Mud Vest – Poner en sus chalecos de barro


A mud vest is a figurative vest that you pretend to put on to suppress racial slurs.


“Explain to me what this mud vest is.”

“I grew up part time in San Diego in the lower class areas. You know, inland side. There was and still is a lot of tension between Blacks and Mexicans. As kids you grow up hearing your siblings and parents even saying derogatory things to others. A lot of fights and sometimes killings came from this. The best way to protect yourselves was to bite your lip when someone other anther ethnicity made you angry. Especially if you were weak or outnumbered. But because we would always saying racial things, it was hard to remember not to say anything, so what my friends and I came up with is what we call the mud vest. Before going anywhere occupied by black people and we weren’t looking to start anything, one of us would say ‘Poner en sus chalecos de barro’, which mean’t ‘put on your mud vests’. The mud vest is our symbolic suppression of such slurs. Saved us a lot of times from getting our assess whooped. ”

“Out of all things, why mud vest?”

“A vest protects, you know what i’m saying? Mud just sounded right (laughs)”


My thoughts:

This mud vest concept is a bit humorous and maybe a bit racist, which is ironic because this figurative mud vest is used to suppress racial slurs yet the name of it is derogatory: Mud is dark as are the people they are trying not to offend. The informant does not outright connect the two, but a few exchange of words not included in this post more clearly eludes to it.

This is a bit different than the other lore I collected simply because this ritual is used as a survival mechanism. That alone I find interesting and would like to find lore used in a similar context.

An additional thing to note is this piece of lore functions as a conceptual utility. It’s a tool that is to be applied in specific contexts to maintain or better one’s situation, but isn’t considered to be a remedy. It also contains entertainment value. Therefore its a multi purpose piece of lore.