Broken Forum has taken me to task for my previous post, in which I dissed a guy who was wearing a t-shirt that proclaimed his Chicano identity (see BF’s comment in the post below). BF says the guy was right and that Chicanos “have nothing in common” with Puerto Ricans, Cubans, etc.

I must admit that I thought these groups shared at least a few traits. But now that you mention it, Chicanos apparently have more in common with Germans, Poles, and Serbs, in that all of them are inexplicably fascinated with accordion music. Really, you’d never get a Puerto Rican to pick up the squeezebox.

Without even getting into the many cultural and racial similarities – or the shared challenges that Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and so on face in American society – I’ll just point out that people aren’t described as Chicano unless it is through self-identification or via a demand for acknowledgement. The larger U.S. population sees only “Hispanic” or “Latino,” and we are lucky if we get those descriptors, rather than being referred to as “that Spanish guy” or having other, more colorful terms tossed at us.

BF also disputes that the shirt was meant to be confrontational. But my point is that the message didn’t say “Chicano Pride” or something positive like that. The shirt was about exclusion, defining the person by what he is not, and by extension, implying that the wearer’s group (in this case, Chicanos) is superior to the dreaded Others (ie, Hispanics or Latinos).

BF also says that I have “cultural insecurities.” This is incorrect.

What I have is cultural schizophrenia.