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TIO GREENGLEE


Sep 27, 2009, 6:41 PM

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No Problem With "Gringo"

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I saw a post that said if someone calls you "gringo" in Chiapas, it's insulting.

I found this interesting because I have never felt that way in over five years of living here. For me, it's a friendly and easy way to identify Americans. I refer to myself El Gringo and that, along with my email address, chiapasgringo@hotmail.com, on my business cards always gets a smile. My forum name is Tio Greenglee because the little kids in my poor, mountainous Colonia can't say "gringo" so they gleefully shout "Tio Greenglee! Tio Greenglee!" when I arrive home in my beat up old pickup (I suspect this has something to do with my magically making a 50 centavo coin appear from behind their little ears).

It is annoying to me, for some reason, to be constantly referred to as güero by extended family members as if I didn't have a name of my own.



chinagringo


Sep 27, 2009, 6:56 PM

Post #2 of 41 (6782 views)

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Re: [TIO GREENGLEE] No Problem With "Gringo"

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I wear the moniker - chinagringo with pride! This was given to me by a young Immigration official at the Guadalajara airport and I have used it ever since. As an American that happened to be born in Shanghai, China - I felt that it was a somewhat unique title.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



Hound Dog

Sep 28, 2009, 6:55 AM

Post #3 of 41 (6727 views)

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Re: [TIO GREENGLEE] No Problem With "Gringo"

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You were not in Chiapas in Larrainza with us but I can tell you there was no guessing what the word meant, my friend, a Mexican who has been speaking Spanish for a lot longer than 5 years , got the message loud and clear and lashed out.

I live in Chiapas too and am learning Tzotzil as well so I can understand some of the comments too . Go ahead call yourself whatever you want but for your info ,gringo applies to anyone who is not Mexican, including Canadians and Europeans so do not feel so honored by your title.

Brigitte


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Sep 28, 2009, 9:58 AM)


TIO GREENGLEE


Sep 28, 2009, 8:55 AM

Post #4 of 41 (6696 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] No Problem With "Gringo"

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Dude, take it easy. I said I found your comment interesting - I didn't say you were a liar. Of course any moniker, spoken with hatred and anger can mean something entirely different. There is a difference in opinion to whom the term "gringo" applies.
It was originally just for Americans but, you're right, it is now used in Mexico for almost any Anglo. Good luck with Tzotjil - I wish I had the time and energy to learn it, too. The best I can come up with is something like "mayuk takim" (I don't have any money to buy from you or give you) and "malfoon cameron" (I'm not a tourist so don't try to charge me 10 pesos to shine my shoes in the park while you charge everyone else 6) :-)



Hound Dog

Sep 28, 2009, 9:22 AM

Post #5 of 41 (6678 views)

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Re: [TIO GREENGLEE] No Problem With "Gringo"

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I think you are in a different situation than most people are. You are living off in the country where people do not see many foreigners and children tried out the word on you, you liked it and they adopted you as their gringuito and then the word becomes an affectionate nickname.
When someone says , we do not like gringas , get out, there is nothing afectionate about it..it is all in the contest and situation.
The other day the little boy from a friend of mine told me his mother could not come to the phone as she was busy with gringos... He meant nothing by it except that they were not Zapotecos but his mother told him off.

Again it is all in the context. My friends in San Cristobal do not call me gringa or Kaxlan but mukil (younger sister). Do they speak Zoque in the town where you live or another language or is Spanish the main language there?

I have not been there but will have to visit when the weather is cold and grey up the mountain. I want to go and hike in the parc but have not made it yet.

Brigitte


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Sep 28, 2009, 9:58 AM)


TIO GREENGLEE


Sep 28, 2009, 12:02 PM

Post #6 of 41 (6642 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] No Problem With "Gringo"

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Hi Bridgette,

People in my town speak Spanish. Zoque is a little more common a little farther away in Copanila. My friend's mother is from there and she speaks Spanish with a Zoque accent - I don't understand a word she says but I, smile, nod and say "si" as if I do. Sometimes the consequences are hilarious. The weather here is moderate like San Christobal but this year it has been dry and hot. My corn and my yard are almost dead.
Take Care,
Roy


Merry Born


Sep 29, 2009, 7:01 AM

Post #7 of 41 (6573 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] No Problem With "Gringo"

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It always amuses me to hear Americans say Gringo refers to any foreigner. It does not. It refers to Americans. When we Mexicans use the word, which we always use when you are not around and sometimes when you are if we like you, we are thinking only of people born in the United States.

The confusion comes in because most Mexicans cannot spot the difference between a bona fide Gringo and a Canadian or white European. You pretty much all look the same to us, so we use the word more broadly than we should. But when we use the word, we are thinking of Americans, nobody else.

Another way to look at it: If the ambassador from Ghana was walking down a Mexico City street, clearly a foreigner, would anybody think: There goes a Gringo? Answer: Of course not.

Gringo does not apply to any foreigner, except by mistake.


mevale

Sep 29, 2009, 9:17 AM

Post #8 of 41 (6540 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] No Problem With "Gringo"

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You were not in Chiapas in Larrainza with us but I can tell you there was no guessing what the word meant, my friend, a Mexican who has been speaking Spanish for a lot longer than 5 years , got the message loud and clear and lashed out.

I live in Chiapas too and am learning Tzotzil as well so I can understand some of the comments too . Go ahead call yourself whatever you want but for your info ,gringo applies to anyone who is not Mexican, including Canadians and Europeans so do not feel so honored by your title.

Brigitte


So what? If they had said "we don't like estadounidenses, get out" the context would be the same and it has nothing to do with the word "gringo" or "estadounidense". You could substitute "alemana", "canadiense", whatever. Sounds like they just don't like "outsiders", period.

I also disagree with your statement that Canadians and Europeans are referred to as "gringos". It might be mistaken identity, as the poster above me said, but among all my Mexican friends, from either here in Ajijic or from Guadalajara, a "gringo" is a person from the U.S.

Go to Google Mexico, and do a search for the word "gringo" under "Noticias". This will make the point much clearer than I ever could.

Your husband several months ago tried to equate the word "gringo" with "nigger". Anyone who speaks Spanish and has Mexican friends know this statement is so ludicrous that the author need not be taken seriously in any discussion relating to the word.

I may not be the smartest guy in town, but I do know for a fact that when my Mexican friends call me "gringo", it is being used in a friendly and affectionate manner, and I don't need anyone on this web-board telling me how I should feel when it is used towards me. I'm an adult, and I can pretty much tell when a word is being used in a pejorative manner and when it is not.


(This post was edited by willieboy on Sep 29, 2009, 9:23 AM)


Hound Dog

Sep 29, 2009, 9:56 AM

Post #9 of 41 (6526 views)

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Re: [Merry Born] No Problem With "Gringo"

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Well there are lots of mistakes commited then. Are American Blacks gringos? Versus African Blacks that are morenitos? Give us a break.
I do not know many people who can tell the difference between a white American, Canadian or European if they do not speak and I heard plenty of people referred to as gringos who are not Americans.
I have heard people call me Americana many times when I am not from the Americas either. Gringo started out as a US Citizen but it has become synonimous with foreigner (from any country) and unless people know you very well or want to offend you they do not use the word when addressing you.

As far as what my husband says you can address him directly, I do not speak for him.


Manuel Dexterity

Sep 29, 2009, 10:32 AM

Post #10 of 41 (6509 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] No Problem With "Gringo"

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It is highly doubtful a consensus will be reached regarding a precise definition (if there is one) of the word gringo. Personally I believe when, where and why and by whom the word is used determine whether it is a pejorative or not.

Another thing to remember is that we are discussing its use here in Mexico. The word is used throughout the Spanish speaking world and can have different definitions in different parts of the world.

We are also debating here the use of the word as a noun but the word is used extensively in Mexico as an adjective for inanimate objects. How do those that feel strongly that the word is offensive feel about it when used as an adjective:

una camioneta gringa

un billete gringo

las noticias gringas

etc, etc.


mevale

Sep 29, 2009, 10:42 AM

Post #11 of 41 (6503 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] No Problem With "Gringo"

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Give us a break.


Let's see. In the post above by Merry Born, it was explained to you (by a Mexicana!) that you are mistaken, yet you still want to argue the point.

You said:
"I do not know many people who can tell the difference between a white American, Canadian or European if they do not speak and I heard plenty of people referred to as gringos who are not Americans."

Well gee, that is exactly the point she (and I) were trying to make. That doesn't invalidate the reality that the word "gringo" as used by Mexicans is reserved for people from the U.S., it just means that the speaker can't tell the difference.

Merry Born said:
"The confusion comes in because most Mexicans cannot spot the difference between a bona fide Gringo and a Canadian or white European. You pretty much all look the same to us, so we use the word more broadly than we should. But when we use the word, we are thinking of Americans, nobody else."

So please, keep arguing if you must. But if you insist that something told to you by a native speaker is not true, you are making yourself look as if you really don't care about the truth of the situation, but rather only in defending your position.

The sad part is that you really do have a lot of interesting things to share with this board, and I enjoy reading you and your husband's observations about the southern part of Mexico, but threads like this make me question your credibility in matters pertaining to Mexican culture. I know a lot of people who would rather be "experts" than be "right", and it is not an attractive quality. Sometimes saying "I could be wrong but,....." is not such a bad thing.







(This post was edited by willieboy on Sep 29, 2009, 11:41 AM)


gpkgto

Sep 29, 2009, 10:55 AM

Post #12 of 41 (6483 views)

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Re: [Manuel Dexterity] No Problem With "Gringo"

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When a Mexican wants to use gringo in a pejorative manner, it is often preceded by "pinche"--then there is no doubt.


TIO GREENGLEE


Sep 29, 2009, 11:04 AM

Post #13 of 41 (6476 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] No Problem With "Gringo"

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Lord of Loo, I thought this forum would be interesting and fun but it seems as if it is possessed by a paranoid, disputatious, neurotic with too much time on her hands. Fun while it lasted, though. Hasta luego.


yucatandreamer


Sep 29, 2009, 11:13 AM

Post #14 of 41 (6464 views)

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Re: [TIO GREENGLEE] No Problem With "Gringo"

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Here in Yucatan where an overweight person is called fatty, a one eyed person is called one eye, a dark person is called blackie, where we have a popular local band called “Nigga” worrying about being called a gringa is the least of my worries. Obviously this is one of those discussions that is useless to discuss and here in the “O so politically incorrect Yucatan” being called the gringa gorda is just one of the prices I pay to live here.


tashby


Sep 29, 2009, 12:26 PM

Post #15 of 41 (6437 views)

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Re: [TIO GREENGLEE] No Problem With "Gringo"

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Such a tired topic.

(TIO GREENGLEE, I hope you don't quit MexConnect because of this thread. It comes up *all the time*, and was recently thrashed out a couple months ago.)

I find I'm much happier to not give a shit about this subject.


bournemouth

Sep 29, 2009, 12:48 PM

Post #16 of 41 (6427 views)

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Re: [tashby] No Problem With "Gringo"

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I like that attitude Tashby - keep it up.


HhowieE

Sep 29, 2009, 6:51 PM

Post #17 of 41 (6336 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] No Problem With "Gringo"

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Interesting as usual.
The topic of this thread don't mean diddly squat to me but I always enjoy the banter.
I learn something everyday.
Today I learned that urban versu rural living is very different in the attitudes regarding personal relationships.
I guess if I really reflected upon it I would have learned the lesson earlier.
Anyway, I live rurally shall we say. I live with a very large transient family from Chetumal. I say transient because I provide a living for the family who move in and out of my life as they need, or as I may need. When we live at the ranch, there is no comment to me of gringo. Perhaps when I am not around it may come up but, it does not concern me.
The family and I have a very strong relationship that is not based on blood but a common need of each other.
I tease the fact their necks are short, they tease me for the pale color of my skin. I laugh at the history of the Mayas, they laugh at the weakness of the natives who lost all their land to the Europeans.
We also share weddings, birthdays and death.
Prejudice is where you live, it will always be close.
Befriend it and suffer the life you have chosen or find a new house to call home, where each is family.

Ron


Hound Dog

Sep 29, 2009, 7:42 PM

Post #18 of 41 (6320 views)

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Re: [HhowieE] No Problem With "Gringo"

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The family and I have a very strong relationship that is not based on blood but a common need of each other.
I tease the fact their necks are short, they tease me for the pale color of my skin. I laugh at the history of the Mayas, they laugh at the weakness of the natives who lost all their land to the Europeans.


HhowieE:

You remind me of a good story. We spend much time in the Oaxaca Zapoteco village of Teotitlan del Valle and stay with an extended Zapoteco family whose relationship we have come to treasure over the past seven years. We were all sitting around sipping mezcal and (warm) beer one night which is not an unusual event in those parts when we are there, when one of our hosts, somewhat in his cups, remarked with some assertiveness, "Well, everybody talks about how tough the Aztecs were and how they whipped our butts before the Spanish came along but let me ask you this.You see any Aztecs around here? Has anyone seen any Aztecs around here for hundreds of years?"

Well, I haven´t but I haven´t been here that long. OK, almost that long but not quite.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Sep 29, 2009, 7:44 PM)


La Isla


Sep 29, 2009, 8:49 PM

Post #19 of 41 (6300 views)

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Re: [TIO GREENGLEE] No Problem With "Gringo"

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In Reply To
Lord of Loo, I thought this forum would be interesting and fun but it seems as if it is possessed by a paranoid, disputatious, neurotic with too much time on her hands. Fun while it lasted, though. Hasta luego.


This forum is usually interesting and fun (and often offers life-saving advice). Stick around for awhile, and you'll see what I mean. Your insights into life in your little corner of Mexico will be most welcome, I assure you!


BrentB

Sep 29, 2009, 9:08 PM

Post #20 of 41 (6294 views)

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Re: [Merry Born] No Problem With "Gringo"

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I used to work for the mexican side of a joint venture in GDL. For a long while, I was illegal. My apodo or nickname was:
"gringo mojado". This was said with affection, often shortened to just gringo. When out drinking, I was often called: " pinche gringo", again with affection or cariño.

brent


sanjuan

Sep 30, 2009, 5:39 AM

Post #21 of 41 (6264 views)

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Re: [TIO GREENGLEE] No Problem With "Gringo"

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Strange thing to say "It was originally just for Americans" as it is a word brought from Spain meaning foreigner which mainly referred to other Europeans.

[edited at request of poster]

In Reply To
Dude, take it easy. I said I found your comment interesting - I didn't say you were a liar. Of course any moniker, spoken with hatred and anger can mean something entirely different. There is a difference in opinion to whom the term "gringo" applies.
It was originally just for Americans but, you're right, it is now used in Mexico for almost any Anglo. Good luck with Tzotjil - I wish I had the time and energy to learn it, too. The best I can come up with is something like "mayuk takim" (I don't have any money to buy from you or give you) and "malfoon cameron" (I'm not a tourist so don't try to charge me 10 pesos to shine my shoes in the park while you charge everyone else 6) :-)



(This post was edited by tonyburton on Oct 1, 2009, 9:40 AM)


gpkgto

Sep 30, 2009, 12:38 PM

Post #22 of 41 (6213 views)

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Re: [sanjuan] No Problem With "Gringo"

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REAL ACADEMIA ESPAÑOLA
gringo, ga.
(Etim. disc.).
1. adj. coloq. Extranjero, especialmente de habla inglesa, y en general hablante de una lengua que no sea la española. U. t. c. s.
2. adj. coloq. Dicho de una lengua: extranjera. U. t. c. s. m.
3. adj. Am. Mer., Cuba, El Salv., Hond. y Nic. estadounidense. Apl. a pers., u. t. c. s.
4. adj. Ur. inglés (‖ natural de Inglaterra). U. t. c. s.
5. adj. Ur. ruso (‖ natural de Rusia). U. t. c. s.
6. m. y f. Bol., Hond., Nic. y Perú. Persona rubia y de tez blanca.
7. m. coloq. Lenguaje ininteligible.


Hound Dog

Sep 30, 2009, 3:04 PM

Post #23 of 41 (6183 views)

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Re: [Merry Born] No Problem With "Gringo"

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It always amuses me to hear Americans say Gringo refers to any foreigner. It does not. It refers to Americans. When we Mexicans use the word, which we always use when you are not around and sometimes when you are if we like you, we are thinking only of people born in the United States.

While I do not dispute you Merry Born, tell what you mean by "we Mexicans". Are you in fact a person born and raised in Mexico and, if so, since you make that assertion regarding "we Mexicans", whereabouts? When you say "we Mexicans" are you asserting that Mexicans in, for instance, Sonora or Chihuahua, tend generally speaking, to agree in all respects, with Mexicans in Chiapas or Oaxaca or the Yucatan Peninsula? Please clarify your remarks.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Sep 30, 2009, 3:05 PM)


mazbook1


Sep 30, 2009, 5:57 PM

Post #24 of 41 (6142 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] No Problem With "Gringo"

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Merry Born posted:

Quote
It always amuses me to hear Americans say Gringo refers to any foreigner. It does not. It refers to Americans. When we Mexicans use the word, which we always use when you are not around and sometimes when you are if we like you, we are thinking only of people born in the United States.

I have to disagree with this. I'll tell a true story about what happened to me to make me disagree.

My 17-year-old Mexican son came to me and said he had something to tell me (necesitamos platicar). I told him to sit down and tell me. Well, he said, I've got a girlfriend. (tengo novia). I told him that was great (she was his first "serious" girlfriend). He then told me she was a "gringa" (es gringa). I told him that that was fine and asked where she was from. She's from Canada (esta canadiense), he said. I said that that was interesting, but where in Canada was she from? She's from Québec (esta de Québec), he told me. Wow, that's great I told him, what is her name?

Well, it was a French sounding name and it turns out that she's a French speaking Canadian whose father is down here running a Canadian-owned silver mine. Her family speaks French at home, but she is reasonably fluent in English (although her mother and brother aren't), and of course she's picking up Spanish rapidly.

My point is that my 17-year-old, barely bilingual Mexican son identified her as a GRINGA without any thought about it at all. That makes Merry Born's statement look a little suspect, as far as I'm concerned.

My wife and her family DON'T refer to Americanos as gringos, they refer to Americanos as "invasores" – "invaders".


johanson


Sep 30, 2009, 6:05 PM

Post #25 of 41 (6139 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] No Problem With "Gringo"

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I just asked three Mexicans in Spanish here in Ajijic what geographical area Gringolandia meant to them. I also asked them if I said Gringo whether it meant light skinned or Canadian. These three said that Gringlandia meant the USA, not Canada or anywhere else and that a Gringo was from the USA, not from anywhere else.

I am no expert on the subject. I just know what the folks I deal with tell me it means here in Ajijic. (as far as location is concerned)

I can make myself understood when I speak Spanish, and those who do not speak Spanish think I speak it well. Those who speak Spanish well, know better. Gosh I make so many errors. And my accent on some of the words is so bad, yet on others it's very good.

And gee it's a lot harder learning languages now than when I was in my 20s living first in NL for 13 months and later in Bavaria for more than 4 years. Maybe some of that has to do with the fact that I drink more and study less.

I guess Gringo means different things to different folks. Heck, I don't know.


(This post was edited by johanson on Sep 30, 2009, 6:08 PM)
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