Chicano / Chicanery

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4 comments on this post.
  1. Wm Watkins:

    A long-time reader, I have not forgotten your advice to distrust word origins provided by tour guides. Recently a tour guide in Florida said that Spanish Moss (the fluffy stuff hanging from many trees in the American deep south) was so named by native Americans because it resembled the long beards worn by newly arrived Spanish soldiers.

    I had previously heard that the prevalent moss was given the name because, at the time, the deep south (especially Florida) was known as “New Spain,” much as the northeast was known as “New England”. (I also suspect that the natives had a word for the ubiquitous stuff long before the arrival of the Spanish.) Is either correct, or is there another explanation?

  2. Gene:

    I’m disappointed there is no entry for “chicane” as this is a term commonly used in auto racing, especially sport car racing.

  3. Terje:

    Dictionaries are even less to be trusted because they change with the changing of societal norms. Political correctness has tainted many elements. I have always been taught and even remember seeing it in the dictionary back before pc was rampant that the word chicano was a slur that took on a political value to the mexican american. Rather than be affected they wore it like a badge of pride, nullifying its harm.

  4. Thomas Roche:

    Terje: I remember hearing, also long before PC took hold, just the opposite. In my (admittedly meager) reading on Chicano activism, I have not seen a reference the word “Chicano” addressed as a slur that was reclaimed. I HAVE encountered the etymology mentioned above (that it derives from “Mexicano.”)

    By your assertion that “Dictionaries are even less to be trusted,” I assume you mean “dictionaries are to be trusted less than individual tour guides”?

    Wow, that is a weird thing to say.

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