As Mexicans, we tend to give nicknames to everyone and to pretty much anything. It’s part of our culture and our way of having fun.
But since I moved to the USA, I’ve noticed that some people will get offended by that word and I want to try to explain its roots since I think no one really knows from where it came from.
Usually, in Mexico, the use of the word gringo indicates that the person or group of people that we are talking about was born in the USA without indicating, race, ethnicity or in a way to offend anyone.
There’s no clear origin for the word gringo, but its believed that could have been one of the following situations:
- Battle of The Alamo, Texas (1836). The Mexicans were shouting out to the US soldiers to leave by using the words: GREEN GO!!. It was believed that the US soldiers were wearing green uniforms (they were really wearing blue uniforms). But the word gringo still remained as part of the Mexican language.
- US-Mexico war (1845-1847) It was told that the US soldiers were singing the song “Green Grow the Lilacs” and the word gringo was the result of the deformation of the language.
- Finally, also during the war between Mexico and the US, it was told that the US battalions were identified by different color names and when it was their turn to attack, their commander will say the color name plus the word go to. Hence, when someone heard the order: GREEN GO! , they thought it was a way to name that group of soldiers without knowing that it was the battalions color id.
In the end, regardless of how the word gringo was born, as I mentioned it before, it has no intention what so ever to insult or offend anyone in any way. We Mexicans say it just because and I think we should better stop being offended by everything.
Peace and Love!!!