Mexican, Chicano, Latino, Hispanic?

What’s the difference?

If I have it all straight:

A Mexican is a person from Mexico.
Hispanic is a general term for anything which originated from a Spanish speaking country. There are Hispanic people, but there’s also Hispanic literature, Hispanic television, Hispanic sports etc.
A Chicano is a person from Mexico living in the United States. I believe the term is somewhat archaic.
A Latino is a person of Hispanic ancestry. I beleive it’s generally the preferred contemporary term.

My Mexican fiance says our daughter is Chicano. Half-American, half-Mexican living in the U.S.

Pretty close. Hispanic refers to Spanish-related culture, including Spain and Latin America. Latino refers almost exclusively to Latin America.

So are Spaniards considered Hispanic?

Just to add from discussions with friends, Chicano/a is an identity self-defined by Mexican Americans in the 1960s. It links to self-determination and ethnic pride, and is something of a response to the term Hispanic, which I believe is a catch-all term used by the Census Bureau to categorize disparate groups such as Puerto Ricans, Mexicans Americans, Dominicans, and yes, even Spaniards. In fact, as an undergraduate student at the University of Texas, I was surprised to learn that the Caribbean was considered at one time Latin America. While this might make sense with the Dominican Republic, it’s hard to get the connection between Jamaica and the Latin American world…

Chicano/a also gives more consideration to indigenous Native heritage, and less to the European lineage in these communities.

It’s also regional. Many of my college-educated, activist friends identify as Latino or Chicano, and reject the term Hispanic. However, in my native Texas, among my circle of friends it was rare to find someone who cared to be called Chicano or Latino.

Latino/a is a term that refers to the Spanish-speaking citizens in the New World, North and South America. I would say it is a more acceptable modern term preferable to Hispanic.

The Spanish Caribbean is still considered Latin America…obviously not Jamaica, but Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Cuba…

Or a part of the United States that once was Mexico.

The mixed-Spanish-and-American-Indian half of my family from southern Texas would ethnically identify as Mexican, even though they’re from (what is now) the US.

Just a niggling nitpick…

Calling a Hispanic male from Northern New Mexico a Mexican might get your ass beat. NM’s first hate crime involve Hispanic New Mexican on Mexican violence.

I’ve lived and worked almost all over New Mexico and Texas. I’ve never heard a Hispanic person use Chicano or Latino. I’ve heard various Hispanics use Hispanic, Spanish, and Mexican. Northern New Mexican Hispanics always seemed to use Spanish. I usually use Spanish or Hispanic. Too much of a possibility for an insult even amongst people that aren’t too far seperated from Mexico if Mexican is used. I’ll use Mexican but only if I get the feeling that it’s appropriate. Lots of people in Southern NM and TX identify with Mexican it seems. But it’s not universal.

In the Texas Rio Grande Valley region I was corrected by a Mexican (US Citizen) who told me, “Mexicans are people who carry the bloodlines of the natives of the general Mexico region. The citizens of Mexico are what we refer to as Nationales

I got the impression that he had a cultural bias against nationales and so I couldn’t determine if that word was derogatory.

Has anybody else heard this term and know if its rude or innocent?

Although I carry the bloodlines of persons born in Spain, Texas and California, I do not identify as Mexican. I’m as American as my mom, grandma and great-grandma, all California girls. Going to highschool in the 70’s, I did not wish to cover myself in what I saw as a designer label in the form of the term Chicano. I was not a Mexican-American, having no relatives I knew of in Mexico. LA, yes, Dallas, yes, but not in Mexico. Not seeing California as Latin America, I have rejected Latina as an identifier, leaving Hispanic, if one must.

I think the term “La Rasa” has pretty much eclipsed “Chicano.”

Argent Towers

They are the original Hispanics.

I classify myself as Hispanic. A Mexican is a citizen of Mexico. And as mentioned before Latino/a refers to the language(Spanish derived from Latin).
Italians would be the original Latino/a s.

And nevermind about Chicanos.

Now people of ethnic descent do tend to call each other(within the group) Polish or Mexican or Italian, et al and I’m guilty as well, when it comes down to it though, American first.

Bubba Dog

That being nacionale.
I’ve heard it but I’m not sure of the connotation. There is definitely animosity between Mexicans and American Hispanics. Pochos they call us.
Not sure exactly what it means but definitely derogatory.
Not much love lost there. Personally I find those who come up to raid our malls periodically quite rude and obnoxious.

Hey, Hippy Hollow !
Wonder where you spent a lot of time in Texas. Hook 'em!

My American Heritage compute dictionary defines them thusly:

Mex·i·can n. 1. A native or inhabitant of Mexico. --Mex·i·can adj. Abbr. Mex. Of or relating to Mexico or its people, language, or culture.

His·pan·ic adj. 1. Of or relating to Spain or Spanish-speaking Latin America. 2. Of or relating to a Spanish-speaking people or culture. --His·pan·ic n. 1. A Spanish-speaking person. 2. A U.S. citizen or resident of Latin-American or Spanish descent.

Chi·ca·no n., pl. Chi·ca·nos. Usage Problem. 1. A Mexican-American. --Chi·ca·no adj. Of or relating to Mexican-Americans or their culture. [American Spanish, dialectal variant of Mexicano, Mexican, from México, Mexico.]
USAGE NOTE: Care should be taken in using the term Chicano when referring to Mexican-Americans. In some regions of the Southwest the term suggests ethnic pride; in others it may be felt to be derogatory.

La·ti·no n., pl. La·ti·nos. 1. A Latin American. 2. A person of Hispanic, especially Latin-American, descent.

Wow. I spent a good 20 minutes on a good long post I was gonna make and it vanished poof just like that. Just when I had something good to post in GQ.
Anyway, here it goes again:





I typically associate myself as a Mexican-American or a Hispanic. I don’t like the term “Chicano” because of what it means literally (“pig farmer”) and because of the connotation associated with it. Generally speaking, Chicanos are the so-called “thugs” and “gangsters”, but where I live, I don’t hear the word very often (and I live on the Tex-Mex border) and there are alot of thugs around these parts. I think it’s a word that isn’t used in the community, only a word used by others to identify from the outside (if that makes sense). Lately, however, people have begun to adopt the word to identify (much like gay people and the word “queer”) and some (like my roomate) even use it with pride and to identify themselves as part of a movement to give our minority a voice. I also don’t like the term “Latino” and I can’t really explain why. I think it has something to do with how popular the term is getting in pop culture, especially in music.

Just a slight nitpick. Well actually it depends on your point of view I guess.
Anglo-American or Anglo refers to people of English descent. What about the Pols or Germans, French et al? I use “White” to refer to what is sometimes considered “Anglo.” Funny, down here in Texas you even hear White people using the general term “Anglo.”

When I first moved to Texas (from Georgia), I used the term “Hispanic” and was mocked for it by my Mexican coworkers as being a “snooty” term. They just used “Mexican”.

I’ve also never used “Hispanic” to refer to someone from Spain, only those from Central or South America. My brother used to date a girl from Spain and she would get offended if someone called her “Hispanic”. (her best friends were form Columbia but there’s asort of classism/racism about being from Spain)

And I’ve had enough people tell me that “I ain’t no fucking Mexican.” That I am somewhat hesitant to use the term too broadly. Of course, I’ve also know a female that refers to herself as Mexican that bitches about guys marrying wetbacks because Mexican women tend to be more traditional.