Chicanos Define Yourselves
Define yourself (or be defined)
The term Chicano has always been associated with radicalism. The term Chicano has always been mis-understood by the non-Hispanic population. Indeed, it has been mis-understood even by Hispanics, Mexicans and we Chicanos ourselves.
Published on LatinoLA: October 4, 2004
Lets face it, the term "Chicano" makes white people and others nervous. In general, it's been at least my observation that "White" people prefer the kinder, gentler, non- threatening Mexican over Chicanos. Conversely, I've known a few Mexicans that prefer "Whites" over Chicanos. Why? I think it has to do with the struggles of the 1970's when the nation was in turmoil. The United States almost ceased to exist in the early 1970's. Indeed, the nation was nearing collapse.
I do not see it having anything to do with it's origin as a word. Meaning, where the word originated from was from in the fields in central California. Most people agree the term "Chicano" was first coined by Mexican - Indian migrants that could not pronounce "Mexicano" saying instead, "Xicano". The word was first "Xicano" and it was first used by poor migrant farm workers, and no one is intimated by poor farmworkers.
The term Chicano has for the most part made "white" people a bit un-easy. White people prefer a kinder, gentler, non-radical term like Latino or Hispanic. My wife, who is Mexicana, considers herself a Latina. Make no mistake, I am not Latino. At least not by any modern definition. This might be a guy thing because the term Latina seems to signify beauty. While the term Latino does not.
I do consider myself "Hispanic" because:
1) Hispanic is simply the "Anglo-sized" translation of the Spanish word "Hispano". How can I say I am not Hispano, when I am? I am not going to deny what I am. If Puerto Ricans are or are not Hispanic, good for them. If Cubans are or are not Hispanic then good for them, too. I add this because some Chicanos do not like the term Hispanic or Latino because it groups them with with Puerto Ricans and Cubans that are Tri-Racial. In other words, because they have black blood. I know what I am and it makes me no less Chicano to recognize or acknowledge that I am Hispanic.
2) Where in the heck did I come from? the Mayflower? My last name isn't Welsh, Scottish or English. It is Spanish. No, I am not a Spaniard. I am a Chicano. Ethnically, I am a Mexican. Racially, I am mixed... SPANISH and INDIAN. I grew up in East L.A. - speaking SPANISH. My grandparents came to the United States - from Mexico - speaking SPANISH.
Here is one more clue: Spain, Spanish, Hispanic. Espa?a, Espa?ol, Hispano. Amazingly, there are people who still do not get it. Moreover, there are certain groups that do not want you to get it. Ironically, some of these groups are so diametrically opposed to each other it's bizarre. On the one hand, some groups do not want you to acknowledge the Spaniard in you because they hate the "White European". On the other hand, some groups do not want you to know you have Spanish blood in you because it might add another element of pride having "White European" blood in you. It's not in their interest for you to have pride.
There are far more important things in life than being anti-Spanish. Moreover, being anti-Spanish does not make you more indigenous. It does not make you an Aztec, Mexica or any other indigenous peoples. You are Aztec by blood, birth and, hence, by right. Denying one does not make you more of the other.
Yet another fallacy is that to be a Chicano you have to ba a socialist. No you don't. I am a right-wing Christian Democrat. The socialists want to give workers 4 hour days and pay them $500,000.00 a year. If anyone would like to pay their salaries, go right ahead. But leave me out. Socialists and their big cousins the communist are economic failures. Because they are failures, they want to prevent others from having a go at it themselves. They want to use the power of government to prevent others from even trying. Simply put, socialism means outlawing private business. All this praise for Che Guevara, it's silly. He was an Argentine who left his own country rather than to stay and fight to try to change things there. Communists and socialists always go to other peoples land, countries and homes to spread their doctrine somewhere else. If the socialists and communists try to bring their dogma here to my home, my country, my land then they have another thing coming because I am not the only Chicano that feels this way. All my friends feel the same way I do. All my friends are private business men and women and about half of them are Chicano/a. This "Chicano = socialism" fallacy is yet one more reason for white Americans to be cautious of us. Read my lips. I define myself. I am a right-wing Christian Democrat and I am Chicano.
I've covered ethnicity, I've covered race. Finally, I cover nationality. My nationality is American. I am American born and raised - like my parents. It has been my personal experience that - on average - Mexicans have a bigger problem with this than Americans do. It seams to contradict their "tu no tienes pais" mentality. I do not let other Americans define me and I do not allow Mexicans to define me either. I define myself, and I am Chicano.
? 2004 VirtualChicano.com
I'm more of a Rhett Butler, but i'd rather be Lee.