03/07/2013 08:19 am ET

Declining Interest In 'Chicano Studies' Reflects A Latino Identify Shift

SAN DIEGO — On the campus of San Diego State University recently, Sandy Chavez, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, said, without hesitation, that she thinks of herself primarily as American.

Yes, she is Latina, of Mexican heritage. She’s visited family in Mexico, and on weekends as a child she woke up to her parents playing Mexican music on the stereo. But she’s never described herself principally as Mexican or Latina, much less Chicana, a term preferred by many young Mexican-Americans in the 1960s and 70s.

“A lot of people say Latina, Chicana. I don’t even really know the distinction between them,” Chavez said.

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