The X In La Raza
Intro to The X in La Raza
The X in La Raza is about identity. But it is not a discussion in the same vein as was customary in the 1960s and 1970s. One of the primary focuses of this work is examining how government, corporate America and the media have, in effect, conspired to impose upon us an identity. Yet, this is not about what we should call ourselves, or even about who we are. It is about coming to the realization that who we are is essentially our spirits... and our spirits have no names.
Additionally, this was written with the hopes of taking us beyond the acrimonious debates which have turned all of us against each other, simply because we see or identify ourselves differently.
This was first published as an "anti-book," because it was essentially a response to myself. It was a discussion and dialogue with readers who had read a work I had written in 1982, Who Declared War on the Word Chicano? After a preliminary version of the X in La Raza was first published, a lot of discussion ensued, which led to a second edition, which included some of that discussion, which is also found here.
The hope is that this online edition generates more discussion to be included in a future edition.
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ABOUT THE X IN LA RAZA
Aztlan is Where We Walk
'Aztlan is everywhere I ever walked' --
" A Midwest XicanA"
I thought of this a couple of months ago and then we started carrying it on picket signs---I just think it's important for all our Raza to know how we out here care for Aztlan. Cuidao."
What's the Difference? When I teach the course titled, "Introduction to Chicano Culture", I always get the famous question from our students (Anglos as well as Mexicanos), and that is, "What is the difference between "Chicano/a" and "Mexican American". My response is always that we are a people who at the end of the Mexican-American War were divided by a border. However, we were never divided in terms of our historical experience, culture, pride, commitment to our own, etc. . . . I tell my students that I am a woman of Mexican heritage who, because of those who fought for my rights, has had an easier life in the United States. I have learned what "Chicanismo" means and I have joined the struggle. If it had not been for the hard labor of the people who called themselves "Chicano/a", I probably would still be picking grapes and tomatoes in the San Joaquin Valley. As for me, I am Mexican American who respects and has earned the title of "Chicana."
Luz Gonzalez Chair, Chicano and Latin American Studies, CSU Fresno
X wins over H, always The measurement in the context of language in which we evaluate or reevaluate our Ch or X rated identities has always been the hidden factor in the Chicano quest for recognition and acknowledgement as a social force in present day society. Because revindication brings the integrity that peace and dignity promises, is the innate and prime reason X wins over H, always. We claim 'Azteca, 'Chichimeca, 'Totonaca... y otros tribus mas', but as some may say, "that was centuries ago", and given that the mestizaje' became campesino' and urbano and 'provinciales', Mexicano, Mexican American, and also Chicano, and finally some elevated to Xicano. But, that is after all a defining term of a special few, and 'el pueblo' is still all the terms at once depending on understanding and preference. The author reports that the 'movimientos, have been and perhaps will continue to be our 'modus operandi', (my expression) that we segment ourselves in tiny pieces rather than solidifying as one throbbing heart beat. But, by using "wisdom" to predetermine those who simply disagree with one's perspective -- as in priorities, affinities, etc. -- from those who simply wish to obliterate all razas' different from their own, and wipe them off the face of the earth; the people would be better served to distinguish between the two and conserve their sometimes wasted energies. The author beckons us to stop the pervasive in-fighting amongst ourselves over terms and preferences. Warns that the worst thing that can happen is to allow intransigent' views to become pervasive, 'En otras palabras, advises us to become fluid", mellow out, Chill. And finally love one another. Tu eres mi otro yo.
Universal Spirit Within Us The spirit as you say is definitely universal. Which is why it is difficult to find a symbol to represent this free feeling. But to further the symbol X, it has actually been in our past for centuries since the Mexica tribe and later to what formed the Me(xicano). This is why Chicanos often adopt the new form of Xicano. Either way it is not as important as the feeling one should have in being part of such a diversely rich culture. As for discussions with people of different backgrounds, I enjoy them, I never feel as if I have to defend myself or my culture. I only feel the need to educate others on it. This is truly what works.
Sinceramente, Veronica Campos University of Wisconsin
Pride and Pain I just read your book through, once and I wanted to let you know that my first gut reaction was,"For the first time, I have really read something by a Chicano that speaks to my very essence and soul, where there is both great pride and pain". Your section on "mestizaje", in particular spoke to my tuetano! arrowhead to the bone marrow!! particularly, re: the "hard reality... that many indigenous peoples also, and understandably in many instances, harbor ill-will toward "mestizaje"....
I felt I was giving "out" too much of my spirit. "Again...our stories have been stolen" I said... and they didn't understand. Of course, it's insidious, dehumanizing, racism... and what it does to us all... Finally, I told them...don't try to understand....don't "strive" for it...just accept and acknowledge with respect but who knows?....I think my denial of "whiteness" pounded on their own pain with self-identity or lack of it...The man has a daughter who is Anglo and Mexican. She had chosen to live in Juarez...she married a Mexican citizen...so...maybe we were each doing a dance with someone else?
Sandra Rios Balderrama
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