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MEXICO: Chilango



Raúl Escalante lives in Mexico City. I asked him if he minded being called a chilango. He replied "Like all mild insults, it depends on the context (although I generally find it difficult to be insulted). I often describe myself as chilango, sometimes in a self-deprecating manner, sometimes while bantering with Regios and Jalisquillos (as Tapatíos are derogatorily called), or other provincianos". RH: Guadalajara is the second city in Mexico. Its inhabitants are called tapatíos. What is the origin of that term? Does it apply only to the city or to the state, Jalisco? Regios are people from Monterrey; I see nothing derogatory about it, unless you want the complete word, regiomontanos. These terms are tricky. In the old days, San Francisco was referred to by others as Frisco, but the inhabitants were infuriated by the term. Now it is forgotten, but it is all right to say SFO. In the US it is now politically incorrect to refer to wops, chinks, etc. Is Jap incorrect? In Mexico there seems to have been no such attempt to be politically correct. People still refer to Americans as gringos, not a complimentary term. Mexico is divided into states, not provinces, so the term provincianos is derogatory.

Ronald Hilton - 5/15/03


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