Mexican? Hispanic? Latino? Mexican-American? Chicano?

For decades we, we descendents of Spanish-speaking ancestors, born or having lived most of our lives in the US,  have struggled with what to call ourselves. I have written plenty on this in the past. The Chicano Movement of the late 60s and 70s grappled with this issue head-on, choosing to identify itself with the term “Chicano” rather than the more domesticated and inert sounding “Mexican-American.” We chose up sides. We argued. We debated. And sometimes came to blows.

I personally chose Chicano because it was loaded with a cultural-social-political aura that identified me as a mover, a doer, and those who sought an identify one grounded smack in the middle between Mexican and American, not half of each, but 100% of each, if that were even possible.

But despite all this, we succeeded, I believe in creating not a watered-down version of two different cultures, Mexican and American, but a completely independent third culture, a Pocho culture, masterfully blended with the best (but sometimes the worst) of the two. Actor, James Olmos, says it best in the following clip from the movie. “Selena”

This video commentary by Sociologist, G. Christina Mora offers additional insights into our dilemma over cultural identity –


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