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But it doesn't take a Ph-pinche-D to identify the common threads in chino's various meanings: African blood and servitude. Many blacks, of course, have naturally kinky hair, so at some point over the centuries, chino became an ethnicon (a term meant to comment on an ethnic group's prominent cultural characteristic that became popular shorthand for said characteristic) for both "black person" and "curly." Mexicans then went on to drop the black denotation and kept the curly connection. Such linguistic amnesia isn't unprecedented in Mexican Spanish: marrano, which many Mexicans use to call someone a "pig" or "filthy," comes from the Inquisition-era slur used against Jews who converted to Christianity. All this wordplay is further proof that Mexico is a country with a racial problem that makes America seem like Sesame Street. The proper Spanish word for "curly," by the way, is rizado.

en the maker either put too much salsa/guacamole/sour cream in it, or the meat's so damn greasy it's not worth eating. If your burrito disintegrates, demand a refund — or, better yet, sue the business owner for defaming the burrito's good nombre.

 

Ask the Mexican at themexican@askamexican.net, be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano, or ask him a video question at youtube.com/askamexicano!

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