Heterogeneity Issue in Society
Our heterogeneity is complex for the rest of society to understand us. The anglo society has exaggerated and created stereotypes for our racial and cultural features. We have to face discrimination, inequality, segregation etc not only with the Anglo society but within our own community. NACCS “Reflection on Chicano experience” (1979) was created to have Chicano/as in the community come together and discuss various issues. Such as race, gender, class, sexuality, identity, education, politics and so on. These conferences made it possible for Chicano/as to have a space to be able to exchange ideas with others and be able to expand and be known worldwide.
In a way these conferences make us reevaluate our own identity and think of the idea of being oppressed. Acuna (2004) states, “ Black and brown people are always told that they are stupid so grow up believing that you weren’t meant to be anything. We believe we are born this way and that it is just our destiny. Then I realized that our schools and other systems are instruments and make us think this way” (pg10). We think back to all the times we were told we were not enough because of who we identify as. Or that we don’t belong here because this is the Anglos homeland. Instead of continuing to be oppressed we celebrate our cultural identity and show people this is where we belong because this is our homeland.
‘Quest for A Homeland’ and Philosophy of Identity
In the film Quest for A Homeland (Galan, 1996), they show what the Chicano/as we’re fighting for, the importance to reaffirms the Chicano/a cultural identity, equality, and nationalism. The impact of having someplace to call home and to feel like we belong has on Chicano/a cultural identity. The film mentions Rodolfo Corky Gonzales and his movement the crusade for justice. Which essentially was to have Chicanos play a large part in the national political process. Corky’s vision was to create equality and reclaim our homeland which was once stripped away from us. Corky writes a poem I am Joaquin, where he expresses his feelings and desires to young Chicanos/a through his poem. The poem becomes a spiritual revelation of the history that we never learned and the celebration of our mixed identity (Indian/ Spanish). The poem becomes the idea of how we choose to identify ourselves. It makes us self-evaluate our own identity whether we claim to be Mexican-American/Hispanic/Latinos etc. He wants us to come to term with our history and identity and essentially embrace our mestizaje.
American Inhabitants and Civilizers
The manifesto El Plan de Aztlan, “We the Chicano inhabitants and civilizers of the northern land of Aztlan from whence came our forefathers, reclaiming the land of their birth and consecrating the determination of our people of the sun, declare that the call of our blood is our power, our responsibility, and our inevitable destiny”(Gonzales, 1996). For the Chicano/as Aztlan become more than a myth it became their preamble which symbolized their homeland and was a call for political power. Many people believed that the Chicano/as had turned their backs on America but for them, it meant they mattered and they were here to stay in their homeland. Today people continue to tell us Chicano/as to go back to our homes but in reality, we are home. Today we still fight for our homeland, not because we want to reclaim the land but because we are not foreigners and this is our home where we want to have a voice and be treated equally. Although that can have some repercussions when wanting to create an identity for yourself.
Some of the repercussions that come with identifying with a certain name/term people often begin to criticize. They question whether you meet the “standards” associated with the term you are identifying with. As a result, we create this racialization within our community. We allow these judgments to question if our identity is valid. This comes to show that today there is racial segregation not only within society but within our own community. We believe that what we identify ourselves with will somehow make us superior to others. For example, someone who identifies as indigenous will automatically be belittled simply because of who they are. These labels carry these negative connotations that people constantly are reminded of. In a way, these labels are set to keep people in control and keep a hierarchy within race. Which brings up the question do we really know what each term stands for and who should be able to call themselves a Latino, Mexican, Chicano/a Hispanic?
Importance of Cultural Identity
Overall, the readings and course material have shown the importance of belonging, homeland, and diversity have on Chicano/a cultural identity. As well as the factor of repercussions that come with your choice of identity. There are many definitions that come with the labels that people truly don’t know who they are. Whereas some argue that the value of homeland and belonging is connected to a person’s identity.