|Poet Laureate of Aztlan, Lalo Delgado|
Lunes con Lalo DelgadoThe Chicano Movement: Some Not Too Objective Observations
The Movement's Handicaps
Almost all across the board, the number one handicap of the Chicano Movement is the way it is misunderstood.
It is not only misunderstood by Chicanos outside, and apathetics, but what is even stranger, is that at times, misunderstood by movement people themselves. Specifically, let me cite some basic misconceptions, first, by those sitting on the sidelines.
The charge against the Movement is that there is only a small group of malcontents, troublemakers who do not want to study or work, as the case may be. Those “mitoteros” are charged with the mere function of agitating their communities and challenging the old-established ways. This mentality serves to close the minds and the eyes to the issues behind which, in most cases, merit serious looking into.
When, in fact, small groups tend to march, picket, speak, shout, confront and challenge, it is obvious that the job doesn't end there, but if those community members of the minority with position of power do not endorse the issue, or step in the legal and more sophisticated level of fighting on behalf of those who raise issues, the isolation and ostracizing of groups can be fatal and are a detriment, even to those who claims they are secure in the Anglo community – income or property.
Those in the movement, at times, misjudge their power to go beyond raising questions and meeting the establishment head on, and what is more, take on issues and fail to point out the real, ultimate causes. In reacting to injustices which obviously do exist in many of our communities, we fail to do our homework and identify all those injustices and their consequences. Ill-prepared and ill-informed, we sometimes move in one sheer emotion, and lose much ground every time we do this.
Perhaps along the same line, another huge handicap is the inability to interpret the movement in positive terms. Being against poor education, bad housing, bad wages, police brutality and “shitty” services, are all valid arenas which carry a negative air.
Hating the White oppressor indiscriminately; hating gringos per se, are negative forces which only show to what extent we have been brainwashed. Hence, we react accordingly to those we dislike the most, and are ourselves indeed racist and narrow-minded brown people. I am not saying forgive or love the gringo either, for that takes effort and all effort need to be focused into our communities. The gringo, in fact, is not important in our movement and making him the object just weakens our movement. In a sentence of positive flavor, our movement simply says: We have not had our share of the prosperity of this country although we have contributed much.
How do we improve our lot as of now, in all that affects our lives. We do not wish merely to criticize and attack. We want to correct and defend that which is good. We do not yet see ourselves declaring war on all systems, and on America in general. However, some member of the movement who suffer the most, and who are on the receiving end of a very despotic society, certainly see the futility of continuing to work within our system. Were we to go that route, it could only be a sheer reaction to a very apathetic nation to our pleas to share n the resources we continue to build.
Of a lesser impact, but very much considered movement handicaps, are regionalistic views we continue to share, for this is a national movement and regions must take a second place. We are suffering from our petty jealousies of our own leadership, and a persistent failure to sit down and talk goals and strategy instead of crying on each other's shoulders. Failure of the middle-class oriented Chicano to recognize the values of the movement for himself and his family; and finally the failure of so many of us to be honest with each other adds to our weaknesses.
Part IV Goals
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.
Tuesday - El Paso Writer Update;Wednesday - Interview with Michael Luis Medrano upon his visit to El Chuco