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A Chicano is an Americann with Mexican heritage. Chicano is deemed to be offensive by some Mexican-Americans, preferring other identities such as Hispanic, Latino, or even Spanish (Castellano). In Mexico the term can connote a person of low-class and poor morals, while in the US the term carries multiple meanings. Sabine Ulibarri, a famous author from Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico, USA notes that chicano is a politically-loaded term, though it is considered a positive term-of-honor by others.

Some believe chicano was originally a pejorative term, while others believe it was an abbreviation of the term Mexicano (XI pronounced CH). In any case, the term was adopted by Chicano social rights activists in the 1960s as a political, positive term. Some of these activists included Corky Gonzales who wrote Yo soy Joaquín; Alurista, a chicano poet; and César Chávez of the "no uvas" and United Fruit Workers. In the 1960s, the Chicano movement MEChA was also formed.

The etymology of the word Chicano is uncertain, some link it to Mexicano (i.e. Mexican) - Chicano is sometimes written as "Xicano", and in Old Spanish, the letter X was pronounced as modern English /S/. Others claim to find its true etymology in the Spanish word "chicana," meaning "harassment."

Many Chicanos refer to themselves as "La raza" (literally, 'the race'). Some use the phrase "la raza de bronce", some see themselves as "brown" or "bronze" because of their aboriginal ancestry (as opposed to white and black people). Most refer to themselves as "la raza cosmica" which means the universal race. Bruce Novoa, a famous Chicano author, once wrote that Chicanos exist in the space created by the hyphen in Mexican-American.

See also:

List of notable Chicanos
List of Chicano poets