While both of my parents were born and raised in Mexico, I wasn’t, but nonetheless my parents have made it their duty to ensure that I am surrounded by Mexican culture. My parents did this by taking actions such as my dad taking me to Mexico City and teaching me the history and my mom refusing to speak to me in any other language but Spanish and enrolling me in Folklorico dance classes. As a child I hated trying to speak to my mom at the dinner table and her correcting me like a teacher every time I said “La problema” instead of “El problema” but now I’m more thankful than ever.
I never noticed it as a child because I was mostly guarded from it and my family never told me otherwise, but I am not Mexican. Although this is pretty plain to see now because I wasn’t born in Mexico, it was difficult to come to terms with as a child, I didn’t understand how my mom and dad were Mexican but I wasn’t. This led me to have a time where I spiraled and began to panic as I looked for the right term, and the underlying question of “Who am I?” One day as my dad and stepmom sat with me at dinner, I told them why I was so frustrated with myself, although my dad found it quite silly, my stepmom understood the struggle.
“ You’re chicana” she said plainly.
“Chica-what?” I thought. I had never heard of that term in my life.
Through a very easy search on google, I found the answer to my question, the definition of chicana is “a woman or girl of Mexican origin or descent.” and It fit me perfectly. After this epiphany, I began to find who I was and how I related to the culture that I so lovingly embraced.
Although a label should not matter as much as the importance I gave it, It is important for chicanos to be acknowledged by both Mexicans and Americans, although a chicano might not perfectly know the history or language of either country, it is important to acknowledge them for the mix that they are, by simply calling them Americans, we strip half of their identity from them. It’s discouraging when people tell you that you’re not American or Mexican enough, but this should not matter as your identity is what you make of it. To my chicanos reading this, I understand the hurt and struggle, but I urge you to embrace your identity and the beautiful mix that you are of both cultures.