What is the meaning of 'parece changuito'? Nury Martinez resigns over slur

Eve Edwards October 11, 2022
What is the meaning of 'parece changuito'? Nury Martinez resigns over slur
Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Nury Martinez has resigned from from her post as Los Angeles City Council president after describing councilman Mike Bonin’s son as “parece changuito,” which has a deeply offensive meaning.

The 49-year-old stepped down from her role as council president on Monday, October 10, 2022. Her resignation came a day after a leaked recording went viral that captured comments by Martinez on tape, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

City council members Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo were also taped during a meeting on redistricting in October 2021, as was labor leader Ron Herrera.

This article is intended to be purely informative and The Focus does not in any way condone or promote hate speech.

Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Nury Martinez: ‘There are no excuses for those comments’

After stepping down from her position on Los Angeles City Council on Monday, October 10, Nury Martinez apologised for her remarks, as reported by The Guardian.

Martinez said: “I take responsibility for what I said and there are no excuses for those comments. I’m so sorry.

“In the end, it is not my apologies that matter most, it will be the actions I take from this day forward. I hope you will give me the opportunity to make amends. Therefore, effective immediately, I am resigning as president of Los Angeles City Council.”

‘Parece changuito’ meaning in English explained

The conversation took place more than a year ago and remained private until October 9, 2022, when the recording was leaked.

The Los Angeles Times reviewed the audio, which spans about an hour, and Nury Martinez can be heard describing Mike Bonin’s son as “parece changuito” as she and her colleagues allegedly discuss the behaviour of Mike Bonin’s son during a parade in 2017.

Martinez’s comments translate to “like a little monkey” in English. The racially charged comment was followed by remarks that the child “needs a beatdown,” the LA Times reports.

Mike Bonin released a statement on behalf of his family calling for Nury Martinez’s removal as Los Angeles City Council president. “It’s vile, abhorrent and utterly disgraceful,” Bonin said.

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Dual meaning in Spanish raises alarm bells

As Nury Martinez’s comments were made in Spanish, they have been translated into English by media publications reporting about her resignation from the council.

One Twitter user claims there could be two translations for her remark: “‘Parece changuito’ can be translated as ‘he’s like a monkey’ but it can also be translated as ‘he looks like a little monkey.’ These are two very different translations, with the second being far worse.”

When the contents of the tape were revealed, Martinez told the Los Angeles Times: “In a moment of intense frustration and anger, I let the situation get the best of me and I hold myself accountable for these comments. For that I am sorry.”

“The context of this conversation was concern over the redistricting process and concern about the potential negative impact it might have on communities of color. My work speaks for itself. I’ve worked hard to lead this city through its most difficult time.”

If you have found this article disturbing, the Department of Psychology at the University of Georgia offers advice on dealing with racial trauma, which you can access here. The Counseling Center at the University of Illinois offers counseling on coping with race-related stress, which you can access here.

Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
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Eve Edwards is a staff writer for The Focus who has been with GRV Media since April 2019. Having gained a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Bristol, Eve joined GRV starting out as a writer for Reality Titbit before making her way over to HITC. With a passion for music, TV, and cultural news, Eve eventually found a home at The Focus. Eve spent 2021-2022 freelancing for GRV Media while she completed a Masters in Music Performance, and brings her wide array of interests to the company in her written work. In Eve's spare time you'll find her working her way through the day's Wordle, Heardle, and Quordle, or struggling to complete The Guardian's cryptic crossword.