I was asked to expound on what, exactly, the Latin Spectrum is. Please allow me to do just that. The Latin Spectrum consists of Nine different elements that combine the Chicano culture ... Chicanismo, if you will. I will diagram them for you in this narrative from the Aztec immigrant to the "Spanish" Chicano who continually assures his peers that he is of Spanish descent instead of claiming the sangre of the People of the Sun. But rest assured, this chronology doesn't allow for any one of these elements to claim true Chicanismo because that can only come from the Coraz??n ‘«™ and this is for whom I speak.
So the Latin Spectrum begins with the Aztec immigrant -- and I use Aztec immigrant because mainstream America does not differentiate between a "Mexican," Guatemalan, Venezuelan or even the Chicano! The Aztec immigrant is a "Pioneer" who has migrated to America from South and Central America as well as others from countries even farther to the south.
These Gente - people - come here because they have been beckoned by the man that the old storyteller was referring to in the film Apacalypto,[ where he spoke of the human man with a hole in the middle of his soul -- and how that hole, no matter how much this man consumed, could not be filled. That "man" represents the American men who have allowed their greed to pervert and disfigure and ultimately deform capitalism to its new carnivorous stage of "Vulture Capitalism." So these human beings come, in search of a myth -- that one-horned unicorn called the American dream -- a dream now only available to one percent of America. They have come to serve, and for their sins, have become despised and hated every step of the way. But, then again, this treatment is economic institutionalization and is part of their subjugation.
The Second, would be the Mexican-American who can be defined as Americans of Mexican descent and who have established lives in America but not an American identity. Again there are exceptions to the rule but this is the Chicano that yells, "Viva Mejico!" pays homage to Mexico and denigrates America with every breath. This Chicano is tantamount to the white supremacist who parades around with Nazi flags and tattoos swastikas all over his body. Now Chicanos, don't misinterpret what I'm writing here. As Americans we all have the right to have pride in our heritage and cultures but the Chicano is an American first and this is something that hyphenated Americans just cannot seem to comprehend.
Third is the Male Chauvinistic/Feminist "Chicano/a" who is dividing our culture through gender identification. Unfortunately, this is a touchy subject but very relevant to the Chicano and Chicanismo in general. We need to address our "Machismo" culture as well as our "feminists" who seem to be disengaging themselves from the Chicano plight. But we can begin a discussion on this -- the bottom line is, when the Chicano movement re-emerges will they be there as father and mother on behalf of their children. Ahh, we shall see. We Chicanos claim to be all about our children but this doesn't ring true when we continue to invest in that Lowrider or Cadillac Escalade rather than a college fund for our kids. Hmmm, we really need to bring in to question our Chicano rationale.
The Fourth is the Republican Chicano and this is the Chicano that will do his community and his own children harm. This "Malinche" will vote against affirmative action although it is one of the only mechanisms that allow for equality in many educational and government programs aimed at his children. He will vote into office, men that despise and hate Chicanos and Aztec immigrants to this country and will languish in his faux patriotism. This man falls into the same category as poor Southern whites who continually vote for tax breaks for the one percent and against their own children's best interest and I have zero respect for them.
The Fifth is the Chicano. This predominantly English speaking Native has a firm grasp of his/her American heritage and is where I would like to see all Chicanos at. Right now we are scattered, as is evident in the Latin Spectrum, but when we come together as I pray we do, Chicanos will comprise 68%-78% of the "Latino" Community. When this happens we will see the doors of opportunity get blown wide open and we'll see Chicano anchors on television instead of Cubanos, commenting on immigration. Maybe we'll see a Chicano president someday instead of this ‘«™ Barack "Deporter in Chief" Obama.
The Sixth is the Institutionalized Chicano. This is the Chicano that has been here for multiple generations, many who have lost their cultural identity, mostly through institutionalization- soldiers, Police Officers, government employees and the hoodwinked "Mormon." Chicanos who could stand by and even instigate the beatings and mass incarcerations of our sons. And don't think we won't delve into this dilemma.
The [b]Educated Chicano.[b] This Seventh element consists of Chicanos with college degrees or intellect equivalent to a college degree. And I must state that many Chicanos fall into several different categories and various characteristics can apply to any single element in the Latin Spectrum. It's all very confusing, though, if you are a true Chicano, you'd have experienced a little of what I'm writing now.
The eighth is the Latino ‘«Ű Chicanos from our Latin brotherhood otherwise known as Latinos. Now you can be Puerto Rican and still be Chicano. You can be white and be Chicano. But you can't be Republican and be Chicano. In other words, we are not exclusive, we embrace the many but when you vote for an electrical fence to span our borders or create laws to refuse medical services to children and babies then the Chicano must recognize you for the demon that you are: a Luke-warm Christian who refuses to be his brother's keeper. A Christian hypocrite whom ignores the Christian teachings of charity laid out for us in something called the Bible.
The Ninth is the "Spanish" Chicano -- pinky to mouth -- who continually assures his peers (mainly white peers) that he is of Spanish descent and not Mexican. If this Chicano knew anything about his Aztec culture he would know that there were quite a few Aztec tribes that were light-skinned, blue and green eyed. He would know that we are not all four foot "troglodytes" carving Mayan calendars on every rock we see.
Chicano, if you think this Spectrum was created to divide us through categorization, it is not. Contrarily, when this Spectrum represents the Chicano, we will comprise 68%-78% of the Latino Demographic. So locate where you stand in today's Latin Spectrum so we can then begin our journey. A journey that will require us all to complete and no one man or woman can achieve. It's time to throw away our Spanish arrogance, time to identify our Republican ignorance and high time to languish in our Chicanismo. But, not for us! No, we must gather together under one banner for the sake of our future. For the sake of our children so they will not be a slave to any man, so they can achieve their American dreams whatever those dreams may be.
A great majority of the Latin Spectrum is nodding right now. A small minority is seething. Which side of the spectrum do you find yourself? Self, being defined as "the subject of one's own experience of phenomena: perception, emotions, and thoughts."
The Chicano intellectual journey has begun and along the way we will need some soul-searching, we will need to question common wisdom and re-examine where we came from, where we are, and what steps we need to take to achieve true Chicanismo.
Ah, true Chicanismo. I see it in the raven black hair and the piercing dark brown eyes of our ni??os, wide-eyed and unaware of what lies ahead. I see it in the Chicana, so necessary to the evolution of the Chicano and in her incomparable American beauty. And, I see it in the Chicano, with an unquestionable work ethic and the innate ability to overcome adversity no matter in what form it arises.
No longer must we gauge our Chicanismo by our hardships and "dirty mexicanisms" but now we must languish in our achievements and what we accomplish as a unified culture. Chicanos fail to recognize the psychological effects of centuries of subjugation and what those cause and effects entail.
Chicano, we have a long and strenuous journey ahead of us and yes, it will be fraught with peril and will seem out of reach. But I intend to pick up this mantle and carry it forward. And in this I pray that you stand, not in back of me, nor in front‘«™ but beside me and carry this burden when you can. We will have many obstacles set before us and I'm speaking of our own gente here. And I haven't even begun to discuss the obstacles mainstream America will pose in this, our quest for equality and inclusion. That, is when the real journey begins.
Time to wake up Chicano. Time to wake up and bask in your Chicanismo. Time to look to the sun.
What do you think about the Latin Spectrum? Let us know in the Comments section