Skip to comments.Inquiring Gringos Want to Know. 'Ask a Mexican,' columnist fields readers' frank questions.
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 ...
Because so many of them are...........
Hey gabacho! You want to buy some shicken?
When are all of the Illegals going to leave America? HAH, that was a trick question - I know it's never.
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
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.
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...
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
"pejorative slang term for white Americans, with "its etymological roots in the Castilian slur for a French national."
French national!? Now I AM mad!!
Actually, thats untrue.
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..."
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.
"Green grows the ... in Texas".
"Green grows" got bastardized into "gringos".
I have no idea if it is true.
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.
I am now on the West Coast of Flori-DUH!
Oh, sorry, that was me.
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..
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.
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.
I agree. That is totally untrue and BS.
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
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.
Nope, "puta" means "whore."
If "chicken" is "shicken", why then do they pronounce Chevy as Chevy instead of Shevy?
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!
"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.
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.
Nope - usted?
HAHA...Okay we have eggs and gritlins...
But I would rather have a Chile Ren'o!
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.
Didn't I see this already on "Mind of Mencia"?
They're called "burglar bars."
I always thought it would be funny for someone named O'Malley to do that on their back window.
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.
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!
That sounds great..Send the recipe if you get a chance!
I made homemade Tortilla Chicken Soup Yummy!
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.
That's like a pastry isn't it?
lol, yes, french pastry.
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!
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.
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!