Black text in all capitalized letters spelling "Chicano


“Chicano…this term having been used…to differentiate between a person of Mexican descent who had not been ‘Americanized’ (the ‘chicano’) and another who had.”


“A Chicano, then, was someone (of Mexican descent) who identified with a new, aggressive, highly self-conscious subculture – a subculture separate from either that of the Anglo from who the Chicano felt alienated or that of the Mexican from whom the Chicano had grown apart.”

From “The Chicano” by Ed Hundley, published in 1975


“Chicano, in the past a pejorative and class bound adjective, has now become the root idea of a new culture identity for our people. It reveals a growing sense of solidarity and the development of pride and confidence.”

Taken from El Plan de Santa Barbara: A Chicano Plan for Higher Education, 1969, as cited in Youth, Identity, and Power by Carlos Munoz Jr.


“…a person of Mexican descent residing permanently in the United States, who perceives his culture as unique, that is, different, from the Mexican and the Anglo cultures, and who actively works to defend his cultural heritage and his social and civil rights. . .”

Henry T. Trueba, 1974, “Bilingual-Bicultural Education for Chicanos in the Southwest,” Council on Anthropology and Education Quarterly, Vol. 5, No. 3

​​“…he does not want to become a Mexican again; at the same time he does not want to blend into the life of North America. His whole being is sheer negative impulse, a tangle of contradictions, an enigma…”

Octavio Paz, 1961, The Labyrinth of Solitude

“The Chicano is a Mexican-American who does not accept the Anglo image of himself…”

Rubèn Salzar, 1970, LA Times

“My name was changed, por la ley.

Pobrecitos, they believed in me,

That I was white enough

to stay forever,

that I would never find you again.

I found you, Chicano,

But only for a moment,

Never para siempre”

Adaljiza Sosa Riddell, 1974, “Como Duele,” as cited in La Chicana

“The word Chicano/a has to do with an evolved state of mind, it is not a group into which you are born…the word Chicano/a is as difficult to define as the word ‘soul’.”

Chrissie Castro, 2000, “Yo Soy Chicana”
University Colorado, Boulder. MEChA

“The Chicana is a woman of Mexican descent, living in the United State, culturally neither Mexican nor American but influenced by both societies from a colonized minority… [She] is free to be Mexican or American but not Chicana…”

Alfredo Mirandè & Evangelina Enrìques, 1979, La Chicana , p12

“You say my name is ambivalence? Think of me as Shiva, a manyarmed and legged body with one foot on brown soil, one on white, one in straight society, on in the gay world, the man’s world, the women’s, one limb in the literary world, another in the working class, the socialist, and the occult worlds. A sort of spider woman hanging by one thin strand of web.”

Gloria Anzaldùa, 1987, “A Women Lied Buried Under Me,” p205

“What do you think of the word Chicano?”

“That’s what I am. That term was used to mean a person who roamed the streets of the Barrios. I remember when I was a kid, hearing the pachucos using that word. Our parents did not like it. They considered the word an insult. We used it with pride, in a rebellious sort of way, against the status quo.”

Manuel Gamboa Manazar, 1980, “Interview with Manazar” by Barbabra Carrasco, ChismeArte, Open: No. 6, pg. 29.

“The term Chicano is an etymological derivative of the word Mexica (Mesheeka), which was the name of the Aztecs who built an empire out of the valley of Mexico. From Mexica came “Mexichicano” in the Spanish language, and from those people came the modern derivative of Chicano…”

“…the Chicano, like a pocho, was a tainted or contaminated mexicano. The word seems to have had a paradoxical meaning…pejorative when used by outsiders and positive when used by insiders…”

Alfredo Mirandè & Evangelina Enrìques, 1979, La Chicana, p10

“The Chicano is a pocho who does not accept the traditional Mexican image of the pocho…”

Jorge Mariscal, 1998, “Un Chicano en Tenochtitlan”

“A sort of scrabble game: Mexicano – Me = Xicano – X = icano + Ch = Chicano.”

Joseph C’de Baca, “Chicano movement II is outdated and lacks historical accuracy.” La Voz. Denver, Colo.: Feb 15, 1995. Vol. XXI, Iss. 7; pg. 4

“For the Chicano takes great pride in his ability to switch from English to Spanish.”

Ricardo L. Garcia

“A relatively recent term that has been appropriated by many Mexican descendants as unique and therefore reflective of their unique culture, though its first usage seems to have been discriminatory. The most likely source of the word is traced to the 1930 and 40s period, when poor, rural Mexicans, often native Americans, were imported to the US to provide cheap field labor, under an agreement of the governments of both countries.”

“Our language is the reflection of ourselves. A language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers.”

Cesar E. Chavez,

“…because that’s what a Chicano is, an indigenous Mexican American.”

Leo Limón, 1997

“Chismearte, it’s perception and gossip, it’s revolutionary art and art that is revolutionary, arte pobre y arte pa’l pobre, armas y cantos, Chismearte is a Molotov cocktail for aesthetic appetite.”

Chismearte 1:3 (1976) p36.

“A Chicano lives in the space between the hyphen in Mexican-American.”

Bruce Novoa, 1990

“The term seems to have come into first use in the fields of California in derision of the inability of native Nahuatl speakers from Morelos state to refer to themselves as “Mexicanos,” and instead spoke of themselves as “Mesheecanos,” in accordance with the pronunciation rules of their language.”

“We are confident. We have ourselves. We know how to sacrifice. We know how to work. We know how to combat the forces that oppose us. But even more than that, we are true believers in the whole idea of justice.”

Cesar E. Chavez,

“…the word has no fixed origin and surfaced among the people to name a reality: the intensification of mestizaje [mixture]…But the Chicano is like the tide in the sea of history, like a shore that never ends, in perpetual movement, it frees itself from the Mexican ocean, arrives on the American beach, and although something remains, the rest returns to the open sea but before it can arrive, as in a cyclical return, it rises again.”

From Brown Eyed Children of the Sun by George Mariscal, written anonymously for “La Voz del Pueblo” between 1965-1975.

“…Chicano is a political activist, a child born in the U.S. of Mexican parentage…”

From “A Chicano Manual on How to Handle Gringos” by Jose Gutierrez, published in 2003.

“…it is about the duality of presence and invisibility; about the co existence of pride and self-loathing; about moral corruption and cultural redemption…”

Max Benavidez, 1997, “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, I am Aztlàn: The Personal Essay in Chicano Studies, Chon A. Noriega & Wendy Belcher, Ed.

“…a declaration of independence, of the desire to no longer be treated as a second class citizen. It challenges the stereotype that Chicanos are inferior or culturally deprived… [it] implies pride in a background of many and mixed heritages and the versatility to widen one’s sociocultural persona…”

James Diego Vigil, 1998, From Indians to Chicanos, p270

“…the Anglo press degraded the word ‘Chicano’; they use it to divide us. We use it to unify ourselves with our people and with Latin America.”

Reies Tijerina; Jose Angel Gutièrrez, 2000, They Called Me King Tiger: My Struggle for the Land and Our Rights

“…the construction of Chicano identity is best understood, in the words of Stuart Hall, as a ‘process…that happens over time, that is never absolutely stable, that is subject to the play of history and difference.”

Ernesto Chàvez, 2002, Mi Raza Primero!: Nationalism, Identity, and Insurgency in the Chicano Movement 1966-1978, p6

Rasquachismo means improvising with whatever is at hand; the celebration of the unorthodox and/or inappropriate combination of elements or materials as an expressive strategy, of making art with discarded materials or forms, without trying to disguise the social realities of poverty; a funkiness that blurs the borders between “High” and “Low” art; art that represents familiar aspects of Chicano culture in a positive light.

Chicano camp – “a form of survival for those Chicanos and Chicanas that live on the fringes…[of] North American culture and Chicano culture. It is a way of negotiating and confronting a bordered marginalization…a way of existing in a disenfranchised social space that is unfixed and indefinite. Camp style ironizes, parodies and satirizes the very cultural forms that marginalize and exclude. [It is] a queer aesthetic that criticizes gendered and heterosexist paradigms in Chicano culture, while simultaneously criticizing a gay Eurocentric identity and the apolitical posture of camp that it promotes.”

Black text in all capitalized letters spelling "Chicano