Growing up in a Mexican household while living in the United States is not necessarily easy. From the outside world, there is this pressure to assimilate into American culture. Even little things, like people being shocked you do not understand a pop culture reference, make you feel like the oddball. Withing your family and Mexican community, there is a pressure to stay true to your roots and not become too Americanized.
When I was younger, I was constantly called a “white Mexican” by my cousins due to my music taste. I was all about high school musical. Can you really blame me though? It was all everyone was talking about in school. I wanted to fit in both places, but I often felt like I had to decide which culture I wanted to embrace. I was not aware that I did not have to decide.
The term Chicanx embraces everyone of Mexican descent that lives in the U.S.
Just like most terms, to be Chicanx means much more than that. Originally, Chicano was used as a derogatory word, but this has changed since the 1960s. Taking this word and turning it into something positive is empowering and demonstrates that this community is made up of people that have the strength and power to make a difference. The word Chicana describes my identity better than any other label can. While some people dislike labels, I find some sort of comfort in them.
Learning about the Chicanx community has allowed me to enter a space in which I feel like I truly belong. Knowing that other people face the same judgments and have the same struggles as I do reassures me that I can achieve the goals I have. In this community, it does not matter if you act “more Mexican” or “more American.” In the end, we are all mixing out cultures to create one that matches us best. We recognize the different issues within the Chicanx and Mexican communities and strive to create a better future.
Being Chicana is not having to decide between two cultures, rather it is embracing them both. Being Chicana means people cannot offend me by saying that I am too Mexican or not Mexican enough. As if there is a correct way to be a nationality. I have place in American and Mexican societies, all the while I do not really belong in either place. I am that in between. I am what happens when my Mexican parents decide that the best thing for me is to have an American education.