Is It An Insult To Be Called A Gringo In El Paso?
Some would say yes, some would say no. Whether it's an insult or not really depends on the situation.
On the surface, the word "gringo" would appear to be an insult. A slam on white people applied to them by those with an Hispanic background.
It's sort of like the "N" word for white people, only used by brown people.
When I was a kid, I got called a "gringo" a lot. Despite being of Hispanic heritage, other kids at school ... those who were also Hispanic ... saw me as "white". I am light skinned and my knowledge of Spanish is not the best but, trust me, I'm no "Gringo".
I've lived in, and learned more about, the Hispanic ways than a lot of my Hispanic friends. Case in point, I recently had to teach my friend ... 4th or 5th generation Mexican ... what a michelada was. My (very) limited Spanish skills are better than his too. Really.
The actual term, when first directed at me, was "Gringo Salado" or, "salty cracker". Interesting side note - when I was a kid in Houston, a predominately black town, my black classmates also referred to me as a "cracker".
Basically, I've been deemed the minority by two different minorities. Although, in Houston and here in El Paso, the "minorities" are far from minor. In both cities, they make up 80% or more of the population.
Anyway, moving on ... whether "Gringo" is an insult or not depends on the situation. If you're a white guy surrounded by Hispanic friends, it's more a term of "endearment". A joke.
Kind of like calling your fat fried "Skinny" or your skinny friend "Gordo". (Gordo means fat, if you didn't know.) These days, what I get most is "Gringo Flaco" or, the "skinny white boy". Not a big deal but, still, kinda mean.
Gringo has a ton of meanings and the severity of the insult depends. In some cases, it just means "foreigner". If you're surrounded by friends, it's not a big deal. If you're surrounded by a bunch of anti-white peeps of Hispanic ancestry, it can be a HUGE insult.
Bottom line, I really wouldn't worry about this one too much. Unless "gringo" is preceded by the word "pinche" ... that can mean things are ramping up.
While once a big insult, today it's really just a reference to a white person. Mira el gringo = look at the white guy. No need to get worked up, there are other words and actions to be more concerned about.