is the word "gringo/a" a racial slur?
first of all, do you consider yourself latino/a/e?
if you don't label yourself as latino/a/e then PLEASE i beg you to listen to us (latinos) before jumping to any conclusion over the topic. Any attempt to "educate" us in a topic that concerns latinos ONLY is internalized xenophobia. Also note that i will refer as latinos to the group of people born and raised in latinamerica, not to people with latinoamerican roots, though i believe that other group of people can claim the word. That aside let's start
if you do label yourself as latino/a/e then please have in mind to listen to latinos born and raised in latinamerica above every other opinion when it comes to this topic, especially if you live in a 1st world country. i know that you might suffer from xenophobia but (luckily) you haven't suffer what it is to be raised in a latinamerican country and constantly being hit by (mainly) the US supremacy over our countries. That left aside, let's begin
what IS a racial slur
though it can be debatable the most common definition of racial slur is: a derogatory term or nickname given to someone because of their race. Shortly, a word or phrase that is either racist or has a racist connotation
history of the word
you can trace the origins of word gringo back to XVIII century, When Spaniards heard someone talking in a tongue they couldn't identify they just said: Eso es griego para mí which means "that sounds greek to me" or just a fancy way or saying that they couldn't understand. Through some changes too this came from griego to grigo up to gringo
Now, there's some historical background from Mexico as well, during the great Mexican-american war the united states army identified themselves with colors, so when it was turn of the Green battalion to march it would go as "Green Go!" which later on turned out being used by the Mexicans to designate the united states army (green go and gringo are homonyms).
So here we have it, this word was mostly used by hispanics to identify two sets of people
1. People who couldn't speak their language
2. White people talking in English
ok fine, done with the history lesson, how is this word being used in Latin America nowdays?
It's mainly used to cover U.S citizens, but it also includes people that come to Latin America and expect people to talk their language and disrespect our cultures and countries. and also to designate foreigners, them being disrespectful or not. It is not a matter of race but rather nationality: if you're not latino you're a gringo
then why do people believe that gringo is a racial slur?
Because lately there has been an increase over english twt (and rest of socmeds) talking about latinos matters, which is not a bad thing at all except when you start being disrespectful about it (i.e calling argentinians nazis or latinas Maria, claiming slurs that are not yours, or doubting our own definitions of words like this one :/) over that latino twt (specially hispanics) have responded angrily to all of those tweets with the word "gringo/a", lots of those tweets were from black people which created the illusion that we were attacking them for being black, when the truth is we were silencing them for being from the U.S and speaking poorly of our countries
please note that gringo can never be compared to the n word since neither its historical background nor its usage nowadays it's the same, guilt tripping people into believing this word is in any way compared to the n word is internalized xenophobia since latinos have always said it doesn't have a racist connotation. not caring about our opinions over the topic and trying to educate us in latino matters not only fuels the idea of latinos being illiterate and in need of education but also reinforces once again the U.S supremacy against us.
i, obviously, can't speak for millions of latinamericans but i do believe that collectively we're sick and tired of english speakers trying to explain us latin culture as if we don't experience it every single day of our lives, i can't also speak for black people feeling discriminated with this term, but i can assure you it is not used as a racial slur at all but rather as a term we use to protect ourselves from the constant xenophobia we get to live every single day of our lives.
if you have doubts or want to discuss over it you can find me on my twitter