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The title highlights the contrasting social "gangs" a young person could identify with in Southern California at that time, and by metaphoric extension, to different ways of living and choice of values in society that could influence the direction of an individual life. Of course, being Latino and not expected, according to the cultural stereotype, to be a surfer, only heightened this contrast. As he says, "There were two distinct paths in my neighborhood: hood or surfer".
Cholos and Surfers, besides being an engaging tale of the course of one man's life, is an insightful, provocative meditation on American society and history through the eyes of a member of a minority who has important things to say about the necessity for, firstly, an awareness of the persistence of racism, and ultimately, the need for its eradication, if we are truly one nation, albeit of diverse races and cultures.
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