What’s a Mexican?

A short video by Storyteller Olga Loya

THEME:  The search for identity is a personal one. No one can
tell you who you are. When we accept all aspects of ourselves,
we feel more comfortable in our own skins as well as in the world.


olgaStoryteller, Olga Loya, talks about exploring different aspects of her ethnic identity. When she was in college she wanted to fit in with the dominant culture and so emphasized the American part of her Mexican-American identity. She felt complimented when anyone said she didn’t look Mexican and embarrassed when she discovered that, to her classmates, she spoke with an accent.

Then, in college, she heard Cesar Chavez talk and was inspired to go to Mexico. There she discovered the many accomplishments of her ancestors and that Mexicans came in every shape and color. She was now emphasizing the Mexican part of her Mexican-American identity.

When Olga moved to Northern California she was introduced to several First Nations groups. She began to claim her own Indian heritage much to the chagrin of her parents. Now, Olga identified as Chicano.

Over the years Mexican-Americans have been labeled many ways and called many things: Hispanic, Latino and so on. Olga is able to rise above the labels by having pride in herself, her language and her culture and, therefore, being comfortable with herself wherever she goes.