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He’s my cousin, not a gabacho!


The word for this episode is gabacho. In Caló, it means a white person. It’s not a pejorative or value-laden term in any way, only a descriptor. It comes from the word the Iberian Romani use for a non-Romani person, gacho. The word is also used as an adjective to identify somebody who’s become anglicized, or agabachado.

A new era had been ushered into the Southside by Tita when she came to the quinceañera party with her gabacho boyfriend.

It was a closed affair. Only Montoyas and in-laws were welcomed, and there were lots of rugged young men at the party with nefarious bulges in their boots — ready to enforce the code. Tita walked into the backyard party unchallenged only because she lived across the street and everybody knew her. Everybody also knew that the ridiculous bump on her lower back under her black Zorro jacket was a 45 semi-automatic side iron.

Tita’s tall blonde, green-eyed companion was another matter. All eyes were on him. He came in only because he followed close behind her with a hand on each of her shoulders.

“Who’s that gabacho?” several people asked out loud.

“He’s the old lady’s boyfriend,” somebody whispered.

“Well, he certainly ain’t a primo,” somebody in the crowd said.

“Pos, actually he’s my cousin,” a young man dressed in full cowboy regalia responded.

“What?” several people asked at the same time.

“Simón, he’s a coyote. My mother’s uncle’s son. He has two sisters, and neither of them looks like him,” the cowboy said.

“Órale,” several people said.

“So he’s not a gabacho, just güero, a blonde?” somebody asked.

A long pause ensued, everybody taking a few seconds to grasp the question — and the possible answers to it.

“The gabachos would probably say he is, but I guess he’s not if he’s your primo,” an old man said.

“Simón, just a güero, not a real gabacho,” the coyboy said.

“Órale,” several people said again.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.