I’ve been thinking about this notion of a Chicano identity a lot lately for several reasons. The first and foremost is because I have a baby girl and have started noticing how our interactions with her are going to help form her identity. As I have heard family, friends, or strangers say things like, “Oh, she’s a gemeni? Watch out!” or “What a pretty little baby” I started to think about how she may internalize (as she gets older) what people call her, what she see’s via the media, or even the conversations her family chooses to discuss. All of these experiences will shape her personhood.
I am proud to call myself numerous “labels” such as: Latina, Hispanic, mexicana, American, Mexican-American, Hermana, woman of color, or Chicana. I recognize the history behind every term and embrace each one because they have each played a role in my formation.
When I think about the experiences I have had that have shaped who I am and how I identify with those labels I start to wonder IF my daughter will see herself as Chicana? I should point out that though I identify with each term there are some that resonate with me more than others such as Chicana and Mexican-American. Part of being Chicana means that you identify with the term Mexican-American and have shared experiences with other individuals whose parents may have been first generation Mexican immigrants, for example.
My baby girl has a different history than mine. She has a Chicana mother (both my parents are from Northern Mexico), a father whose father is from Ecuador (with Spanish and Portuguese ancestors) and whose mother is of German descent, born and raised in Oklahoma. Something tells me Sabrina (mi hija) will not embrace a Chicano idenity like I do and have, which is fine, I just hope I can raise her to be proud of her Latino background. In addition, I hope that she will come to recognize and appreciate the efforts her abuelos and bisabuelos made for her to have a better life on the other side of border.