Gringa Frijolera

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I'm the Gringa Frijolera

Back in 2003, a Mexican band called Molotov released a bilingual, bicultural song called "Frijolero." They managed to capture the feelings associated with the immigration phenomenon expressed on both sides of the border with a catchy tune and raw lyrics. "Frijolero" isn't for the politically correct.

A sample:

"If it weren't for Santa Ana, where your feet are planted would be Mexico- correcto!"
"Don't call me gringo, you fuckin' beaner, stay on that side of the goddamn river"

See what I mean?

This song came out right in the middle of my own cultural adaptation phase where I bit my lip when referred to as "gringa" and tried my best to convince community members that we were equals. It was so catchy, in fact, that the young men in my community hummed it incessantly, laughing at the stanzas that made me shiver.

It was Max, an outgoing 16-year-old that put me to ease about my cultural adaptation progress and that nauseous feeling I got when I heard that song.

"Don't take it so personally- Molotov meant to be political and provocative. We don't feel that way about you, gringa. You're a Gringa Frijolera."

In his own way, that was Max's way of telling me that the community accepted me and that I had done a good job intergrating into and learning to respect the Salvadoran village life.

From that day on I was known as the "Gringa Frijolera"- the bean-eating white girl. I think it suits me just fine.


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