The Chicano Movement

Recent attacks on immigrants and on affirmative action, coupled with the mean-spirited political climate in the U.S.Congress, have brought a revival of Chicano activism on college campuses and in scholarly conferences. Moreover, it has come to a restoration of the oratory of the Chicano Movement of the 60’s and 70’s. This is not fresh as the association continues to dwarf all other post 70’s activist actions inside the Mexican-American society.

Chicano opinionated pundits have so far to productively tag the activism of the post group era in any permanent method. So, each new communal disaster in the barrio brings out those who assert to be society activists, even though some of them are not aged enough to bear in mind the 70’s. This ought to tell us that the association continues to have ideological and touching magnetism for Chicanos today.

The appeal is partially idealistic, much like that which the 60’s has on young white activists of nowadays. But another, more significant cause is that the movement represented a basic move in the way Mexican-Americans saw themselves. We can, from first to last combine, the movement as a procedure by which the Mexican American community develops a construct to argue its place in American history and culture.

The Mexican-Americans no longer act in response to the harms confronting them as they would affect immigrants, or a racial group that is gradually vanishing into incorporation. My attention in this essay is to endorse a dissimilar structure for the study of the Chicano Movement. The paper seeks to examine what the “procedure” known as Chicanismo means and tries to analyze the Marxist and neo-nationalist views concerning the history.

The Mexican-Americans confront the challenges of a society that remains conscious of race through ethnic group solidarity, and through strategies that guarantee their survival as a distinct yet very American community. They reject traditional liberal pressures to assimilate, and they continue to search for a political agenda that opposes the country’s new nativism.

More importantly, the community has come to depend on native sons and daughters for its leadership. Many would argue against my interpretation of the legacy of Chicanismo on Hispanic politicians. And while tempted to agree with their analysis on the failure of this generation, I am reminded that each generation seeks a counter-identity that distinguishes it from those of the past. Hispanics are no different.

Arreola stated that for those who reject the politics of this generation, the Chicano Movement will continue to be the crucial juncture in twentieth century Mexican American history (89). Understanding the Chicano Movement then remains important for those seeking to be different and for those who hope to duplicate the social activism of that most tumultuous period.

Research Points

The Chicano Movement Process stages and definitions
Heritage and challenges of the Chicano Movement
Conclusion.

The Chicano association procedure Stages and definitions

I hypothesize that in the second part of the 20th century, the Chicano community underwent several stages of development and during that course and the Chicano group arose and played itself out. These stages, which I will give details afterward, are:

A denial of the broadminded agenda.
A reinterpretation of history.
A reaffirmation of contest and division;
The formation of an oppositional polity.

The stages proved to be not level, and at an era distracted and opposing. Nonetheless, they generated an array of thoughts in the Mexican American community. The process the liberal agenda seem even more inadequate as Chicanos saw dissatisfaction within those groups they perceived as having more influence on mainstream society.

The Cuban Revolution, and the African wars for independence as well as the Mexican student movement also galvanized “consciousness” among Chicanos. This consciousness was later given direction by the “Farm Workers Union, the Alianza, the Crusade for Justice, student organizations, and … La Raza Unida.”

The working class was obligatory in this action and women were the organizational backbone of the movement. This movement writes Gomez-Quinones came to concentrate on the “questions of alienation, ethnicity, identity, class, gender, and chauvinism.” It became a struggle for self-identification and a search for a legitimate past.

Carlos Munoz, the first major figure in the movement to write about it in an autobiographical style, agrees on the question of identity. Munoz describes the movement as a social phenomenon placed in the “context of the politics of identity.” For him, as with Gomez-Quinones, students were the backbone of the drive for social change among Chicanos. Unlike Acuna, Munoz does not see the movement as simply another phase of the Chicano struggle for liberation.

In fact, the Chicano student movement signal led a departure from the struggles of the past because of its youthful nature, its ideological tendencies, and its search for identity. Working-class youths, many already at the universities, saw two major challenges confronting them.

One was the atrocious conditions of the barrios, and the other was their isolation from the historical and cultural process. These were young people who decided to embark on a journey to recapture their culture, history, and primarily their identity as Chicanos. Like Barrera, Munoz sees external factors as being important in the politicalization of this generation of young people.

These students were moved by events taking place around them. They confronted an unjust war in which Chicanos were dying at a high rate; they were seeing the Johnson liberal years giving way to the Nixon Administration; they were constantly being reminded of white middle-class discontent and black anger. More important, they were beginning to see their elders radicalizing their politics.

While these Chicano scholars and others have provided an intellectual foundation for studying the Chicano Movement, their works can in advertently depict Chicanos as no more than ideological emulators or political copycats who have waited for outside stimulants in order to rise from their slumber. This defeats the purpose of studying the movement and continues to perpetuate the notion that Chicanos have done little that is original; consequently little can be learned of social movements by studying them.

This is a false analysis. This is based on an incomplete chronological perception helped unite many philosophical and past currents in the community. The amalgamation of these feelings caused Mexican Americans to see themselves as the public with a wonderful history and a brilliant upcoming. It in addition provided a foundation for an artistic following movement that distorted the Chicano scenery. That movement, I replicate, played itself out in phases, rather than through events or proceedings.

Thus, the Chicano Movement ought to be calculated as a communal procedure rather than a sequence of actions enthused by organizations or persons. I do not downplay the effects that these had on the barrios of the United States, but I attempt to place them inside the background of a superior communal catharsis. A chronological meaning of the Chicano Movement and an appraisal of what scholars have said concerning this communal procedure are very important before I situate forth the ladder of this procedure.

The Chicano Movement may be distinct as a common interest group that erupted in the 60’s to object the conditions in which the Mexican American society established itself. Flouting with the legalistic and high-minded strategies of the Mexican American age group, new activists propelled crowd recruitment against American institutions.

This touching, but mainly peaceful, improvement movement incorporated numerous concerns of huge substance to a sundry group of people. Among these was the dread of cultural genocide, the lack of financial and communal mobility, out of control bias, and insufficient educational chance and entrance.

The movement did not have an utterly political-electoral nature, as Chicanos fought racial discrimination and abandon in learning, accommodation, service, and in the kingdom of civilization and individuality. Calls for self willpower and uniqueness became an imperative constituent of the group.

For many activists “the Mexican-American society had reached a point in time in its past odyssey that requested a communal and supporting eruption to make important changes in the barrios” (Flores 134). Acuna describes the group as a regeneration of the continuing great effort of Chicanos to set free themselves from racism and use.

His investigation, once understood in the hypothesis of inner colonialism, presents the Chicano Movement not as impressive new or chiefly different from the struggles of the precedent, with the exemption that it was supplementary nationwide in range and waged mostly in city areas, despite the farm workers’ blending in California and the ground funding battles in rural New Mexico.

Although he later deserted his interior settlement replica, Acuna continued to axis his case of Chicano domination on the military take-over of the Southwest by U.S. forces and its colonizing effects.

Heritage and Challenges’ of the Chicano Movement

The Chicano Movement also was not simply a search for identity, nor an outburst of collective anxiety spurred by outside antagonisms. It was a full-fledged transformation in the way Mexican-Americans thought, played politics, and promoted their culture. Chicanos embarked on a struggle to make fundamental political changes, and in the process they redefined their position in American society.

No more were they to be an invisible minority without history or without a voice. Mexican-Americans would no more be known only for their patriotism in time of war, and their work ethic during the harvest time.

To understand this change, one has to analyze the steps taken by significant sectors within the Mexican-American community to develop a political consciousness, or ethos, which defined them as a distinct sector in American society. More focused than just a communal philosophy, a political ethos is the manner by which a community rationalizes and justifies its political participation in society.

The development of that ethos required intellectuals, politicians, activists, and other influential individuals within la comunidad to assess their historical importance; recognize or decide on their class status or statuses; promote their cultural roots; and organize a political agenda.

This process was neither uniform nor ideologically consistent throughout all the sectors which embarked on this philosophical odyssey. In fact, its diversity and often contradictory nature maintained this activity as an ethos rather than a political ideology.

During the movement, activists chose to identify certain symbols, events, rhetoric, and forms of resistance, and make them part of a pool of consciousness that gave meaning to the term Chicano, and the philosophy that came to be known as Chicanismo. By popularizing these elements through rhetoric and debate, Chicano activists developed a cultural-political taxonomy that explained their activism. This taxonomy differed from those of the past which were either pro-America or pro- Mexico.

This new political identification was pro-barrio, and incorporated Americanism with the barrio’s Mexicanism. For Mexican-Americans, the negative aspects of the American experience, combined with the historical nostalgia for Mexico, created a cultural ambience that gave rise to Chicanismo. None of the works cited succeed in explaining this militant ethos.

In fact, several of the authors completely ignore the existence of a political reservoir of ideas and strategies that go beyond promoting cultural pride or political separatism. The movement was driven by profound political and cultural precepts on being Chicano. To this day, no workable synthesis has been provided for looking at the development of a militant ethos in the Mexican-American community.

In the first phase of the movement, Mexican American intellectuals, politicians, students, and others came to believe that the liberal agenda, which had been seen as the solution to the community’s problems, was simply morally corrupt and a failure. This liberal agenda centered on an active government that would provide economic development, protect civil rights, and guarantee cultural pluralism.

It was an approach that required faith in the established institutions, and patience in the face of slow change. It was a steady approach of government action, judicial litigation, and Anglo-American leadership. It also required that Mexican Americans wait for the “real” civil rights problems -those of Black Americans- to be solved before the focus shifted to them.

Acuna, a Chicano activist and writer, succinctly described the dilemma when he said that “Chicanos are not white enough to be accepted and not black enough for the civil rights movement” (155). Time and time again, Mexican Americans had attempted to reach out to the mainstream by developing patriotic organizations, serving in the armed forces in large numbers, adopting American ideals and de-emphasizing their national origins.

Conclusion

Using the thesis statement, we can derive that in studying the movement, we can recognize that it was more than a passing phase in Mexican-American history. We, then, understand it as a critical period in developing political strategies for the Mexican American community in the latter part of the twentieth century.

It also distinguishes the movement from other movements that have occurred among the Mexican-origin population. In this manner, the four-phase model is a contribution to the study of the movement, and it can be tested at the national, regional, and local levels. It helps to better identify the changes that took place within the Mexican-American community than the previous narratives or analyses.

This framework also captures the grassroots, democratic tendencies of the movement by showing how a new dialogue occurs that includes voices from a number of sectors within the community that had not fully participated before. This approach also does not relegate the movement to the political graveyard as an unfocused, passionate social catharsis that arose, played out, and left things worse than they were.

This is the kind of conclusion that is often made in some of the previous works, which start out praising the ideals of the movement, criticize its ideological foundations, and bemoan its stepchild, the Hispanic generation. Through this synthesis, we can see the movement as a process by which the Mexican American community develops a construct to debate its place in American history and society.

The Mexican-Americans no longer react to the problems confronting them as immigrants, or an ethnic group that is slowly fading into assimilation would. The Mexican-Americans confront the challenges of a society that remains conscious of race through ethnic group solidarity, and through strategies that guarantee their survival as a distinct yet very American community. They reject traditional liberal pressures to assimilate, and they continue to search for a political agenda that opposes the country’s new nativism.

More importantly, the community has come to depend on native sons and daughters for its leadership. Many would argue against my interpretation of the legacy of Chicanismo on Hispanic politicians. And while tempted to agree with their analysis on the failure of this generation, I am reminded that each generation seeks a counter-identity that distinguishes it from those of the past. Hispanics are no different.

But for those who reject the politics of this generation, the Chicano Movement will continue to be the crucial juncture in twentieth century Mexican American history. Then, understanding the Chicano Movement remains important for those seeking to be different and for those who hope to duplicate the social activism of that most tumultuous period.

Works cited

Acuna, Rodolfo. Occupied America: A History of Chicanos. New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1999. Print.

Arreola, Daniel. Hispanic Spaces, Latino Spaces: Community and Cultural Diversity in Contemporary America. Austin: UT Press, 2004. Print.

Flores, Richard. Remembering the Alamo: Memory, Modernity and the Master Symbol. Austin: University of Texas, 2002. Print.