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Spanish Ethnic Labels: Chulo, Pachuco

Bob Crow adds to our thesaurus of the meanings of "cholo":

"In the Central Valley in the 1950s, "cholo" in junior high and high school had a cool, tough-guy meaning -- not inconsistent with "a sinister-looking character, a thug." It was more or less synonymous with "pachuco." The look was a duck-tail haircut, low-slung Levis with tiny cuffs, and a white t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Cigarettes were rolled into the sleeves. Anglos as well as chicanos could be cholos. It had more to do with the look and the attitude than it did ethnicity. Many of us were cholo wannabes, but we couldn't make it if we got good grades and stayed out of trouble."

My comment: One could write a book about the varieties of Hispanic culture based on the varying meanings of words like "cholo"and "pachuco" We even had a Stanford faculty member who dressed up as a pachuco to show that he was one of the boys. Bob should have mentioned the long chain as part of the get-up. Mexicans resent being called chicanos, and they ridicule the term pachuco, which came from a ludicrous character in a Mexican sitcom.

Ronald Hilton - 1/28/01