Do You Find "Chingona" Offensive?

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NPR Code Switch dove into the hidden meanings of the term, interviewing experts and professors in the Spanish department at the University of Southern California. "I would translate it as badass pizza," said Sarah Portnoy, who teaches courses on Hispanic culinary culture. "It's not a word I'd use in front of my mother-in-law. It's a word that my 20-something nieces and nephews use among themselves."

However, another professor, Consuelo Siguenza-Ortiz, firmly disagrees, telling Code Switch that she would never use that word. "Some of us were outraged there would be such a campaign going on," she said. She explains that the verb that chingon, chingona, and chingones all derive from is equivalent to the F-word. According to her, it just sounds vulgar. 

The owner of the pizza chain, Edgar Padilla, said he strives to market his company as one that completely understands Mexican culture. "We're trying to speak Mexican Spanish, we're trying to speak to the heart of our people," he said. That includes the slang words, too. 

It seems Padilla may be on the losing side of the argument, as multiple Texas radio stations, CBS, and Univision all refused to air the advertisement. NPR also declined to run the piece about Pizza Patrón because of vulgar language. 

But, despite the censorship, Padilla maintains that chingon is an acceptable, appropriate slang term to describe a "badass." And, he isn't the only Latino who embraces the word....

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Cristina Arreola, Editorial Assistant

Originally from El Paso, Texas, Cristina Mari Arreola earned her degree at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University before moving to BrooklynNew York. In her downtime, you can usually find her scouring the city for the most authentic Mexican food (still looking...), scaring herself silly watching horror movies, or baking her favorite sweets. You can follow her on Twitter at @c_arreola

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