I’ve been asked to describe what it is to be Hispanic. I want to answer with a quote from Cherrie Moraga. We both came from one Mexican parent, one Anglo parent. Both of us struggling with our Xicana idenity and both of us abhoring the term Hispanic.
“I call myself a Chicana writer. Not a Mexican-American writer, not an Hispanic writer, not a half-breed writer. To be a Chicana is not merely to name one’s racial/cultural identity, but also to name a politic, a politic that refuses assimilation into the U.S. mainstream. It acknowledges our mestizaje — Indian, Spanish, and Africano. After a decade of ‘hispanicization’ (a term superimposed upon us by Reagan-era bureaucrats), the term Chicano assumes even greater radicalism. With the misnomer ‘Hispanic,’ Anglo America prefers the Spanish-surnamed the illusion of blending into the ‘melting pot’ like any other white immigrant group. But the Latino is neither wholly immigrant nor wholly white; and here in this country, ‘Indian’ and ‘dark’ don’t melt.”– Cherrie Moraga