Who’s Who in Hispanics and Some Useful Spanish/Spanglish Terms


If you have been following the immigration crisis online you have probably seen a lot of propaganda and misinformation, mostly coming from the left. Here are a few things you should keep in mind:

South of the U.S. border there is no such thing as a “Hispanic.” That is a term that people in the United States invented to describe a large, diverse group of people of various nationalities who allegedly have some common historical link to Spain. Outside of the United States these people generally identify themselves by their nationality. The same basic thing applies to the term “Latino/Latina”.

Hispanics can be white, black, Native American, and/or some combination of all three. Most but not all Hispanics are Catholic. First and second-generation Hispanics generally speak some Spanish. There is some disagreement over whether Brazilians are Hispanic because they speak Portuguese, not Spanish.

There is a pecking order among Hispanic nationalities, With Cuba and Mexico at or near the top and the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Central American countries near the bottom. The general rule is that the more European the gene pool, the higher the status. Latin America is still a very racist place.

There is a lot of hostility and suspicion between the various Hispanic nationalities. They don’t all speak Spanish the same way, and they are culturally diverse as well. Even in Mexico they don’t all eat tacos and burritos while listening to mariachi bands.

Here are some useful Spanish/Spanglish terms you should know:

1. Mojado/mojada – This literally means “wetback”. It is the common term for an illegal alien in the Hispanic community. It is derogatory.

2. Gabacho/gabacha – A derogatory term for white people.

3. Pocho/pocha – A Hispanic who does not speak Spanish. They are said to have “lost their culture.” It is a derogatory term used to describe Hispanics who are too Americanized.

4. Paisa – A Mexican immigrant who is the opposite of Pocho.

5. Mayate/mayata – A derogatory term for black people. Basically the N-word.

6. Aztlán – The mythical homeland of the Aztec, allegedly located in the American Southwest. The claim is that the United States stole the land from Mexico (we did) and therefore Hispanics have the right to reclaim it (they don’t). Aztlán is the “A” in the college organization MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, “Chicano Student Movement of Aztlán”).

The next time you are debating an immigration activist and/or an amnesty supporter, ask them if they know what those terms mean.


About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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54 Responses to Who’s Who in Hispanics and Some Useful Spanish/Spanglish Terms

  1. leslie says:

    So, what I saw in the movie this afternoon, was that the US conquered Mexico, forgave their debt and then returned all but the TX, NM, AZ and CA areas. Is that true?

  2. Lulu says:

    And within each “Hispanic” nationality they are extremely aware of social class and bring it with them. Laborers are lower class, shop keepers are middle class, and property owners are upper class. Blood lines traceable from Spain are also extremely important.

    • 49erDweet says:

      One of the state offices I managed had 23 Hispanic out of 36 staff members. Four of the same social class. Which means 19 fights were going on most of the time.

      • Lulu says:

        LOL. One of my oldest friends is a descendant of a Spanish land grant family. Her mother is the daughter of a Mexican land grant family (some crap about minor nobility, a bunch of nuns, etc). She is a wonderful person EXCEPT when she gets off on a rant about her landed social class. I just look at her and say my family were exceptional Druid cow herders and we are all really good looking.

        • 49erDweet says:

          LOL. My DIL is pocha, and proud of it, and one SIL is an extremely hard working paiso, and has a good business head. They each, in their own way, have been superb in the grandbaby making department.

    • Constance says:

      One of the girls in my daughters Catholic school class and her parents were from some South American country. They always dressed up beautifully and far better than the run of the mill US citizen parents. We were room mothers together so I called her up and said “Hi Jane, I see we are planning the Christmas party together”. She totally bristled and told me I could call her “Mrs Doe” and referred to her husband as “Mr Doe” when speaking to me. Another Dad who was from Brazil but married a regular USA citizen and was more adapted to US culture told me it was social class cultural thing. They were very upper class in their home country and they weren’t going to give it up. I said “so they think they are better than I/we are” and he said “very much”. The odd thing was they didn’t have much money so I’m not sure where the superiority complex came from.

      • The Klown says:

        There are lots of poor relatives in upper class families. They are basically at the mercy of their rich relatives.

        Lots of poor royalty in Europe too.

        • votermom says:

          It’s not about money but about “breeding” which is a combination of bloodlines and being raised “properly.”
          Americans are shockingly egalitarian, which is one of the things I love about this country.

          • WMCB says:

            I have this discussion with European friends sometimes. I can almost understand why nations with centuries upon centuries of rigid class systems could go for socialism. But what THEY cannot understand is that Americans don’t have that cultural baggage. Oh, we’ve had rich and poor, favored/powerful and those not so much favored/powerful. But America as a culture has never had a deeply ingrained class-by-birth consciousness. Ever. We don’t have those visceral cultural memories of bowing and scraping, the kind of memories they knee-jerk react against, because we’ve never really had that.

          • The Klown says:

            The original Spanish land grants went to younger sons/brothers, cousins and nephews who were not going to inherit the family estates back in Spain. (Before the New World opened up those family members would have joined the military or the clergy.)

            They came to the New World expecting to live as feudal lords.

      • The Klown says:

        I should add – the upper class/royalty don’t “work” although it’s okay to take a professional occupation like doctor or lawyer. They “own”.

        That attitude is similar to the old South, where plantation owners lived in luxury while blacks and poor whites toiled in the fields.

        It also explains the persistent poverty in those countries.

        • WMCB says:

          If you’ve spent any time around honest upper-class people of color – whether black or brown, they will tell you that the discrimination based on skin color, how dark you are, European vs. indigenous features, etc, is ugly ugly ugly in those communities. Worse, even today, than anything that is accepted today from a white person. I have been utterly shocked at some of the comments they’ve heard and repeated to me.

        • Constance says:

          I assume it is the poor people who are most of the illegal aliens. Thank God we got the working class and not the useless elitists. We have enough Citizen elitists already. Of course everyone thinks Whites are all one class in the USA. Not so. I would definitely be considered white trash by the elitist Ivy indoctrinated who run the Federal government, the Ivy institutions and the east coast media.

  3. swanspirit says:

    OT But schadenfreudelicious http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/brazil/10956861/Nate-Silvers-failure-as-celebrated-as-Brazils-collapse.html

    The world may still be reeling from last night’s World Cup semi-Final between Germany and Brazil, but none more so than Nate Silver the celebrated statistician behind the fivethiryeight blog. Silver had pegged Brazil as the favourites to win the cup and stated their chances of success against Germany last night at 65%.
    Silver shot to prominence during the 2008 presidential elections when writing, initially under the pseudonym Poblano on the blog Daily Kos, before transferring to his own site in partnership with the New York Times in 2008. Since then he has gained public recognition for his PECOTA system which forecasted the performances and career developments for major league baseball players.
    Throughout the game the 538 Twitter account, now aligned with sports broadcaster ESPN, was tweeting facts, figures and other statistics defending its position.
    At 9.52pm, with two of Brazil’s top players out, Silver reassured the world that ‘the players replacing Neymar are going to be well above average.
    ‘Following the 10.26 tweet of ‘OMG’ Silver came back with ‘According to @espn’s SPI, which our model uses, odds of #GER scoring 5+ goals was 0.7%. A 5-0 final score? 1-in-1250. (via @ESPNStatsInfo)’

  4. westcoaster says:

    OT: Honest slogans (for products)

  5. mothy67 says:

    I lived upstate Manhatten in the Dominican Republic of New York. There is not a lot of common ground. I never heard the word hispanic..

  6. The Klown says:

    I got blocked by Matt Yglesias!

    • The Klown says:
    • DandyTIger says:

      I love how he admits that he’ll lie in order to battle ideas he can’t argue against otherwise. He calls opposing views lies of course. But if they were, he could simply show how their lies. Or show how they’re wrong. He can’t. He’s a WATB. QED

      • WMCB says:

        My husband and I were just discussing the death of logic in our culture. It’s stunning. Not just that a lot of people have a poor grasp of logic, or are not that intelligent, or not that skilled with it (that’s always been the case.) It’s that the very concept of logic is utterly foreign to more and more people. Even intelligent ones. It’s not that they don’t logic well, it’s that they don’t even understand what it is. And that’s new – even dull people used to get that logic exists. It really is a sea change.

        Western civilization is dying. Seriously.

    • WMCB says:

      The progs make me ill. They’re not even honest hypocrites anymore (both sides have been that over the years.) No, they’ve “progressed” beyond even lip service to any sort of standards, and openly take the position of “if it advances our cause or our power in any way, it’s automatically moral and good. We are the good people, therefore whatever we say or do is justified by our pure spotless end goals.” It’s the reasoning of fanatics and zealots.

      They don’t even have an objective definition of morality, or truth, or reality anymore. Whatever is expedient for their current goal is “truth” today. They may espouse the exact opposite tomorrow, and they won’t care. This is different from hypocrisy (which R’s too often fall prey to.) No, it’s not just failing to uphold one’s own stated standards (which is bad enough.) It’s a nasty cynical rejection of objective standards at all, as even having any meaning. It’s ugly. It’s lies all the way down, taking pride in the lies, calling them not-lies-because-it’s us-therefore-it’s good, with no shame whatsoever.

      God save us all from blind visionaries and political prophets and “movements”. I don’t want to change the world anymore. Fuck that. That way lies madness and power-mongering. I want reasonable, sane, admittedly imperfect. boring, basic, governance.

  7. leslie says:

    “when the president does it, it isn’t a crime.” they are now using the maxim by their favorite . . .

    • leslie says:

      Meant to nest under WMCB.

    • WMCB says:

      He’s Nixon on steroids. Tricky DIck seems such an innocent compared to this crap. A minor weasly campaign spying break-in? Pshaw. Selling the entire country down the river and defying the law at every turn! Nixon was a piker.

      • leslie says:

        ” Selling the entire country down the river and defying the law at every turn! Nixon was a piker.”

  8. WMCB says:

    OT, but if you have money in a money market fund, I suggest you remove it while you can. The SEC is in the finalizing stages of a new rule that will allow the govt to “suspend” redemptions of money market funds if they feel like it.

    Because, see, the bankers and financial houses MUST remain propped up. There is no way they can allow the public to see just how fucked we are, and that the situation is WORSE now than 2008, not better. They’ve “quantitative eased” in the trillions with your tax dollars, but it’s at best still a house of cards. And to avoid a repeat of the 2008 crash, they’ll simply tell you that even though that money is “yours” (wink wink) you won’t be able to access it or cash it out. They are not taking it from you, understand. It’s still “yours”. You just won’t be able to use it. Temporarily, I’m sure. Maybe you can still get a loan against it, because hey, debt slavery is good for the bankers and the govt! But pull your cash out? No, can’t have that.

    The govt learned their lesson in 2008. Oh, they didn’t learn to keep honest books, and let the big boys fail if they’ve made shaky decisions and are in truth insolvent. No, never that. What they learned is that bail-outs are politically problematic. So they next time they need to bail out the bankers, they’ll have to do it in a way more easily obscured and papered over. It will be a bail-in, not a bail out.

    Let the band play on!

    • WMCB says:

      I’d link the WSJ article, but it’s behind a paywall, so no point.

      • lyn says:

        I shared the article on my FB page, and WSJ gave me a free access key for it. I read the whole thing from the link.

      • mothy67 says:

        Two questions
        Did you see A Million Ways To Die In The West? I remember you expressing interest. I was not crazy about it echoed Blazing Saddles without that oh you did not. I like being offended and dark humor but I was just bored. Cheap shots. I am maybe not the best judge of that kind of movie. I am A Fish Called Wanda kind of guy.

        Second question how did you become privy to the bank stuff I invest some money every month for of course college for brat my guy told me no details he just said he thought it was wise if I moved my money. I said okay. Not a lot but right now it would cover two years at an okay school. I have it all in what I thought was safe stuff. My guy just said I want to move your money. I have no idea what is taking place. I am ready to move to North Dakota buy an rv and work at Denny’s. I do not like cold so maybe I will have to move to Belize and just be fabulous.

    • The Klown says:

      It’s like when the mark tries to cash in his chips and quit a crooked poker game. They won’t let him leave until he’s been bled dry.

  9. gumsnapper says:

    La Raza means Race so how does that jibe with the various races within the org. known as La Raza?

    • YM says:

      Originally The Council of La Raza was a Chicano organization created in the 1960s in California and other parts of the Southwest to respond to injustices in education and worker’s rights. At that time it referred to Mexican-Americans and Mexicans only. Later on, in order to facilitate their growth and influence they changed their tune and began to say that La Raza referred to all Hispanics in the US. It was an opportunistic move that took advantage of the US Governments classification on the census.

      Sometimes they will say that this use of La Raza comes from the writings of the Mexican philosopher Jose Vasconcelos who coined the term La Raza Cosmica or Cosmic Race. He was referring to the idea that at some point the peoples of Latin America would have intermixed so much that they would have created a new race, a bronze race, that would encompass them all physically, psychology, and culturally and that would result in a race and culture that would be completely new. Vasconcelos wrote, I believe, in the 1930s and was strongly influenced by what he saw occurring in Nazi Germany at the time and I think his idea of the Raza Cosmica was a counterpart to the idea of the Aryan Race and its attendant ideology of superiority. Underlying Vasconcelo’s ideas is a strong element of racial superiority but of brown people versus white people. The Council of La Raza propagandists will rarely acknowledge this intellectual legacy but the original founders of The Council of La Raza openly talked about this.

      Don’t be fooled. The Council of La Raza is a racist and racial supremacy organization that tries to paint itself as just a garden variety group dedicated to human rights. Far from it. The origins were always about racial supremacy and they were always radical leftists. Now the group seems to have been taken over by first, second, and third generation “Hispanics” (and I use that term loosely) to further their own personal careers and ambitions and those of their offspring by claiming to speak for all “Hispanics” in the US. This is total bullsh*t as there has never been any kind of an election amongst people who participate in any cultures from Latin American in the US and identify as such wherein the National Council of La Raza was elected the official spokes group or spokespersons.

      The National Council of La Raza is a radical leftist, racial supremacist group that is unelected yet claims to speak for millions of people and that is primarily dedicated to destroying the US as a sovereign nation and replacing it with a communist state and in the process advancing the careers and wealth of the leadership of the organization.

      • The Klown says:

        NCLR is one of a number of formerly radical groups (like the Black Panthers) that sold out and were co-opted into the Democratic fold back in the Sixties and Seventies. They receive patronage money via wealthy donors and government programs and in return they support the Democrats.

        It’s been a long time since they did anything.

        • YM says:

          I think that even though they have been accepted into the Democratic fold there are many individuals in the group that are still true to the radical leftist, communist goals that the group originally had. They just happened to realize that they could accomplish their goals easier if they followed Saul Alinsky’s advice and cleaned themselves up and made themselves look presentable.

          Right now they are doing something very radical by supporting the invasion of the USA by foreign nationals who violate our immigration laws. By supporting this they are undermining the sovereignty of the US as a nation and undermining the rule of law here. And they are doing this in a very respectable looking way by having their former vice-president, Cecilia Munoz, as the head of the White House Domestic Policy Council. Just yesterday (7-9-14) she was interviewed on the PBS News Hour and she presented an incredible propaganda interview rationalizing the current illegal alien invasion by mischaracterizing it as a “humanitarian crisis caused by human traffickers and cartels”. Right! No mention of how her boss caused this by 1) failing to enforce current immigration laws, 2) twisting and enforcing a few laws according to his own interpretations, and 3) actively illegally making immigration laws that completely ignore statutory immigration laws (DACA).

          Sounds to me like that National Council of La Raza is very busy–or at least its former vice-president is.

        • YM says:

          One other point besides what I said previously. Just because NCLR receives patronage money via wealthy donors and government programs doesn’t mean that they have stopped being far left radicals who want a communist state. They may have just changed their tactics and appearance. And if I recall correctly from a from a few talks with NCLR members in my state their idea was that it was easier and better to “create change” if they worked from within the current political structures.

          • The Klown says:

            Bill Ayers and Bernie Dorhn are still radical leftists too. But now days they are respectable academics and don’t set off bombs anymore.

            When you sell out you get to enjoy all the benefits of the system you are trying to overthrow.

          • YM says:

            This is actually in reply to The Klown. The point I’m trying to make here is that they haven’t sold out. They have only changed their appearance and some of their tactics. That’s all. The fact that they support illegal immigration into this country that would fundamentally transform the electorate into a population that is already leftist leaning is an indication of this. Just because a wolf wraps itself in sheep’s clothing doesn’t stop it from being a wolf.

  10. driguana says:

    Thanks for this post. It is really important to understand some of these sophisticated and complicated issues. As a resident of Santa Fe, NM for almost 40 years I can attest to some of the deep seated dislike among Spanish speaking individuals. During the past 3 decades in Santa Fe there has been a large influx of Mexicans into the city. They have settled mostly along Airport Rd south of the City. During the past 10 years, there has been a large number of people coming to the city form El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras. That part of the city has now become Little Mexico/Little Central America. There is tremendous animosity between local “Hispanics”, who pride themselves in being descended directly from families in Spain and the immigrant population. Then there are the more subtle animosities between Hispanics and local Pueblo(Tewa and Tiwa speaking) people/Native Americans. The history of brutality between Hispanics and Pueblos is legendary. Not many blacks live in Santa Fe. All of the “people of color” in Santa Fe blame Anglos for everything. As much as I love and revere the beauty and diversity of Santa Fe and northern NM, huge problems are brewing. Now that I am safely ensconced in South Florida, I am immediately aware of the animosity among Cubans, Colombians, Mexicans, Dominican Republicans and Puerto Ricans, especially. And they all detest Haitians. Trouble is brewing unless, again, fearless leadership steps forward. Our fearless leader goes and plays golf and now pool. What a fool….but, oh my, how cool he is…..waiting….

    • lildoggy4u says:

      Down a little farther south than you Dr., the absolute bottom of the totem pole is the African American. I cannot believe how I hear my Spanish friends refer to black people. If only the public was aware of the takeover of an entire portion of the country politically they’d wake up. We have the wet foot – dry foot policy here. If you can touch the shore, you can stay.

    • YM says:

      I think a really good cure for all of this animosity amongst the peoples of New Mexico would be for all of them to get their DNA analyzed. It will clear up many things. I’m from Northern New Mexico and I’ve had my DNA analyzed twice by two different companies. I also had a male relative’s DNA analyzed so we could have information about the yDNA and its origin. To make a long story short about 30% of my genome was Asian or of the Asian pool from which Native Americans resulted and about 59% was from a European gene pool primarily from Southern Europe and more specifically the Iberian peninsula. Based on the origins of my last name and genealogical information there is a good chance that somewhere on my father’s side we had ancestors that came from Galicia, Spain.

      All this really means is that the migratory paths of my ancestors over the last 500 years can be traced. That’s it. It means nothing in terms of nationality, culture, or language. Absolutely nothing. And this is where lots of people get confused. They think that these percentages have something to do with culture and language. They don’t. I speak English, Spanish and Portuguese. Why? Well, I grew up hearing both English and Spanish and later on I learned Portuguese. But I don’t speak Spanish because my distant ancestors were from Spain nor do I speak Portuguese because Galicia borders Portugal. I speak Spanish because it was present in my childhood environment and I speak Portuguese because I learned it on my own. I am able to very easily participate in Mexican culture both in the US and Mexico not because my paternal grandparents who were from Mexico passed this on to me in their genes but because as an adult I spent lots of time in Mexico and worked with Mexicans in many situations in the US. Language and culture are both learned not inherited.

      Neither specific languages nor cultures are passed genetically. If people would keep this in mind and also keep in mind that languages and cultures can be learned and are not intrinsic people might spend less time making prejudicial classifications of others based on their supposed “race” or “culture” or “ethnicity”. Maybe they would spend less time classifying themselves based on their supposed “Hispanic-ness”. Right now, because all of the groups you mentioned in your post are living in Santa Fe in the United States they probably have a lot more in common with each other than they realize because they are all in one form or another participants in American. However, this fact is never emphasized by racial separatist groups like the National Council of La Raza because it doesn’t help them to advance their agenda. It is in their interests to keep people separating themselves based on “race”.

      Another point that is important to mention is that the DNA analyses I had DO NOT indicate “race”. There is little to no scientific evidence that race exists. For more information about all of this I suggest the following books:

      The Great Human Diaporas: The History of Diversity and Evolution by Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza
      Genes, Peoples, and Languages by Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza
      The Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes
      DNA USA also by Bryan Sykes
      Mapping Human History: Genes, Race, and our Common Origins by Steve Olson
      The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey by Spencer Wells
      Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know about Our Biological Diversity by Guy P. Harrison

      Note that Cavalli-Sforza, Sykes, and Wells are well known researchers in this field so if anybody is going to know what a DNA analysis of your genome means it would be these guys.

  11. YM says:

    The Portuguese and the Brazilians do not consider themselves to be Hispanic. They are Lusophones, i.e. Portuguese speaking peoples. The Portuguese, in particular, do not like being confused with Spaniards nor do they like being considered Hispanic. They have a separate history, a different culture, and a different language. Portuguese is not a dialect of Spanish. It is a separate language with a separate and distinct grammar and vocabulary and its own literature. The Brazilians, I think, are a little more flexible. When in the US, if it suits their purposes to be considered Hispanic (e.g. affirmative action, scholarships, etc.), they accept it. When outside of the US they are not Hispanic.

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