Gringos offended by the term ‘gringo’ are actually pendejos

by Lalo Alcaraz on March 20, 2013 in El Now

Megyn Kelly, a news model on FoxNews discussing a proposed ban on Ethnic Studies in Texas, actually said on TV that “gringo” is JUST as offensive as the N-word. That anybody over at Fox News called what they do “News” is more offensive than the “G” word.

Last I remember, the N-word is a hateful racial slur, and gringo means, well, white person, or American, or foreigner, depending where you are at, but it’s NOT a pejorative term.

So don’t sweat it, gringos. “Gringo” is about as pejorative as “Yankee” or “Americano” or any other non pejorative label. Oh, and “Yanqui.”

In my vast experience as a long-time receiver of hate mail from anti-Latino Anglo-Americans, the only “gringos” who take offense to the term “gringo” are anti-Mexican white nationalists looking to be offended.

One person wrote me an admonishing hate letter accusing me of being racist for using the word “gringo” in one of my La Cucaracha comics, then he went on and called me “spic” five different ways. These poor souls have started playing the victim of perceived anti-“gringo” developments in America, AKA shifting demographics.

These hateful anti-immigrant and Latino-haters are only projecting their fear of becoming a minority. Guess what? No one is going to “oppress” you, outlaw your language, ban your books, or send your parents back to Europe. In fact, everybody’s gonna be nice to you. And we like your food, too!

The origin of “gringo” is a bit sketchy, in that there’s two versions I remember from my Chicano Studies classes in college.

One was that Mexicans in the 1800s overheard invading American troops sing a popular song at the time, “Green grow the lilacs,” as they marched cheerily to expand U.S. Imperialism. The other story was that gringo came from Mexicans telling U.S. soldiers, apparently dressed in green, “Green Go!” and helpfully pointing them back North. The latter explanation is extra lame because really, how many Mexican peasants knew the word for the color verde was “green”?

The scholarly journal Wikipedia says this about gringo: “In Spanish it does not have a negative connotation.” Which is true, gringos! Also, it apparently has way deeper roots, “The word gringo was first recorded in the “Castilian Dictionary including the Words of the Sciences and the Arts, and their Correspondents in 3 Languages: the French, the Latin, and the Italian,” 1786, by Terreros y Pando, wherein it is defined as:

Gringos llaman en Málaga a los extranjeros que tienen cierta especie de acento, que los priva de una locución fácil y natural Castellana; y en Madrid dan el mismo nombre con particularidad a los irlandeses. 

Translation: (In Malaga foreigners with certain accents that deprives them of easy and natural elocution of Castillian Spanish are called gringos; and the same name is used in Madrid, especially about the Irish.)

It also states the word also may have roots in the term “griego” or “Greek”, as in, “sounds like Greek to me,” to describe a foreign language or something unfamiliar we don’t understand. It also says context is everything.

Damn, I thought Mexicans invented it, since we are so good at nicknaming things.

South Americans use gringo as a term for anyone born outside their country.

There’s also other words that people use to describe gringos, like gabachos and gueros. I have no idea what the roots of “gabacho” are, and am not about to look it up on Wikipedia.. But everybody I know uses it same as gringo, like Yankee, American. Just a negative-connotation-free name.

Now, the word “pendejo”, (AKA Fox News viewers) CAN be deduced to be a negative word, not just meaning stupid, idiot or moron, but “pubic hair.” Well, that’s what I heard. It’s negative. Unless you really, really like pubic hair.

If that pendeja on Fox News or anybody else can show me the “negative meaning” behind “gringo” I will buy them a Fox News mug and bottle of Clairol blonde bleach.

Gringo, the way it is used in Mexico and in the U.S. simply means “American.”  Even I have been called a gringo by my Mexican relatives! Now how patriotic is that?

So, let me wrap by saying, “Gringo” doesn’t have a negative connotation unless you insist on being offended, pinche gringo.

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{ 68 comments }

Carolyn G March 20, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Oh dear god, really Megan? Dios mio. I am offended by Megan Kelly being so dumb.

Julian March 20, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Actually, I knew gringo wasn’t pejorative, but always thought gabacho was. The origin of gabacho? It’s an old pejorative word used in Spain for the French. So when the French invaded Mexico in 1861, of course the educated Castilian-speakers used the old tried and true “I spit on you” term to describe them. As a result, the less-educated speakers of Mexicano (I’ve been told “es una otra idioma” 😛 ) just presumed a gabacho was any white man who stomped on Mexicans. True! Kinda.

john March 22, 2013 at 9:40 AM

*Otro idioma

those words of greek roots are masculine!

jessica shim March 22, 2013 at 10:00 PM

Gabacho:cucaracha blanca, vive en la harina, panaderias…
Gringo: word that was before i born, so i don’t know
Pendejo: silly, tonto, se hace el bobo pero no es..
Carajo: Cristobal Colon, cuando sus marinos se amotinaban , decia:metanlos en el carajo, que es un cuarto del barco como castigo
Entonces decimos:gringo si es pendejo mandelo al carajo…Castellano: Si el gringo que es gabacho se hace el pendejo mandelo directo al carajo

MichaelArchAngel March 20, 2013 at 4:23 PM

I’ve always been taught (by the Marines) that it was the song sung by marching marines in Mexico.

Lopez November 12, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Michael Archangel, are you alright? You seem schrizrophenic. You need to go to the hospital. Take antidepressants. Peace.

Lalo Alcaraz March 20, 2013 at 4:39 PM

That’s right, Michael, now I remember: it was a popular song, as in marching song…something like that. Thanks for the comment!!

Ana Bastow March 20, 2013 at 6:22 PM

My gringo husband calls himself gringo all the time. One will think that means is not offensive for him. You learn something new everyday…or not.

Richard Grabman March 20, 2013 at 6:47 PM

MichaelArchAngel… I considered the “Marine song” theory when I wrote my book, Gods, Gachupines and Gringos: A People’s History of Mexico, but rejected it, not only because there is evidence that “Gringo” was used as early as the 17th century (and probably goes back to the 15th or 14th century in various idioms of the language now called Spanish) but because the Marines (and the Army) that invaded Mexico in 1846 was wearing BLUE uniforms. And, besides, Mexicans yelling at Gringos wouldn’t have been yelling at them in English.

Francisca Fontes March 21, 2013 at 9:49 AM

The version I grew up with about the word gringo. In Sonora there is a town named Cananea, with a lot of copper that the americans are always exploiting. There was this american who was very abusive with the Mexicans working in the mine. His name was Green, and they used to tell him, Mr. Green go home! That’s why we call Americans gringos. (Green-go) It’s a little offensive but not nearly as the N word.

tonathiu baes March 21, 2013 at 9:49 AM

GREEN (weed<Mary jane)…GO <(take) HOMe (USA)….ST. Patrick Batallion, asking Mexican soldiers..remember those day..La Cucarcha ya no puede caminar/porque le falta Marijuana que fumar…Inches<Gringos Go Home….

Denise Tourinho March 22, 2013 at 4:50 AM

I think those people who are not satisfied with the country that welcomed them must return to their country of origin!

Rafael March 22, 2013 at 5:07 AM

sadly to return to our country of origin, Denise Tourinho, means to to return to a place long destroyed, weakened, and undermined by the “the country that welocomed” us.

Kitty March 22, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Considering I’m gonna guess most of the people offended by the term “gringo” are descended from mostly European immigrants and/or invaders, I absolutely agree, they *should* go back to their countries of origin. 😉

Jesse September 3, 2013 at 9:38 PM

Kitty, loved your comment 😉
My favorite is ” let’s all go back” and see who goes farther.

Mojado Citizen March 22, 2013 at 4:51 AM

This only reminds me of this (please, sing along):
♫Don’t call me gringo, you fuckin’ beaner♪
♫Stay on your side of that goddamn river♪
♪Don’t call me gringo, you beaner♫
♫No me digas beaner, Mr. Puñetero♪
♪Te sacaré un susto por racista y culero♫
♪No me llames frijolero, pinche gringo♪
♫Puñetero♫
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iJMOBcPQyg

ricardo March 22, 2013 at 5:01 AM

well, im from peru and actually in my country gringo means a person with withe skin, blond and with blue or green eyes… But despective or insulting? not at all

Bette Noir March 22, 2013 at 6:43 AM

In my circle, we call white Americans “Anglos.” We mean no offense by it, but Irish-Americans find it very offensive. Can’t please everyone, I guess.

Katherine March 22, 2013 at 7:28 AM

Bette, I wouldn’t be offended by being called an “Anglo”, but I would think it was incorrect if the origin of the word is anything like I think it is. If Anglo comes from the term Anglo-Saxon, then it refers to a time of British history during which Ireland had not been conquered… but I wouldn’t expect my American cousins to know that!

n. April 1, 2013 at 1:26 PM

es que los irlandeses son CELTAS… no son anglosajones

n. April 1, 2013 at 1:27 PM

but also “anglo” can have 2 meanings… like anglosaxon or like angloparlante: english-speaking

Esteban March 22, 2013 at 7:19 AM

Great article, funny and truthful!

One thing though, I’m from Colombia and we don’t “use gringo as a term for anyone born outside [our] country.”

Volpe March 22, 2013 at 8:14 AM

Silly gringos. What else are we supposed to call them? “Americanos”? Americanos somos todos, huelevergas. “Estadounidenses”? México también son “Estados Unidos de México”. Honestly. Just assume the name that your god gave you.

kat March 22, 2013 at 8:30 AM

i grew up with the work gringo in Chile, Canada and the USA, i use it for people born in the USA. My children were born here so they are gringitos. It all depends on how u use it/ but i was taught the origin of the word was “green go” as in American Soldiers leave our country/

kat March 22, 2013 at 8:31 AM

i meant WORD not work

dolores March 22, 2013 at 10:33 AM

you are so dum greengo is becouse in the war with mexico , the usa troop uniforms are green and when the maxican people see the usa solders try to say green go inthe best way to go back home greengo ,Idont see nothing ofenciv . like when somebody call me bean yes I mexican I like beans And I love my culture You have one?

Blanca Aguilar Burgos March 22, 2013 at 12:19 PM

I did know the story as “green grows the grass”.

Brian March 22, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Gringo is the equivalent of “spick.” I was told this by an actual Puerto Rican person, who actually was born and lived most of his life in Puerto Rico.
Words only mean what they’re mean to mean when spoken. As with most language, the context in which the word is used has more weight on how the word is interpreted by another person.

Blanca Aguilar Burgos March 22, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Brian… Exactly. That’s the point.

Alex March 22, 2013 at 10:25 PM

When the word “Gringo” is used to disenfranchise White people, justify violence and systematic oppression against them, and discriminate against them in ways that impact their lives or livelihoods THEN it will be the equivalent of Spic– your real-live-authentic-Puerto Rican friend’s opinion notwithstanding. Until then, you all need to take a seat.

n. April 1, 2013 at 7:51 PM

In my comment elsewhere on this page about imbalance of power, this is what I meant.

Jubin March 22, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Another source of the term “gringo”, similar to that mentioned in the article, is Hondurans telling U.S. soldiers to go home (“green go”/”gringo”) during the 1980s, when the U.S. had (still does) a large military presence as it illegally fought against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and trained many contras in Honduras.

Ana March 22, 2013 at 2:51 PM

About “gabacho”. Here in Spain we use it as pejorative way for “Frenc people” (more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabacho). Talking about whatever others forengeirs, we use “guiri” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guiri). As you can see, is not pejorative at all, but is for describing a kind of turist that no one can be.

Anyway, is funny how people could be angry for obvious things. Maybe next time she will consider pejorative “blonde”, comparing it as “stupid girl”.

james holvenstot March 22, 2013 at 3:11 PM

I can shed some light on this. My great grandfather was a scottsman who traded in latin america before immigrating here in the 20’s. His son/my grand uncle told me as far as he knew gringo specifically refers to white foreigners. It isnt used for other latin americans.for example a mexican wouldn’t call a peruvian a gringo. Also an asian or black person regardless of where they were from would be called a “chino” or “negro.” Racism isnt taboo in latin america so whatever is said regarding the casual nature of its usage should be seen within that cultural context, not as some indication that the term is not racist because such language is not commonly acceptable in our own society.

n. April 1, 2013 at 1:38 PM

my husband proposed calling African Americans “afro-gringos”, to specify ethnic origin (african ancestors) as well as culture (grew up in North America, speaking english). that’s not standard spanish, though… he made it up as a logical way of expressing the same idea. of course in his country there are afro-colombianos, so…

Paul W from Santa Clara March 22, 2013 at 11:07 PM

If you think me a pundejo, you’re forgiven. ;D

Josh Norék March 23, 2013 at 12:01 AM

I’m far more offended that this moron Megan Kelly is a graduate of my high school!

Ari March 23, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Actually, I think pendejo is a lice in pubic hair -whatever special name those have in English. But this was taught to me in Venezuela so idk.

Javier Pacheco March 23, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Oh, c’mon Lalo! I love your work, but c’mon, do you ever seriously call your nice Anglo buddies “Good Gringo”? One would just say, “You’re a good person” etc, ¿ó qué no?
The word can be used in jest (like “niggy”) but otherwise, remains pejorative.

lalo alcaraz March 24, 2013 at 12:21 AM

Guat are you talking about? I don’t call my white friends anything. And if I called them gringos, it would not be negative, BECAUSE IT IS NOT NEGATIVE. BTW, I have never called anybody “niggy”, I don’t know where you been… but thanks for the comments!

Jason Elsome March 24, 2013 at 5:50 AM

This gringo* (in Texas no less), eagerly awaits the shifting demographics. I love living in a multicultural society! As for those gringos who don’t like it, they’d better learn the word pendejo.

*GIven the possible roots of “gringo”, I qualify in so many ways being Irish (dad’s side), Greek (mom’s side) and a lot of other nationalities, too. Guess I’m already multicultural!

Jack S March 24, 2013 at 5:55 PM

I think you’ve missed the point here, to be honest. It’s the history of a word, rather than its etymology that makes something offensive. After all, there’s nothing inherently racist about the origins of the n word (which, as far as I’m aware is just a corruption of the Spanish word for black), it was it’s historical use to degrade an oppressed people that gave it its ugliness, just as racial prejudice and oppression made a shortened form of Pakistani (“Paki”) a racial slur in the UK (but not universally elsewhere).

The reason why Megyn Kelly is wrong is quite simply the question of power. Gringo, like any other word for foreigners and outsiders, can easily be allied to a slur (number of times I heard the European Spanish equivalent as an insult when I lived in Madrid… “putos guiris”) or used in perjorative sentences. But it’s a powerless word, because it has no historical use in oppression (cracker, very much intended as a racial slur, is equally powerless).

The background to such statements is the reduction of racism to the saying of bad words, an arena in which all racial prejudice is equal and dealing with the structural and historical effects of racism and power constitutes “double standards”.

Adele March 26, 2013 at 10:24 AM

Gabacho comes from the old french word “gavache” which means “dastard” or “coward”. Medieval Spaniards used it to refer to foreigners as gabachos.

Lopez November 12, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Gabacha means uniform kitchen.

Patrick March 27, 2013 at 8:25 PM

Actually, to be perfectly fair, isn’t offense in the eye of the offended? If someone doesn’t like to be called something, shouldn’t we not call them that? As a minority person, I’ve been told I shouldn’t be offended if someone uses a term I find offensive as long as the person using it doesn’t intend offense. Used to be the terms “chinaman” and “oriental” were not considered offensive terms. Except to those who were offended by them (and not all Asians back in the day were offended by the term oriental. But some were.) Just asking.

Stix N. Stones March 27, 2013 at 9:08 PM

Although Patrick makes a good point, people — adults — are responsible for their own emotions.

You can be offended by a word that might have no emotional connotation to another; how you react is up you.

“Names,” as they say, “will never hurt you!”

Life’s too short to be pissed off by words.

n. April 1, 2013 at 1:34 PM

sure, the polite thing is to let people self-identify. but the question of whether or not name-calling damages a person’s daily reality, kind of depends on the power imbalance, i think.

Kristin March 29, 2013 at 3:32 PM

I normally don’t weigh in things…but here it goes just this once…

As a gringa who has been on the receiving end of this word in the States and abroad, I just want to say that whether or not it is offensive depends on context. For sure, more than once, it has been hurled my way as an insult, but just as many times it has been used affectionately by people I love….

BUT if someone IS using it as an insult they are a pinche cabrón anyway, so to hell with them.

n. April 1, 2013 at 1:32 PM

OK so how come *some* mexicans from *some* regions refuse to call us “gringos” to our faces while being friendly, and will instead use the more polite “norteamericanos” or something along those lines? i was told by a person from Sonora that “gringo” is considered rude there and some other parts of Mexico, and *not* considered rude in other parts of Mexico.

i refer to myself as a gringa because i’m thinking of it in (my husband’s) colombian spanish, and it feels like a comical/neutral word, only negative if you’re complaining about gringos.
(he also gets called a gringo by family when he visits South America, because becoming functionally bilingual and bicultural has had some effect on his spanish and on his behaviors.)

Oldwhitechick July 16, 2013 at 3:49 PM

I didn’t used to mind so much, but I have become really tired of being called “gringa”. It is not how I self-identify. It is not my name. Oh, and “pendejo” is really classy. Laughing in my face and telling me that it’s ok to call me that because YOU don’t find it offensive, or because that’s “just the way YOU are” means nothing to me. I am also tired of having to tip toe around everybody else’s victimhood while unearned slurs are tossed at people who look like me. Because of all this supposed power I have as a white woman, I should swallow your childish insults? Over time, white people of European descent born in America have been trying to learn to be more culturally sensitive. Would it be so difficult for others to do the same?
I also refer to myself as “American” and if anybody wants to howl about that, well knock yourself out. Yeah, yeah, I know that everybody on these two continents is “American”, but we are the only country that actually officially incorporates it into our name, as in United States of America. My culture is as rich as proud as anybody’s, and I don’t accept your schoolyard taunts. I guess anybody who objects can just argue with 300 million or so of us. Good luck on that one.

Miguel Figueroa July 21, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Perdón si escribo en español, creo que soy más claro en este idioma y si hay necesidad intentaré traducirlo. Me gustó mucho tu artículo, lo que añadiré es que no solo no hay mala intención llamando a los nativos o naturalizados de EUA “gringos”, el problema es que no hay un término mejor. Hay una insistencia en el uso de AMERICANO o NORTEAMERICANO como su fuera un gentilicio real del país que, quizá no sea un problema allá, pero para el resto del mundo, cada que se llaman AMERICANOS o llaman a su país AMERICA, seguimos pensando en el continente, lo cual lleva a muchas confusiones. Y curiosamente ellos dicen que el resto de los habitantes del continente no deben llamarse AMERICANOS porque “conduce a confusión”. Claro que sí, pero AMERICA existía ANTES de EUA, no tenemos la culpa que su nombre no sea nombre sino designación general e imprecisa. Es como si me quiero llamar Juan y para evitar las confusiones quiero que todos los demás Juanes se cambien el nombre. La pura lógica pues!

Oldwhitechick July 23, 2013 at 12:09 AM

I had yet to encounter a person from any other country of the Americas who did not identify him/herself first and foremost as being from, for example, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, etc. Never just America. Is there not a distinction of pride and affection for each person’s specific homeland?
The name “America” came from a famous Florentine explorer, Americus Vespucci in the early 1500s , so it is certainly not indigenous. And the United States of America was a name developed in the 1700’s to best describe a nation consisting of many STATES, UNITED upon the north AMERICAN continent. A logical description, not so confusing.
This is who we are, it is engraved on our money, our official documents, our monuments and buildings, our everyday conversation and our hearts. And we are a society that has been learning, slowly and painfully, not to call others by degrading little nicknames. Our children are being taught not to impose these terms on other nationalities, those with disabilities or physical characteristics. etc. It seems unlikely that “gringo” is used for the purpose of clarity: name-calling is generally reserved for those you resent.

Oldwhitechick July 23, 2013 at 12:19 AM

Oh, and just for the record, I think Ms. Kelly had every right to speak out as she did. Maybe it’s not so much what she said, but the fact that she said it while blonde, white-skinned, and in a tv studio in the USA?

Hypocrite Mexicans July 23, 2013 at 10:18 PM

Need I REMIND YOU, that Mexican culture is almost all based on, and purely White European – your music – 3/3 Waltz, German/Polish Polka sung in SPANIARD SPANISH.

I’m just pointing out this as you start up with anti-gringo racist “satire”… what’s my name again?

Thank you :^D

Sam the Sham July 23, 2013 at 10:30 PM

Gary. Your name is Gary.

P.S.: Since Mexicans and Salvadorans and Americans aren’t races, criticism of these national groups by members of another national group may be chauvinist, or nationalist, revanchist perhaps, but not racist.

Stupid commentators January 4, 2014 at 7:43 AM

Mexico had civilizations, many civilizations, well before any European influences were either adopted or forced on native Indians. We still speak over a hundred languages and have a diversity of food, customs and traditions that would boggle your mind.

I like most Mexicans, am of mixed blood and customs quite happily, that is my biography. But to say that Mexican culture is almost ALL based on white European culture and to call us hypocrites for having been colonized forcibly by European powers and then systemiatically by the US, is plain stupid.

And by your own logic, Americans with their freedom fries have quite a bit of adopted heritage. A country made from immigrants who have taken wealth from many cultures and transformed it to their advantage. Ponsettias, bubble gum, and so many other things from Mexico. Hamburguers and hot dogs, from Germany; your freedom fries from French fritte; considering that Europeans got potatos from Mexico, central and south America, along with tomatoes and many other foods now considered emblematic of their countries; cacao for Swiss or Belgian chocolate, for example.

Gringo can have many connotations depending on context and who you’re talking about. In your case it probably would be used to mean “ugly American.” Stupid people who think they are superior for the colour of their skin or the national seal on their passport. People who travel to get drunk and abuse the freedom to do and say things they would not do at home, regardless of harm or disrespect inflicted on others. People so greedy and inmoral that they will justify polluting environments, exploiting workers, corrupting governments in the name of cheap prices and high profits. People who print money and then lend it to everyone with interest.

On the other hand, Gringo can also be a friendly term. I have many gringo friends and have business partners as I am sure most people do.

Hypocrite Mexicans July 23, 2013 at 10:43 PM

Sam, okay, fair enough. Just remove all the comments then and no further posts will occur. Just like you changed what I said, you can delete them all.

I’ll check later. Thanks.

Iván October 28, 2013 at 12:56 AM

The word “gringo” es de cariño… yo no soy mexicano, yo soy centoamericano, pero yo les digo así para referirme que ustedes vienen de U.S.A. :-))) this is the trud.

M.L. November 20, 2013 at 10:46 AM

As offensive as the N word? Absurd.

But a word whose most likely origin is either a word for peoplwho can’t speak Spanish properly or an allusion to invaders is decidedly offensive.

Certainly more inherently offensive than referring to illegal aliens as, well, illegal aliens.

I think it depends entirely on the tone and context. I’ce seen it used in a manner that is clearly innocuous and I’ve seen it used as a playful taunt and I’ve seen it used in a way that makes it clear it is intended as a slur.

It’s generally perceived as a rude and disrespectful term by Americans so if u aren’t an asshole u ought not use it.

BTW, I see a lot of contemptuous references here to American imperialism and white racism. Why are so many Latin-Americans oblivious of the fact that most Hispanics are direct descendants of white, racist, European, slave holding, Indian killing, Spanish imperialists? They refer contemptuously to “whites” with the tone of a martyr. I would say conservatively that at least a third of all Latin-Americans are white and that even most of the mixed ones look more white than they do Indian or black. There is also plenty of white supremacy and colorism in Latin-America. Get off your high horse please…

M.L. November 20, 2013 at 3:01 PM

@Oldwhitechick: You rock!

The idea that US people identitying as American is somehow arrogant is pure BS, and even those who say this KNOW it’s bullshit.

What are we supposed to call ourselves, United Statesians? Gimme a break.

If the US had instead been named “Columbia” after Columbus and Colombia were named the United States of America and called themselves “Americans”, I wouldn’t be the least bit offended.

People that claim offense at US citizens calling themselves “Americans” are just being provocative, stirring shit while projecting the shit stirring onto others (namely, Americans).

I love Latin-America, Latin-American people and Latin-American culture. Overall they are wonderful, uniquely warm and friendly people with a wonderful a very sweet commitment to their extended families. They’re good people. However, ethnocentric identity politics whoring types annoy the phuck out of me.

Kyle M January 19, 2014 at 9:06 PM

Ultimately, I think it all depends.

My hispanic friends were actually pretty evenly split when I asked. Some say it’s pejorative, some say it’s not.

Whatever way you see it, if I know you I likely won’t have a problem with it, but if I don’t know you, then you and I may have a problem. As the saying goes, “Them’s fightin’ words.” This all does really depend on the usage and context of the statement, as well as the culture of the area I am in. I wouldn’t be offended if I was visiting somewhere deep in the Mexican boonies and was called that by an older guy that calls every white person that, it’s just not worth getting upset about.

As offensive as calling a black person a nigger, though? No. Absolutely not by ANY stretch of the imagination. Some people really do blow things out of proportion. Saying stupid things like that almost make me immediately stop listening to the person’s opinion. It’s why I can’t watch Fox news.

Peace.

donna hardin March 9, 2014 at 11:34 AM

You are so right-it really does depend on HOW it is said and used! 🙂

shy January 23, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Hello! I used to watch Japanese movies such Godzilla, Maschinder, Candy, and alzó Dolph Lundgren, Van Dan Jean Claude, are the gringos. I am a fan of these movie stars. I thought they are from U.S. but Jean Van Dan is from Belgium and Dolph Lundgren is from Sweden. Dolph Lundgren is my favorite estar such Heman. Because of the marvelous people such Belgians, Swedish, and Australians.

donna hardin March 9, 2014 at 11:31 AM

I agree with what you are saying, but, I just had a person call me a F**CKIN GRINGA IDIOT! Now I know what GRINGA means and I have no problem with that!( BTW-I love all Latinos, and the culture-they are beautiful people) .We always had exchange students in our home when I was growing up! However-in this case don’t you agree just a little that it sounds a bit racist or might I say rude? It apparently was meant in a “not so nice” attitude. It is a lot of the youth that use this on FACEBOOK when they want to be hateful. Most are very cordial though. I don’t call any ethnic group a slang name. It’s a chance that someone will get offended. Just askin, guys! <3 No disrespect intended at all!

Herrumbroso Filero March 10, 2014 at 7:09 AM

Megan Kelly, as far as I know, seems to be your basic monolingual fool. I started laughing at some of the hilarious Anglo spin on “Gringo/a” on Pocho.

We are coming up on Saint Patrick’s Day — with the usual blarney, parades, green beer, etc. as people express “pride” at being Irish. I’ll bet you Megan Kelly will wear “green” on Saint Patrick’s Day. I wonder if she knows about the Banda de gaitas del Batallon de San Patricio MEXICOhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KvswKwHYos The same holds true for celebrating Columbus Day, going on a Folksmarch, clogging, feuding in Kentucky/West Virginia/Appalachia, etc.

I’d like to point out that if a Pocho calls you a Gringa idiot that isn’t particularly xenophobic or that bad. I’d suggest that you look at the underlying problem – as in what caused the person to get angry with you and how do YOU view them.

However being called a gavacho/a — pinche cabron — pendejo/a [well that’s latter term is plainly vulgar — mi abuelita, mom, tias all viewed using that word to be worth a solid blow with their chancla’s — NOW all of those are words are pejorative – but not “racist.” As others have pointed out Mejicanos/as are not a “race.”

Anglos tend to view the world through the prism of “race;” i.e., if you’re from Europe you’re “white.” It, “white” is a relatively recent use of that term – in the nineteenth century if you were from Germany you were from the German race, etc. The Brits had a hierarchical view of “races.” Let’s take how they view the Irish. It goes back to when the Normans invaded England. The Irish, like Megan Kelly’s descendants, were not viewed as even human and were commonly compared to monkeys. Its odd…..but one day perhaps even Megan Kelly will realize — everything isn’t black and white — even Santa Claus was prieto….and became white so that the English could distinguish between themselves from the Irish http://www.juancole.com/2013/12/photo-nicholas-white.html

It is really sad when someone like Megan Kelly goes on and on without knowing anything about her own history/roots. As my Boston Brahmin compa always points out about Megan Kelly: “How can anyone take her seriously… after all what else do you expect to come out of the mouth of a stupid Mick.” I always object to that characterization of Megan Kelly. Now I ask you — is his characterization racist, xenophobic or what you’d expect to come out of the mouth of a Boston Brahmin. It’s puro Anglo if you ask me………

Herrumbroso Filero March 10, 2014 at 7:50 AM

BTW — calling someone a Gringo is using Spanish ¿Que no? Well those people offended by the use of Spanish might consider Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, take on language: “I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse.” They should note that English doesn’t even rate a mention.

le raciste révolutionnaire March 11, 2014 at 2:28 PM

Gringo implies foreignness, and when you call white Americans living in say Virginia or Massachusetts who’ve had ancestors there nearly 4 centuries a “gringo” you are clearly making the statement that they don’t belong to the soil, versus some campesino who arrived 3 weeks ago on a Greyhound.

MX April 20, 2014 at 5:48 PM

Pancho Villa uses that word in 1920

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