Q: Chicana is one of those words that not all Mexican Americans claim. Why do you?
A: It’s like the word “feminist.” You’re not born with it. You have to understand the political history of the word. Just because you have a uterus does not a feminist make you. The same thing with Chicano. My father feared the word. He used to associate it with World War II and zoot suits.
Chicano is being used for picking up the struggle for people on both sides of the border. It became a political term, the same way feminist did. You have to understand the history of the movement before you can claim the word. People can’t pick up a word just because it’s dumped on them.