Is it acceptable for stores catering to Hispanics to use racial epithets when referring to Caucasian residents of the United States? Apparently so. According to the Washington Times online edition, a furniture store located in Alexandria, Va., has posted a sign calling Americans 'gringos'. The Times reports that,
A sign outside the store at the intersection of North Beauregard and King streets reads, “Credito sin papeles de gringo.” In English, that could be translated to say “Credit without gringo papers.” Blanca Granados, the store's assistant manager, translated the message to mean “just 'without white papers,' like Social Security or like that.”
'White papers'? Really? Ms. Granados is either completely ignorant or engaging in deliberate falsehoods. The word 'Gringo' as defined by Webster Online Dictionary,
grin·go [gring-goh] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun, plural -gos. Usually Disparaging. (in Latin America or Spain) a foreigner, esp. one of U.S. or British descent. [Origin: 1840–50, Americanism; < Sp: foreign language, foreigner, esp. English-speaking (pejorative); prob. alter. of griego Greek. The belief that word is from the song “Green Grow the Lilacs,” popular during U.S.-Mexican War, is without substance]
The Times story also picks up on the offensive history of the word. The story goes on to say,
The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word gringo as “a disparaging term for a foreigner in Latin America, especially an American or English person.” But the word “gringo” in the store's sign is not intended to offend anyone, Miss Granados said.
The term 'gringo' has long been a term used disparagingly towards Americans or Europeans in Latin America- something that Ms. Granados cannot possibly be ignorant of, especially if, as it seems, she is from a Latin American heritage. Therefore, for Ms. Granados to claim that the word is not intended to be offensive is roughly analogous to a white person claiming that the word 'greaser' is not intended to be offensive towards Hispanics. However, other than the Washington Times, I have not seen this story picked up by any other media outlets. When will the media begin holding minorities to the same standards they hold whites? Based on past experience, I'm not holding my breath. Cross-posted on StoneHeads.