It has occurred to me that Xicanos are a new sort of mestizo, a raza in itself.
While our ancestors are for the most part mestizo in as far as they are of two races, one combining aspects of the more European traits and another one and perhaps the raison de etre for the most of us, an indigenous and powerful trait. However, we Xicanos have attained a mestizaje of a new sorts, we have blended in two cultures, two languages, two religions at the very least. Let us not forget that many a Xicano are not necessarily mestizo, in fact they may be people whose people have resisted mestizaje and therefore warriors who remained to themselves and kept their culture intact, traditions alive and customs enforced, so that while they may speak Spanish their real mother tongue is an indigenous one. Hence they may be already bilingual by the time they assimilate to the Xicano culture which in its most mainstream self is bilingual and bicultural, so as not to exclude that vital link between our brothers and sisters we must keep in mind that Xicanos can have many cultures already in themselves.
This is the new sort of mestizaje I speak of, the intrinsic blending of these cultural traits. So just exactly what is this new sort of spiritual mestizaje anyways, and why is it so important? Perhaps if we seek help from our past can we clear the confusion surrounding this issue now. For many years our existence was denied, our world was repressed, our incarceration bears no tangible, nor physical proof. Throughout the inception of Aztlá we have been denied in the most bastards of ways, curiously enough through this Catholic of acts, the forced relationship of the US and México gave birth to an unwanted child, one that remained in the side shadows of the two nations history up until recently.
We were a bastard child, so generations of Xicanos lived in denial, punished at every institutional level, for how they looked, and how they spoke, and what they spoke. This caused many mutations of spirituality in various forms. We were rejected by both our parents for what we were not. This has caused much pain to many indeed. Because our parents are more than ready to turn away from us, leaving us at the mercy of each other. The US has rejected us because of the color of our skin and México because of the sounds that come out of our mouth and our lifestyles.
However, we are no longer dependent upon the approval of our parents, parents who, like any other child would, still love. We have grown independent from them and are beginning to form our own identity. I can not truthfully say that I am Xicano if I deny one of my parents, as much as my hate still boils in me, they gave me existence, therefore, I am that which was given, a part of an act, Xicanos where born out of two at times out of three intrinsic and complicated cultures that we had to digest even if the taste was acrid and acrimonious.
Yet this Castor oil proved to be a healthy one indeed, seen from a historical perspective of the world where nations have been known to exterminate their offspring. We, while maltreated, grew up and have assimilated our cultures pro’s and con’s. We indulge well in tamales and Hot Dogs; We drink Tequila as well as Bourbon; We fluently speak two languages in one, our greatest source of pride is our own lingo; We love Mariachis as much as we love the Sex Pistols.
Lastly, this new mestizaje has barely shown its multifaceted potential. Our greatest assets is the recognition and acceptance of our many manifestations, we are Xicanos, Chicanos, Pochos, Mexican-American, Mexicanos, and a host of other selves in one way or another, we can the one minute be Xicanos, another Michoacanos, zacatecanos, Californianos, Tejanos, from Chicago this internal diversity is an asset if we are to take into account that this trait is American in as much as Apple pie is. We must rejoice at our selves, and content ourselves that finally, our multifaceted self being is no longer rejected as much by our progenitors.
I for the one consider this flexibility of being an asset of inmense value, I believe that I wouldn’t have had so easy a time to learn another culture, another language as easily as I have and all thanks to my Xicano history.
Good follow up reading:
From the book, Oppositional Consciouness: The Subjective Roots of Social Protests. A tasty essay by Marc Simon Rodriguez titled: Cristaleo Cosnciousness: Mexican American Activism between Crystal City, Texas and Wisconsin 1963-80 that delves into more or less the subject am touching here and points out the consciouness and trasnformation of the U.S Mexicano population and birth of the Chicano Movement.