50 Chicano Quotes Celebrating A Proud History

Take a moment to learn something new with our Chicano quotes. 

Chicano culture has a long history of working to maintain roots while simultaneously establishing new ones. 

Check out our Chicano quotes below to learn more about this proud culture. 

What is a Chicano?

Chicano or Chicana culture are people who identify as Mexican-American.

Over time, the word Chicano has grown to embody more than a Mexican American identity. 

Check out these cool facts about Chicano culture below: 

  • Chicano started out as a racist slur but was reclaimed by Mexican youth in the 40s. 
  • By the 60s, Chicano represented a powerful political movement of ethnic solidarity. 
  • The Chicano movement has worked closely with other melanated communities to form empowerment. 

Famed Chicano journalist Ruben Salazar sheds light on the word’s meaning. 

He once said, “A Chicano is a Mexican-American with a non-Anglo image of himself.”

Many would agree with Salazar’s definition while also adding that there are always varied subcultures within the larger umbrella of Chicano culture. 

Writer Brandon Loran Maxerll suggests, “Chicano culture is a complex web of sub-cultures and movements.”

You probably recognize more Chicano culture than you realize. 

Marshall adds, “It is the Chicano Civil Rights Movement; it is the Chicano lowrider community; it is the Chicano art community; it is Chicano fashion; it is Chicano tattoos. It is pachuco sub-culture.”

Are Chicano and Latino the same thing?

No. 

Remember, all Chicanos can be Latinos, but not all Latinos can be Chicano. 

The word Latino is an American term that lumps everyone of Latin American descent into one group. 

This can include dozens of countries, cultures, and ethnicities. 

The Office of Management and Budget defines a Latino person as “Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.”

A Chicano person is from the United States of America. 

They are Mexican American people who identify with particular social or political aspects of Chicano culture. 

They are their own group, no different from Italian, Jamaican, or Japanese Americans. 

To learn more, check out our Chicano quotes below. 

Short Chicano quotes about a unique culture 

Let’s get started with some short and sweet Chicano quotes. 

1. “We are many shades but one people.” — Sal Castro

2. “I am not Mexican; I am not gringo; I am not Chicano.” — Carlos Fuentes

3. “I was the first Chicano to write in complete sentences.” — Gary Soto

4. “I’m in crisis. I’m about to bump with a five-foot Chino-Chicano.” — Megan McCafferty

5. “There is no one Chicano language just as there is no one Chicano experience.” — Gloria E. Anzaldua

6. “The Chicano and Puerto Rican movements created a new political vocabulary.” ― Cristina Beltrán, The Trouble with Unity

7. “Chicanos and running water are endlessly fascinating. I can watch them all day.” — Cheech Marin

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8. “I am representing California, and all of California, definitely as a Mexicano, a Chicano, a Latino.” — Juan Felipe Herrera

9. “We’re afraid the others will think we’re agringadas because we don’t speak Chicano Spanish.” — Gloria E. Anzaldua

10. “We oppress each other trying to out-Chicano each other, vying to be ‘real.’ Chicanas, to speak like Chicanos.” — Gloria E. Anzaldua

The top Chicano quotes from across the culture

Below are some Chicano quotes from an array of recognizable names

11. “I am Chicano everywhere. I have my own history.” — Carlos Fuentes

12. “Our strength lies in our unity.” — Gloria Anzaldua

13. “We must never give up on our dreams or our ideals.” — Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales

14. “We must be united in our struggle for justice and equality.” — Dolores Huerta

15. “The only way to make real change is to start with ourselves.” — Cesar Chavez

16. “I think I carry their stories inside me like an ancestral archive.” Sandra Cisneros

17. “You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.” — Chicana Activist Emma Tenayuca

18. “We are powerful beyond measure when we stand together.” — Henry Baca

19. “Our stories are important. They give us strength; they give us power.” — Sandra Cisneros

20. “Our heritage is something that we must never forget or take for granted.” — Alicia Garza

Cheech Marin Chicano quotes and sayings about heritage and pride 

Cheech Marin is one of the most outspoken Chicano artists who is never afraid of celebrating his community. 

21. “I’m a Chicano because I say I am.” — Cheech Marin

22. “You have to want to be Chicano to be Chicano.” — Cheech Marin

23. “To me, you have to declare yourself a Chicano in order to be a Chicano.” — Cheech Marin

24. “The word ‘Chicano’ was originally a derisive term from Mexicans to other Mexicans living in the United States.” — Cheech Marin

25. “That makes a Chicano a Mexican-American with a defiant political attitude that centers on his or her right to self-definition.” — Cheech Marin

26. “There are some Chicanos who don’t want to be Chicanos – they want to be Mexican-American, Hispanic, or even Spanish.” — Cheech Marin

27. “I was interested in a lot of subjects from very early on. And that’s uniquely Chicano because every Chicano I knew always had three jobs.” — Cheech Marin

28. “Don’t ever insult a Chicano about being a Chicano because then all the other Chicanos will be on you with a vengeance. They will even fight each to be first in line to support you.” — Cheech Marin

29. “Being a Chicano in Hollywood, my experience is that you’re not given credit for any sophistication… You’re just kind of some guy that just crossed the border, you know, on the back of a truck, and that’s it.” — Cheech Marin

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30. “By the time I discovered Chicano painters in the mid-’80s, I recognized that these guys were really world-class painters, but they weren’t getting any attention, which was good in one sense in that I could get their work for cheaper!” — Cheech Marin

The best Chicano quotes about academia and identity

Check out these amazing Chicano quotes from Adrian Florido about Chicano culture.

31. “So again, they started calling themselves Chicanos, and this movement became the Chicano rights movement.” — Adrian Florido, Code Switch

32. “You know, M.E.Ch.A. pushed for the creation of ethnic studies and Chicano and Chicana studies programs.” — Adrian Florido, Code Switch

33. “And the term Chicano itself sort of came to me not only Mexican American but really, like, it was a term for a politically empowered one, you know, kind of radical.” — Adrian Florido, Code Switch

34. “It encouraged just, you know, brown students to embrace their identities, to be themselves. And so it became a really important part of the Chicano rights movement.” — Adrian Florido, Code Switch

35. “And many Chicanos have come to understand Aztlan to essentially be the U.S. Southwest, the land that Mexico lost to the United States in the 1800s.” — Adrian Florido, Code Switch

Additional Chicano quotes from Adrian Florido

Here are a few more amazing quotes about Chicano culture and identity.

36. “And this backlash sparked a debate – right? – like, this broad debate about what being Chicano or Chicano or Chicanx, what that even means and where the Chicano movement is headed.” — Adrian Florido, Code Switch

37. “The term Chicano/Chicanx, she feels, leaves out many Latinos who’ve been involved with M.E.Ch.A. but are not Mexican American. It’s something that she and other student leaders say that they’ve been talking about for a long time.” — Adrian Florido, Code Switch

38. “And for a lot of people like Margarita Berta-Avila, it really became the gateway to the Chicano movement. And it was in college that she started calling herself a Chicana; And she said it wasn’t because, you know, she was declaring, OK, now I am Mexican American.” — Adrian Florido, Code Switch

39. “It’s an acronym. It means Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, which in English is the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan – Chicano because, you know, obviously, Chicanos. And Aztlan – this is an Aztec concept. It’s the name of the mythical homeland of the Aztec people.” — Adrian Florido, Code Switch

40. “We’ve been talking about this one word, Chicano/Chicanx, but there are actually layers to this debate. Another one is a big one, and it’s over this word Aztlan. It’s a name for this mythical Aztec homeland, like I mentioned earlier. But what about Latinos whose ancestry is, say, Zapotec or Mayan?” — Adrian Florido, Code Switch

Famous Chicano quotes about discovering roots and inner struggle 

These quotes address the nuanced nature and complexities of Chicano culture. 

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41. “Both Chicano and Puerto Rican activists continually stressed the importance of community control of local institutions.” — Cristina Beltrán, The Trouble with Unity

42. “It is interesting that both Chicano and Puerto Rican art in the United States form an important part of the Civil Rights legacy and dialog.” —  Mari Carmen Ramirez

43. “We need to bring black communities, Chicano communities, Puerto Rican communities, Asian American communities together.”Angela Davis

44. “I am a writer who comes from a long line of storytellers: my father’s mother, my mother’s mother, every one of them was a great storyteller.” — Sandra Cisneros

45. “Oppression and inequality would never end until Chicanos and Puerto Ricans controlled the institutions that directly affected community life.” — Cristina Beltrán, The Trouble with Unity

46. “Chicano/a youth, discovering they have roots in indigenous, often advanced, pre-Columbian cultures can help develop a sense of potential empowerment.”― Elizabeth Martínez, De Colores Means All of Us

More Chicano quotes about discovering roots and inner struggle 

Here are a few additional quotes to show perspective on struggles faced by the Chicano community.

47. “El Grito Del Norte,’ a Chicano newspaper based in Espanola, New Mexico, was born from the revolutionary flames that engulfed the Southwest in the late 1960s and the early 1970s.” ― Enriqueta Vasquez, Enriqueta Vasquez, and the Chicano Movement

48. “I don’t have a problem with these Arizona laws. I have a problem with Chicano, Gay and Lesbian, Asian-American and African-American histories not being taught in American History courses.” — M.G. Hardie

49. “Unlike the civil rights struggles of African Americans or the protest politics surrounding the Vietnam War, the Chicano and Puerto Rican movements represent a decidedly underexplored aspect of 1960s New Left radicalism. ― Cristina Beltrán, The Trouble with Unity

50. “The struggle is inner: Chicano, Indio, American Indian, mojado, Mexicano, immigrant Latino, Anglo in power, working class Anglo, Black, Asian. Our psyches resemble the border towns and are populated by the same people. The struggle has always been inner, and is played out in outer terrains.” — Gloria E. Anzaldúa

Chicano culture has helped define American culture

Chicano people have had indelible marks in the worlds of art, film, fashion, language, cars, cuisine, and style. 

Many famous Chicanos continue to forge new paths and reclaim their history. 

Do you have a favorite Chicano quote?

Please let us know in the comments section below.

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