The History of “Cholo” | Decoded

– When you think of cholos or cholas, you might think of tattoos,
pencil thin eyebrows or maybe Flaca from
Orange is the New Black. What up, Flaca? But have you ever wondered where the word cholo even comes from? Here’s a hint, it’s really old. There are a lot of words floating around to describe Mexican-Americans these days. Hispanics, Chicanos,
Latinx, you get the picture. Now, not all of the words are nice or even accurate, but all of
the have their own history. Cholo is one many of us
know from pop culture, but this word predates your culturally insensitive
Halloween costume by a long shot. My friend, Veronica Garza, is here to help us break it all the way down. – That’s right, Franchesca. I’m gonna take you all
the way back in the day before Europeans showed
up in Latin America and before Leanin’ Like
a Cholo hit the charts and before this guy played
a cholo in every movie. Anyway, the origin of the
word cholo is complicated and it’s meaning differs
across Latin America. But when it comes to a cholo in the U.S., it probably stems from xoloitzcuintlil, which is a word in Nahuatl, the language of my people, the Aztecs. Xoloitxcuintlil, or xolo for short, is not just a word that
will royally screw you over in a spelling bee, it’s a
word that refers to a dog that’s native to Latin America. No, not the chihuahua, it’s this guy. The Aztecs believed
this hairless little guy guided people to the
underworld after death. Pero, as as often been
the case in world history, when Europeans show up
for gold and spices, things quickly got racist. See, when the Spanish showed up, they created a racial cast system where indigenous people were at the bottom and Spaniards were at the top. And because they were so creative the Criollo, or people of Spanish descent, used the word cholo to describe indigenous and mixed indigenous
people as being like dogs. Of all the times to not have a chancla. Now fast forward to the United States where the Spanish cast
system was done away with and the mixed raced immigrants of Mexico were met with open arms and
no one ever compared them to animals ever again. I’m kidding. It got more racist. Anyway, in the 1940’s, chicanos, or people of Mexican
descent living in the U.S. were known as Pachucos. They mostly lived in East L.A. and were known for wearing zoot suits. Looking sharp, homie. All right now, let’s
talk about las mujeres. Pachuca women known for breaking the mold of the good wife that
was all over the place in wartime America. They formed girl gangs,
sometimes wore zoot suits and rocked huge bouffant hairstyles. That’s a lot of hairspray. It’s important to remember this was a time where America was
fighting in World War Two and it was seen as patriotic to conform to gender roles
and of course, to be white. Uncle Sam wants you to be white. Chicanos and other people
of color used fashion to protest forced assimilation
into American culture, daring to take up space
with extravagant garments at a time when poor people were being made to ration their clothing
for the war effort and when white people basically
wanted them to disappear. But this came at a price. In 1943, a bunch of cops in L.A. decided to spend their free time targeting and brawling with young Pachucos and participants of zoot suit culture. This led to the zoot suit riots which were a pivotal
point for the Pachucos and what would later become cholo culture. Yeah, even a riot can’t
stop us from looking good. Fast forward to the 50’s and 60’s and here come the cholos, the children of Pachuco zoot suit culture with a new look and a
whole lot of attitude. Basically, the cholos drew
from their surroundings and represented their
experiences on their bodies. They were influenced by gang culture, jail attire and working
class migrant clothes. The real lives a la gente, we’re talking bandanas, Dickies, flannel shirts and big hoops. Big hoop earrings, never
leave home without them. Just like their predecessors, these folks were styling on a budget but they brought a more street aesthetic and rocked more tattoos and eyeliner. They were also associated with lowriders, customized muscle cars that cruise through the barrio todo bajito y suavicito instead of fast and furious. Cholo culture and lowrider
culture represent a lot of the same goals. In 1976, journalist Ted West wrote that lowriders express the refusal of a young Chicano American to Anglicized. There has never been a clearer case of the automobile being
as an ethnic statement. What up, Batmobile? When we connect the dots, cholo cultures represents a long history of resistance to colonization
and cultural assimilation. It’s more than just a look,
it’s an attitude and a movement. These days, I know it’s cool to dress up like a cholo or a chola, even if you have no idea what
it represents, Gwen Stefani, and cholo is a word that
was meant to insult us, but has been transformed to a look, attitude and culture based on our experiences with marginalization. So don’t be a Columbus. Tu sabes? – Thanks for the history lesson, Veronica. Who knew the word cholo went
all the way back to the Aztecs? And who could have
guessed that Gwen Stefani would take something from
a culture that isn’t hers? The more you know, am I right? Special thanks to Veronica Garza for helping us out and as always, thanks for watching. We’ll see you next time
right here on Decoded.

100 thoughts on “The History of “Cholo” | Decoded

  1. I hope fran knows that all the negative comments and thumbs down means shes doing the RIGHT THING. Making people nervous by giving real knowledge on the internet accessible TO ALL!

  2. White people dying to get rid of the race conversation when all their grandparents fought for segregation in the first place😂. So funny. So ironic

  3. Dude…or fran the tran ..WHATEVER you are, your good at the victimhood culture game right ? So answer this question… why is there no Mexican SAMURAI ? Ive been in Japan twice and not a statue or ANYTHING like a Mexican SAMURAI or even a showgun. Only close thing ive seen was in San Francisco Chinatown, it was a Mexican with a shotgun in a back ally robbing a Asian dude.

  4. "None of them are nice, or even accurate." You're right, there is nothing accurate about Latinx. It's either Latino or Latina

  5. Gwen taking a culture that is not theirs. Well, Franny, can you tell your tens of thousands of black people to stop getting chinese character, dragons, and koi fish tattoos? It hurts my feelings as an Asian person.

  6. Latinx???!!! what… the …hell… As a Mexican, I can not contain my cringe at the way they explain things. Also, is that Mexican lady Dora the Explorer? I hate when they throw random
    Spanish words, and DO NOT MESS WITH GWEN STEFANIE! I've been a fan since the 90'S!!!! If anything I thought it was cool she had Mexican references in her Luxurious video.

  7. There's no longer any cholos. Only fat pelones. When I was growing up cholos we're Mexican Americans who,though involved in felonious activity, never lost their dignity. The ironed their clothes they combed their hair. They showered. Though they never had the best threads they always kept it lined up. Now these idiots wearing skinny jeans popping pills saying n word n word. 1990 the last of a dying breed who learned work ethic & how to suffer in silence. Now we're no better than those Puerto Ricans

  8. She sound like a white girl why cant she just talk like a black person, I hate when people change their voice when they on tv or whatever

  9. Dear lord that's chesca is one gorgeous motherfucker entertaining and educating me god thank i so much

  10. Why do both the hostess come off with a ton of hate?

    How does Veronica know Gwen doesn’t know the history?

  11. i need a HBO or Netflix drama about those Pachuca women in zoot suits and i need it yesterday.

  12. i dont see whats negative about being called a spiritual guide…………….more respect and worship for the old ways and your true gods instead of the white man's religion would fix that

  13. I went to study in Peru a few years ago and the first time my friend Julio called me a chola, I was upset but he didn't understand why. I thought he was trying to insult me but apparently the word cholo/chola is used the same way we use any slang word to acknowledge someone you considered a friend or family in the region he is from.

  14. Unfortunately all the people who dislike this channel are the exact people who need this channel

  15. Amazing I did not know about it, thanks for this video it's very informative an interesting

  16. Gwen Stefani actually grew up in the 90s around Mexican Cholo culture in southern California. Not like she's from Knoxville, Tenessee. She probably had cholo friends and seen them in school growing up. She was just paying homage to the life style and perpetrating the stilo outta respect and recognition to people in her area. Leave gwen alone. She looked fine in that video.

  17. 1. It's xoloitzcuintli, not xoloitzcuintlil.
    2. Black people were at the bottom of the colonial caste system, not indigenous people.

  18. Trump called MS13 gang members animals. Please stop spreading your nonsense. Homegirl never been passed TJ. Selena is Mexican American. She was a born in the US. At least rock a Frida tee.

  19. Gwen grew up around the [email protected] culture of the Cholo…

    Many Orange County bands were influenced by Cholo lifestyle…

    Take a moment and listen to Sublime, Santeria and more… I got love for those that got love for our culture!

    I just finished watching "Beautiful Are Thy Feet" a short film streaming on Amazon, touches on the Cholo lifestyle!

    Who remembers Maniac Hispanics?

  20. You forgot to mention that pachuco gangsters came from El Paso Texas

  21. This video was extremely informative and surprisingly not filled with white tears😂

  22. This video was very informative however stating that the indigenous people were at the bottom was not true. The Africans were and always have been. Their influence and contributions to Mexican culture was overlooked (as usual) here. Hopefully just an oversight..

  23. I’m sorry but the way you pronounce cholo is offensive kssisksksksk

  24. In Peru 🇵🇪 as far as I know, calling someone a cholo or chola is a horrible racist insult 😞

  25. I can tell all of you that she has no idea about the origin of cholos and she is not mexican for real.

  26. Very educational but One thing worth mentioning is that it’ was always just a “Look” it has become a dangerous lifestyle over decades, as being a “cholo” is associated with being a Gang Member witch is also Organized Crime with The Mexican Mafia in full Control of Hispanic Gangmebers (Southsiders/ Sureños) controlling drugs in and out of prison. So much chaos, violence and pain have come to Hispanic community’s and families to the many gang related killings of out youth every generation.


    Only the self entitle gays or whatever use that title to make themselves feel special.

  29. Taking from a culture that isn's hers… hmmm… OK you dum dum.. So let's start with you then. Take off that outfit because that's not from your culture.. and put on some African attire. Oh.. and that gold painted deer you have hanging.. yup.. that's not part of the African culture.. I could keep going.. but yeah.. dum dum

  30. Bruhhh Trump never called all immigrants animals. Stop feeding on CNN headlines and go watch the actual interview. He was asked about MS13 gang members and he said that those gang members are animals

  31. Damn so Shakespeare plays being played with only colored people should be considered cultural appropriation too right???

  32. I'm a xicana teacher…great teaching tool… excellent A+…Spaniards also used another part of that long ass word ESCUINTLE to call our children…and today Mex call kids escuincle all willy nilly when angry at them

  33. Omg maybe she identifies as a Mexican and she's Italian how dare you be racist to a minority just because you got a chip on your shoulder


  35. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente, commonly referred to as Xolos de Tijuana, or simply as Xolos, is a Mexican professional football club from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. Founded in January 2007, the club was promoted to Liga MX in 2011, where they have played since. They won their first title in the 2012 Apertura.

  36. Mona aka Sad Girl – Mi Corazon /

  37. It wasnt the Cops in the Zoot Suit RIOTS. It was actually the US Military aka the SAILORS Causing the RIOTS… They were attacking INNOCENT MEXICAN families..The Zoot Suiters were having none of this, since lots of MEXICAN US Citizens were deported to Mexico in the 30's due to the GREAT DEPRESSION…
    REALLY, it should have been called US MILITARY RIOTS against a NATIVE Group which goes in the Long line of the US treatment of the Native Peoples of the AMERICAS, whether mixed or 100% Native… THE US are the Creators of EUGENICS and Concentration Camps(aka Rezervations), which the NAZI's ADMIRED… Just a warning: Come prepared and Research your history before you respond to this comment….

  38. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente, commonly referred to as Xolos de Tijuana, or simply as Xolos, is a Mexican professional football club from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. Founded in January 2007, the club was promoted to Liga MX in 2011, where they have played since. They won their first title in the 2012 Apertura.

  39. MTV is permanently late as f to every party these days. How the mighty have fallen

  40. latinx only is used by gringos tryin to tell us latinos how to speak keep your neocolonialism to yourselves

  41. I am confused… why is this lady speaking Espanglish / Englañol ?

  42. I love the chicano culture but extremism like brown berets is COMMUNISM which is bad for the country as with Antifa the black Panthers and so on ,its also time for Mexican Americans to stop living in past history of the eurpeons came and killed indegenous peoples ,in today's world with the political and cultural wars happening in this nation you only have two choices either stand with the constitutional freedoms that were given to us or you side with communism and communism and socialism with bring this country into ruin from the extreme leftist ,thats 💯

  43. Uh let’s be honest though – a lot of it was inspired by African Americans. A lot.

  44. I am Mexican and have never used LatinX. Plus their is nothing more racist then using the terms Hispanic or Latino/Latina as they are labels used to erase people's Native origins and history. It is Colonialism thanks Columbus.

    In fact my Mexican ancestors had to fight a war against the Spanish/Hispanics so Mexico could restore its identity and have a free independent nation.

    Another thing in the Spanish Caste System full Indigenous people were not on the bottom. They were like 3rd. Actually full Africans were at the bottom then after Africans it was Mulatos Quadrons and then Zambos.

  45. 0:03 Flaca is actually a perfect example of Cultural appropriation as she is not Mexican or of Mexican ancestry and appropriated to play a part of another culture and got payed for it.

    The girl who actually played Flags is A Caribbean girl from the Dominican Republic.

    Cultural appropriation is the same as Zoe Saldana playing African American artist Nina Simone even though she was not African American nor dark skin like Nina and I can understand why the African American community gets mad with Hollywood and it's insensitive casting of now African Americans. We want your stories but we will give the parts to non African Americans.

    Welcome to the club African Americans. Mexicans have had everything other then Mexicans play Mexicans in move based off Mexicans.

    The story of Guy Gabaldon war hero was played by a Whiteman.
    Selena was played by Puerto Rican Jennifer Lopez. Dolores Huerta was played by Cuban Puerto Rican Rosario Dawson. The Coco story of the kid in English was played by a Guatemalan kid.

    Hollywood hates Piracy but they are the biggest pirate thieves stealing from other cultures and people and appropriating and making money..

  46. Ben Davis is not cholo
    Ben Davis is not cholo
    Ben Davis is not cholo

    Ben Davis is Chicago sh*t
    Not Cali that’s dickies

  47. WRONG. Columbus has nothing to do here. Plus this ruca is full of hate. Pachuco shoes are 2 toned for ✌. Most of all why bring our President Trump into this with no facts or prove. Obviously has a sad life and just throwing darts of hate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *