Pocho sentimientos

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In relation to the Fifth Comment:

Here in Sweden, Swedes can’t see beyond my ethnic look or what their eyes tell them I am. A brown person. So the idea of an American has also been hijacked by color lines. Although, much to my surprise Swedes don’t see themselves in those color lines though their idea of what an American is certainly is tainted by color. So they have a hard time seeing that there are Americans of brown disposition.

So it irritates me a tad that they can’t acknowledge my gringo side. I hate the fact that they are not able to see beyond my so called Spanish background.  It makes me feel incomplete.

Now and then I manage to hear my own self speak. I am like the omniscient God by accident. It turns out that hearing myself isn’t so productive at times. This time I happened to hear myself. And I thought: who am I? This question might just seem trivial for some. Specially monolinguals. I can choose between three languages to express. And in this case I have chosen the English language to explore the dilemma at hand. Who am I?

The thing is that prior to the elaborate result an equation factor is not known. I chose this language because when Iheard myself speak I used a Xicano dialect bounce off the walls el craneo that houses this I.

Tis this very dialect or way of speaking that is giving birth to this post.


As an American individual it is very hard for me to follow the We doctrine. Afterall, what is most rewarded in our American ens is the almighty I. Here in Sweden I have had to give in to the We collective. This hasn’t been easy at all. It is perhaps no wonder that it is no easy task to induce Swedish students to capitalize the I in their writing when they write i with a small consonant. In Sweden it is foreign to write I with a capital letter. That in itself should be obvious enough as a cultural clue.

I am a foreigner in We land. Even in México this We form of speaking was alien to me. And there it is as rampant as bunnies in the old prairie. I have unfortunately in the sly begun to use the We for propaganda purposes in my everyday life. I am a tad ashamed to admit this ill allocated use of the We form for personal gain. It pays dividends in the many whenever I use the plural in my everyday locutions, and I shame not for the positive yields I receive everytime I speak to people. People here in Sweden love the We form for a weird reason.

For an American who is encouraged to strap its boots by itself or romanticizes the loner in its everyday ens this collective thinking is akin to coming to a strange land.

Off course I have metaphorized the We consciousness into an issue of economics and I just could of easily turned into an issue of crossing borders and turned it into a borderlands speak but I feel economics bespeaks better my feelings now.

Incredible, I seem to have extricated myself from one of the most dominant issues that impregnate the Xicano ens: immigration.

I don’t know why, exactly, we xicanos entangle ourselves so much with immigration. Immigration as phenomena to live the everyday, to give rise to consciousness, that thing you do when you wake up in the mornings, to create a drive to live is astounding in us. I suppose that we are so wrapped in it as children that slowly the fabric becomes the very meaningful existence of the sunrise in our daily lives. Immigration gives us sorrow, a fighting chance, happiness, excitement and a stake in that America that so often we portray as a foreign agent in our political discourse.

I feel nothing for immigration. This disinterest for the very issues that feeds much thought in Xicano narrative in the US is all but bygone. I first noticed this a few years ago but until now it has managed to manifest itself as formulated thought. It all came to light because I found myself surprised at an article that appeared in Svenska Dagbladet on how illegal immigration has saved an all gringo (pure and unstained from xicano culture one would guess) town due to the influx of illegal immigration. I’ve complained before about the skewed view this newspaper gives of illegal immigration in the US but to little or none effect, my thoughts have gone the way of disregarded thought, by the turn of a head, by unexpressed critic like ‘rubbish’ and so on.

One seldom sees an article explaining the phenomena or the causes of immigration in the Nordic press but rather one hears through the Swedish language the ailing and wailing of the American conservative outcry (a phenomena that started out in the middle of the 80’s) that mexicans are running over the USA. Perhaps that is to change

I guess that is what most riles a decent xicano about pochos. They seem to be able to have superseded this intrinsic drive and are as aloof as gringo can be. We hate that. We don’t like that. Yet here I am, away, the umbilical cord of immigration cut. I feel nothing and as if disfranchised from my community I must now seek my path. I sound like Geronimo, I know.

Luckily for me xicanismo liveth not only out of immigration.

I like the swenglish version of the word time. They write it the way I titled this post, tajm. It occurred to me that I place a somewhat sentimental value to it inasmuch as it reminds me of the Spanglish word taimar, which means to tame, because tajm happens to have nearly the same phonological properties as taimar, excluding the -ar off course. Hence the association.

Though these days am far from being able to accomplish said feat. I am, you see, at an awkward position in my life and I feel time more like a sharp arrowhead on its way to pin me down like a dead insect on a wall. Though that only bespeaks half the story inasmuch that I cannot fight the propulsion of time setting its rushing intentions to penetrate the living matter that constitutes my ens.

I think pinned down would be utmost appropriate to describe the rush to beat the incoming arrowhead with its dead certain bull’s eye accuracy. Though one must admit the futility in it all, I am not denying the fact that I posses the knowledge to outsmart the trajectory of the flint. I have at my disposal a number of strategic mental solutions to beat the inevitable and in the end smile at the fact that even though I dodged the course set before me I will at most end up only moderately bruised bi it and yet succeed at any rate albeit my way.

I have always been unable to deal with success. Now am not boasting about the kind of success that one often associates success with but rather those minor successes that make the very fabric of ordinary life.

I recall that I once became some sort of an unintended hero to my fellow classmates. I then attended a middle high school in Tijuana. The name of the school was Secundaria Para Trabajadores Federal número 42. It was a source of great pride for me to attend that school because it lay in a corner of great importance for me and the city. It was in the Lázaro Cardenas grounds, a piece of dirt dear to us tijuanenses. I don’t exactly recall the lesson at the time but I recall more the people and the act I unsuspectingly became a part of in a web of events I did not fathom as much back then. I had spitted from a second floor and my spit had landed on our teacher’s head. Without much hesitation we all rushed into the classroom and pretended nothing had happened. That however, did not hinder the teacher from finding out exactly who it was who had perpetrated the deed. I seem to have been expulsed for a day and when I returned the following day I was received with a standing ovation that shook my senses and rendered me unable to deal with the acclaim. I then proceeded to ignore the acclaim and much to my own surprise thought myself above the acclaim and started to belittle those applauding me by simple going to my seat!

It just seems that I sour the moment near success and I suppose that is what ails me timewise these days.

in the course of humanity
has there been
a better time
to be

Prouder can’t One be.

When I go the market I look for fresh produce be it vegetables, fruits or, je! beer.

Yet the brits somehow have a weird and twisted meaning to it that just baffles the living daylights out of my Xicano skull.

Israel in fresh Lebanon strikes

Fresh fighting on Lebanon border

Fresh Lebanon bombing kills three

Dozens die in fresh Lebanon raids


From now on we just look for produce.

On other unrelated scenarios of the anima kind:

I got to thinking if the Generals ’round the planet didn’t wish the good ‘ol days before internet were back in vogue.

Jíjole, am sure more than one is whishing it could work in peace.

Después del todo, speculation hasn’t had brisky business since, well, newspapers came up with the idea that reporting on the elites was good business.

Generals ’round the world are set against a magnifying glass which scrutinizes their every move for, dios mio! profit.

Place your bets on the odds.

More and more businesses across the world speculate on conflicts and how generals will react.

Poor souls, can’t do their jobs in peace and quiet anymore.


Listen: Los ABCs ¡Qué vivan los muertos!
Sing Along
Download the song!

Los ABCs: is a five-minute Xicano docu-animation cataloguing the real-life testimony of skeletons who have returned to tell their stories of life and death at war. Do you remember your ABCs? No? Well, you’re in luck. Sing along with this group of animated Mariachi social documentarians who will guide you through in a history that will make you laugh, cry, and wonder why.

Via Leanos.net

Dedico este poema a mi amigo Luis A. López, Aztec Poet at large.

I am Xicano mexicano ese
though not del Otro Saite.

with spanish colors
my brown iris paints
la Línea, el bordo,
muros and walls
of my cantón

I became
what el desierto made out of me.
With the aid of a syphon
The sand blew
Its red stained history
my poros borders.

The yaqui and navajo
Me dieron vida
sus voces
of great ones told
Geronimo clamours yet
The yaqui still fights the mexican.

Mastico the anglo bard’s tongue
like saucy and spicy tacos de lengua.

With my jainas
and los vatos de la ‘hood
I cruise dauntaun

Con los pachucos, cholos
wainos y saicos

I straddle two cultures
I see them all

The Southwest
my house
La frontera
mi home

Mi raza xicana es

the heat waves of the Santa Ana winds.

Blue red
is the color of my soul
blanco & rojo

Two eagles apart
Soaring above Aztlán
Mark my heart .

We all remember that afternoon. The clouds hung at an uncomfortable low and the heat made the humidity stick. It was then the town council in all its wisdom had decided to pass a non-bilingual bill, despite the majority of the town’s opposition to it.

What hurt more was councilman Richard Rodriguez vote. He, raised amongst the locals, turned his back against his own folk.

- “Why, just last night he come over to take a’drink wit me, that bastad!” lauded Tauwny.

Tauwny was an immigrant from French Guyana and appealed most fervently of all for the dual capacity bilinguals have only to fall into deaf ears. The future couldn’t look bleaker for him. He had two sons and every February the third made a curios display of patriotism by taking out a flag no one but him knew where it came from. The vote had barely passed by a slight majority, and as the crowd gathered in front of the municipal building, the politicians where getting ready to read a statement to announce the town’s continuance of a monolingual policy for all.

Albert Villahermosa had been ambivalent throughout the debacle. His forefathers had moved from the city of Torreón in the state of Coahuila to what is now known as the San Joaquin Valley in California but then just another town in Alta California, not long before the American invasion of 1848 led then by Commodore Stockton. His great grandmother, or bisabuela as he would know her, would tell him “not to many freckled faced boys roamed the streets yet back then.” He was a fluent mexican spanish speaker but barely had need to use it except at family gatherings where he would endure a host of questions regarding his “Mexican-ness”.

He looked on the mass of people, wondering just what was he doing there amongst the throngs of angry people demanding that the city council reverse its vote. English after all, he thought in the back of his head, was what united everyone. It was the bridge that made this multicultural town what it was.

He headed homewards. That night, Angela, his wife of three years, had made a special dinner, mole, a chocolate spice sauce dish that Albert loved and as he readied himself to sit comfortably in the dinner table he heard on the radio that a protest had turned into a scuffle and Tauwny had been arrested for punching Councilman Rodriguez in the face. He could distinctly hear Tauwny’s voice in the background, yelling “traitor, traitor!”, as he was being dragged on while the radio reporter continued to report live from City Hall. Angela could be heard saying a few pity words for Tauwny but not much that moved Albert into a civic mood to go and demand Tauwny’s release, although the issue of bilingualism had slowly crept into his mind as the night passed on.

The next morning proved decisive for the whole town, during the course of the night many residents had gone out and held a vigil for Tauwny. They nearly broke the windows of Councilman Rodriguez car, had it not been for Sheriff Gonzalez timely intervention, although many would later wonder maliciously where had he been at the time of the punch that gave Councilman Rodriguez a black eye. A few had ventured to suggest that it was because he too had been on the pro-bilingual wagon but others spoke out plainly that it was because it had more to do with his insurance business where Rodriguez had recently taken out a policy insuring the 1956 Desoto he owned.

On the way to work, Albert met with disgruntled and sleepless neighbors who wondered where had he been all night while the town’s very essence was at stake. He shook his head in bewilderment at the utterance of those fancy words unable to answer quite right until he met his cousins walking by.

- Hey! Wuz up cuz? Were where’ya last night? Thought you be ‘round but I never caught sight of you …
- I went straight home from work, I was tired.
- Yeah, well, tomorrow were gonna be at it again till they change that fucking law, are you comin’?
- Don’t know, well see.

He never really understood his cousins; they didn’t even speak spanish although they belonged to the 1848 Committee. A group that demanded that the lands he grew up in be given back to México. As he walked by his neighborhood, he pondered what it was to be bilingual. Though he didn’t come to a clear conclusion as to its significance or its bearing to his town or himself. Worse yet, he was beginning to feel uncomfortable with the whole idea of this discussion coming up so high as the to waste precious council time and taxpayers money on such a, what he considered to be, trivial business.

He pondered about the language he first heard at home, the one that nurtured him and the one language that soothed him so much whenever he came home from school. His mother tongue as it were. It was the language of the house, the one mama and papa spoke. The one he discovered the world with, the one that first made him cry and the one that first made him laugh but also the one language that left him so many scars. He remembered all too well how his teachers would chastise him whenever homely vowels blurted out of his mouth but that were foreign to the teacher: “greasy language” the teacher would decry. At one point he adamantly refused to speak that wretched language. A choice that only brought him acrimonious chastisement closer to home and in the streets, the children would call him “beaner” and make him feel a stranger in the only land he ever knew.

- “Spanish has been nothing but trouble for me and I don’t want that for my children, that’s for sure”, he thought.

At work there weren’t to many bilinguals so the topic never really came up and the day proceeded as normal until the waterman came by.

- Hey Albert, how is it going? Heard what happened last night?
- Yeah, pitiful ain’t it?
- What?! You mean you stand by those crooked gringos ese?
- Well, not really, well…, I don’t really know you see …
- Well would you look at’cha! You’re the only mexican here and yet you wonder, how cozy homes! Meanwhile, us little guys who’ve been here before these gringos ever came to run our lives and are now telling us how to speak have to fight for our very existence.

Albert just stared; it never occurred to him that he was being run over by people who until this time had been his co-workers, neighbours, friends and associates. Albert didn’t have any more strength to continue the conversation and walked away from the water fountain leaving the waterman shaking his head. That the whole issue had come to his work was more than he could tolerate and made it a point to get the issue out of his head for the rest of the day.

Then, it dawned upon him. The division of the town was the division he had so long felt within himself. Never really belonging here or there, always having to choose sides. Yet essentially, whatever it was that made him who he was, a straddler, a walker of in-betweeness, a hyphen between the anglo and the mexican and the rest of the world, it was also happening out there in the streets. He walked back to his office shaken by the realization. All along, since he was a child, translating for his mother, speaking for his father whenever they went to shop or do some business with the rest of the community he had to be the middleman between two worlds in his town. Now he understood what it was the throngs that so baffled him were all about. He thought pensively for the rest of the day and decided to take a stance.

On his way home, the issue of bilingualism had died down, the city council had backed down from its stance and Tauwny was free. The town went about its business in a regular fashion and Angela awaited to tell him of the funny language his son uttered, a mixture of English and Spanish, they called it spanglish. Albert now stood feeling better about his new identity. His new self to the point of considering running against counculman Rodriguez only to later recant, “one step at a time” he thought, looking outside the window of his house as life returned to its normalcy to his beloved city.


The sun is shining in Sweden. This means lots of welcomed warmth. Please, allow me to expound, the sun is actually heating up the surface. Yeah, no big news round the world but here in my corner of the earth this is like a million bucks. So you’ll find many swedes basking in the sun before their snow-filled yards. You read right, there is plenty of snow to make a snowlady.

Two more months and it will mark my 9nth year in beautiful Scandinavia were nothing but pretty white people live.

I don’t know, I have been thinking about it lately, what have this long stay in Sweden given me besides buckets of bitterness? A language, check. A new culture, check. A new citizenship, check. A profession, check. Tortillas and refried beans? I wish.

So I suppose that growing older ought to smooth out the edges and this will eventually turn out to be a not-so-bad expierence. I still long for Tijuana though and given the right circumstances am willing to drop everything and head back home. Am ready. Off course, that will take a little matter of around the sum of a million bucks or so to persuade me to head back home. My telephone bill assures me am a long way from reality.

At least the sun shines today and I have a Czech beer by the computer.

Oh no you didn’t.

Boy do I have bones to pick here.

I shall be dishing out more than I bargained for but one can’t overstate the deliciousness of the subject. Right now I am about to do serious deconstructing over at Wikipedia and give them a verbal whipping or two.

Coming soon, more Xicano rants than expected, stay tuned.

To the legions of my reader fans who await not a minute before I clamp down the keyword with whatever oozez down my brain, I say no x-mas to you. Alas! I am desillusioned with the lot of humanity so seek not the jule tides with jingles in every pimple million of innocent smirks cause. Humbug! I am a bitter soul the likes of one Bartleby. I stand idle waiting for death to appear down the horizon any day. No friend however curios of life cometh to visit my prison-like solitude nor do they worry about the lot of the world.

X-mas is just a reminder nowadays of how cruel and vicious humanity can be towards one another. People are dying this very instant in some part of the world while someone is buying a present thinking of that dearly beloved one. Bought with the very money the bullet, that killed that unknown in a foreign land, earned in an unethical slushfund on Wall Street. Millions rejoice in América with their cherished ones, eat, drink and piss in tranquility while half the world is protuding in misery.

I have heard the angry ones who will stand not a sight the likes of me. Go to Africa! if thoust must cryth the X-mas dappers.


Is it too much to ask for a little reflection some other time of the year other than the 24th of Dic?

Kill x-mas, it has become a lawyer for good tidings.

I speako el inglish ese. Though judging by the nature of the media that streams from Amerikkka one be hardly pressed to see that here in Europe, ok Sweden pues. Ok, so am not an american citizen, well wait, I am, but the kind that one usually associates american with, gringo et al. blond, blue eye and california suntanned, nope. Yeah, that’s what europeans, ok, pues, swedes, think about americans, and then of course there are blacks. Nothing in between, forget he latte kind, like we.

I must confess that whenever swedes pick Americans for their english I get tummy aches all over. Hell, am a native english speaker no? They pass me over. They only see the Mexican in me. Txale. Explaining what a Xicano is to swedes requieres a year’s worth of anthropological courses. Ahhh, fighting media raised ideas about what an American is only leaves me, get a load of the violin in the background, sad.

So I grapple a lot with english. Can I really be called an english speaker and a native english speaker at that? These past months I had about two of those spams, thoughts were I ponder my english and I reflect the way it came into my life and whether english is my language or not. Argh.

Ark, bly me. You see my existencial dilemma. Although this was a problem in proper Aztlán too. However, there, english had this smoothness to it. I was using english to pretend to be an American Citizen. Heck, I was an illegal alien, I had to pass off as the legit stuff.

One wonders why didn’t Daily Texican mention that he appeared in ¡Ask a Mexican! by Gustavo Arellano. Though I wouldn’r be to surprised, the language there is a tad crass at times yet it does jank a smile or two from one. Oh well, check out the mention here.

Rheinland-Pfalz (Capital: Mainz)
I was finally able to retrieve from my surrounndings for a week. During week one of the year (1999) I took a very much sought after trip which had languished back in time for sometime now. I must say it was a trip that fulfilled all my desires. I went to Germany. I enjoyed very much my trip and saw some of the best wonderful Rheinland-Pfalz countryside Highway 61 had to offer, specially the road from Neuweid to Worms which has a bridge to match the Golden Gate in size. The valleys, however, cannot be compared and the mountains neither. The weather was perfectly clear so my eyes were not sored by the clouds which, I think you might agree, robs much of the light that would give the valleys a majestic hue. My landscapes kept changing as we went from one part of the region to another and, I believe, it was a good fortune the Rhine was on the way and by all the places we went to. It was a most welcome delight to see the Bayern country fields surrounded by so many mountains indeed.

Neuweid viz Koblenz to Frankfurt am Main thereafter to Worms.

I was, however, drawn into my innermost feelings every now and then. No doubt caused by the music we listened to as we travelled the highways which evoked in me all kinds of emotions. Memories of you. I travelled all those days thinking and feeling all my memories and everything posible I could say to you. Memories I enjoyed very much, though tinged by tristesa, were as much of my trip as the views of that region of Deutchland. One can well say that remembrances of yore are best when one is still able to feel them completely. I was also able to taste some of the best and tastiest Bayern beer. Of course, Kassel, Worms and Franfurt am Main are places of long beer tradition. I will probably never taste again those beers in my life. of course, such statementes are unfair to life; one is very well drawn to formulate such conclusions since one time just seems just that “one time”.

I started at Hauptwache.

I had the good fortune to see Frankfurt am Main. A small section of it, indeed, I don’t think am unduly boasting to say that it was a destiny of sorts for me to see such ancient part of it. As luck would have it, the driver of the lorry had to have a nine hour rest before he could start again. And, knowing myself well, I did not hesitate much to venture into the city for nine hours would give ample space for that. Taking into consideration a sort of ill omen would cross my way and get lost I set about on a reconnaissance voyage but as my stars would have it I was easily able to find my way around always taking careful mental notes as to where I turned and such directions. I jumped on bus 37 j.Kircher-Ahz to Hauptrahnhof where I found a city in motion, that is, compared to the industrial side of the town were my fellow companion was resting his hours.

I arrived in that section that houses most of the city churches. Wonderful pieces of restoration. for, as you might well know, much of that city was left in ruins during WWII. And I hope you allow me to make a comment of sorts here, for I am of the opinion that one cannot mention Germany without it having some reference to WWII. I also, as you are a seasoned traveller yourself and might find this truthful, had the good luck to arrive on a wednesday which implied free access to much of the local museums of the city. As I was short of monetary resources ( a deutch mark costs 5 swedish crowns) this was a most celestial welcome.

For too long I was embarrased of my Xicano accent. Frankly. I cringed into a hell of angst and embarrassment whenever my i’s* faltered and betrayed an otherness that was far from the american ideal.

Here in Europe I can retrace and notice this patttern of linguistic perfection sought out by english monolinguals in proper 51 and a DC. Spanish people can still notice whenever someone says a double ll in the form of a y or whenever someone pronounces their z’s like s’s. Sweden is the same, you can’t pronounce a word wrong because all hell breaks loose.

The same way in WASP land. Since they only speak english they tend to be preservationists of a sort.

People will actually doubt if you are an American based on the way you pronounce your english, such are the state of things in our beloved Area 51.

So I cringed and hurriedly tried to cover up my imagined nakedness. I felt uncovered.

*Jejeje, I wrote this back before the Blog Era, check it out, however, if you don’t wanna here is the relevant snippet for this piece:

In my first year of study, that would be Winter 2000, I studied phonetics which was as strange to me as the relativity theory. At any rate, the book assigned for the reading is titled `On Pronounceable English’ by David Minugh, (a New Yorker) University of Stockholm 1991 (Corrected Edition). On page 47 you’ll find how to pronounce the vowel `i’ as in /sit/. Along that pronounciation there is a word of caution, get aload of this, and I quote ” …But if you pronounce an accented /I/ like /i:/, as in >>kid , kidnapper< <, you will sound like the stereotype Mexican bandit!" Talk about a 60's flashback.

Here in Sweden ears see english and eyes hear english. It is a second language or an unoffical language. It is a bastard child no one wants to admit as their own; they refer to it as främmande. Which is to say strange, främmande is also a word they use when they have guests in their house, har du främma? Do you have strangers at your house? So english here has quite a few speakers who will readily admit to you that they aren’t english speakers at all, kind of reminds me of my swedish. I will readily admit to anyone and everyone that I do not speak swedish though I join the million immigrants that speaks one form or another of swedish.

I thought about this the other day.

The curious thing about it is that society just goes about without giving it much thought. This despite that one of the industries that Sweden exports the most is music, yes, in english. Teachers at the University of Stockholm also go about without giving this idea of english as an unoficial language very much tought; they teach it as a foreign language even though english lessons are given to children already in grade three.

When is language a mothertongue?

So here I am teaching english to english speakers. Who am I to correct an english that has millions of speakers who live in denial they don’t speak english at all?

I thought about this the other day.

My own dialect, Chicano English suffered, and probably still suffers, the lashings of WASP people who have considered our way of pronouncing english wrong. And here I am correcting others how to pronounce english, an unwilling participant of this charade ….

I shall no longer be subjected or fall into that treacherous pit, I am mexican Xicano and I speak english as a primary source of communication. I shall no longer care or worry that my brethen down south or within our culture think I may have gone lost with no return. I was born in no man land’s, it is my natural state. I shall no longer partake in the mourning or loss of this or that culture because I no longer speak spanish. I have matured, I am mexican, I am gringo, I am those two, I am Xicano.

Though I speak english I talk mexican Xican@. If the spanish speaking majority find this as regrettable I find it sad that they would come to that conclusion for I am mexican Xicano though I speaketh the anglosaxonist tongue. Spanish does not have a sole right to the mexican culture, nor do their other dialects. I am an expression of that mexicanness regardless of that ostricism that some practice to obligate, force their view of their ways to people like me. I am Mexican Xicano and I speak english. So weep not that I may have lost this or that caracteristic of my race, celebrate fool! Celebrate for this is the dawn of a new culture, a culture that is yours, mine theirs, american!

To the very contrary as supposed and mourned I preserve, I retain those values, I used to be though of another opinion. I used to feel obligated to preserve, no longer is such thinking the mana of my soul, I now know that I am because I have that which you have said I no longer have, though I ceasesly tried to convince you otherwise, I now know that that thinking is akin to racism, you want to me to be different from you. Though I am not, for I am an extension of that expressión and as such a part of you.

When you say I am lost and that I have lost my culture not only do you denigrate my culture but you also denigrate my familia which has learned to love me for who I am.

Spanish has always been a problem in Aztlán.

Though am second guessing this problem is slowly turning a leaf in the collective concious in as much as Native Americans are more and more preferring to be addressed as that or have that as part of their lives.

Geeeeez, even my second generation mexican american cousins are teaching their children spanish.

Back in my days having someone hear you speak spanish was tantamount to labeling yourself a foreigner; one only scurried fast enough to blurb half chicano english phrases to assure the observer one was as American as burritos on a taco stand in LA. It was tough beating the “bad looks” that disfranchised one from one’s society. I still shiver in embarrassment at the thought of it.

I even remember not speaking spanish, my heady days as pocho as pocho can get.

Though it is no surprise that such societal effects have taken place in the history of the Southwest; we are one of many groups who has been questioned about our “english” purity by the white majority due to the color of our skin or our racial looks.

And little wonder is it then that second generation Xicanos/Chicanos (girls and boys) have such a schizophrenic attitude towards mexican spanish because mexicans are ill-spoken of all the time. In fact, am willing to bet a whole wad of pesos that the number one source of embarrasment for many second generation mexican americans is just that, that they are referred to as mexican, beaners, wetbacks, and all that.

This off course has a well intented purpose, one to debase the human being being labeled as that and the other to assert majority opresion and to let you know who the boss is.

So spanish betrays.

Curiosuly enough on both sides. The “english” purist camp arguing that this and that on assimilation and the spanish “purists” arguing that we don’t speak enough of a good spanish at all.

But let’s keep the spanish “purists” out because those mostly stem from one’s house criticism rather than the world out there, that is english America.

So if you are not well informed about your own self then and have half cooked notions about your surroundings, like the most of us do, then your self steem falters like a San Andrea’s fault on any day. You are vulnerable because the majority has dictated what an “American” is, no matter the past, history or your background, if you fail to pass the “American” test, that is, speak fault free General American english, your out like a bat. That is why we Xicanos speak english/spanglish one way with our close ones and another more common, out there, english which makes us sound like gringos. But mostly when we are caught speaking Chciano english we become unwanted, that is American society for you. Because we are not interested in ideals that the government sells: we are all equal under the law blah, blah, we do not take that up. Here we are just concerned about what the average Xicano experiences when he or she confronts the rest of America and what the rest of America has said about him or her and his or her background beforehand. A pre-established frame society carries around to see the rest of society with.

So spanish is seen as a foreign language, it doesn’t belong in California, never mind that half of its history is written in just spanish. Society renounces this altogether and chastises the vowels whenever it hears them out. I am sure I don’t need to remind no one about the hundreds of cases pending in courts about discrimination for speaking spanish in the job.

So, for the most part, knowing spanish in Aztlán is a detriment rather than a plus.

So yeah, that, today.

I am ocassionally given to the reading of books which I, more often than not, peruse more than finish when the need arises to let time pass by in an adequate manner. So whenever I find myself answering the calls of mother nature I am of the habit of calmly answering it whilst I read a few paragraphs here and there. I also, whenever I have a chance, crack open a book at the library or the bookstore to see what a sentence might have in it. I am also of the disposition to take books with me to places where I know I shall be spending some time in idleness. It is a chore which I have acquiered through the years and one that has proven to be quite the rewarding one least to say a satisfactory one. Indeed, I have a chock-full bookcase of books in my library that are waiting for my eyes for this very chore, at times, I suspect, unpatiently since everytime I happen to pass by there I receive this eerie sensation of being drawn to them to comply with the promise I made them once they arrived to their current place in my humble library of no more than a 1000 volumes of which I have read no more than 200. It is a curios thing that once the coveted book has reached its goal to tend to gather more dust than use. Although, truth be told, I make the commitment of opening them every now and then to remind me of their position in the bookshelf. Such was the case of the only spanish book I have on Chicanos and why I started all this in the fashion I have done so.

Tino Villanueva, Chicanos (selección) Lecturas 89 Mexicanas Cultura SEP 1985.

I was rather surprised to find the following information regards Pochos on page 11 & 12 while I awaited my daughters to finish their swimming lessons, here on the Swedish Highlands one rather windy and partly cloudy day last week. Tino begins as thus: (loose translation):

I will open a long parentheses to discuss the term Pocho which according to Ramos I. Duarte, the first one to prove it, is derived from the Sonora ( a state along the Southwest border) word pochi (adj) which means “[c]orto (short) ; rabón (tail-less). Unos pantalones pochis cortos (short). Un perro pochi: rabón.” (Feliz Ramos I. Duarte, Diccionario de mejicanismos: Collección de locuciones i frases viciosas, Imprenta de Eduardo Dublín. México, 1895, p.408). And here we find the same definition half a century later by Francisco J. Santamaría in his respected Diccionario genreal de americansimos, first edition, II volume, Editorial Pedro Robredo, México, 1942:

Poche, cha m. y f. Name with which northamericans of spanish extraction, specially mexicans, are designated, in the south of the United States, particularly in California. (In Mexico the most common thing to say is pocho or pocha and it doesn’t present itself to be too odd that its origen stem from pochio, a sonorismo (from Sonora) which very likely stems from the yaqui; also meaning short in limitations. More clearly, stupid) 2.Corrupted spanish, a mix of english and worst spanish which northamericans and foreign residents of spanish origin speak, mainly mexicans, in California (USA) [pp. 504-505]

A similar definition added to a more ample, clearer explanation with a linguistic and historic link and that I shall now gloss is that of Horacio Sobarzo (Vocabulario sonorense, Editorial Porrúa, México, 1966, pp. 258-259). He considers the word pochi (pocho) an “authentic sonorismo” and traces it to two autochtonous sources. In its first sense, Pocho “originates from the ópata potzico, which means to cut, to yank weed or grass; potzi, very simply, has the connotation of cutting or recutting, anything [...] and the particle tzi once adapted to the spanish phonetic system sounds like chi. Potzico in the middle of the 19th century meant metaphorically “ the art of yanking weed” in reference to the “compatriot which was yanked from our nationality”. On the other hand , the idiom which connotes a tailless animal is derived from another ópata word: tacopotzi which means without a tail. In short, the ethymological evolution of our word has two potential autochtonous sources: 1) potzico > potzi > pochi > pocho. 2) tacopotzi > potzi > pochi > pocho.
Though dictionaries assign Pocho the meaning of discolored, colored crackled, Sobarzo affirms that “within the pochi classification it was to be understood as well all of those that, inasmuch weed was, were yanked of their nationality and had the same fortune of that territorial portion which se pocho from our country, whites, blonds, blacks, morenos, colored and discolored”.

In another passage I also read that Pocho is older than Chicano. I read the following, in english too! this snippet by Américo Paredes: It was tthe barrio that produced the pocho, the early version of Chicano” … (Hey! Those 3 dots mean I am tired of translating) Further more I also read that José Vasconcelos confirmed that in the California of the 30’s pocho was already in use to mean those who deny their blood, dang.

Well, that explains that, doesn’t it!

Well, I went and did it, not planned, not anything, just out of the clear blue sky, there we go. Would you believe that of all the places in the world for me to find another Xicano would be there? Well, I did, I was minding my own business looking around at the construction of one of the churches when someone spotted me as one of their own. (Picture a texas drawl) pretty hot today ain’t it? I suppose my aztec codice t-shirt, blue jeans and sneakers plus the fact that am brown gave away somtehing. I mean I can’t figure in all the world how the lad figured I spoke english. I guess I was looking too much like a gabacho, that tends to happen. Specialy at the vending places, they see me and the prices hike up immediatey like 30 percent more than they are, “hey, no me mire con cara de gabacho” pure indian blood here amigo, no me chingue …. I mean I have to remind my own people that am one of them!

So yeah, I was there, I saw the catheral were Juan Diego saw the virgin, damn! Even gabachos knelt at the sight, so I did as well, however I can’t muster an adoration to the virgin, must be all that protestant genes we carry due to the freckle invasion of yore. So I just knelt an muttered some words to that high deity I have no name for. It was interesting to see the little cerrito, how do you say cerrito in english? I mean, mountain seems a little to big, perhaps hill? Tepeyac hill? Oh well.

Otherwise it has been boring without you, no beer guzzling or any debauchery like I should, just moderate drinking and dangerously putting my stomach on the line, I buy street stuff. Just stuff like quesadillas, gorditas and other unhealthy fried and scrumptious delicacies of the mexican cuisine. Today I wondered to what must surely be the longest street market. I mean it just never ended. I even bought myself a beer that the vendor put in a plastic glass with salt and lemon, I just kept strolling gayly skipping people, listening to the music, the hollering and all that mexican urbane noise to the delight of my senses. I just can’t explain it really, I mean I was enjoying the stroll, my people, the smells, the crowd, I felt at home.

Later ese!

It seems as though Pochismo is hailing a revival unprecedented in the history of our young culture. Just as chicano was once a denigrating term and later spoused as a badge of honor so is pochismo doing that as well and with what a bang!

Curiously enough, pochismo is embracing that which many chicanos are leaving behind them or has not taken into account.

They embrace the mexican culture with glee and commercialize it in very creative ways that do not insult our traditions, in a way they enhance it and promote it. Frankly, it pleases me to see all of this taking place now. In fact, much of the internet entertaintment by way of Chicano culture, for my part anyways, is coming from those aspects of our culture that is/has been ostracized, the pocho culture.

Let’s see, were do I stand in this continuum of our very undefined culture?

As I recall I too fell prey to this moniker but quickly shrugged it off, I must’ve been 9 or so just when I returned from my childhood stay of two years in CA, my friends that I had left behind in Tijuana saw the change, and quickly began the dismantling and I off course abided by it quite naturally. In fact, I turned myself against this form of change, I also called people pochos and pochas although I fear that the degree of despectiveness has something to do with how much acculturation one has intrinsically. That is, it depends how mexican you are or how much you feel offended by the turncoat itself. (in essence the offense lies in the denial of cultural traits by the pocho which the mexican assumes the pocho has even though the pocho denies that and of course which causes a serious offence in the more mexicanized fellow or so thereby)

Where was I?

Oh yeah, the revival of mexican attributes by pochos has taken a different turn though, its seems to me that pochos are bringing in home, curiously enough, since pochos are somewhat banned from the community, the more mestizo aspects of the mexican culture. This is indeed something worthy of observence since Chicanos are more of an indigenous oriented type, the symbol of the Chicano has more to do with the aztec, maya, toltec and so on while the pocho is incorporating the more mestizo aspects of the mexican culture into his identity. That is why you see more things of that nature in pocho semiotics like mexican hero wrestlers, loterísymbols and tipical mexican games, and things that are widely shared by the mestizo population of Mexico.

Even Richard Rodriguez has jumped on the bandwagon too, his latest book, Brown, is in essence an act of conciliation, read it and tell me that his take on the mexican aspects of his book are not about that, indeed, RR has come into the fold, whatever that is, but is adding something, at last, a partial recognition of his identity to the rich and varied culture that is composed of the USA and Mexico.

I wouldn’t be surprised that our culture, which is and should be about the blending of our two cultures, the Mexican and the gabacha, chrysalises out of Pochismo! Who would of thought that they be the torch carriers of our culture ….

Pocho sites: