Chile Ren'o!


32 posted on 02/23/2006 12:47:29 PM PST by laney (I now know who I am a *Crunchy Con*!)
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To: Xenalyte

That's "one" of them. Like the Italian one - as in pasta putanesca - made with anchovies and cooked in 5 minutes on a hot plate in a putaria (I made that word up, but you get the picture) between "appointments".

There's another closer to pachuco, but I'm afraid to venture past that.


33 posted on 02/23/2006 12:49:39 PM PST by Rte66
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To: John Jorsett
Inquiring Gringos Want to Know. 'Ask a Mexican,' columnist fields readers' frank questions.

Didn't I see this already on "Mind of Mencia"?

34 posted on 02/23/2006 12:50:10 PM PST by Ichneumon
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To: Rte66

Un-poquito seno'r


35 posted on 02/23/2006 12:51:14 PM PST by laney (I now know who I am a *Crunchy Con*!)
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To: Sabatier

They're called "burglar bars."


36 posted on 02/23/2006 12:51:30 PM PST by Rte66
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To: TNdandelion

I always thought it would be funny for someone named O'Malley to do that on their back window.


37 posted on 02/23/2006 12:51:34 PM PST by hispanarepublicana (I'd rather go hunting with Dick Cheney than get in a car with Ted Kennedy...[props to Auto Power])
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To: laney

I love chiles rellenos, but especially love them as "chiles en nogada". Just made some not long ago and have picadillo and pomegranate seeds left enough for 4 more, when the poblanos are prettier.


38 posted on 02/23/2006 12:54:04 PM PST by Rte66
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To: Rte66; Xenalyte

In the movie TRAINING DAY the 3 Mexican guys that were going to kill Denzels partner were like Pachucos....

or as Cheech says *Hey Pendeho's!


39 posted on 02/23/2006 12:54:29 PM PST by laney (I now know who I am a *Crunchy Con*!)
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To: laney
Señora aqui.
40 posted on 02/23/2006 12:55:39 PM PST by Rte66
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To: Rte66

That sounds great..Send the recipe if you get a chance!
I made homemade Tortilla Chicken Soup Yummy!


41 posted on 02/23/2006 12:56:15 PM PST by laney (I now know who I am a *Crunchy Con*!)
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To: Rte66

permiso..Senor'a...;)


42 posted on 02/23/2006 12:56:53 PM PST by laney (I now know who I am a *Crunchy Con*!)
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To: laney

bolillos


43 posted on 02/23/2006 12:59:05 PM PST by Huevos Rancheros (Free the Barret Report--William B. Travis)
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To: laney

bolillos


44 posted on 02/23/2006 12:59:30 PM PST by Huevos Rancheros (Free the Barret Report--William B. Travis)
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To: laney
I used to buy the best tasting tamales from a woman who sold them off the street in Mexico City. The first time I spotted her there was a line of Mexicans around the block waiting to be served from a couple of large aluminum pots, and I figured, this must be something good enough to be worth the wait. I wasn't wrong, and I came back for the next three days. But on the fourth day I got a little lanyappe in the form of an amoeba.

I lost 25 pounds in three days and didn't get my appetite back for two weeks, but when I think about my experience now, I believe that I could make a fortune if I could just find that bug and market it.

45 posted on 02/23/2006 1:01:26 PM PST by PUGACHEV
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To: Huevos Rancheros

That's like a pastry isn't it?


46 posted on 02/23/2006 1:02:12 PM PST by laney (I now know who I am a *Crunchy Con*!)
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To: laney

lol, yes, french pastry.


47 posted on 02/23/2006 1:03:09 PM PST by Huevos Rancheros (Free the Barret Report--William B. Travis)
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To: PUGACHEV

WOW! Never had that problem with the Tamales I bought..I love the Cillie Cheese Tamales! have not found one of those guys with the tin buckets around lately with Mama's tamales in it!


48 posted on 02/23/2006 1:04:31 PM PST by laney (I now know who I am a *Crunchy Con*!)
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To: AppyPappy

What was called a lingua-palatal fricative is more likely a voiced palatal fricative and the source of schiken where the hiss ends with the back of the tongue being drawn up against the hard palate all in one breath.

The "S" sound requires the front of the tongue to lift while the "CH" requires it to move down and back.

Or maybe it's the other way around like Chebbies.


49 posted on 02/23/2006 1:05:00 PM PST by Old Professer (Fix the problem, not the blame!)
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To: Huevos Rancheros

When I was a kid lived next store to some people from Panama Obuela (Grandma) made the BEST platinos, empanada, and coconut rice where she actually grated the coconut milk from the coconut and drained into the pot of rice best best food ever!


50 posted on 02/23/2006 1:07:46 PM PST by laney (I now know who I am a *Crunchy Con*!)
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