The Chicano adjective is used to describe a citizen of the United States of Mexican origin. Chicanos, therefore, are Americans who have Mexican parents or ancestors.
For example: “The Chicano artist will perform again tomorrow at the city theater”, “I was in a relationship with a Chicana woman for five years, but it finally didn’t work out”, “The owner of the restaurant is a young Chicano who trained as a chef in London ”.
In its origins, the concept was used to refer to Hispanics who lived in regions of the United States that in the past belonged to Mexico, such as Arizona, California, Texas or New Mexico. Over time, the notion came to focus on individuals born in Mexico and nationalized from the United States and on individuals who were born in the United States but come from families of Mexican origin.
According to DigoPaul, chicanos make up more than 10% of the US population. Many of them communicate in Spanglish, a speech modality that combines elements of English and Spanish. It is known as chicanismos, on the other hand, to the deformation of certain words in English to be used in Spanish, such as parkear (derived from park: “parking”) and baica (from bike, “bicycle”).
Actor Edward James Olmos and singer / actress Selena Gomez are two world-renowned Chicano stars. It should be noted that, according to the context and personal perception, the term Chicano can be considered offensive or, on the contrary, a reason for pride that highlights identity.
In addition to these characters, there are many other Chicanos who have managed to become a benchmark in the United States and throughout the world. We are referring to figures such as the following:
-Actress Eva Longoria, known for her role in the series “Desperate Housewives.”
-Actress, singer and songwriter Demi Lovato, who rose to fame for her work in the movie “Camp Rock.”
-Actress Jessica Alba, known for her performances in films like “Sin City” or “Fantastic Four.”
-The also actress Salma Hayek, who is a relevant figure on the international film scene thanks to productions such as “Open until dawn” or “Frida.
In addition to all of the above, we cannot ignore the fact that in the 1960’s and 1970’s what became known as the Chicano movement took on great value. Basically it was a movement at a political and cultural level, fundamentally, that aimed to give value to Mexican origins, end discrimination against Mexicans in the United States, gain political weight in different spheres…
César Chávez, Reies López Tirajana, Dolores Huerta, Héctor P. García and Rodolfo Corky Gonzáles were some of the leaders of the aforementioned movement, which carried out everything from student strikes to action in the agricultural sector to promote the so-called Chicano art. In the latter they achieved a great weight from Patssi Valdez to Luis Jiménez passing through Carlos Almaraz or Judithe Hernández.