Correspondents and Dispatches from the Frontera

Don't Call Me a Chingón, Guey. Turns out we have Been Calling Each Other Rapists All Along

By C. F. Espinoza

Yes, it’s true. We Mexas call each other rapists and are confusing it as a compliment. For decades we’ve called each other chingónas and chingónes. In a modern context, the words chingón is reserved for top dogs, the alphas, the badass, the people who know how to get shit done.

But these words, like most of the fucking words in which we speak and write, are a product of colonization, rape, and enslavement of the Americas.

Think about it.

Chingar is to rape. The chingón or the chingóna are the actors enacting the rape. The relationship between these words works like this el chingón (the subject) se chinga (verb) a la chingada (object). This translates to the rapist rapes the raped.

Yet we have no problem calling each other chingónes, chingónas, and chingónxs (rapists). We swell with pride when someone calls us chingón or chingóna.

If you goggle chingón, you will find that the urban dictionary defines it as “a descriptor for — or to assign elevated status to — a person, place, thing or action and to convey an element of impressive dominance or mastery.” And Lexico claims chingón is an adjective that means “fantastic” and uses this example: “es un chingón con las mujeres — he’s a real hit with women.”

We get giddy when someone posts chingón on our Facebook feed after an accomplishment. We buy t-shirts with chingón written across the chest. Even Latinx director Robert Rodrigez calls his musical group El Chingon. Imagine that, running around calling your group El Rapist?

Chingón is buried deep in our culture. We all want to be chingónes, and chingónas. 

No sean pendejos!

In the words of Octavio Paz, “chingar is a cruel active masculine verb: itches, wounds, rips, stains. It provokes a bitter, resentful satisfaction for the one who acts.”

To say that you are a chingón or that someone is a chingóna means that that person is a rapist, “the one who acts upon that rape.”

Most of us are familiar with the saying los hijos de la chingada, which translates into children of the rape. The chingada was colonialism. It means we, Mexicans, are the children of el chingón (the rapist). Yet we insist on calling ourselves and each other chingónes, chingónas, and even chingónxs.

Our culture, politics, and society are haunted by corrupt governments, immigration policies, stereotypes, and disproportionate incarceration rates. All of which are the ghosts of colonization.

If we don’t shift our thinking, then how will we evolve from a state of colonization to one of freedom?

We could all benefit from a little decolonization.

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