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

Octavio Romano

Monday, January 10, 2011

Lunes con Lalo: Some Not Too Objective Observations on the Rural

Abelardo Delgado (left) and Corky Gonzalez (right)

The Chicano Movement: Some Not Too Objective Observations

by Abelardo B. Delgado

Revolutions start rurally. True or false, it is commonly agreed that the rural Chicano, black, yellow, red or white suffers socio-neglect as well as being on the minus side of the American evaluation of success.

By now also, the escapees from these impoverished rural settings have made their presence felt in our big cities and contributed to our urban barrio problems. The Chicano then can be expected to act on a more desperate level if he is trying to improve his lot by remaining rural and changing the mood of the communities.

Here too, the contrast of our affluence and our dirty laundry clashed more vividly. Those that can politically or economically maintain themselves afloat are more identifiable objects for the deprived to lash out their frustrations and most of the time very deserving target also.

These contrasts have their origin in the schools, the villas, the jobs, the laws, the services, the clearly cut social patter of life which encompasses all activity. The obvious out flow of Chicano leadership makes the situation shy of hope of ever being resolved.

Movement Chicanos have seen the need to remain in the rural areas at the expense of tremendous personal sacrifices. It brings to mind three specifics in which this is true: The San Luis Valley in Colorado, Terra Amarilla in New Mexico, and the Valle in Texas in which not only evidence of the leadership's willingness to remain and work things out is evident, but many leaders who had left those communities are actually returning there to assist in the struggle.

The Chicano who remains in these rural areas in spite of the deplorable economy is not altogether making an unwise choice, since things in the city are not really that much better for him – and he knows it. Rural communities have had a historical magnetism, particularly for the Chicano. A closeness to the food-producing land, the slow pace of life, a chance for relevant lasting friendships.

Above all, a simplicity that life naturally seeks and many other factors of different weight and shape make many Chicanos stay there from birth to death.

Most of us city folk who were urban-born or made our move so long ago that the “terremotos” of memory of what it was like in the rural settings have ended, and who come back, quickly sniff, taste and feel the difference.

We see also, that the endurance to suffer injustices is much greater and the boiling point harder to reach, but we also know that explosiveness of the situation once the desperation point is reached. For this reason, the Chicano Movement has much deeper significance and the tie-up with the urban hermano is not only recommended or inevitable, but obligatory. The carnala in Saguache needs the brother in Denver and the carnal in El Valle needs the carnala in San Antonio.

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Other parts of this series:

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 Family. Special thanks for Dolores Delgado. (c) Abelardo Delgado 1971, all right reserved. This may not be republished with out the permission of the Delgado estate.

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