Friday, May 4, 2012

Cheech Marin on "What is a Chicano"

From the Huffington Post:

Read this the other day, and it made me laugh. Marin is right in that Chican@s name themselves and don't agree with other Chican@s, as a Chican@ who disagrees with aspects of Marin's definition, especially the omission of the Nahuatl Xikano etymology. The definition he gives about Chican@s in the U.S. reminds me of how pocho is used with Mexican American communities. A past post on Cheech regarding SB 1070.
 (Marin and I at Book Expo signing in '08)
Click here for the original post in its entirety:

Excerpted from his post:

"To me, you have to declare yourself a Chicano in order to be a Chicano. 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.
But no Chicano will agree with me because one of the characteristics of being Chicano is you don't agree with anybody, or anything. And certainly not another Chicano. We are the only tribe that has all chiefs and no Indians. But don't ever insult a Chicano about being a Chicano because then all the other Chicanos will be on you with a vengeance. They will even fight each to be first in line to support you.
It's not a category that appears on any U.S. Census survey. You can check White, African-American, Native-American, Asian, Pacific Islander and even Hispanic (which Chicanos hate). But there is no little box you can check that says Chicano.
No wonder Chicanos are confused.
"Because I am the only official version of what being Chicano is, I say Mexican-American is the politically correct middle ground between Hispanic and Chicano. Like in the song I wrote to be sung by a Chicano trying to be P.C. "Mexican-Americans; don't like to just get into gang fights; they like flowers and music; and white girls named Debbie too."
(The video he refers to)

It never bothered me until one day I thought to myself "Hey, wait a minute, I'm not Mexican." I've never even been to Mexico and I don't speak Spanish. Sure, I eat Mexican food at family gatherings where all of the adults speak Spanish, but I eat Cheerios and pizza and hamburgers more. No, I'm definitely not a "Mexican." Maybe I was "Mexican-ish," just like some people were "Jew-ish."
Self-identification saved the day. Yet, I still was dissatisfied with what I wanted to call myself. A Chicano was someone who could do anything. A Chicano was someone who wasn't going to get ripped off. He was Uncle Rudy. He was industrious, inventive, and he wants another beer. So I got my Uncle Rudy another beer because, on that day, he showed me that I was a Chicano. Hispanic my ass, I've been a Chicano ever since."--From Cheech Marin's blog post on Huff Post Latino

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