The Chicano Movement: Some Not Too Objective Observations
by Abelardo B. Delgado
The goals of the Chicano Movement are various and most of them are justifiable – in El Paso, decent housing; in Denver, community control; in California, educational opportunities; in Tierra Amarilla, land; and in El Valle de Tejas, economic survival; in San Antonio, political justice.
The over-all refusal to serve in a war that serves only to eliminate our youth. In the college scene, admittance, Chicano Studies, and administrative positions; in the courts, a voice; in the jails and hospitals, a recognition of La Raza and what makes us so vividly different.
What is important in discussing goals, is to view them objectively and to determine first of all, if they are feasible, and secondly, to determine if they are justifiable.
It is here that the movement and its goals become disproportionately comical in that there are at least two million Chicanos who cannot be acknowledged in any social status in this country. For these Chicanos, it is reasonable to have as an objective, the basic necessities for living – food, clothing, medication, shelter, furniture, employment, and a basic education.
For these Chicanos, the movement is sometimes a mirage with which they cannot truly identify, as most of us (in the movement) are so involved in fighting the racism and cultural ghost that we forget that the real movement is to get these carnales liberated from the misery in which they live.
A primary goal of the movement is that of abolishing the extreme poverty under which the majority of the huge population of Chicanos live. It is because this goal is so sacred that we put our emphasis on the barrio and the leader who struggles there. These people are well below the perimeter where the war on poverty is taking place. In fact, these people are oftentimes looked down on by us, their own.
Many of us still mistake goals in terms of range and importance and foolishly claim to derive a quick solution for a previous century of deprivation.
Yes, if we pay a man a decent wage, he can take care of his needs, if we provide a home, if we help him attain a G.E.D., if we help him through college, if we provide job training, if we make him a U.S. Citizen, if we organize him, if we teach him to speak English, and on and on, we go drafting solutions; if we can register him so he may vote, if we put him in business, if, if, if, and we ignore the fact that the movement is a combination of making all those possible.
Better yet, the movement is shaking and waking up one another in the hope that we might realize the state we are in, and decide to shed both the real and the imaginary shackles that have us where we are and prevent us from saying the beautiful words – Ya Basta – the rest is easy.
Truly, one of the most promising goals of the Chicano Movement is the salvaging of the youth so that they can, at least, be free of the burdens we have endured.
But here and now is where the movement turns into a “gallinero” with all the chickens plucking grain wherever they can. Instead of an intelligent working plan, which can give the Chicano movement the input it needs, we continue to shadow box.
Yes, goals we can agree on without much hassle, but as far as the means of reaching them and the speed with which we may reach them are subjects open to debate, even among ourselves.
Other parts of this series:
Part IV Goals