Are You "Pocho"?


If there were an Italian word for pocho, I would be that.  What is pocho?  No one really agrees, and I'm not sure the term is used much in Chicago.  I read about it in a book about Los Angeles in which it was used to describe kids who'd lost their full Mexican identity but weren't yet totally Americanized either. 

Wikipedia defines it here.  Ask A Mexican! makes fun of the whole concept with the following commentary: "The
only Mexicans who care whether someone is Mexican enough are insecure
twits who aren't Mexican enough, and some of the most notorious
examples come from Chicano Studies professors (but not all of you, o
noble researchers of everything wab!) and Carlos Mencia. Oh, and
immigrant elders, but their angst is excused--that's the American
immigrant experience, after all." (ask a mexican!)

What about you?  Are you pocho?  Have you ever even heard the term used by kids or parents or teachers? Is it offensive, descriptive, useful, or none of the above?

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  • I've heard of the term ABCD or American born confused Desi to describe second generation Indian sub-continent (i.e. Indians, Bangladeshis...) Americans. It's a term of derision used by first generation to reference the second generation's seemingly unrootedness--that is neither being fully Indian (Bangladeshi...) nor being fully American (whatever that means).

  • From Sam:
    I was called a "pocho" by my Spanish teacher in high school. I was a sophomore and I hated when she called me this because she said it in an insulting manner. She would call me a "pocho" when I did not know the correct answer. I was already insecure about a few things in high school and the last thing I needed was a teacher that was insulting me. Turns out, she was Cuban and her Spanish was terrible! I learned more from watching "El Gordo y La Flaca!"

  • Cuba

    My school has a lot of kids from Latin America. Most are from
    Mexico, but some are also from Costa Rica and Colombia.
    Most of our Spanish Teachers are of Mexican or US heritage.
    I have heard many of our kids say Cubans speak a different dialect
    and are hard to understand. My question is this, is there a standard
    Spanish dialect? And if so where is it spoken.

  • Spanish is localized. Native Spanish speakers notice the difference in inflection and idioms used by folks from other lands. Within Mexico there are regional differences in languages as in customs and cuisine. Pocho is can be used to describe a chicano/mexican as one who lives in the States and is visiting. It can be used as a straight up insult.

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