Monday - May 27, 2019

How to spot a Chicano from New Texicalorizona

­by Philip Móntez

(As Hispanic Heritage Month fades from the calendar, Hispanic Link News Service offers this satirical view of Mexican Americans as products of their Southwestern geographical divisions. First published by Hispanic Link News Service 27 years ago, it is authored by Philip Móntez, who recently retired from his position as Western Regional Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.)

My Anglo friend Scott apologized for his buddy’s brusque manner. “You’ll have to excuse him,” he explained. “He’s from New York.”

When a friend of my black friend, Bobbie, told a dumb joke, Bobbie whispered, “Sorry, Phil. He’s from Mississippi.”

And we’ve all been told, “Show me. I’m from Missouri.”

My point — in case you’re not keeping up — is whether you’re black, brown, red, yellow, or white doesn’t determine your behavior. What counts is where you’re from. Geography, not genes.

The hypothesis is one that I’ve been testing for some time now, and I’ve found that it’s more prevalent among Mexican Americans in the Southwest than it is with any other group.

Put me in a room with five Mexican Americans, one each from Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and California, and within moments I’ll be able to tell you where each one is from.

Mannerisms, speech patterns, style of dress, interests: each provide clues, but none are necessarily conclusive by themselves.

For example, if one corte tras una decisión. Sin embargo, la constitución responde a nuestra pregunta: En cualquier momento puede legalmente el gobierno poner restricciones a los derechos de los norteamericanos, existe alguna razón?

La respuesta se encuentra en el Artículo Sexto de la Constitución de los Estados Unidos: “La Constitución y las leyes de los Estados Unidos, ing Califas (California) or East Los (East Los Angeles), he is from the Golden State, although he possibly spent his formative years in El Paso.

If he shows up with his ruca (girlfriend) in a cut down ’55 Chevie ranfla (car) with a mural of Zapata on the hood, hydraulic butterfly trunk, frenched antenna and crushed velvet upholstery, he’s from San Jo (San Jose).

There are other regional variations to be alert for. It’s easy to confuse Mexican Americans from southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. (That’s an ambiguous statement, I realize, but maybe it’s accurate either way you read it, so I’ll let ­it stand).

Those from Arizona are generally a shade darker because they spent a lot of time in the sun, but it’s the ones from California who wear sunglasses. They’re waiting for the day the movie industry starts hiring Chicanos.

Here’s one fi nal clue: Chicanos come from California and Denver, Colorado. Mexican Americans are common in Arizona Latinos prevail in Texas. In New Mexico, they’re still debating whether to be Spanish or something else.

I’ve probably given you more than enough to absorb in one lesson. Let’s hope that these few minutes we’ve spent together make you a more tolerant, enlightened person,

one who, in the future, will not lump us California Chicanos in with those Tex-Mexes and the rest of them.

(Readers may reach Philip Móntez care of ©2007