Mexican-American or Chicana? Why not both!

What: To Nelda, being Chicana and being Mexican-American are two different things. Being Chicana encompasses a whole new field of meaning, being Chicana means to be a strong, independent, Mexican-American, woman. By labeling herself as both Chicana and Mexican-American, she includes the idea of connecting back to her roots, as a Mexican-American. Chicana is what Nelda identifies with, but as she was born a Mexican-American, she keeps this connection. By keeping both cultural identities strong, Nelda has been able to prove the fluidity of human identity. She shows that despite the countering ideas, she can still find a way to identify herself through both identities.

So What: By referring to her job as a “human being,” Nelda shows that labels are not the most important part of life, and this is why a person’s identity can be fluid. The label isn’t what’s important, rather people should drop the labels or simply not worry about them. Nelda finds that it is more important for a person to simply be a person and live their life instead of complying to these barriers that have been unfairly set. Nelda doesn’t think it’s right to choose between Chicana and Mexican-American because she, like most humans, does not fit perfectly into one simply idea, and rather her identity is defined by her means. She doesn’t believe that her “job” should be only for Chicana or for Mexican-Americans, and instead she believes that it’s more general and it’s a job for a human being.

Now What: Schools can definitely play a major role in shaping the identity of people. When I came to this school I was overwhelmed by the amount of Filipinos who were in the nursing program, upon asking around, I learned that a large amount of the students had come from the same cities or even the same high schools. Coming here, the assumption was that I was a Nursing student, based purely on the fact that I was Filipino. Since I came in undeclared, many had assumed that I would declare as nursing. I did not do this, but I could see how it could have affected my decisions and later my identity. Instead I am now a communications and media studies major, and since my family has never been to university, they really had no idea of what my major was, but over time they’ve come to accept it, as my family is just happy that I’ve decided to go to school, they weren’t the type of family to pressure me into doing something I didn’t want to.