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

Octavio Romano

Monday, January 17, 2011

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

The Chicano Movement: Some Not Too Objective Observations

The Movement – Urbano

by Abelardo B. Delgado
What is the other side of the coin, where Chicanos are the product of the barrios in the city? – Los, El Chuco, San Anton, Denver, Chicago, Albuquerque, Houston, Phoenix, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco, and other considerably populated cities in which the Chicano has been driven into an economically-deprived identifiable geographical locale, which we call el barrio. 

It is a different pattern of life with other affecting pressures taking the toll on thousands of us. It is in the urban setting, because of conglomeration crowding our lives that a close, yet superficial relationship develops and we have the phenomenon of the old concept of gangs. 

Fortunately, because of the movement, those gangs have taken a different direction. Fighting each other, knifings, shooting, drugs, and petty shoplifting and crime have now become replaced into fighting the causes of our deplorable state of being. 

The movement, as of late, has started its own campaign to prevent carnales from becoming the victims of hard drugs. Even pot, now so socially acceptable, is kept out of the movement as much as possible. Crimes and thievery which are senseless have been discouraged for the promotion and development of such resources as needed.

The urbans main targets are the deplorable housing conditions as well as the inefficiency of the school systems to reach them, let alone educate them. The urban Chicano, in spite of what I have cited it to be, social deficiencies, has the numbers in his favor and possibility to organize and confront the institutions with greater success. 

The urban Chicano in contrast to the rural, is a more militant individual and his survival skills (mas filosofos) since by force, he has to cope with a more visible enemy. In a way, that balances their worth: the rural Chicano is more enduring and more persistent in his efforts and, therefore, more likely to achieve success, particularly on long-range goals where, on the other hand, the more impetuous urban Chicano in the city gives up after a few failures or success and their goals are short-ranged.

In the city, the Chicano Movement suffers from an inner disunity and fails to coagulate the men and women who busily divorce themselves from life in the very process of maintaining it. Most of the strength of the Chicano Movement, urban-wise, must of necessity, rely on its youth which has more “razo social.” This youth with naivete is the pure “fuerza” of the movement. 

Yet, we recognize the mature input needed which in our culture means our fathers and mothers or some mature men and women whose action have gained them the respect of the Chicano youth. By its very name, Movement indicates mobility, and the youth alone possess the needed energy to move themselves and push the concrete mentalities of conservatism, always unhealthy to those who lay behind and who, in fact, have nothing but misery to conserve.

I myself was born in a rural community, one of the ruralest in the state of Chihuahua in Mexico, La Boquilla de Conchos.

My earliest years were, however, spent in the cities Parral, Chihuahua, Juarez and in the US, El Paso Texas, a city of over three hundred thousand of which approximately forty percent are Chicanos and of the forty percent, a good thirty percent are very impoverished Chicanos. 

This helps me to speak on the subject with somewhat better authority. Having worked in Denver for almost two years, and having worked in Los Angeles for another year, helps me to make better observations of city life. Now that I have gone on to established my credentials, as is done a la academica, I can proceed to finish up the last thought on the subject. 

The Chicano Movement is bound to have more of a national impact in the big city, the bigger the city, the greater the impact. Consequently, smaller cities, as well as rural areas, depend, to a great extent, on the larger cities to set the pace, identify the causes, set out working plans, have polished and outspoken leadership and finally rely on them to capitalize on the development of technical skills so badly needed in our movement.

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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