What is Chicana/o?

logoUsing crowd sourcing, we’re going to develop a working definition of Chicana/o.  In the comments below, I want you a paragraph giving something of a definition / impression or sense of what Chicana/o means.  Use the ‘net and any other books you may want. Cite your sources by putting in links and MLA citations.   Sound fun?  Hope so.  Here’s the catch.  Each webpage can only be cited once.  So if someone has already put up a link, you need to find a new one.  Look at each other’s links and make comments if the spirit moves you. Please make sure you finish putting your links up (you can keep on reading and commenting of course) by 11:59 Thursday, January 16th so we can pull them all together for class on Friday.

Example:   Actor Cheech Marin starts out his essay titled “What is a Chicano” with the phrase “Who the hell knows?” He then goes on to say to be a Chicano you have to declare yourself a Chicano — which I take to mean that he sees being a Chicano as a choice.  He goes on to specifically say: “That makes a Chicano a Mexican-American with a defiant political attitude that centers on his or her right to self-definition. I’m a Chicano because I say I am.”  I think he’s right, but I also use “Chicana/o” to refer to Mexican Americans generally.  So I’m still left wondering, what is a Chicana/o?

Citation: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cheech-marin/what-is-a-chicano_b_1472227.html
Marin, Cheech. “What Is a Chicano.” The Blog. The Huffington Post. 2012. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.

(Image Credit: from Chicanos: A History.)


What is Chicana/o? — 23 Comments

  1. According to the article “Chicano: What does the word mean and where does it come from?” the term chicano can have two possible meanings. It can derive from the indigenous word “Meshico” and possibly be a variation of the Spanish term “Mexicano”. Either way, the term is used to describe people of Mexican-American descent living in the US. The article also mentions that the term became popular during the 1960’s civil rights movement. “When university students joined those and other political movements of the era, they adopted the term “Chicano” as a point of pride, upending its historically derogatory meaning.” I can agree with where the term comes from because it does seem possible that Chicanos would prefer to have their name close to their indigenous background and have it closely related to Spanish. I can also agree with the statement in the article where university students took the term Chicano and turned it positive, it shows the power and dedication of the Chicano movement.

    Citation: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/21/chicano_n_1990226.html
    Planas, Roque. “Chicano: What Does The Word Mean And Where Does It Come From?” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 21 Oct. 2012. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.

  2. In researching the word “Chicano” I was able to find an interesting article on the Texas State Historical Association website titled “Chicano.” In this article the author, Arnoldo de León explains that the word “Chicano” has historical roots and dates back to the pre-Columbian era of Mexico. During this time Arnoldo states that the natives referred to themselves as Meshicans and sometimes as Shicanos, which is where Arnoldo believes the word originated. Which in my opinion seems like a an accurate interpretation of the origin of the “Chicano.” This ancient way of identifying themselves as a common group shows the camaraderie that lies at the core of the word. Which could explain why the identifier “Chicano” became so powerful during the 1960’s civil rights movement it was a way of identifying with the ancient people of Mexico who were once mighty and proud. These new age Chicanos must have embraced the traditional “sh” that existed in the pre-Columbian natives thusly reverting to the culture that existed before the Spanish Conquest.

    Works Cited:
    de León, Arnoldo. “CHICANO.” The Texas State Historical Association: A Digital Gateway to Texas History. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.

  3. I came upon a well-informative article called “The Chicano Movement: The Meaning of Chicano” written by Telodigo Sinmadera. He began explaining that the word “Mexicano” becomes “Xicano”. The letter “X” is pronounced sh in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. Xicano is then pronounced Shicano or Chicano. “Person from Mexico” is what the author interpreted from this. I do think this is the literal definition of Chicano, and there are still plenty of branches of definitions extending from this. The article goes on to say that “Chicano” stemmed as a negative connotation to Mexicans because Americans believed they were “poor, unskilled, uneducated, ignorant, and backward”when they first arrivved in the 1900’s. However, today, the Chicano Movement is changing the meaning of being Chicano to be prideful and “the establishment of a society where equal rights and equal opportunities truly exist for all”. This is great to read, hear, and see! LMU has their own Chicano empowerment group called MEChA, which is involved in this movement as well.

    Citation: http://www.vividhues.com/BSS/chicanomovement.htm
    Sinmadera, Telodigo. “The Meaning of Chicano” THE CHICANO MOVEMENT. VividHues.com, 2004 – 2005. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.

  4. I searched the phrase, “What does it mean to be chicano?” and found an article entitled: “Chicano, what does the word mean and where did it come from?” Similar to our class discussion today, the article shows us that there is no definitive answer to where this term came from. Just like Cristina’s article (above), as well as Marc’s (also above) my article cites Arnoldo De Leon and his findings of the word that being that “Chicano” is similar to that of “Mexicano.” The article continues to explore other variations of what it means to be Chicano. One, for instance, writer Roque Planas explores is the term ‘Hispanic.’ Planas quotes a Mexican-American in his article, who claims that the term ‘Hispanic’ is simply a term that was coined by “someone in a government office made up to include all spanish-speaking brown people.It is especially annoying to Chicanos because it is a catch-all term that includes the Spanish conqueror.” Through this, we see the term ‘Chicano’ encompass more of an identity and a culture, rather than a large group of people that speak the same language. Planas’ article showed me the different interpretations of words we commonly use — whereas Hispanic may be connoting a negative response from some, as cited within the article, we also see how Chicano was originally often used in a derogatory context, however today, Chicano implies things such as unity, strength, diversity, and hybridity of culture. This is what being Chicano means (at least in part…right?).

    Citation: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/21/chicano_n_1990226.html
    Planas, Roque. “Chicano: What Does it Mean and Where Did it Come From?” Huffingtonpost.com, 2012. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.

  5. I came across a very interesting piece that spoke of how the term Chicanos began.
    “The most likely source of the word is traced to the 1930 and 40s period, when poor, rural Mexicans, often native Americans, were imported to the US to provide cheap field labor, under an agreement of the governments of both countries. The term seems to have come into first use in the fields of California in derision of the inability of native Nahuatl speakers from Morelos state to refer to themselves as ‘Mexicanos,’ and instead spoke of themselves as ‘Mesheecanos.” This interpretation is one of many, but this one states that the word stemmed from certain natives of Mexico simply not being able to say Mexicanos and it instead sounded like Mesheecanos, which could be understandable as to how Chicano came out from that, and on top of that, it goes on to say that it was very common for Mexicans to use the CH conjunction instead of some vowels. Curiously, it goes on to say that “it was at first insulting to be identified by this name,” and I assume it was because it was a term used to identify and oppress the Mexican migrants.
    Works Cited: http://www.mexica.net/chicano.php

  6. When I first arrived to California I knew very little about the cultural and political term Chicano. I knew it meant Mexican-American, I knew that most people in my small charter high school embraced this identity—I understood the basics but, as a foreigner, I was ignorant of its deeper implications, its history and the allegiance this word inspires. Six years later, Chicano/still remains an obstinately elusive concept but I feel I’ve made some progress. The pride and defiance that is associated with this culture became evident fairly soon. The necessity to establish a unique and independent definition was in part a response to the marginalization of Mexican-American individuals, which was lasted for decades and, arguably, still exists. Mexica Movement states in their powerful manifesto “What is a Chicano/a?”:

    “Chicano came from the phrase “La Mechicanada”. Originally “La Mechicanada” was a racist way of labeling some of our people as inferior, because they were Full-blood and because they spoke the Nahuatl language (Mechicano).
    “La Mechicanada” referred to our people who had come into California and “the Southwest” in the early 20th century before, during, and after the Mexican revolution as refugees. They came here speaking the Nahuatl language.
    When our people were caught speaking Nahuatl they were asked what language they were speaking. Our people responded that they were speaking in “Mechicano”. From Mechicano you get “La Mechicanada” as an insult (…)
    When we rejected Mexican-American we began embracing being part of “La Mechicanada”, our Nican Tlaca identity. We began to call ourselves Chicano.”
    The article reveals that desire to create a self-serving, self-impose name that could serve as a unifying and somewhat subversive call for this oppressed people. This reclaiming of a former hostile name, an act of resilience amid adversity, speaks of the strength of this culture and its commitment to gain respect and equality. I think the identity Chicano/a creates a compromise between American culture and its Mexican roots while demanding acceptance for both sides of this duality or mixture.

    Works Cited:

  7. Chicano history is very ambiguous when it comes to the origins and roots. One of the defining features is that the term Chicano was used to define a lower class Mexican: “Many Chicanos, Mexicanos born on this side of the border, suffered an identity crisis, they did not want to throw away their proud Mexicaness instilled by their parents and yet they were not from Mexico. Building on that cultural pride many responded by identifying themselves as Chicano. This auto-identification became an important part of our lives.”
    I think it is important to compare the Chicano movement with the 1960s and the African American struggle within the United States and their own Civil Rights Movement. Both African Americans and Chicanos struggled with their own identity against a majority power. Chicanos strived for social and political empowerment as well as a striving for a strong cultural identity. Chicanos are connected to pride of who they are: “A Chicano is proud of his heritage, a person who is responsible and committed to peace and justice willing to help all people, especially those of his or her own community. A Chicano because he is not ashamed of his heritage nor does he aspire to be what he is not or can never be–Anglo. Once the word is accepted, the person who accepts it philosophically accept his heritage, his brown skin without shame or reservations.”
    Citation: http://teachart.msu.edu/chicano.html
    Shirley, Carl R. “Introduction to Chicano Poetry”. University of Southern California Press, July 2000. Web. 15 January 2014.

  8. “Chicano is an act of defiance-Tino Villanueva”

    The quote above is how Eduardo Robles chooses to begin his essay, “What is Chicano to a Non-Chicano?”. I was intrigued in how he was going to use the quote to define his definition–with me assuming that he was going to claim “Chicano” to be related to race, political standing, identity, r a mixture of the three. However, after he explains his own struggle with identifying himself as Chicano, his definition was one that was unexpected. Rather than just keeping it simple in stating that “Chicano” is an identity that arises from an acceptance in culture and putting political beliefs into practice, he personifies Chicano. According to Robles’ definition, “Chicano” is a teacher, and that teacher takes form in the people that play the biggest role in one’s life while we are in the process in figuring out who we are. The definition is not just restricted by to an idea but it transcends, instead being reflected on the people who have taught us about our culture or have stood with us to fight against social injustices.

    Citation: Robles, Eduardo. “What Is Chicano to a Non-Chicano?” Aztln Reads. Aztlan Reads, 21 Mar. 2013. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.

  9. At first, Chicano/a was a derogatory term applied to poor, rural Mexicans brought to the U.S. as cheap farm laborers, under the Bracero program. Later, it was appropriated by Mexican-American activists, especially in conjunction with the Brown movement in the 60’s and 70’s (which coincided with the Civil Rights movement). According to the article I read, apparently “among more ‘assimilated’ Mexican-Americans, the term still retains an unsavory connotation, particularly because it is preferred by political activists and by those who seek to create a new and fresh identity for their culture rather than to subsume it blandly under the guise of any mainstream culture.” I suppose some Mexican-Americans consider the term politicized or radical in the same way that some women shy away fro identifying themselves as “feminists”, even though they may agree with its central tenet that women and men deserve equal treatment .


    Unknown. “MEChA de Central Washington University.” 13 July 2007. CWU.edu. 16 January 2014.

  10. The term Chicano carries with it a sense of marginalization. The sense of representing the outcast is closely associated with the term. In my view, Chicanos are often second and third generation Mexican Americans trying to reclaim their Mexican identity that may have been lost or fading away over time. The article states, “The most popular definition of a Chicana is a Mexican American female who is raised in the United States.” Chicanos embrace their Mexican culture and heritage, while recognizing the fact that they are American as well.
    The Chicano movement carries a more political and social activist mentality to it. To be part of the movement meant that the person “wanted to establish social, cultural, and political identities for themselves in America.” However, I believe that there is a difference between the term Chicano and the overall Chicano movement. For example, a Mexican American can choose to be called a Chicano because s/he is a second or third generation or may prefer the term to Latino or Hispanic because Chicano is more specific. Additionally, a Mexican American active in the Chicano movement tries to better the social and political situation of Mexican Americans through protests, social activism, and challenging political and cultural stereotypes.
    So I believe a person can be Chicano (a second or third generation Mexican American who may not be as proficient in Spanish or hold closely every Mexican tradition) and not be part of the Chicano Movement, which strives to promote the overall Mexican American social situation in the United States.

    Citation: http://www.umich.edu/~ac213/student_projects07/latfem/latfem/whatisit.html
    Cotera, Maria. “Exploring the Chicana Feminist Movement.” What Is the Chicana Movement? University of Michigan. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.

  11. While doing my research, I found that the term “Chicano/a” does not have an ostensive definition. Out of all the articles I read, it was difficult to chose just one definition. However, I came across one that aided the most in my understanding of what Chicano/a meant. In a chapter found in the Greenwood Encyclopedia of Latino Literature, I found that “the word Chicano was elevated from its 1920s denotation of working-class Mexican immigrant—and from the slang of the 1940s and 1950s, when it substituted for Mexicano—to symbolize the realization of a newfound and unique identity”. I chose to use this definition because it demonstrates that the term Chicano/a does not have a stationary definition. Its meaning has evolved throughout history, giving a huge spectrum of definitions depending on who you ask. I also find this definition more accurate because it also demonstrates the progress Chicanos have throughout history. They have taken a term, before used negatively, and have transformed it into one they can now be proud of.

    Citation: “Chicano Identity.” (2008): Credo Reference Collections. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.

  12. One article that i found say that “Chicano” refers specifically to “Mexican-Americans or anyone else of Mexican heritage. I goes on to explain how Mexican Americans came to be called chicanos. According to this article, “When Mexican workers and their families first moved into the United States, they were often referred to as “Mexicanos,” which became shortened over time to “Xicanos” or “Chicanos.” This was first seen as an offensive term but is now widely accepted.

    http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-the-difference-between-latino-chicano-and-hispanic.htm “The difference between Latino, Chicano and Hispanic.” WiseGeek. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.

  13. I love telling people about the work I have done with MEChA, but the hardest part is explaining to them what it stands for and what it means: Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan (or, Chicana/o Student Movement of Aztlan). We are a national organization, and MEChA de LMU is only one of over 700 chapters. I wanted to share this excerpt from one of our governing documents: “At the heart of our name is our identity: Chicana/o. At first seen as a negative word, but now is taken as a badge of honor. In adopting the Chicana/o identity, students commit themselves to return to the barrios, colonias, or campos and together, struggle against the forces that oppress our gente.” Many people consider Chicana/o yet another ethnic label, but I understand it as a political identity. I am determined to work towards the empowerment and self-determination of marginalized groups and I let this philosophy guide me in the work that I do. This is my personal definition of what it means to identity as Chicana/o.

    “The Foundations of MEChA.” Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan National Site. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.

  14. In the simplest of terms, the dictionary definition of “chicano” is a person of Mexican origin or descent. Alternatively, as we discussed in class, this term has a much deeper significance and a rich history. Even urban dictionary, the website that has humorous and often offensive colloquial definitions of everyday terms simply states that a chicano is “a person with the descendance of Mexican but not born in Mexico.” In searching for a better understanding of this term, I came across an article called Talking With Mi Gente in a PBS series titled “Do You Speak American?” Being a part of a minority here at LMU myself, that of a Jew on a Catholic campus, I have been asked, “Do you speak Jewish?” While I’m not sure whether to laugh or be offended by this inquiry, it piques my interest to understand the types of tribulations other minorities confront in the American melting pot; the first step in doing that in the context of #chst332 is to understand the meaning behind the term chicano. In this article, professor Carmen Fought discusses the dialect of Chicano English and how it came into being. She explains that chicanos are those of Mexican ethnic origin but who may not have been born in Mexico and may not even speak Spanish at all. She encountered people who heard students speaking Chicano English with certain emphases on syllables like the i in the suffix “-ing”; incidentally they assumed that English was the students’ second language. Rather, this dialect is like any other dialect which molds and is influenced by the area where it is fostered (as there is Puerto Rican English in New York). Chicano English, for instance, is a fusion of many features of California culture such as the “valley girl” dialect in addition to aspects of Spanish and English, proving that chicanos are truly a unique mixture of Mexican and American cultures. In class we discussed that being a chicano was synonymous with being an outcast as well as being a product of a fusion of cultures. Fought expresses that in her experience, people tend to have a negative reaction to Spanglish (“the complex mixing of lexical items and structures from English and Spanish in a single sentence”). However, one student who she interviewed admitted that “it is what distinguishe[s] Chicanos or Mexican-Americans from people actually living in Mexico.” Thus it seems as though having a dialect chicanos can call their own creates a sense of pride; I can draw from this pride that chicanos are a strong group of people who have a diverse background which sometimes causes them hardship and feelings of distance from the American society where they now reside, but also an incredible connection to others with whom they can share the title.

    Citation: http://www.pbs.org/speak/seatosea/americanvarieties/chicano/
    Fought, Carmen. “Talking with Mi Gente.” Do You Speak American? PBS. 2005. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.

  15. The term “Chicano” is a term that originally began as a derisive and insulting term, but was later appropriated in order to be of use to the civil rights movement, as well as to demonstrate a strength against derogatory words. The term refers to Mexican-Americans, and is thought to have been created in the 1940s or 1950s. The term may have began as an insulting way of referring to those who were native Nautahl speakers and pronounced “Mexicanos” a different way from others.

    However, over time, the word was taken by those in the Brown Power movement in the 1960s and 1970s. It was then used as an issue of pride, and an attempt to recreate the Mexican-American identity. In this way, the term becomes a term of strength, representing a desire to move past those who would use words to diminish others and instead drawing power from these words. The word, for some, has become a word of respect, demonstrating a new ideal rather than stereotypes. However, some still view the term as insulting and do not wish to be recognized by it, further demonstrating that the term is politically charged, not just ethnically charged.

    “Are Mexicans the Same as Chicanos? .” Mexica.Net. N.p., n. d. Web. 16 Jan. 2014. .

  16. Teledigo Sinmadera claims that Mexican American works as another way of stating Chicano ethnicity/culture. But Telodigo also adds that “Scholarly research has yet to provide an historically documented explanation of the origin of the term Chicano. However, many Chicano researchers believe that the term comes from Mexicano, which is the Spanish word for “Mexican.” Telodigo adds that “A Chicano is an individual of Mexican parentage or ancestry who lives in the United States.” Yet, Chicano is more than ethnicity but also a developed culture of its own with a true sense of pride. Having received negative opposition, the Chicano culture also exudes an attitude of rebellion and bravery as well.


    Sinmadera, Telodigo. “The Meaning Of Chicano.” Rev. of http://www.vividhues.com/BSS/chicanomovement.htm. (n.d.): n. pag. Print.

  17. As I was sitting in class, taking note that part of our next assignment was to define the term “Chicano”, I thought about a reading I had just done for another of my Chicana/o studies class. According to the author, Charles M. Tatum, the term Chicano comes from Mexicano which derived from the Meshica Indians. Tatum goes on to explain that, “Cultural nationalists and other activists in the mid-1960’s adopted the term as an expression of ethnic pride and used it to identify themselves in a positive was as descendants of Mexican Indians… The term Chicano is still commonly used today for self-identification and frequently as a synonym for Mexican American.”
    With this being said, I think that one chooses to weather or not they want to be called a Chicano. Although Tatum states that a Chicano has to be Mexican American I don’t agree with this. I think that any person can call her/himself Chicana/o if she/he feels empowered enough to make changes in her/his community. The Chicano movement of the 60’s started all because the Mexican-American community wanted changes.

    Tatum, Charles M. “Introduction.” Chicano Popular Culture: Que Hable El Pueblo. Tucson: University of Arizona, 2001. N. pag. Print.

  18. In her article “What is Chicano” Sarah Salas discusses the various connotations of the word “Chicano.” She says, “The definition of Chicano is not universal, but it is usually stated as someone of Mexican Descent living in the United States.” She recognizes that some Chicanos have negative feelings towards the title, while others embrace it. “They may see the word as an identifier of not belonging and the mixing of their cultures-no longer Mexican but not quite American either.” Some Chicanos see the word as a source of pride and way to combine their mixed heritage. “To many Chicanos, being a Chicano is about bringing together the best of both worlds. It is about being at home in their United States home, while still respecting the Mexican culture, and recognizing their roots.” Salas also points out that the title of Chicano, for many, is a more accurate way of identification. “Chicano has also been used as a symbol of the older Mexican identity, and as a rejection of Europeanization. Some Hispanics prefer the term Chicano to Hispanic (Not all Mexicans are of Spanish descent-many are indigenous or of other descents), or Latino (Few Mexicans come from areas associated with the Latin language.)” To be Chicano is to without question have ties to Mexico and America. While it has historically had negative connotations, it has evolved into a source of pride for many. Chicano embraces the present while still honoring the past.
    Salas, Sarah. “What is Chicano.” Bella Online. Minerva WebWorks LLC. nd. Web. 16 January 2014. http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art44807.asp

  19. In the purely technical sense of the word Chicano is used to identify an individual of Mexican decent born in the United States. Although its origins are unclear, wealthier Mexican-Americans used the term as a pejorative, a way to describe Mexican-Americans of lower social standing (likely with some racial overtones). The term Chicano, however, gained new connotation with the outbreak of the civil rights movement in the 1960’s, as Roque Planas describes in his article, “When university students joined those and other political movements of the era, they adopted the term “Chicano” as a point of pride, upending its historically derogatory meaning.” For those that embrace the label, it is a way of identifying oneself more specifically, replacing more broad terms like Hispanic or Latino.

    Citation: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/21/chicano_n_1990226.html
    “Chicano: What does the Word Mean and Where Does it Come From?” November 21, 2012. Roque Planas

  20. As my fellow classmates discussed above, the term Chicano has different meanings, various theories of its origin exist, and the term historically had a negative connotation.
    In the 1960s, politically conscious Mexican-Americans began to reclaim the term Chicano and use it as an umbrella term to unify the diverse Mexican-American population as they strived for racial, social, and economic equality.
    The Crusade for Justice, a Denver-based advocacy group created by political activist and poet Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales, formed “the First Annual Chicano Youth Conference at Denver, where participants adopted El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán— a revolutionary plan that promulgated the term Chicano as a symbol of resistance” (Acuña 308). Some new and first-generation immigrants rejected the term but due to continued social turmoil, such as the violence experienced during the Chicano Moratorium in East Los Angeles on August 29, 1970, the movement became more unified, “boosting acceptance for the term” (327). The term Chicano symbolizes solidarity among Mexican-Americans/Latinos who have experienced oppression and strive to improve the conditions of their community.
    Work Cited:
    Acuña, Rodolfo F. Occupied America: A History of Chicanos. Upper Saddle River: Pearson, 2010. Print.

  21. Ernesto Chavez states in his article “Chicano/a History: Its Origins, Purpose, and Future”, “the tumult of the 1960s, particularly the Chicano movement, engendered the quest to recover the Mexican American past in a focused manner” (507). I would like to focus on this idea when attempting to define “chicano/a”.
    Coming from a Mexican American family, I recall my father and my aunts telling me that my grandfather never taught them Spanish in fear that they would be discriminated against and not be considered “American”. In light of Chavez’s quote, as well as my family history, I would define chicano/a as the self-proclaimed identity of a Mexican American deliberately reclaiming their heritage, without rejecting their American roots, after a history of oppression and discrimination. As Chavez says, it is not the rejection of American roots, but the acceptance of both sides of the Mexican American culture.

    Ernesto Chávez
    Pacific Historical Review , Vol. 82, No. 4 (November 2013) , pp. 505-519
    Published by: University of California Press
    Article DOI: 10.1525/phr.2013.82.4.505
    Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/phr.2013.82.4.505

  22. As a Mexican-American, the word ‘chicana’ has always played a role in my life and identity. The first encounter I had with the word was in elementary school, learning about Cesar Chavez and the Chicano Movement. It was defined as someone who is of Mexican heritage but born in America. I immediately associated myself with the word. However, as I’ve grown up, I have come to the realization that the word is not that simple to define. Not all Mexican-Americans associated themselves as such, and not all who consider themselves chicano/a are born in America. Therefore, it has truly come to define a way of life, an identity beyond print and understanding. You choose to be chicano/a, it does not choose you. According to a site dedicated to chicano ‘punks’ (a subculture), “Chicano is a term used to refer to Mexican-Americans, or U.S. Citizens of Mexican descent… The word Chicano was originally used as a derogatory label for sons and daughters of Mexican migrants. During the Chicano Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Mexican-Americans used the word Chicano as a form of empowerment and pride. The origin of the word is unclear. Some believe it started being used in California in the 1930s and 1940s. Others believe the term began in Chicago in the 1950s. Many Mexican-Americans moved to Chicago at this time and referred to themselves as “Chicago-Mexicanos”, which they shortened to “Chicano”. Most Chicanos believe the term predates both these assessments. Currently, the term Chicano has been appropriated as a political identity that can be claimed by other U.S. Latinos”

    citation: http://chicanopunk.weebly.com/what-is-a-chicano.html

  23. When searching the web, I came across numerous definitions of what it means to be a Chican@. I learned however, there is no definition strong enough that can define Chican@ and the powers that lies behind it.
    Something that stood out to me was the writing of Chrissie Castro. The writing, “ Yo Soy Chicana,” insinuated that being a Chicano doesn’t necessarily mean that one must be of Mexican decent. In fact it gave examples of how people from El Salvador and Guatemala considered themselves as Chicanos. In sums, according to Chrissie Castro, being a Chicano means one has endured the “taste of racism,” it means anger due to inequality, which in causation guides the person to stand up for their rights. She identified Chicano as someone who is “aware and angered over social, economic, scholastic and employment inequalities.”

    Citation: http://www.colorado.edu/studentgroups/MEChA/soychicana.html
    Castro, Chrissie. “Yo Soy Chicana.” Web log post. Yo Soy Chicana. N.p., 31 Jan. 2000. Web. 1 Mar. 2014