In the United States, ethnic identity has become a debatable topic.
For the Latinx community, this topic can be confusing. Many connect ethnic identity to cultural identity, which varies for everyone, depending on family, socioeconomic status, environment and other factors. Still, many young people in the Latinx community have chosen their own preferred labels, some colored by ethnicity.
CALÓ NEWS hit the streets of to ask: What do you like to be called and why?
What we found was profound: There are no wrong answers.
Andrew Calloway, 25, Lynwood
“I usually identify myself as Hispanic or Mexican-American. I prefer this label due to the meaning of Hispanic, which is someone who speaks Spanish or relates to a Spanish-speaking country and culture. Mexican-American is another preferred label because of my mom’s country of origin and my relation to having an American identity. I personally feel that I am a product of Hispanic ethnic culture and the Mexican-American ethnic background, so I personally feel that these two labels relate with my own cultural upbringing and identity.”
Isaiah Zuniga, 22, Irvine
“My preferred ethnic label would probably be Asian, even though I am half Mexican, half Cambodian. I lived more [the] Cambodian lifestyle, I can’t even speak Spanish. Most of the time if I were to get asked on a survey, I would probably put Asian just because like I’m more Asian than Mexican than anything.”
Bianca Martinez, 24, Carson
“I identify as Hispanic and Mexican. I am Mexican and German so I’m mixed. The thing is, I don’t know too much about my German side, so I identify more Hispanic. But the problem is that I don’t know too much about that side, either, so I’m kinda like in the mix. But I would say Hispanic.”
Cindy Aguilera, 30, Los Angeles
“The label I prefer is Salvadoran-American. Although I was not born there, I am proud of my Salvadoran heritage and like to let people know where my origins lie. I know people also use Latina/o or Latinx, but these I feel don’t include the diversity Latin America has. I am proud to be Salvadoran-American because the label signifies the great adversity my parents overcame to leave their home country and start life in a new one.”
Renzo Aaron Pocasangre, 23, Rowland Heights
“I prefer the terms Latino/Chicano, primarily because I feel the development of the term Latinx works as an umbrella term to generalize Latin Americans. The term Latinx as a non-binary term may have good intentions, but I feel it ignores the personal identity of many Latin American migrants. I also prefer Chicano because at the least, it represents the Chicano/a movements of the 60s and 70’s that developed the term before its shift towards Latino/a. Most Americans already make assumptions that many Latinos/as are from Mexican descent, but for me this is only partially correct. It ignores my other half, and the identity I was born with. My name is Renzo Aaron Pocasangre and my last name itself is Salvadoran, which I hold close to my Salvadoran identity.”
Vivan De Anda, 22, Long Beach
“My preferred label[s] would be Mexicana/Mexican. My parents are from Mexico, I am a daughter of immigrants and that’s where they are from. Although I don’t know if I am completely 100% Mexican, I do prefer that. It’s who I am. , I don’t look by any matter because I guess people have that stereotype of how Mexicans look like, and obviously I don’t fit that.”