Sunday, July 14, 2013

Of Xicanos and Jaggers

Because no one asked for it, I'll be writing about the word "jagger," today. Being a jagger was not a cool thing. Come to think about it, I don't even know where the word "jagger," came from. I just remember that back in high school one of my friends called a another friend a jagger. Then I soon heard other people refering to one another as "jaggers."  I have no idea where the word originated, but I'd like to think my town was maybe the place where it was spawned. But then I got to college and heard a friend who was originally from southern California say he'd heard it before as well. Before I go on, you see "Jagger" was a word used to insult someone, kinda referring to them as Mexican, but not just Mexican, more like recently crossed the border Mexican, or a Super-Mexican, I'm guessing more of a stereotypical Mexican. The equivalent of it today would be the word "paisa." I've heard people use the word "paisa," when they see one of their friends looking super-Mexican, like wearing a huge belt buckle, cowboy boots, or a sombrero. You know something along the lines of, "You look paisa as fuck, fool! Bwahahaha!"

I think the word "jagger" might have some ties to the "n-word" as well, where it's supposed to be insulting on that level, but amongst us it was thrown around, and just the sound of the word caused us to erupt in laughter. Arriving as a first year student at my university I tossed the word around freely at friends, I didn't discriminate, everyone was a "jagger" in my book as far as I was concerned. My African-American friend was just as much a jagger as my female Punjabi friend. One of my friends came back home with me to visit once, and that's when he first heard the word "jagger," as me and a couple of friends talked and joked around interspersing our conversation with "you fucking jagger," or "fuck you jagger" (we were a creative bunch, we were). This friend who is originally from the town where we went to college, actually worked at the university library, and he told me that one of his co-workers was actually from my hometown, she was a year ahead of us. He said that one day she screwed something up while they worked, so he said something along the lines of "Olga you're such a jagger." Too which she replied by gasping, looking stunned, and saying "Jesus! Where did you hear that?" And of course he told her, he had visited her hometown with Xicano X (shoulder shrugging¯\_(ツ)_/¯) 

I guess it's just a little stunning how we can come up with something to put each other down. Strangely enough I don't actually remember any one referring to any Mexicans as jaggers. It was mainly used by us that were Mexican-American or Xicano. It'd be interesting to hear the etymology of "jagger." I hadn't thought much about it, but now I wonder if any of my friends truly felt they were better than Mexicanos or the kids that leaned more culturally to the Mexican side of the border. It can get confusing, because of course we're all Mexican, but obviously depending on which side of the border you're raised, and how you're family raises you, will influence whether you fall under the jagger category or not. At the same time most of my friends were proud to be Mexican, yet there must of been some type underlying insecurity by the way they might be viewed by the white student body. Even though the town and high school were predominantly Mexican/Mexican-American, there was a fairly good sized population of Anglo and Portuguese students and families, and they tended to be the popular bunch, and defined what was cool, and not. But I never really heard any of them use the word, at least not around us, or directly at us, I'm sure they did use it though. The word or words like it, when we use them, does that mean we think we are better than Mexicanos, because we're Mexican-American? Do we really think it's lowly to dress similar to the Mexicans from the other side of the border? Not sure if anyone else thinks about it this deeply, but me. There does seem to be a difference when it's used by gang members. When I hear gang members refer to paisas, they're doing so out of spite, because they're their Suerño rivals, and Mexicanos or "paisas," refers to those that just came from the south, having crossed the border into el norte. In that situation it's said with more ardor because there is a genuine dislike of anything southern. There I go on a tangent again, possibly contemplating something a little bit more deeply than it actually necessitates.

Anyhow, the word "jagger," obviously brings Mick Jagger to mind, but I doubt it has any real ties to him, but then again who knows. Aside from jagger though, it wasn't until arriving at the university that a friend from Los Angeles compared the word jagger to the word "chunti" or "chuntaro" which he explained was more commonly used amongst his friends when referring to one another as Super-Mexican. I've never heard any racist douches refer to Mexicans as jaggers either, they stick to the classics, you know "beaner," or "wetback." See? To white supremacists we're all inferior regardless of what side of the border we're from. Being in the midwest though I haven't used the word, nor have I heard anyone use the word either. I guess us jaggers only reside in the west/southwest region of the United States. In fact come to think about it, the word jagger seems to have gone out of style, being replaced by the aforementioned slightly closer to politically correct "paisa." You ask my mother about "paisa" and she'll tell you that it's supposed to be "paisano," as in "fellow country man." But it upsets her that today's youth uses "paisa" as a derogatory way to make one another feel below each other for being what they are-Mexican. In her point of view we all have the pinche nopal en la frente regardless which side of the border we were born in.

Me personally I'm just as jagger or paisa as the next guy. I never did mind the word if someone referred to me that way. Like I said, I'd laugh at just the sound of it. I guess a lot of it has to do with the fact that I'm being referred to what I technically am, Mexican(o). Although to Mexicano's I'm probably more a "pinche pocho." To which I'd tell them, "Er, you know in the U.S. I'm a jagger right? I'm like considered one of you n'shit."

Why do I spend so much time thinking about these things?


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