El Paso is located in the western tip of Texas. Often referred to “just the tip” of Texas. The great thing about El Paso is that it shares a border with it’s sister city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. It makes for a great cultural diversity and amazing food! But we’re not here to talk about that. We are here to set the record straight, or better yet inform native El Pasoans and others interested in knowing why El Paso got its nickname “El Chuco”.
For the longest time, we didn’t know what “Chuco” meant nor did we know what a Pachuco was. It took us a while to actually want to immerse ourselves in the El Paso culture and feel proud of our roots. Now grown up and seeing how much El Paso has grown makes us feel nothing but silly for thinking that. However, we wanted to further investigate where this beautiful city (with the best sunsets) got its nickname.
What does Chuco mean? According to Urban Dictionary, it said something along the lines of:
“1) Short for "Pachuco". Mexican Culture started in El Paso, Texas.
2) A Nickname for El Paso, Texas.
Let's go to chuco and do nothing because there's nothing to do there.” (Rogers, 2006)
By now some of you may be wondering: What is a pachuco? Pachuco and Pachuca were first used in the 1940s to refer to Mexican American men and women who were wearing zoot suits. If you try to do research, like we did you will find that there is no consensus about where the word originated, though it is often said that the term originated in, you guessed it, El Paso! Because it is thought that the word originated here, and the big influence of the Pachuco culture in the border El Paso is often referred to “Chuco Town” or “El Chuco.” As people began to migrate, the term began to spread, and it eventually began to be used in other parts of the country.
Now that we have clarified where the term originated, maybe we can begin to understand where our roots come from, and we can start to feel proud about them. So, don’t worry anymore about offending someone when using the word “Chuco” instead let’s help make awareness and educate others in our city so that together we can demonstrate our Chuco pride.
If you’re still wondering what Pachucos look like in real life, or you just want to see them in action, today is your lucky day! Every Sunday, Pachucos in Juarez gather around downtown to dance and have fun and you can go and take a look!
L.A. in the Zoot Suit Era: (2017). Retrieved July 13, 2017, from