Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Meaning of Con Safos

          So to clear up what Con Safos means and what it stands for, it originated as a chicano term thats best described in Jose Antonio Burciaga’s Drink Cultura. "At one time or another many of us have seen the c/s sign-off on Chicano 'placas' and graffiti in the Southwest or Midwest. It's a very common Chicano symbol but its true origin and significance is nebulous. It is not a Mexican symbol but a Chicano, a Mexican-American, symbol. Its origin is unknown but, like the 'Pachuco', it probably originated in South El Paso's 'Segundo Barrio'. The c/s sign-off means 'con safos', and translates literally as "with safety." It was meant as a safety precaution, a barrio copyright, patent pending. No one else could use or dishonor the graffiti. It was an honorable code of conduct, a literary imprimatur. Like saying "amen," it ended discussion. Above all, it meant, "anything you say against me will bounce back to you." ... Some Chicanos will also end a placa, graffiti, with the message 'con o sin safos', which means that with or without safety, with or without this code, whether you like it or not, whether you insult me back or not, this placa, insult or praise, stands."
          To underscore Burciaga, Mi Con Safos is a safe space blog and outlet for people of color, mujeres, LGBTQ folks, and all marginalized communities to explore the intersections of our identities, experiences, stories, feelings, and struggles. I hope readers are able to feel, relate, and are empowered by the submissions. I ask you to share yours as well. Sumbit your piece to be posted (with your name or anonymous) mail to: Feel free to share poems, writings, short stories, photos, etc., anything that tells your reality.

Mi Con Safos Editor, Alec


  1. To old school veterano Chicanos like me, "Con Safos" also means that "what follows here in an after-write can not diminish that what I've said here is the truth" i.e., nothing can undo the truth of what is being stated...

  2. Angel and Alec you've described the term Con Safos succinctly. I use to run with numerous Chicanos’ back in the 1950s. They described it as a final signature and autographed symbol understood as a reflection, related to the former statement at that place or time, meaning for example "Whatever is related to the former statement or graffiti or statement would be echoed in return" For instance: to say "Go to hell" that is reflected back to the crucifer back to "Go to hell" also, or if there is a statement or thought such as "Bravo, yes or good going" then the similar jester would be returned-likewise. So, in closing “Con Safos”

  3. It actually reminds me of the New year's greeting in Hebrew that places a "seal" on the goodness of a life.

  4. Interesting take on the elusive term con/safos, but linguistically speaking: the term has historical gravitas with the ancient Latins, who introduced the term in 500 bce.

  5. Con safos or C/S usually followed names of fallen carnales from the barrio or as stated a placa or art meaning it was to be respected and not crossed out or painted over. This is a chicano term known from barrios from East LA to El Paso