I used to cruise a lowrider
A firme ’63 Bel Air
Everything was original
Except the hydros
I even took the pilgrimage
To Espanola, New Mexico
The lowrider capital of the world
And I got respeto for my ranfla

I remember when I was a Cholo
With the creases in my kackies
Razor sharp
My Pendelton buttoned at the top
And those corduroy bedroom slippers
You remember those Chopos!
And that grease I put in my hair
Tres Flores
That shit kicked my hair back
Just right
Every night
And it never completely washes out
But that’s not what being Chicano is all about

Then I learned my Chicano history
El Movimiento,
The walkouts
The boycotts
The riots
The resistance
And I was pissed that I wasn’t taught all this in school!
But I still hadn’t figured out
What being Chicano is all about

Then I became a militant Chicano
With my fist in the air
Trying to conquer the establishment
I started spelling the word “Xicano” with an “X”
Because that’s the way the Mexica would have spelled it
I stood at the pinnacle of the pyramid of the sun
And I was ready to throw myself to the bottom
For any cause
But I still hadn’t figured out what being Chicano is all about

Then I finally accepted my meztiaje
That means I have the blood of
Flowing through my veins.
From the Conquistadors and the Moors
To the Azteca and the Tolteca
I could see the class and regalness of the Spaniard
Like the Tragic beauty of the bullfight
And the precision and discipline of flamenco
But I also put my hand in the soil
And I felt mother earth
La tierra
I pray to the four directions
And I understand the harmonious balance
Of duality
But I still hadn’t figured out what being Chicano is all about

I never got a tattoo teardrop
Or Mi Vida Loca tattooed
Between my thumb and finger
I never did a driveby or
Spraypainted my placa on the wal
But that has nothing to do with what it means to be

Chicano is the fire that feeds my soul
It’s blood of my ancestors running through my veins
It’s the passion in my heart
Chicano is the love for mi familia
Chicano is the love for mi cultura
Chicano is the love for mi raza
It’s about having respeto
It’s about being humble
But knowing when to fight!
Chicano is the
That’s inside me
That moves me
Motivates me
Makes me who I am

My name is
Manuel Gonzalez
And I am


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