The great thing about growing up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, besides the food, the people, and the language, is the fact that many of us are raised as Mexicans and Americans. Not necessarily Mexican-Americans, but Mexican and American. We learn how to switch at an early age, sometime to avoid being made fun of. So when I went to I found it very interesting that some people tried to out Mexican each other, or they tried to out Chicano each other. They would dress a certain way, talk a certain way, or act a certain way.
I would think, Chingado, what are you doing homeboy, just be yourself. Pero no, estos pelados tried to out-do each other. Because I am who I am, I played devils advocate. To the hard core Chicanos, I would be a bit conservative, and to the conservative Mexican, I'd be extra Chicano - talking in my broken Spanish, even though I could speak perfectly fine in Spanish.
The Fresas didn't want to associate themselves with me at first, because they thought I was too corriente. Then, they realized I had some very very very Mexican friends - and then they realized that their Mexican life afforded them luxuries that my Mexican life never did to me. They found out my family still lives in a pueblo in Queretaro where up until a couple of years ago there was only one phone for the entire town and where the water still comes down from the mountains 3 times a week, and ala chingada.
And then the Chicanitos would ask me why I hung out with Mexicanos or Gringos. Ah, pos porque no? They would dress the part, and try to act the part, but they could never be the part. They would try to tell me about inequalities and how hard it was -even though they were driving around in cars that had a/c (that was high class for me). Then as soon as they were fixing to write me off and just another High Spanic- I would tell them my story. Son of immigrants, raised in Section 8 housing projects, didn't have a bed until I was 13 years old. And even for that, I count my blessing.
I always thought - be who you are. I don't care if you're a Mexican and you don't know Spanish, there's always time to learn. I don't care if you're a Mexicano and hate that people "butcher" the language - you can always teach others or learn from them. Just be yourself.