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

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Chicano and Mexican American

Israli's Domain asked what the difference between a Mexican-American and a Chicano/a is. I think we've blogged about these labels before, but I can't seem to find a post. In fact, I think Elena had some good stuff (i may be mistaken).

I guess they mean different things to different people, but when I use the two words, here is what they mean.

Chicana/o:
1. someone who doesn't take offense to being called a Chicana/o
2. someone politically/socially conscious
3. American of Mexican descent

Mexican-American:
1. American of Mexican descent

I refer myself as both in certain situations. I guess it depends. I'm sure other folks could give better answers.

27 Comments:

Blogger Elenamary said...

Julio at Yonder Lies It has a good entry on what's a Xicano/a. My definations are here.

5:18 AM

 
Blogger La Brown Girl said...

I agree w/ Julio b/c it has become an ideology. I have Chilean friends who call themselves Chicana/os. My sis, on a trip to Mexico, was told by an Indian lady selling jewlery on the street that she's a Chicana. I wish people would stop labeling it as a negative term.

5:59 AM

 
Blogger Cracked Chancla said...

Thank you for clarifying. I had a hunch that's what you meant but I didn't want to make assumptions.

6:48 AM

 
Blogger Aleksu said...

How do you call the child of a Mexican and an American?

Would it change depending on where that person lives? Mexico, the USA, somewhere else?

From experience, the only time when Chicano is dished out as an insult is when an American of Mexican background tries to deride a Mexican in Mexico.

We know the kind, they think they are superior to Mexicans from Mexico for some obscure reason.

8:46 AM

 
Blogger Cracked Chancla said...

Those feelings of superiority come from ignorance. But it works both ways, from experience I can say that there are also Mexicanos that look down at the Chicanos/Mexican-Americans. Its really a shame.

8:56 AM

 
Blogger oso said...

If I ever become a Mexican of American descent, I'm going to invent a word for it.

9:44 AM

 
Blogger cindylu said...

This is one of those questions I get tired of, but I have to agree more with la Brown Girl that some people no longer limit Chicana/o to being from a certain country.

4:56 PM

 
Blogger cindylu said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:56 PM

 
Blogger mariposatomica said...

this hoopla sounds like nothing more than divide and conquer...

6:57 PM

 
Blogger Aleksu said...

Oso, I grew up with a few neighbors that were Mexicans of American background.

They called themselves Mexicans.

Same for some of German background.

7:47 PM

 
Anonymous chicano in exile said...

Though not directly related to the Chicana/Xicana/Mexican(-)American/Mexican discussion, I want to toss in the label "Spanish". In New England, where I've lived for the last few years, people often use the word "Spanish" to identify Latinas (and by "Latinas" I also mean to include males). No matter how many times I hear it, I'm still reminded of the historical use of the word "Spanish" in place of Mexican, Chicano, etc. Most of us have probably heard one or more older family members who grew up in the USA talk about how it was desirable to be considered "Spanish," rather than, say, "Mexican," because it was thought that Spain was more cultured than México or the rest of Latin America.

Naturally, hearing people here use Spanish as a catch-all umbrella term is disturbing both because it denies our Americanness ("American" as in the Americas, not the USA) and its inherent mestizaje, and because it reveals the lack of historical knowledge that plagues our country.

When people use "Spanish" with me (ie, "Oh, you're Spanish?"), my tactic is (depending on my mood) to respond with the sarcastic "No, I'm from South Texas, not Spain" or "No, I'm Latino. 'Spanish' refers to people from Spain." Regardless which route I take, though, I usually get a similar response: disbelief. People, it seems, don't understand what the hell I mean. So then I have to go into a longer explanation which is usually kind of fun.

I should add that this is highly linked to geographic mobility, education, and/or economic class: the Dominican, Haitian, and African kids I used to work with used "Spanish" as have countless adult white New Englanders who I've known, whereas the students and faculty that flock to New England colleges have rarely used "Spanish" (though I can think of a few people who have).

4:12 PM

 
Anonymous Grunt said...

Nowadays, Chicanismo is self-identified ideology. istorically - prior to the '60s - the word was pejorative (ending as it does with -ano, like the word "marano"). "Pocho" could be seen as a synonym for its original negative meaning.
The word was picked up by 2nd/3rd generation Mexican-Americans, who turned it into a positive description of their cultural in-between status. To be Chicano was to be both Mexicano and Americano, a new social identity.

9:14 PM

 
Blogger Mayra said...

When it comes to labels, I never felt quite comfortable with the label Chicana. Even though I respect and appreciate the Chicano culture and movement..I never really felt like it encompassed all of my life experience and background. If I have to identify or label myself, I say I am Mexican-American or from the Valley, maybe even Mex-Tex. But Chicana...no...I am just don't feel it. I just think the label deserves more scrutiny before people try to make it represent the Mexican-American experience as a whole.

10:43 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you tell the difference between a Mexican and a Spaniard? Spaniards are light-colored and Mexicans are brown-tanned. So don’t confuse them two.

9:10 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spaniards are light-colored people and Mexicans are brown-tanned people. So don’t confuse them two. Some mexicans who are very-light skinned, are not really light. They put something on them to make them look white, believe me. Go to Mexico or look at them in person or on tv or get a Spanish magazine. I know some have some Spanish in them, but it doesn't make them Spanish, although there is some pure Spanish people in Mexico.

2:00 PM

 
Anonymous Allen said...

Unless they're part Mexican, then they can have 'fair or very light skin'.

12:55 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn you hispanics today are stupid today. Brown pride my ass, you are all not brown. have of you are whiter than the clouds.

1:14 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There can be light-skinned Mexicans of pure Mexican descent; they're called 'wueras'.

12:49 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is some tension on both sides, i think is sad how poeple think that Mexicas are less than Chicanos (Mexican-Americans)when they don't even know how to speak spanish correctly, on the other hand, I as Mexican have to accept that there is also some ignorance on our side of the border. I moved here to the U.S. 2 years ago and one of the things I noticed was that people assume that America reffers only to the US, and not the continent. I was amazed by how much Mexico influences the US, now everyone knows how to speak spanish!!

1:19 PM

 
Anonymous hector said...

I dont think chican is a negative term. I Call my sister chicana back home on my tracfone every day. But i guess its kinda easy for me to call my chicana back in mexico everyday when Tracfone is the only cell phone company with which you can call internationally for the identical price as any other call. Its very cheap for me to call mexico.

6:44 AM

 
Anonymous Cindy Slope said...

"Chicano/a": I happen to like the English root word: "Chic". It really has a positive connotation! At least, that's how I choose to perceive it. BTW, I found a really cool online promotion where you get paid $600 to call around the USA, Mexico and 69 other countries! Check out www.compunets.com - but the offer ends November 29 - maybe sooner, because it is only for the first 6,000 new customers they get this month! Sorry for the long post!

8:28 PM

 
Blogger carrie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:49 PM

 
Blogger jenniferlopez said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:37 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am here.

12:37 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my online name will be fransico villa2011+ i am a mexican american in exile in europe and only here have i found something that i would never find in california texas arizona new york miss.st louis and indianapolis...and that is equality. they love us here i am beautifful here with my brown skin and eyes but in america im a wetback even though i was born in the states and served my country..in wars.i am here.

12:48 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is not my phone thought. I found it on the street. My name is Freddy J Carballo. From Nicaragua. It is difficult to identify the difference by physical complexion. Some are gueris and blonde some brown like me. But I am curious about the word "clear" makes me think about several topics.

Thank uou!

5:54 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read some comments and research just few words. I believe that the art reflects instances in a given time. 2016 now and the argument persist. I stumble and fall several times. And still taking baby steps. Time is wonderfull. I am a believer of culture and settlement. At this point I don't have clarity. Mexico is a wonderfull Country too. But USA is beautifull and America from Chile to Alaska is a giant or a little guy. it is our home and we wellcome all cultures. We, sounds better then I. I am an Indian.. A mestizo. Mixed Spanish with Indian. I am tire of hate and hate.. Or see or not.

We need to reconciliate with our families and love ones. Running away in our own desperation could trap our own freewill.

Hearts don't diminish or exagerate.

FJC

8:28 PM

 

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