"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lunes con Lalo Delgado: National Jefes - Some Not Too Objective Observations Part III, Banned Books Week, and New Book Titles in September 2010


Lunes on Lalo
The Chicano Movement: Some Not Too Objective Observations, Part III
National Jefes

by Abelardo B. Delgado

If the Movement has so much structure and direction by now, it cannot all be attributed to mere chance. Somebody must be offering both. There are various figures of national prominence who have gained such stature at much personal loss and damage. It is not easy, as we found out, to confront even on the local level, but to confront on the national level can spell suicide and often does. 

It is not enough to anger the power structure to gain a leadership spot, but those that do, must have the respect and support of those in the Movement who alone determine who will lead. The Movement is wise enough not to be diverted by the imposed and often bought leadership that the power structure waves in front of us. 

Among some of the national figures which have the most following and respect for their views are Cesar Chavez, Corky Gonzales, Reies Lopez Tijerina, Jose Angel Gutierrez, and Carlos Guerra. To know these five personalities may be quite disturbing for people outside the Movement, for while they crisscross their powers and loyal ties, they are very much, each one of them an individual living his own role to a “T.” 

Again, the fact is evident that while each one may claim a different goals, the advocacy is always on behalf of the deprived Chicano – Chavez, through unionization, fair wages for the farmworker; Corky, through the Plan de Aztlan and the uplifting of the Chicano youth through meaningful education; Tijerina, reclaiming the land stolen from us in New Mexico and Jose Angel Gutierrrez, self political determination through the newly formed La Raza Unida party.
These four national figures have managed to provoke a national awareness, even concern, for the plight of Chicanos and have done much in arousing a response to involve ourselves in their struggle which is, of course, our own struggle.

While those of us that merely follow may have a preference of which leader to follow and what line suits us best, La Causa is one and the same, and more adequate place in our communities, in our own country.

It is obvious that there are many other national leaders in more restrictive fields – government, O.E.O., H.E.W. Colleges, and in art and letters. These leaders, too, influence the national Chicano mind and their decisions have an effect on the barrio and the campos, but as I said, their leadership is confined to the field of work they have chosen and they have little, if any, real following in the Movement people.

Each of the five national leaders I have mentioned are naturally under heavy scrutiny by the larger dominant White society and also by us. What the White views as charismatics in our leaders, we may view as weaknesses and vice-versa. Their leadership has one basic thing in common in that more than leaders, these five men have taken it upon themselves to guide the Chicanos where they (the Chicanos) wish to go and at the pace they set, rather than impose themselves on the people that follow. They sensitively feel the “riendas” and obey.

These leaders have proven that they possess a high balance of treasured qualities which equal, if not surpass, those of other accredited national figures. They have wisdom, endurance and expression, a very unique attribute which other national leaders at times lack. 

All of them, regardless of the hardness or softness of their line, continue to speak of hope, and work constructively to prove themselves – to themselves, not to the gringo. While high overtones of nationalism are expressed by all five at various degrees, it is a positive kind of nationalism, which is neither un-American nor racist.

from The Chicano Movement: Some Not Too Objective Observations by Abelardo B. Delgado, (Denver: Colorado Migrant Council, 1971), prepared by the Colorado Migrant Council. Published with permission from the Delgado Estate. (c) Abelardo Delgado 1971. 

Previous Chicano Movement: Some Not Too Objective Observation entries:


Banned Books Week began Saturday and this week we will be looking and some book in Chicano Literature that have been banned. Today, while on the subject of Lalo Delgado, we focus on a poem and not a book. Though Lalo was known to write some erotic stuff here and there, it is his most famous poem, "Stupid America" that has cause the most controversy:

 stupid america, see that
with a big knife
on his steady hand
he doesn't want to knife you
he wants to sit on a bench
and carve christfigures
but you won't let him.
stupid america, hear that
shouting curses on the street
he is a poet
without paper and pencil
and since he cannot write
he will explode.
stupid america, remember
that chicano
flunking math and english
he is the picasso
of your western states
but he will die
with one thousand
hanging only from his mind.

 I don't know what it was that caused schools to ban the poem. Maybe the audacity of calling America "stupid" over and over again. Or was it the audacity of showing that there was/is so much potential in Chicano(a) children. 

In conversation with Ana Duran, Lalo's daughter in July, she told me how people said they would publish the poem, is they could edit out the "stupid."


New in Paperback

Second Communion 
Bilingual Review Press 
ISBN 978-1-931010-56-6 
May 2010
Nash Candelaria

This memoir by renowned Chicano writer Nash Candelaria focuses on how and why he chose to become a writer. As he investigates his family's more than 300-year history in New Mexico, the author undertakes a more intimate journey that leads him to understand truths about himself: why he chose to become a writer and why he chose the topics he did. Part family history and part selfexamination, Second Communion is a must-read for aspiring writers, those interested in Southwest history, and students and teachers of Chicano literature.

Border Studies

Cities and Citizenship at the U.S.-Mexico Border: The Paso del Norte 
Metropolitan Region Palgrave Macmillan 
Sept 28, 2010 ISBN-10: 0230100325
Kathleen Staudt, Julia Monarrez Fragoso, Cesar M. Fuentes, editors. 

At the center of the 2,000 mile U.S.-Mexico border, a sprawling transnational urban space has mushroomed into a metropolitan region with over two million people whose livelihoods depend on global manufacturing, cross-border trade, and border control jobs. Our volume advances knowledge on urban space, gender, education, security, and work, focusing on Ciudad Juárez, the export-processing (maquiladora) manufacturing capital of the Americas and the infamous site of femicide and outlier murder rates connected with arms and drug trafficking. Given global economic trends, this transnational urban region is a likely paradigmatic future for other world regions.

In Our Own Voices: Latino/a Renditions of Theology
(Orbis Books Sept 30, 2010 ISBN-10: 1570758905)
Benjamin Valentin. 

A fresh, ecumenical approach to systematic theology in a Latino(a) voice. U.S. Latino/a theology has emerged as one of the most dynamic and creative theological developments in the last 30 years. Reflecting the diversity as well as commonality among Latino/a theologians, this ecumenical team of men and women, both Catholic and Protestant, explore some of the core symbols and doctrines of Christianity from a distinctively Latino(a) perspective. Beginning with the doctrine of God, Creation, and human being, the authors
present diverse perspectives on Christology, the church, and the kindom of God (la familia de Dios).

We Were Here
Paperback - Delacorte Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition
September 14, 2010ISBN-10: 0385736703
Matt de la Pena (Author)

The story of one boy and his journey to find himself.

When it happened, Miguel was sent to Juvi. The judge gave him a year in a group home — said he had to write in a journal so some counselor could try to figure out how he thinks. The judge had no idea that he actually did Miguel a favor. Ever since it happened, his mom can’t even look at him in the face. Any home besides his would be a better place to live.

But Miguel didn’t bet on meeting Rondell or Mong or on any of what happened after they broke out. He only thought about Mexico and getting to the border to where he could start over. Forget his mom. Forget his brother. Forget himself.

Life usually doesn’t work out how you think it will, though. And most of the time, running away is the quickest path right back to what you’re running from. 

The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature
Hardcover W. W. Norton & Company
September 13, 2010
ISBN-10: 0393080072
Ilan Stavans, Edna Acosta-Belén, Harold Augenbraum, María Herrera-Sobek, Rolando Hinojosa, Gustavo Pérez-Firmat (Editors)

A dazzling and definitive compendium of the Latino literary tradition. This groundbreaking Norton Anthology includes the work of 201 Latino writers from Chicano, Cuban-, Puerto Rican-, and Dominican-American traditions, as well as writing from other Spanish-speaking countries. Under the general editorship of award-winning cultural critic Ilan Stavans, The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature traces four centuries of writing, from letters to the Spanish crown by sixteenth-century conquistadors to the cutting-edge expressions of twenty-first-century cartoonistas and artists of reggaeton. 

In six chronological sections — Colonization, Annexation, Acculturation, Upheaval, Into the Mainstream, and Popular Traditions — it encompasses all genres, featuring such writers as José Martí, William Carlos Williams, Julia Alvarez, Oscar Hijuelos, Cristina García, Piri Thomas, Esmeralda Santiago, and Junot Díaz. Twelve years in the making, The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature sheds new light on "nuestra America" through a gathering of writing unprecedented in scope and vitality.


Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy 
(William and Bettye Nowlin Series in Art, History, and Culture of the Western Hemisphere) [Hardcover]
Diana Kennedy

No one has done more to introduce the world to the authentic, flavorful cuisines of Mexico than Diana Kennedy. Acclaimed as the Julia Child of Mexican cooking, Kennedy has been an intrepid, indefatigable student of Mexican foodways for more than fifty years and has published several classic books on the subject, including The Cuisines of Mexico (now available in The Essential Cuisines of Mexico, a compilation of her first three books), The Art of Mexican Cooking, My Mexico, and From My Mexican Kitchen. Her uncompromising insistence on using the proper local ingredients and preparation techniques has taught generations of cooks how to prepare--and savor--the delicious, subtle, and varied tastes of Mexico.

In Oaxaca al Gusto, Kennedy takes us on an amazing journey into one of the most outstanding and colorful cuisines in the world. The state of Oaxaca is one of the most diverse in Mexico, with many different cultural and linguistic groups, often living in areas difficult to access. Each group has its own distinctive cuisine, and Diana Kennedy has spent many years traveling the length and breadth of Oaxaca to record in words and photographs "these little-known foods, both wild and cultivated, the way they were prepared, and the part they play in the daily or festive life of the communities I visited." Oaxaca al Gusto is the fruit of these labors--and the culmination of Diana Kennedy's life's work.

Organized by regions, Oaxaca al Gusto presents some three hundred recipes--most from home cooks--for traditional Oaxacan dishes. Kennedy accompanies each recipe with fascinating notes about the ingredients, cooking techniques, and the food's place in family and communal life. Lovely color photographs illustrate the food and its preparation. A special feature of the book is a chapter devoted to the three pillars of the Oaxacan regional cuisines--chocolate, corn, and chiles. Notes to the cook, a glossary, a bibliography, and an index complete the volume.
An irreplaceable record of the infinite world of Oaxacan gastronomy, Oaxaca al Gusto belongs on the shelf of everyone who treasures the world's traditional regional cuisines.

Classic Maya Provincial Politics: Xunantunich and Its 
Hardcover University of Arizona Press (July 23, 2010) ISBN-10: 0816528845
Lisa J. LeCount (Editor), Jason Yaeger (Editor)

Most treatments of large Classic Maya sites such as Caracol and Tikal regard Maya political organization as highly centralized. Because investigations have focused on civic buildings and elite palaces, however, a critical part of the picture of Classic Maya political organization has been missing.

The contributors to this volume chart the rise and fall of the Classic Maya center of Xunantunich, paying special attention to its changing relationships with the communities that comprised its hinterlands. They examine how the changing relationships between Xunantunich and the larger kingdom of Naranjo affected the local population, the location of their farms and houses, and the range of economic and subsistence activities in which both elites and commoners engaged. They also examine the ways common people seized opportunities and met challenges offered by a changing political landscape.

The rich archaeological data in this book show that incorporating subject communities and people--and keeping them incorporated--was an on-going challenge to ancient Maya rulers. Until now, archaeologists have lacked integrated regional data and a fine-grained chronology in which to document short-term shifts in site occupations, subsistence strategies, and other important practices of the daily life of the Maya. This book provides a revised picture of Maya politics--one of different ways of governing and alliance formation among dominant centers, provincial polities, and hinterland communities.

Indigenous Miracles: Nahua Authority in Colonial Mexico
(First Peoples: New Directions in Indigenous Studies) Hardcover
University of Arizona Press July 28, 2010
ISBN-10: 0816528551
Edward Osowski

While King Carlos I of Spain struggled to suppress the Protestant Reformation in the Old World, the Spanish turned to New Spain to promote the Catholic cause, unimpeded by the presence of the "false" Old World religions. To this end, Osowski writes, the Spanish "saw indigenous people as necessary protagonists in the anticipated triumph of the faith." As the conversion of the indigenous people of Mexico proceeded in earnest, Catholic ritual became the medium through which indigenous leaders and Spaniards negotiated colonial hegemony.

Indigenous Miracles is about how the Nahua elite of central Mexico secured political legitimacy through the administration of public rituals centered on miraculous images of Christ the King. Osowski argues that these images were adopted as community symbols and furthermore allowed Nahua leaders to "represent their own kingship," protecting their claims to legitimacy. This legitimacy allowed them to act collectively to prevent the loss of many aspects of their culture. Osowski demonstrates how a shared religion admitted the possibility of indigenous agency and new ethnic identities.

Consulting both Nahuatl and Spanish sources, Osowski strives to fill a gap in the history of the Nahuas from 1760 to 1810, a momentous time when previously sanctioned religious practices were condemned by the viceroys and archbishops of the Bourbon royal dynasty. His approach synthesizes ethnohistory and institutional history to create a fascinating account of how and why the Nahuas protected the practices and symbols they had appropriated under Hapsburg rule. Ultimately, Osowski's account contributes to our understanding of the ways in which indigenous agency was negotiated in colonial Mexico.

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