It seems adequate for the first entry of this blog to be about the concept of identity since that is the very purpose and name of this blog. I was born in Mexico and my nationality is still Mexican however I currently live in the US awaiting a Green Card. In this context up until a couple years ago I was still satisfied by plainly defining myself as “Mexican”, this I thought was enough to explain my identity to anyone. However often times this would lead to further questioning about my reasons to be in the US, additionally over time I have faced more and more tags that American society uses to label someone like me.
Some times I remember I had to face self definition were while meeting curious people who would directly ask me about my background (like that hefty and flirtatious bank cashier) or while filling up a survey for the US Census or the famous Nielsen TV usage studies. I have slowly come to feel that something else is required since “Mexican” somehow implies that I am just a visitor to the US and I have no intention to make this country my home, however I still try figure out how do I fit in the American structure.
Of the most common names that come to my mind I remember things like Mexican-American, Latin American, Latin, Latino, Hispanic or Hispano, however it is Latino and Hispanic that I feel come up the most often. So which one it is? It is something difficult to answer, quite often people go back to things such as language spoken or places of origin to define it, I personally believe that the choice depends more on each individuals’ experience and how he or she feels comfortable, consequently I’d like to finish this comment by sharing my own choices:
I am Mexican when I am in Mexico or “originally from Mexico” when asked about my country. I am Latino when I co-exist will fellow Latinos, when we don’t care about which language we speak and things just happen naturally like when I listen to a latino radio station, and finally I am Hispanic for all other formal purposes such as a US Census questionnaire or reading magazines about more “serious” latino matters, (hence the choice of name for this blog.)
You don’t feel the same way? What is your personal experience and how do you describe yourself when required?
On the next entry I will write about other less agreeable labels such as Chicano or Pocho…