CVIndependent

Sun08252019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

27 Jul 2016

Ask a Mexican: What Does the Word 'Cholo' Mean?

Written by 

Dear Mexican: The word “cholo” means “mixed race” or “mestizo.” So isn’t using “cholo” to refer to gangbangers or other delinquents racist?

I’m Cuban, but please don’t group me with idiots like Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio.

Cubiche Chula

Dear Pocha: There are multiple meanings of “cholo” we’re dealing with here. The word derives from the Nahautl xolo, and its first documented definition was in Alonso de Molina’s epic 1571 Nahuatl-English dictionary, Vocabulario en lengua castellana y mexicana y mexicana y castellana; there, he said the Aztecs took it as “paje, moço, criado, o eƒclavo” (“page, waiter, servant or slave”). Spaniards being Spaniards, they applied the term to refer to the offspring of an Indian and a mestizo. Mexico being Mexico, it then became a palabra to apply to lower-class people, which spread across Latin America and into the United States. Gabachos being gabachos, they took cholo and made it into a derogatory slur applicable to all undesirable Mexicans. And pochos being pochos, they reappropriated cholo, then dumped it on gang members, not realizing that they were essentially calling the homies “dirty Mexicans.”

Don’t you just love how we don’t know our history?

Dear Mexican: I read in one of my Mexican conspiracy-theory magazines that Frank Zappa was not a founder of the Mothers of Invention. One of the two founders was actually a Mexican from SanTana. Is this a Mexican Jimi Hendrix type of mentira?

Confudido

Dear Pocho: For once, the Mexican conspiracy magazines—those that insist that Thomas Edison’s middle name was Alvaro, that Walt Disney was an orphaned Spaniard, and that Mexico will win the FIFA World Cup in this millennium—is right. Roy Estrada was the bassist for the Mothers of Invention, which got its start as an Orange County band named the Soul Giants. And Estrada was born in SanTana, the most Mexican big city in America.

But let’s not go out and try to claim him like we do with Ted Williams and Joe Kapp: Estrada is serving a decades-long prison sentence in Texas for being a chester.

Dear Mexican: I’m deeply saddened by this treatment of Mexican people and how it affects my family. It bums me out. My husband’s family doesn’t like me because of my race, and I know they are embarrassed about me and our children. I don’t feel welcomed in their homes, and it puts a burden on my husband to be in the middle. Sometimes, I feel so undeserving of even being alive.

I know I am a sensitive type, but this is ridiculous. … I try to stay away, but I am forced to participate in family functions even though I am uncomfortable. Any advice besides divorce?

Bummed

Dear Pocha: Don’t stand for your in-laws’ racism. Tell your husband that you and your children will not stand for such pendejadas anymore, and that if he can’t do that, that he’s a chavala and you will withhold sex from him until he changes. Ever see Lysistrata? Withholding your panocha from pendejo men, works, ladies.

Now, if only there were a nationwide campaign to prevent Trump from getting into office …

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.