May 04, 2006

"Gringo"

Cavuto on Fox currently has a Mexican guy and an American talk show host discussing whether the term "gringo" is racist. As I noted here, it can be -- it depends on how it's used. Over the decades its derogatory meaning has lost some of its ... "power," but the older [Latin] generation still mostly considers it offensive to Americans/Canadians. My mother-in-law is a perfect example. She cringes whenever my wife affectionately refers to me as "her gringo" (and no -- not because she's upset her daughter actually married me, OK??) ;-)

Of course, on Cavuto's show, the actual middle ground was ignored: the Mexican dude insisted that "gringo" is not offensive, and the talk show guy insisted it is. I tend to think its usage for that Mexican boycott of all things American earlier this week was mostly derogatory; however, if you know an Hispanic person and are on friendly terms with him/her, if they use "gringo" don't get automatically offended. Many terms in Spanish have an "endearing" quality to them that may be considered offensive in their English translations. It's difficult to explain, but if you've studied Spanish (and possibly any language) you'll know what I'm talking about.

And hell, I even ironed on "#1 Gringo Fan" on the back of one of my Los Amigos Invisibles' t-shirts! When I showed it to the group's guitar and bass players at their last NYC concert, they were tickled pink!

Posted by Hube at May 4, 2006 04:49 PM | TrackBack

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From one of my all-time favorite movies, The Wild Bunch: "Hey gringo, you can have my share!"

(For those of you who only remember Ernest Borgnine from Airwolf, the gang had just discovered that their loot was metal washers, not coins.)

Posted by: G Rex at May 4, 2006 05:24 PM

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