Culture

13 Things You Should Know About Cholo Culture

Odds are if you grew up in the 90s you knew at least one cholo at your local high school. But did you know that the phrase “cholo” goes way back to 1609? Originally a derogatory term used by Spaniards for mixed-blood descendants of the Spanish Empire, the word seems to have evolved since then to have meaning outside of ethnic heritage. Having been reclaimed by Latinos of mixed heritage, the term has come to mean many more things. So for all you cholos, cholas, cholitas, and chongas out there, here are the 13 things you should know about cholo culture.

1. Why did they call us Cholos?

Credit: Wikipedia


So what is a Cholo? And where did the word even come from?

A Peruvian text dating back to 1609 features the first known use of the word. The writer, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, wrote the book in Spanish and it was called  Comentarios Reales de los Incas. 

“The child of a Black male and an Indian female, or of an Indian male and Black female, they call mulato and mulata. The children of these they call cholos. Cholo is a word from the Windward Islands; it means dog, not of the purebred variety, but of very disreputable origin; and the Spaniards use it for insult and vituperation”.

Credit: Wikipedia


Vega himself was the son of a Spaniard and a royal Incan mother and was one of the first Latin-American born Spanish writers to be widely read in Europe and enter the western canon. Vega may have been one of the first men to write down cholo, but it is heavily suggested the term predates him.

Later on, in Colonial Mexico, the terms cholo and coyote were used interchangeably to describe Mestizo and Amerindian ancestry.

2. Who let the Anglos learn about the term “Cholo” anyway?

Credit: Wikipedia


So by the 1700s, the term cholo is being thrown around in Latin America. So who let English-speakers know about cholos anyway?

You can blame Herman Melville for that.

Image result for moby-dick

credit: Amazon

In the popular 1851 novel Moby-Dick,  Melville uses the term to describe a Spanish-speaking sailor.

The term showed up again in 1907 in the Los Angeles Express.  A headline read “Cleaning Up the Filthy Cholo Courts Has Begun in Earnest,” and the article repeatedly used the terms Mexican and cholo interchangeably. The term “cholo court” was used to refer to the poor areas where Latinos tended to live.

Credit: Wikipedia


Once the word was integrated into the English language, it caught on and was used to mean “Mexican” or “Latino” generally by those who would look down on them.

As Latino immigrants were recruited to work agricultural jobs in the early 20th century, their communities grew and white Americans grew to use the term “cholo” against them.

3. Zoot Suit Riot

Credit: Wikipedia


When the Great Depression hit in the 1930s, the U.S. started deporting people of Mexican descent. Sources suggest that between 500,000 and 2 million Mexican people were expelled from the country, including 1.2 million U.S. citizens who were deported illegally. Mexican communities in the United States struggled to keep their homes and families together, and Latino youth began creating their own “Chicano” and “Cholo” subcultures, as they were referred to by American newspapers.

Credit: Wikipedia


Zoot suits – baggy clothes that would hide the shape of one’s body – became a staple of early cholo culture. Barrios were full of the iconic look, and white Americans noticed. Tensions exploded in June 1943 with the Zoot Suit Riots, a series of pogroms against Chicano youth where American military men and white civilians joined forces to attack and strip children, teens, and youths of their zoot suits.

Zootsuit2.jpg

Credit: Wikipedia

Police aided rioting servicemen and at the end fo the riots more than 150 Latinos had been injured, with 500 Latinos charged with rioting and vagrancy.

Cholo culture was forever to be tied from then on to insurgent behavior and criminality, justifying the attacks against Latino communities for years to come.

5. Chicano Pride

Credit: Wikipedia


Long before the modern image of the cholo with facial tattoos, was the idea of the political radical from the 1960s. Cholo culture took a page out of the Black Power movement and fought back against police brutality and repression. Again criminalized by the American government, the Chicano Pride movement sought to address negative ethnic stereotypes of Mexicans in mass media and the American consciousness. The term Chicano itself was used interchangeably with cholo as a derogatory term for Latinos, but the movement sought to change that.

READ: 20 Things Mexican Families Do That You Didn’t Realize Were Odd Until You Moved Out

Credit: Instagram @powwowfutures


The movement was targeted, like other activist movements of the era, by COINTELPRO, the U.S. Counter Intelligence Program that largely aimed to surveil and disrupt leftist organizations.

6. Cholos and Gangs

Credit: Instagram @ogbiglelo


With the rise of America’s criminalization of Latino organizing, Mexico and Central America saw a rise of deported Chicano youth returning to its streets in the 1970s. Groups that stuck together were not accustomed to life in Mexico and were largely viewed as American due to their appearances and language.

Credit: Wikipedia


Soon the groups came to be associated with gangs, mostly bringing together young boys and men between the ages of 13 and 25 years old. Many of the gangs from this era actually formed in the United States – like MS-13, Latin Kings, Norteños, Sureños, and the 18th Street Gang. The groups which were established in the U.S. continued in Latin America and cholos brought American street culture back with them. With few jobs and school opportunities available to them, the groups began to make alliances with local drug cartels based on particular regions and cities.

7. The Chola Fashion

Image result for cholas

credit: wearemitu / YouTube


While cholo culture evolved in the 80s and 90s, it also became a part of the American fashion industry. Men moved away from the traditional zoot suits and towards loose-fitting khaki pants, white knee-high socks, creased jeans, and plaid or flannel shirts over white tank tops.

WATCH: Cholas Talk CHOLAS FASHION 

Credit: Hypebeast


Women, on the other hand, left a more lasting impression on American makeup and fashion with their signature pointed eyebrows, outlined lips, and heavy gold chains. The manicured black baby hair and slicked back ponytails were also iconic, referenced today in countless music videos and runway looks. Selena Gomez, FKA Twigs, Rihanna are just a few celebrities who have rocked the Chola look.

8. Cholo Music

Credit: Instagram @mrleanlikeacholo


Who didn’t love the 2007 hit,  Lean Like a Cholo? If you didn’t know what a Cholo was by then, odds are you were living under a rock. Down AKA Kilo slid into the top hit charts with his tune on the cholo lifestyle, but he was certainly not the first. Back in 1979, punk rock band The Dickies recorded “I’m a Chollo” for their album,  Dawn of the Dickies

Credit: Instagram @tonifrancois

Oddly enough, cholo culture would be tied to American goth music and oldies. The connection isn’t entirely clear, but “Cholo Goth” is definitely still a thing.

9. Cholo Iconography & Tattoos

Credit: Instagram @thechaoschronicles


Of course, we couldn’t have an article on cholos without mentioning tattoos! Some of the most iconic body art in the world rests on the backs of cholos and cholas worldwide. Though much of it is associated with Christian imagery (think the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and countless crucifixion scenes) and calligraphy, cholo tattoo culture has also evolved some of its own new imagery. 

Credit: Instagram @marco_ojeda449


One of the most iconic of this new tattoo world is the “smile now, cry later” set of masks, normally associated with theater. The image pays homage to the pain and suffering many people living the cholo life experience – a short amount of joy sometimes for a lifetime of consequences.

10. The Cholo Lingo

Credit: Instagram @txchnxlxgy


Along with a mixture of American and Latino culture came a mixture of the two languages: Spanish and English. Spanish words slid into the Cholo English lexicon, and words like vato, neta, wey, prieto, and jeta became standard in graffiti, tattoos, and other written corners of the cholo world.

Credit: Associated Press


What do those words mean? Well, vato is “dude,” wey is “dude,” prieto is “racist or uptight dude,” and jeta is “sour face.”

11. Cholos and Lowriders

Credit: Instagram @the_anti_gang


Back during the 40s and 50s, Los Angeles-based Mexican-American youth started redesigning cars, painting them and lowering them for aesthetic purposes. It became a cultural phenomenon and political statement, reinventing the American automobile for the Latino community.

Image result for lowriders california

credit: The San Diego Union-Tribune

California wasn’t having it, and in 1958 the state outlawed operating any car modified so that a part was lower than the bottoms of its wheel rims.

Credit: Instagram @houstonlowriders

Cholos were quick to circumnavigate the restrictions. A customizer named Ron Aguirre developed a way of bypassing the law in 1958 by using hydraulic pumps and valves that could change the height of a car at the flick of a switch. The next year, Chevrolet would introduce the Impala, which happened to have a frame excellently suited for lowering and modifying with hydraulics. The rest is history.

12. Cholo “Homies” Toys

Credit: Instagram @pakitorod777


If you were a Latino kid in the late 90s or early 00’s you probably remember these little figurines, also known as Homies. The adorable characters were created by David Gonzalez and based on a comic strip that he created,  The Adventures of Chico Loco. The toys have become collectibles across the world and spawned dozens of imitations.

Credit: Instagram @javiboys8


Homies became so popular the Los Angeles Police Department complained that the toys were promoting “gang life.” Some Latino advocacy groups, such as the Imagen Foundation, also felt the figurines promoted anti-Latino stereotypes. However, the fears turned out to be unsubstantiated – Homies have been shown to help American adolescents with their cultural identity and self-esteem. As the toy line has expanded, the various characters have also shown a greater range of lifestyle choices and possibilities.

13. Cholos Go Mainstream

Credit: Wikipedia

If you’ve ever played Grand Theft Auto, you’ve likely encountered cholo culture and characters. In fact, in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, there is a gang called “The Cholos” who dress and act exactly like, well, cholos!

Credit: Instagram @enchantedpopup


In this day and age, we’ve seen cholo fashion, art, lingo, and more go mainstream.

Napolean Dynamite featured two characters simply referred to as “Cholo No. 1” and “Cholo No. 2.”

Prayers, the cholo goth band founded in 2013, is fronted by the iconic Rafael Reyes, a.k.a. Leafar Seyer. Their lyrics explore the harsh realities of street life and cholo culture.

With cholo culture referenced at so many twists and turned in popular culture, it’s almost impossible to miss. Who is your favorite cholo?

The Bernie Campaign Teamed Up With Cardi B To Talk About Police Brutality, DREAMers And Raising Wages

Entertainment

The Bernie Campaign Teamed Up With Cardi B To Talk About Police Brutality, DREAMers And Raising Wages

@BernieSanders / Twitter

Vermont Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and rapper Cardi B have been teasing their on-screen discussion on issues ranging from police brutality to canceling student debt for a few weeks now. Finally, the Sanders campaign published the video in all its nearly ten minutes of glory.

The two met at Detroit’s TEN nail bar, a deluxe nail salon founded and operated by two women of color. Cardi B came prepared with a list of questions that her own followers have brought up with her. In essence, Cardi B served as a representative of her fans’ political interests and brought them to a Presidential candidate to see if he would be the guy to officially represent their needs in the nation’s most meaningful capacity–as POTUS 2020.

Six weeks ago, Cardi asked her fans what they would want to hear Bernie Sanders discuss.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

On July 2, the rapper shared a video to Instagram telling her followers that her number one question to Bernie Sanders is about how to end police brutality in this country. “What would you like to ask? what change would you like to see in your community and in the USA 🇺🇸?” she posted. “2020 is getting very close let’s get familiar with who is running and how they can change the country! Put your questions down below and your questions may be answered very soon.”

Nobody expected she was actually going to sit down with Bernie Sanders and represent the Bardi Gang’s political issues.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Hilariously, Sanders wiggled his fingers alongside Cardi B’s as he told us that, “Cardi B’s nails are juuuust a little different than mine. Our views on the issues are pretty similar.” 

Cardi B absolutely nailed it as an interviewer. She steered the conversation and truly represented her followers’ interests. She opened the video to remind everyone that, “A couple of weeks ago, I asked my followers what types of questions would you want to ask a Democratic candidate. Let’s go baby.” Here are the takeaways.

Number one: Cardi and Bernie’s shared goal is getting Trump out of office.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“You know what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to advocate the youth in my community because I feel like there’s a serious problem right now in America,” Cardi opens. “We have this bully as a President and the only way to take him out is somebody winning.”

“We’ve got to get rid of Donald Trump, obviously. Because Donald Trump is an overt racist. He’s just way out there.”

The first question on Cardi’s mind is putting an end to police brutality in America. Bernie has a three-pronged plan.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi B got vulnerable and talked about the mental effects of what it’s like to “constantly see on social media police brutality against black men and against minorities. What are we going to do to change that, because that is discouraging our people? We constantly see our men getting killed every day, and it seems like nobody cares.”

Sanders wants to end the militarization of police departments, which he sees as a form of intimidation.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

To address police brutality, he wants the Department of Justice to investigate every police killing to ensure accountability and prevent local police departments from covering up crimes. He also wants to federally obligate police departments to “look like the community they serve” and “not like an oppressive army.” Sanders related to the “disgust” of seeing 1 in 4 young black men in the criminal justice system. His solution to that specific issue is to invest in free education instead of investing in prisons and incarceration. 

During his first week as President, Sanders will reinstate the executive order that gave protections to DREAMers, and he wants to extend those protections to their parents.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi had recalled meeting a fan who enrolled for protections under DACA and is now facing deportation back to Mexico–a place that he has no living memory of ever knowing. Bernie wants the 1.8 million young people who qualify for DACA to experience the freedoms of this country. When he said he wants to expand that program to their parents, Cardi did a little jiggle and let out a “Yeahhh!”

Bernie is going to raise taxes to allow free healthcare and education, but it will be cheaper on a day to day for Americans.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“People are afraid to pay more taxes than they’re already paying,” Cardi rightly stated. Bernie’s plan to offer free health care for all will ultimately be cheaper for the overwhelming majority of people than paying for premiums, deductibles, and copayments.

Cardi B will never forget how hard it was to make a living wage before she found fame.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi B brought up how “certain people like to brag” about how there are more jobs in America, but she’s questioning the quality of these jobs. Why are her followers having to work two or three jobs to survive? Bernie wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. 

By placing a modest tax on Wall Street, Sanders plans to cancel student debt.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Forty-five million Americans are living with student debt. Sanders knows that those of us in our 20s and 30s were told that we had to go to college to get a good job. Where the good jobs at? Our generation is far less likely to own homes and make financial progress in our lives. For the first time, our generation is worse off than the generation before it. 

Sanders has a message to Cardi B’s followers: “Trump doesn’t want people of color to be participating in the political process.”

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“Participate in the political process,” he tells POC. You can spend five minutes to register to vote here.

Watch the full interview below!

What do you think about Cardi B’s interview?

READ: Cardi B Claps Back At “Republicans And Conservatives” Who Want Her To Shut Up When It Comes To Politics

Little Boy On His Way to Kindergarten Tells His Mom ‘Don’t Be Scared’ And All Of Twitter Is Sobbing

Culture

Little Boy On His Way to Kindergarten Tells His Mom ‘Don’t Be Scared’ And All Of Twitter Is Sobbing

Prepare yourself to desperately want kids if you don’t already. Possibly the cutest kid alive went to Kindergarten for the first time on Monday, and was feeling very ready. That said, his mom was far less ready to see her baby boy go off to school for the first time. So she did what any other mom would do–she asked him to “tell [her] something to help [her] feel better.” Oh, and she recorded everything and his response went viral on Twitter because it’s 2019.

Now, Twitter is begging the Universe to impregnate them so they can have a perfect muñeco lindo like this one.

“You’re going to your first day of Kindergarten.” his mom says. “How do you feel?”

Credit: @headdphanieeeee / Twitter

“Good,” he says matter of factly. “Good? You feel good?” she asks. “No,” he says. Incredulous, she double checks with her son and he answers her again, “No!” He’s not nervous, auntie.

“You’re not nervous? I’m nervous. Can you tell me something to make me feel better?”

Credit: @headdphanieeeee / Twitter

Just two weeks prior, a white supremacist drove 10 hours to El Paso, Texas to specifically target Latinos. He killed 22 people with an assault-type rifle. Everyone is scared. Except for this pequeño.

“Umm… Just please don’t be scared ’cause there’s nothing to be afraid of,” he comforts his mom. At this point, all the comments look like this: “THIS IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING I’VE SEEN.”

What the hell how is this kid 40 already?” asks one fan.

Credit: @headdphanieeeee / Twitter

Another commented, “I feel like 1 conversation with him, he can help me file my taxes, figure out why I’m depressed, tell me what foods to eat that can burn fat while I sleep and tell me the meaning of life. He GENIUS smart, I can tell. Lol”

Other parents could relate to Liz’s fears and are hoping their kid feels as confident as this little one.

Credit: @headdphanieeeee / Twitter

Another dad was commiserating with the mom’s fear, knowing he had to drop his daughter off at school soon, too. “This is awesome!” he tweeted. “Next week my baby starts kindergarten and I swear daddy is gonna be in tears to see my princess go somewhere without me being there! So I feel you on this”

His official “First Day of School” pic is even more precious. 

Credit: @ellyez42 / Instagram

Based in Fort Worth, Texas, Liz is clearly cultivating a bright kid. She captioned this photo, “So masterfully created and crafted. Wildfire-setting all things in his path ablaze.” she  An uncontrolled, genuine, grateful, innocuous, exuberant, kind, and messy version of two humans. A concoction of inquiries with very little answers, yet the burning question still rises within me…how am I so fortunate to know you? How giving Mother Earth has been for gifting us you.”

Folks have asked, “how is he so emotionally intelligent at such a young age?” Liz is raising him so, so right.

Credit: @ellyez42 / Instagram

She captioned this photo from March: “Boys will be boys, with respectful demeanors who hold the aptitude to take no for an answer.” I’m sobbing.

“Trust your offspring and they will deliver honesty,” she continues. “Remind them that it’s okay to cry, then laugh with them when the tears subside. Teach boys to water their gardens so that they can watch their flowers bloom until they are old enough to pick the right one.”

Everyone is wishing him a happy first day of school, and even offering to send him care packages.

Credit: @YatMysterio / Twitter

This new fan is just enamored with him. She tracked down Liz’s Instagram and commented, “Twitter brought me here, amazing kid with a big future ahead. Keep him protected at all cost. I don’t know of your life, but if you are a single parent. You are doing an amazing job 💙 reminds me of the bond I have with my mom. If you can send me anything he likes, books, snacks, toys. I’d love to send him a care package!

Seems like his first day might have been more boring than anticipated.

Credit: @Bjohnsxn_ / Twitter

Just 17 more years to go, pequeño! Chin up! Well, not *that* up. This kid has gotten more bendiciones in one day than most of us have had in our whole lives, so we know he’s going places. He’s been dubbed a “hero” and folks are looking to him “to do soo much in the future.”

Shoutout to this kid for giving Texas something to smile about.

Credit: @_Buhlez / Twitter

Also, Liz, can you write up a brief parenting course for everyone else out here? Brava.

READ: Bad Bunny Just Dropped a Line of Notebooks With Walmart And We are Officially Ready To Head Back To School

Paid Promoted Stories