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Chicano

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Chicana / Chicano

According to one explanation, the pre-Columbian tribes (Aztecs) in Mexico called themselves Meshicas, and the Spaniards, employing the letter x (which at that time represented a “sh” and “ch” sound), spelled it Mexicas. The Indians later referred to themselves as Meshicanos and even as Shicanos, thus giving birth to the term Chicano.”

Therefore, the term stuck to all Americans of Mexican decent. Sometimes, the word “Chicano” can be applied to a Mexican national who was brought to the United States at a very early age and adapted the “Chicano” lifestyle.

Chicano or Chicana is a chosen identity of some Mexican Americans in the United States. The term Chicano is sometimes used interchangeably with Mexican-American. Both names are chosen identities within the Mexican-American community in the United States; however, these terms have a wide range of meanings in various parts of the Southwest. The term became widely used during the Chicano Movement by Mexican Americans to express pride in a shared cultural, ethnic and community identity.

The term Chicano had negative connotations before the Chicano Movement, and still is viewed negatively and archaic by more conservative members of this community. Over time, it has gained some acceptance as an identity of pride within the Mexican-American community in the United States.

The pro-indigenous/Mestizo nature of Chicano nationalism is cemented in the idea of mestizaje. Ultimately, it was the experience of Mexican Americans in the United States which culminated in the creation of a Chicano identity.

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