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What’s in a Name? Chicano, Latino, Hispanic. Prof. Jose Alamillo CSUCI-Chicano/a Studies CHS 100,Fall Semester 2008. Common Labels Used. MEXICANO MEXICANA HISPANO CHICANO CHICANA LATINO LATINA HISPANIC LATIN MEXICAN-AMERICAN TEJANO LA RAZA NUYORICAN

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what s in a name chicano latino hispanic

What’s in a Name?Chicano, Latino, Hispanic....

Prof. Jose Alamillo

CSUCI-Chicano/a Studies

CHS 100,Fall Semester 2008

common labels used
Common Labels Used







self ethnography exercise
Self-Ethnography Exercise:

(1) Explain how this label best reflects your identity?

(2) Where did you learn about this label?

(3) Do strangers define you by this label?

what s in a name latino
What’s in a name? LATINO

● Latin/ Latinoamérica/America Latina/Amérique Latine

● Term is widely used to refer to person of Latin America descent, regardless of ancestry.

● Became popular in the 1970s by community groups

● More widely accepted than "Hispanic" but still ignores indigenous who are of pre-Columbian origin and African peoples in the Americas

● Erases differences along region (CA, FL, NY), class, ethnicity, race and Spanish dialect

● The term is more concerned with preserving language and culture.

● Obscures the class and national difference between historically oppressed groups like Mexican and Puerto Ricans and newly arrived immigrants from South America) = Pan-ethnic category, not racial category..

● According to the Pew Hispanic Center 75% do not prefer Latino or Hispanic, prefer country of origin labels.

what s in a name hispanic
What’s in a name? HISPANIC

● Hispano/Hispanoamérica/Hispania

● Term if often used to refer collectively to those who speak Spanish language or who are culturally connected to Spain

● Category created by the U.S. federal government in 1970s

● Erases differences along region (TX, AZ), class, ethnicity, race and Spanish dialect

● It is not a racial category, but a “Pan-ethnic” label

● Millions of people who speak Spanish but are not of Spanish descent (i.e. Native Americans)

● Mexican and Puerto Rican groups have not been discriminated because of their "Spanish" culture but with their Indian features and culture.

● Hispanic term emphasizes wanting to be part of America

what s in a name chicano a
What’s in a name? CHICANO/A

Pre-Columbian Origins:

Indigenous people in Mexico referred to themselves as "Mexica"

(Meh-chi-ca) before the Spanish conquest. "X" was pronounced "Sh" so the term gradually evolved to "Xicano"  "Shicano"  “Chicano”

Working Class Origins

"Chicanos" were the lowest of the low in barrios, ill-mannered, dirt poor, up to no good, similar to "redneck," "nigger" or "white trash."

Chicano/a Movement Origins

In the1960s & 1970s the Chicano Movement appropriated the term and turned into a positive identity that emphasized indigenous history, cultural pride & group solidarity

Rejected by Mexico and U.S.A State of In-betweeness (nepatla)

Asserts and Insists upon difference opposed to sameness

The power of the decision to be “Chicano” is more significant than the term itself.

Women critiqued the male bias of the term and added “A” to become “Chicana”

what s in a name mexican
What’s in a name? MEXICAN


● Technically a Mexican citizen

● Used sometimes by mistake to refer to all people of Mexican descent (racial lumping/they all look alike)

● Just because someone lives in the United States doesn’t mean he is not a Mexican citizen or has dual citizenship.


● Originated after 1848 and Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

● U.S. citizens or residents of Mexican ancestry

● Some have a problem with the “Hyphen”

● Can one be 50% Mexican and 50% American?

problems with labels
Problems with Labels

● LABELS are fixed, static categories but IDENTITY is always changing

● LABELS often lag behind and fail to catch up to your new IDENTITY

● LABELS hide more than then reveal your IDENTITY.

●Because language is power then we must question who has the power to define. LABELS are often imposed on our IDENTITY.

●Everybody takes part in IDENTITY labeling. To accuse someone of “identity politics” is like accusing someone of breathing.

●There is no correct position regarding labels because identity is not an OBJECTIVE FACT.

so many labels hijole what term do we use
So many labels….Hijole!..... …………….What term do we use?

●When in doubt. ASK! Do not assume.

● We all have a history and come from some place so to position ourselves somewhere we must discover our past.

● One must learn to tell ourselves stories of our past. Act of “cultural recovery.”

● Don’t be afraid difference in discovering oneself and creating new identities.

● What do I call myself? What do I call others?

What I call myself depends on where I am (social location) and who I am with (social relations) and how others see me (groups/institutions/media) at a particular time (time period).