Are You a Cholo? part two
Despite, or because of, its long history of denigrating semantics, the term Cholo was turned on its head and used as a symbol of pride in the context of the ethnic power movements of the 1960s.
The origin of the cholo culture stems from the “pachuco” culture of the United States in the 1940s among the Hispanics there, which eventually morphed into the gangs that populate cities such as Los Angeles. It is no coincidence that youth enter and participate in gangs during a period of status transition from childhood to adulthood. Known as the “psychological moratorium,” adolescence is a time of confusion and ambiguity when age and gender identity must be formed. Youth who are already street socialized are inclined to solidify a street identity. This is particularly so for boys, raised in male-abandoned households that often emerge from the familial stresses of poverty and social marginalization, who must now adjust and conform to the male-dominated streets. As in other cultures that face this gender dilemma, the street gang has formalized a gang initiation ritual to help newcomers take on a new “tough male” identity. In addition, the solidarity among gang members helps to reduce the anxiety involved in life on the streets.
A Cholo Is Stereotypically Male
Depicted as wearing loose fitting khaki pants or shorts, with white knee-high socks, creased jeans, so-called “wifebeater” white tee shirts, and button-front shirts, commonly plaid and flannel. Cholos are known for starching and pressing their pants and shirts. Cholos often wear military-style web belts. Cholos in the 1990s and 2000s frequently have their hair buzzed very short, though some continue to have the more traditional slicked-back hair, sometimes held in place by a hair net or a bandana. Footwear may include traditional athletic shoes, such as Converse, Nike Cortez, Stan Smith brand Adidas, slip-on house shoes or Huarache sandals. Popular “Cholo” brands include Dickies, Ben Davis, Joker, Lowrider, and Bighouse.
Some cholos, particularly older cholos, or cholos wishing to adopt a more refined look, wear formal wear inspired by zoot suit fashion, including dress shirts with suspenders, and fedora hats, but may still retain cholo elements such as a bandana or hair net. Cholos are not traditionally found in rural areas. In South Texas, cholos are sometimes referred to as chucs or chukes. This term is short for pachucos.
Typically make heavy use of starch on their pants but so do traditional Tejanos.
This designation may also be associated with black ink tattoos, commonly involving calligraphy and art. A cholo might also stereotypically own a lowrider. Another staple of cholo fashion is long hair tied into braids as depicted by actor Danny Trejo.