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  • Originally published 04/01/2013

    Lowrider culture spreads to Brazil

    ...The word “cholo” itself has a contentious history. In the Spanish colonial era, it was a derogatory term for some indigenous people, and by the 19th century it was used in the United States to demean Mexican laborers and some mixed-raced people, according to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States.By the 20th century, the term “cholo” shifted to refer to people associated with a gang, or to those who simply copied their aesthetics and style, implying “a refusal to assimilate” into the dominant mainstream culture, the encyclopedia explains. Today, the term is deplored by some and embraced by others.In Brazil, however, lowriders and the aesthetics of Mexican-American street culture took a different route, one that sometimes passed through another country first. “I saw my first lowriders in Japan, and I was immediately fascinated by their allure,” said Sergio Hideo Yoshinaga, 43, the owner of a garage in São Paulo where motorists pay hefty amounts, sometimes reaching more than $100,000, to have their cars transformed into curb-crawling masterpieces....