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RE: [xmca] Chigano, Gypsy, Roma in an international context

Just a point of clarification:

Technically, Chicano actually only refers to "American" born people Mexican descent. Chicano is thus distinctly different than saying "Latino" as a racial/cultural descriptor - Latino being the broader category.

Chicano (also spelled Xicano using a more Aztec-like spelling) was a word "recaptured" during the power movements of the late 1960s and 70s in the U.S. My understanding is that the original definition did refer to a "lower" class of people in Mexico, and that folks in the Mexican American acivist community were claiming it as a label of pride.

If Sotomayor is from Puerto Rico, then she is not formally Chicano. She would instead be Boricua/Boriquena.

It wouldn't surprise me if there was some connection between the Greek and Romani words, however.

From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of David Kellogg [vaughndogblack@yahoo.com]
Sent: Saturday, April 10, 2010 2:52 PM
To: Culture ActivityeXtended Mind
Subject: Re: [xmca] Chigano, Gypsy, Roma in an international context

I think the word "chicano" is American English (but then the word "American" is also American English). It only refers to those whose families originated from Latin America (anything south of the Rio Grande in Texas) but who were themselves born in the USA, It is not derogatory, and Sonia Sotomayor who serves on the Supreme Court refers to herself as a "chicana" (because she is from Puerto Rico, which is a colony of the USA).

As I understand it, the word Chigano is the Greek pronunciation of Tzigano, or Zigano, which means Roma in the Romani language. My grandfather, born in Japan, was a "Turqino", that is, a Turkish Jew (Hi, Ulvi!), but the language we spoke during our centries of exile in Turkey was actually a Jewish form of Spanish, and it is elsewhere called "Ladino". (My mother's maiden name was "del Burgos", after the city of Burgos in Spain).

People always prefer their own inventions, and of course there are perfectly innocuous words (e.g. "negro") which over time really do accrue the filth of disparagement and oppression. But the idea that when foreigners mispronounce our names or change them they are deliberately insulting us really tells us more about the psychology of the oppressed than about that of the oppressor.

When I was little I lived in the city known as Madras, in India, and I can easily tell what political party Indians vote for by telling them this. Supporters of unsavory ultra-nationalist outfits like the Hindu fundamentalist BJP will always correct me and tell me that the city's "true" name is "Chennai", as earnestly as the children Vygotsky interviewed claimed that a dog called "cow" will give milk and have horns.

David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education.

--- On Sat, 4/10/10, ulvi icil <ulvi.icil@gmail.com> wrote:

From: ulvi icil <ulvi.icil@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [xmca] Chigano, Gypsy, Roma in an international context
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Date: Saturday, April 10, 2010, 5:42 AM

Hi Anna,

I visited once Volos. It is really a very nice city to live in.
Ulvi Icil
Istanbul, Turkey

2010/4/10, Anna Chronaki <chronaki@uth.gr>:
> Dear all,
> The last few years part of my research involves studying mathematical
> 'development' with Gypsy children and I have published some of my work
> mainly in European journals or books edited by European editors.
> As I try to move on to a more 'international' context I realize that the
> use
> of words such as Chicano, Gypsy or Roma take very different meanings to the
> ones I would use at either a local (Greek-Gypsy community) or a European
> context. For example in Greece the word 'Gypsy' could, at times and for
> some, be insulting and people would rather the word Chicano as a
> self-description of who they are. Recent European policies enforce using
> Roma as a 'community' term signifying who these people are, and 'inventing'
> even a flag (!..) for promoting greater uniformity and group-identity.
> I am wondering what is the case in the US. So far, I realize that in the
> Americas (North and South) the word chicano refers to Latino people - which
> in fact is a different community, or isn't it?
> I would appreciate any ideas, clarifications, references concerning the
> above use of terms.
> Many thanks,
> Anna Chronaki
> Associate Professor
> University of Thessaly
> Volos, Greece.
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> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
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