What Does Cholo Exactly Mean?

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 such as Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio.

Cubicle Chula

DEAR CUBAN POCHA: There are multiple meanings of “cholo.” 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?

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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?


DEAR CONFUSED 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—are right. Roy Estrada was the bassist for the Mothers of Invention, which got its start as an OC 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 Ted Williams and Joe Kapp: Estrada is serving a decades-long prison sentence in Texas for being a chester.

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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 of me and our children. I don’t feel welcome 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?


DEAR GABACHA: 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, then 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. . . .

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