For a more symbolic meaning of the word Chicano/a, to many of us it is the mixture of both American and Mexican culture. It had become a political term for those who wanted to find a more specific word to identify themselves with than Hispanic, a word to classify all who spoke Spanish in America from Latin America. In the 60s the word Chicano/a grew strong with many political Mexican-American’s and used it as a source of pride. Today, the older generation of Chicano/as’, some but many, see young Chicano/as’ as those who live in the past or use the pasts’ struggle to reflect on their own lives and go no where to empower their society. For the most part I disagree, I understand and I am grateful for what the older Chicano/as’ have done historical for us newer generations of Chicano/as’ but I resent that I’m labeled as a “wannabe”. In the definition of what it is to be the newer race of Chicano/as’ I will have to interpret it from what the past has led us to be now.
In many historical moments of the 60s, you could find many racial groups emerging for their rights to liberation from oppression. The Chicano/a movement was certainly one you couldn’t miss in the books. Organizations like the United Farm Workers or the Brown Berets, as well as protests and rallies such as, pro-Affirmative Action, helped in glorifying the meaning of Chicano/a power. It made many Mexican-Americans proud and not alone in a country that didn’t want them there. Yet with such an upraising in praise and pride for this new identity, the movement declined gradually throughout decades to come. Not much political activism had gone on but the word Chicano/a carried on but not in the sense that the Chicano/as of the 60s intended it to be. It would become an identity to those born in America of Mexican parents.
By this time around, now in the 90s, I could have the choice on any application to indicate, optionally, what ethnicity I am. It was either Latino/other, or Mexican/Mexican-American/Chicano. With my parents consent of what I was, I’d proudly pick the box that had Chicano beside it. I grew up proud being Chicana because my dad always had pride in what he was, Mexican. Now, as I write/say this, it isn’t pride so much but honor. I honor being Chicana for what the past Chicano/as’ have done to be recognized but now, I honor what the newer Chicano/as’ will do for themselves and society.