I grew up as a first-generation Mexican and had similar experiences. I found it interesting that Arturo Corrales mentioned that the experience in language and as a Latino correlated to the generation level you are. The more generations have been here, the more Americanized we tend to be. Nick Lopez also mentioned his family has been in the USA for several generations, like five, and the effects of this Americanization, the loss of language being the most concerning. I also liked that for the most, language is vital to preserving our culture, and they are taking steps to ensure the next generation gets embarrasses. My nephew has the same language experience as some of the panelists described. He grew up speaking it but leaned to the English language as he grew up with his friends and lost many Spanish. My mom mainly speaks Spanish, so when she talks to him, it is in Spanish, and responds in English. My niece, we have all taken more time and attention to ensure she keeps her language. We regret not helping my nephew keep the language. I, too, believe our language needs to be preserved, and it is a big part of our identity. Dr. Tinajero mentioned that when he was a kid, he asked his dad how about native languages preserving our culture. I wish I could trace my native roots and learn that culture too. This part of Chicano and Mexican culture was taken from us by both Mexican and American systemic racism. Native languages and identities have been forcibly removed from us; maybe this is another reason I feel Spanish is vital for our culture, and we can not let this be taken from us nor in attempts to assimilate let it be forgotten.
I am glad to hear others be proud to identify as Chicano and know the origins. I am proud to be Chicano also. When Chealsie Sanchez mentioned a comment, she has been told it triggered memories for me as well. “You are not even Mexican, Chealsie.” Growing up, I would be called Mexican as an insult, but quickly I learned to turn into a “hell yes! I am and what of it!” I was not as forgiving as Dr. Tinajero, in his account of a stranger calling to him as “hey Mexican.” I did get into some physical altercations for it. I identify as Mexican as well as Chicano; as mentioned by our panelists, it depends on the audience or occasion. This panel had a plethora of experiences. They are diverse in preferences and ideals, but all share the same Latino culture. I use the example of cooking “Mexican Rice” we may all have a different recipe (if any), and it may taste a little different, but we all cooked Mexican Rice. We are a diverse people.