Cholo’s in Skinny Jeans !?!?
What the fuck are you youngsters thinking? (I guess it’s my turn to say that shit now.) I mean I’m still doing my thing and I ain’t trying to fall out of touch with the younger generation. Things change but my stilo has always been a certain way. I think that the time has come for me to articulate mi estilo and justify my thug.
Wonder why Cholos are so particular about our choice of uniform, its presentation, and up-keep? I never really gave it much thought as I was growing up, just representing, ‘nuh. Plus you get older and ask yourself why do I do what I do? And wonder where certain shit comes from. These are the answers I came up with. Some of this is just my best guesses so por favor feel free to correct me. Either way I think these discussions are a good thing.
Pachuquismo is the Cholo’s abuelito. The Mexican poet Octavio Paz described the Zoot Suited pachucos as “impassive and sinister clowns… to cause terror instead of laughter.” Gangsters tend to agree and there are social and psychological questions as to why a person would want to present themselves that way but that’s for another day. Back in the day “It was the secret fantasy of every vato in or out of the chicanada to put on a Zoot Suit and play the myth mas chucote que la chingada. Pos orale! In other words it was a rebel thing.
The pachuco uniform was a godfather hat, a long ass leva, baggy ass tramos, cuffs and creases, button up lisa, and shined up calcos. It was a uniform but not the only uniform of its era. The Zoot Suit became popular in the early 40’s around World War 2. There were many pachucos in Nuevo Mexico, Ariza, Colorado, Tejas, Nevada, and Califas. But it was in Los Angeles, California that anglo serviceman from the navy, marine corps, and coast guard (with the help of local law enforcement) went to war with pachucos in the Chavez Ravine area (I could be wrong but I think that’s where Dodger Stadium is today.) And these anglo servicemen weren’t just after pachucos or even just the brown people but but all blacks, Asians, and anyone considered different. Pachucos were just the focal point. Because of this war the Zoot Suit estilo was considered a uniform seen
as that of the enemy. Consequently those in the Pachuco uniform were strongly subjected to unfair prosecution by the media. (In a side note my grandfather fought in World War 2 especially in the Batan Death March, pero you already knew there was probably some tio taco ass malinchista putos fighting shoulder to shoulder with racist gabacho fucks, beating down outnumbered chicano youth because they looked gangster. I know there’d be some today.)
Now where was I?… Legal system right. Ok, so the local law enforcement was arresting chicano hate crime victims and processing them into the system. The Pachuco’s state issue clothing became the new tacuche. They used the same cuffs and creases to make it look fly. Oh I forgot, Pachucos had their hair kinda long in a ducktail hairstyle. The sailors and marines had a procedure of “grab a Zooter, take off his pants and frock coat and tear them up or burn them, trim the ‘Argentine Ducktail’ haircut that goes with the screwy costume.” Can you imagine that shit? Well chicano’s hairstyles got progressively shorter and in compliance with institutional policies down to Raza’s forced assimilation into prison culture.
Hand me downs are nothing new in the Barrio. The waist size of the pants rarely matches the owner, cholos dropped them butterfly pleats, held up with a state issue belt. Creased up our T-shirt and made it look fly.
Things ain’t as they should be. I’m not saying we should live as victims, just know enough about where we come from. For arguments sake maybe dumb cholos like me are on a rush to extinction trying to pull our people down with us as we go. Cholos, modern day Mexican American Gangsters, are remnants of 500 years of racism. Socially, politically, and economically disenfranchised people who say “fuck you too then!” I think Cholos retained the Pachuco spirit and must remain. How can we know who we are if we don’t know who we were? We were revolucionarios con pistolas y carrilleras. Skinny Jeans ain’t really work for that.