I do not identify as a Mexican-American, I identify as what I am – both. I can’t really say that my mom’s side of the family is Mexican, although technically true because so far as we can tell her family has been here in Colorado since it was actually Mexico. No records of anyone coming from Spain, only stories and the intentional distancing from all the negative connotations of being Mexican. Anyway, my maiden name was McKim and a I have a white married name of unknown origin. I always check the Hispanic box. Always. Sometimes I will also check the Anglo box and the Other box. I check the box that represents the minority, and the people who look like me. So my question is, how do you feel about someone like me adding to the Chicana ranks when you might not really consider me to be Chicana? (emphasis added)
I really appreciated Ginger’s willingness to share her family background and the forthright question she poses, which is one that I get a lot in my line of work. It’s a challenging question: Who exactly counts as “Chicana/o”?
In this post, I’ll share my own understanding of the term. However, let me state an important caveat up-front: I don’t take it upon myself to police anyone else’s identity. I’m not the Chicano Border Patrol! Not only do I see the borders of “Chicano” identity as incredibly porous, but more importantly I never would presume to tell someone how they should identify. It’s a personal choice for all of us and not something for anyone to judge. So please know that my thoughts here come from my own understandings of Mexican American history and culture, and I welcome you to disagree (or agree!), add your two cents, etc. to the explanation that follows… Continue reading