Ojo: The "Cholo Word Of The Day" is simply for fun. This is not an academic exercise, therefore I do not spend much time checking for espelling or grammatical errors. Most of the words are not only used by "cholos," but by many people in S. Texas - and their usage can vary. c/s

Monday, August 30, 2004

Soy Chicana Y No Estes Chingando

Well, I added to the title, but you get the point. Wow, I just read this great piece, "I am Chicana, Not Hispanic!" from injust-spring. Es temprano, and even with my lagañas and medio dormido, I started to think about my days of encountering my Chicanismo.

Growing up in the magic valle of South Texas I always knew I was a Mexican-American, Mexicano, lo que sea. Los primos from Mexico called me a pocho or gringo and the others just called me a payaso, but I digress. UT - Austin, was a great place to be, in 1995. I realized I was really a Mexican. I also say I never realized I was poor until I went to UT. Oh, and I also didn't know what tortilla soup or Chalupas (I called them tostadas) were, until I moved to Austin.

Anyway, long story short - I began reading, talking, listening, and I realized I was a Chicano. I graduated then moved to Laredo and started working as a reporter. I was still pretty hard core, but then realized most working class people there were more concerned with making a living than what I referred to myself - plus, they couldn't really relate to the word chicano. Then, of course, using the word Chicano to describe Raza on t.v. was a no-no, so I started using Hispanic every now and then (I usually tried to steer towards Mexican-American), If I knew for a fact they were.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I somewhat sold out on the term (and maybe even the political consciousness), which I was so proud of in college. I'm not sure why. Now, I don't call myself a Hispanic, but it doesn't really bother me much when someone calls me that. Maybe, I've just been too lazy to make it a point to tell them that I don't like that. I'm a Chicano and I used to be a Xicano. I'm a Mexican American, I'm an American, a pocho, to some a gringo, and definitely a Texican. Oh yea, and I got my dual citizenship, so I reckon tambien a Mexicano.

I love to hear people write and talk about Chicanismo, because it makes me want to get back to the reading and the learning, the parties and the rally's, the writing and the talking, that goes along with being a Chicano.


Blogger tortillasandwich said...

Beautiful words.

I still don't know what the heck to call myself, I'm still confused. On paper I'm "Hispanic", but in my heart, I'm just me, no labels, no colors, just plain 'ole me. I wish it was just that easy...

9:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ai, I was born in Houston, in 1969, when they still indicated WHITE as the ethnicity for Latino/Mexican babies! This was a remnant from the days when the State would classify Latino/Mexican/Chicano babies as White so that the public schools would "appear" desegregated ~ you'd have a school full of African-American and Brown kids, but the statistics would show the school as purely integrated! I remember being SO confused when I first saw my birth certificate, at age 15! Then when I moved to the Mission in San Francisco, and realized I was LATINA ~ I spent years "catching up" on my Chicano history classes! Ai, D.T. thank you for talking about this! ~ xo ~ Mari at http://sensoryoverload.typepad.com

12:10 PM

Blogger Elenamary said...

i used to hate the term chicano. i still don't really like it, and never use it to identify myself unless online. i hate the term hispanic, to much focus on the spanish (which i have none in me i believe, my mexican side was colonized by the french...). I see myself as a Mexican who grew up in Ohio. Imagine that a midwesteren Mexicana. I have no idea what a chalupa is but I do know what a tostada is. ehh.

12:44 PM

Blogger zen mantra said...

I have often had this discussion amongst friends..you see, as stupid as this sounds, i am 'light skinned' this is a term that was always used to describe me in school, which was in a primary white area, so therefor i could not be 'Mexican' i must be 'mixed' i remember comming home from 3rd grade to ask my mother what that meant. She was appaled. She told me, "mija, you are a Mexicana"
I still didnt believe her, cause the chicana's wouldnt talk to me, only the white girls would. So one day i told everyone i was Itallian (aye tu).It wasn't until i got older that i began to educate myself about Chicanisimo. I too am called Hispanic, but detest it. Call me Texan. Call me Mexicana, (it's flattering) or just call me by my name. (If anyone could pronounce it correctly. but that's another story!)

3:23 PM

Blogger John said...

I actually took a class in Hispanic Culture and Conversation and finally found out what Chicano meant. For those of you that may not know it, the Chicano movement contends that the Aztec tribe that conquered all of Mexico came from what is now the American Southwest.

The Aztecs having a society that was as advanced and productive as the Romans. With poetry, art, higher mathematics and a highly stylized culture, the Aztecs were a world class culture that most gringos have not appreciated (I do).

Sorry, did not mean to rant-just really dig Latin American History.

4:43 PM

Blogger Alma said...

I was at the nail salon the other day and the manicurist asked me where I was from, I replied, "From Brownsville. Then she asks, "No but where are you really from?" Then I said, "Well my parents are Mexican." Then she replies, "You don't look Mexican!" I am baffled by the labels. If I call myself a Mexican, my chilango friends argue that I am not and if I call myself and American, some may think I am renenging my Mexican ancestry. No se que pedo!

6:39 AM

Blogger seyd said...

Ser o no ser... I'm also in the process of chicanization, but I am still pretty confused about it all. Latino nevertheless is a more embracing term, so I use it more often, but NEVER hispanic. Oh, and I am starting to think the chalupas were a gringo invention because I had no idea of what they were until I moved here just like you'all.

8:36 AM

Blogger Xolo said...

Cool post.

I really don't care what people call me, as long as it is not derrogatory. Even so...sticks and stones...

The term Chicano always equates with chico...so it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe Xicano is better...it still sounds the same though. Same goes for the term minority.

I usually think of myself as a Mexican-American (Mexicano-americano). Born of an American mother and Mexican father and having lived in both countries. Makes sense to me. For the same reason, I feel bi: bi-cultural, bilingual, bi-national...only that somewhere in the process I have become trans...something that transcends these categories. Hijoles!!!

Latino, Hispanic, Person of Color (are there people without color?)...these are categories I may check off on a form, but they really don't mean much to me.

Lots of food for thought here. Thanks.

11:53 AM

Anonymous Zulma Aguiar said...

I know what to call myself.


I leave lables to people who want to be confused.
I'm not skin deep, therefore I'm not going to label myself according to the color of my skin. Politically, I know I'm a chicana, genetically I know I have a set of genes that determine who I am.
Most of all, I also know I have a huge mass of energy on top of my head that I can control. I control my brain, and this means I can be whoever I want to be in the future not having to look back @ the past.
Yesterday I danced Quebraditas, today I listen to them in my car while I work on a Masters Degree in New York. Yesterday I wanted to be a dancing queen in Los Angeles, and today, my goals are different this means, that tomorrow, I may not know who I may want to be, but that doesn't matter because I'm sure I'll make that decision when time comes. Why do I have to have a fixed identity when I don't even know who I want to be tomorrow.

5:56 AM

Blogger joaquín said...

I understand this a lot. "Pocho," yah, that's a great term...sadly. I am in the process of trying to recapture my ethnic roots. My Papi left a long time ago, taking the language with him, and all the markings of my being Mexican/Spanish (mi abuelita was a poor mexican girl from Mexico City, G'pa was a Spaniard). I guess I'm at the humiliating stage of not knowing much Spanish, but trying hard, and probably messing it all up, and having many white folks speak it better than I can. ugh. I think I need to just move to a spanish-speaking area and stay there for a while.

I guess I call myself Latino, if anything. I don't like Hispanic, it was invented by the govt. But sometimes I hardly feel I have the right to claim even my bloodright, my ethnicity, I feel fake. I wish it weren't so.

6:46 AM

Blogger Tejano at heart said...

I never call myself chicano or even mexican. I was born in Laredo, so I've called myself Tejano for about 30 years. I use Tejano as if it's a different nationality. I might live in Chicago now, but one day I'll be back. I lost my latino side for a few years, but thanks to my wife she brought me back to the "darker side".

12:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am proud to be an American I love my country. I was born 1968 in South ,Tx . When I was young I only listen to disco music. Watch only American Tv shows. But when someone ask me a question how do you say this in spanish I reply I dont know . They think I am pretending that Im a Mexican and I should know. I only know my basic spanish not high advanced . Can you relate to this anyone out theyre?

12:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are there mexicans that hate the word Hispanic. Comon many of us have spanish blood, we herentent some of the culture, we speak spanish, some of us look spanish, we make tortillas so don't make this sucha big a deal en don't be a hipocryt. Why should accept the things the way they are

6:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am a hispanic. i also speak spanish. my mom is white nad my dad is mexican i have two langiages i lean. Sometimes when i am speaking apanish to my abuela. we just talk and talk in espana. but opnw thing that i don't get is why should i leanr to languages?i am not fully mexican.Palabras, frases y dichos. ¿No encuentra la palabra o frase en el diccionario? ¡Pregunte aquí!
my grandmother would say when i didn't know a word?


8:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


8:37 AM

Blogger tinkybell99 said...

I still cannot understand why anybody would use that word. Growing up in my household, my mom taught me that using "chicana" was just like degrading yourself. I was taught to always be proud of my Mexican background and I guess that meant not using anything to label yourself. But I guess to each his own.

2:17 PM

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9:42 AM

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7:59 PM

Anonymous wine production said...

there is no reason to pretend to be of any nationality, color or race, really am one of those who believes that everyone should be happy with what it is because this is perfection, we all have strengths and weaknesses. thanks for letting me express my opinion ..

5:06 PM

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long time not read anything so entertaining, reading this blog thought better in many aspects of my life .. thanks for providing so much information and so helpful ...

7:28 PM

Anonymous diecast cars said...

Latino .. I love the Spanish, sometimes I would like to learn to speak, I have no prejudice against anyone Inguna, rather the language seemed very nice, I really like to hear ...

5:23 PM

Anonymous tinyy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:09 AM

Anonymous generic cialis said...

I, of course, a newcomer to this blog, but the author does not agree

3:16 AM

Anonymous Wendy said...

im cunfused as well ppl tell mi im Tejana since iwuss born & rasied in Dallas , Texass buh other ppl tell mi im chicana since my pplss wusnt born in the U.S and iwuss in the U.S buh then again otherss say que no since my pplss from El Salvodor .

10:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

, Why is it that people always want to blame others for what they choose to do. I have seen children raised in families that never speak and only speak Spanish not a word of English , but the children don't speak spanish. I have always asked myself how can it be my mother spoke spanish we all learned how to speak the language. Read and write it as well,so we became bilingual. It is not hard to learn if you applied it to your life all you need to do is try and want it from your heart. People do look down on the Latino nations cause there are many and compare to the Japanese or Chinese etc...they all speak their native language and very proud , when you all are in a salon getting the pedicure what do you hear them speak spanish no even thoe they do and speak it well, they speak their language. So this is just for some of the people who can do it to take the time to learn what is yours and do it well...stop and think how it sounds to hear someone say my parent's speak Spanish only but I don't speak the spanish language I only speak English really...Food For Thought

8:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a wast of time cause this only makes us look as if we can't write or express ourselves as intelligent people I wrote a comment and it is all taken out of context so watch what you write. Words were taken out and it sounds ..... wrong.

9:01 AM


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