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It's Hip to Be 'Naco'

Carlos Meza, co-owner of a t-shirt company, displays one of his naco brand t-shirts.
Eric Niiler, NPR News
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Carlos Meza, co-owner of a t-shirt company, displays one of his naco brand t-shirts.

In Great Britain, they're known as "Kevins." In the U.S., the words "nerd," "redneck" and "cheesy" come to mind. For Mexicans, it's "naco" -- a term that covers everything from guys draped in gold chains to people who dance funny.

Some Mexicans still find the word offensive. It was initially a derogatory term used to insult indigenous people and the poor. But for many, "naco" has morphed into a term that represents personal style -- or lack thereof -- rather than class or wealth. And now, young hipsters are reclaiming the word and making it cool. Through t-shirts, magazines and Web sites devoted to "naco-ism," they're celebrating their inner naco.

Day to Day's Eric Niiler visited Mexico City to discover what being naco really means.

Are You Naco?
Here are some clues: (translated from the June 2004 edition of Chilango magazine)

» You drive a Ford Topaz with a Porshe decal.

» You follow behind ambulances just so you can drive fast.

» You wear a polyester blouse made in China with a Lacoste crocodile logo.

» You take "mementos" from hotels and restaurants.

» You buy the latest Chanel perfume and tell everyone it's your fragrance.

» You park in handicapped spots.

» You clap when the airplane lands.

» You use a clothes hanger when the TV antenna fails.

» It's always the other guy's fault.

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