For Latinx Heritage Month, as it should be — ask me and I’d be happy to share why — I would like to explore Xicanidad in Goshen.
First, Chicanx, is the gender inclusive and recent form of Chicano or Chicana, a term used to identify people of Mexican heritage or ancestry in the United States. Widely used in the 60’s, during the Chicano Movement, Chicano or Xicano is a version of mexicano or meshicano. Although initially used by Mexican-Americans, it is not exclusive to those of Mexican ancestry, as some Central Americans and Latinxs identify with the term.
Being Xicano (since I identify with the masculinized he/his form) means that I strongly identify, not only with a strong sense of Mexican identity, but also a significant American identity. It is a dance with identities that lies between Mexicanness, otherness, and Americanness. A spectrum where mexicanidad (Mexicanness) and Americanness meet to engender Xicanidad.
Xicanidad means that I grew up enjoying weekend trips to Burger King. It’s is growing up speaking Spanish at home and having my mother’s mole (moe-leh) for my birthday. That mole always came with a side of rice, followed by a tres leches cake and Las Mañanitas.
The song was paired with the English version “Happy Birthday” in the voices of my parents, aunts, and uncles. The song took on Spanish sounds, and those fluent in Spanish can relate to the phonetic version of el japi berdei tu yu. To me, a Happy Birthday. Las Mañanitas, and the japi berdei are classic staples.
Xicanidad is also more complex and even isolating. Often enough I heard the phrase, “no somos de aquí, ni de allá,” — or “we are not from here nor there.” This reference to the amount of time that my family lived in the states compared to that lived in Mexico questions our sense of belonging anywhere.
Though I will assure anyone, that we belong to both. Places and people form us despite what laws and social norms mandate. Just as caterpillars pupate into monarchs, so do identities and experiences.There is beauty in embracing my Xicanidad as much as there is in loving my Goshen-ness. Existing in between and traveling along the axis of mexicanidad and Americanness, Xicanidad has taught me that I am the creator of my narrative.