Chicano nationalism | Wikipedia audio article

Chicano nationalism | Wikipedia audio article


Chicano nationalism is the pro-indigenist
ethnic nationalist ideology of Chicanos. While there were nationalistic aspects of
the Chicano Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, the Movement tended to emphasize civil rights
and political and social inclusion rather than nationalism. For this reason, Chicano nationalism is better
described as an ideology than as a political movement.==Background==
Violence and discrimination against Mexican Americans (usually of lower class and visible
Amerindian ancestry) continued into the 1950s and 1960s. Many organizations, businesses, and homeowners
associations had official policies to exclude Mexican Americans. In many areas across the Southwest, Mexican
Americans lived in separate residential areas, due to laws and real estate company policies. This group of laws and policies, known as
redlining, lasted until the 1950s, and fall under the concept of official segregation. In many other instances, it was more of a
general social understanding that Mexicans should be excluded from White society. For instance, signs with the phrase “No Dogs
or Mexicans” were posted in small businesses and public pools throughout the Southwest
well into the 60’s.Some members of the Mexican American community began to question whether
assimilation was possible or even desirable. At the same time, a sense of ethnic consciousness
and unity was forming, especially among the youth, around the plight of the farmworkers. Mexican Americans, some of whom began calling
themselves “Chicanos” as a symbol of ethnic pride, also began to uncover their history
and critically analyze what they learned in public schools. With this new sense of identity and history,
the early proponents of the Chicano movement began viewing themselves as a colonized people
entitled to self-determination of their own. Some of them also embraced a form of nationalism
that was based on their perception of the failure of the United States government to
live up to the promises that it had made in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.==Quote==
The concept of Chicano nationalism is perhaps best articulated in the 1968 Plan Espiritual
de Aztlán, generally considered the manifesto of the Chicano Movement. It states, “El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán
sets the theme that the Chicanos (La Raza de Bronze) must use their nationalism as the
key or common denominator for mass mobilization and organization. Once we are committed to the idea and philosophy
of El Plan de Aztlán, we can only conclude that social, economic, cultural, and political
independence is the only road to total liberation from oppression, exploitation, and racism. Our struggle then must be for the control
of our barrios, campos, pueblos, lands, our economy, our culture, and our political life. El Plan commits all levels of Chicano society
– the barrio, the campo, the ranchero, the writer, the teacher, the worker, the professional
– to La Causa.”==Functions and basis==
Chicano nationalism allowed Chicanos to define themselves as a group on their own terms,
and was a determination on their part to mold their own destiny. It is rooted in the Aztec creation myth of
Aztlán, a “northerly place”. As the Aztecs are central to the conquest
and history of Mexico, the use of the word took on the added dimension of the reclamation
of an indigenous heritage as part of the decolonization process. The sense of Chicano nationalism was enhanced
by a geographical proximity of the United States and Mexico. Chicanos use the name Aztlán in reference
to territories within the boundaries of the Mexican Cession, the land that was “granted”
to Spain in 1493 by Pope Alexander VI in Bull Inter caetera, then claimed by the First Mexican
Empire in 1821 when Spain signed the Treaty of Córdoba at the conclusion of the Mexican
War of Independence, then claimed as “territories” (as opposed to “states”, often referred to
as “provinces”) by 1824 Constitution, and finally ceded to the United States in 1848
as an outcome of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (although it also included Texas, which had
earlier proclaimed its independence from the government in Mexico City and was independent
territory.) The commitment to a nationalist ideology allowed
Chicano activists to supersede differences that threatened their unity. Mexican Americans had regional, linguistic,
age, cultural, racial, and gender differences, all of which were all subsumed to a mutual
dedication to the Chicano Movement.==Criticisms==
Some small groups of Mexican nationalists, in Mexico, label Chicano nationalism as a
form of separatism, similar to the Republic of Texas or black separatism which is opposed
to their own idea of Reconquista and unification of Mexico according to the borders of the
Adams–Onís Treaty. As chicano identity may be only composed of
people of predominantly or fully indigenous ancestries, Mexican nationalists believe the
idea of Aztlan to be divisive and condemn Chicano nationalists for attempting to create
a new identity for the Mexican American population, distinct from that of the Mexican nation which
also includes people of European ancestry (mostly Spanish).==See also==
Black nationalism Chicano
Chicanismo Chicano movement
Chicano studies Ethnic nationalism
Irish nationalism White nationalism==Notes

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