I have always had trouble believing am a Xicano. No matter that the evidence points to the fact that I am just that.
This has become even more apparent for me here in Europe. the Nordic corner, isolated from Aztlán. Being away from the motherland has proven a sky that raineth a manna of ideas. I started out by declaring myself a prop. 187 exile. The first Xicano in exile driven away by Pete Wilson and his conservative tirade of this and that of the likes of me. Then I wrote. I wrote and I discovered the real Xicano in me through the written word. I did this both in Spanish and English.
This has proven quite productive because xicanismo is closely tied to language. I am fortunate to love language so in the process of peeling the core that I had in proper Aztlán, using language as a peeler, I discovered layers of myself that I figure I would not have otherwise managed to put in evidence to the naked eye of the I.
Through my language [read: English, Spanish, Spanglish, Espanglish, the southwest dialect] I learned who I really am. I found my roots. Being away from the American psycho identity dominatrix that usually sadomasochistic fellows like me tend to bed with gave airs of freedom unbeknownst. It was a breath of fresh air away from the stars and stripes which hangeth upon the xicano ens like a Democles sword.
We xicanos tend to prefer the gringo in us because it is just the gringo in us which makes us. And because some of us only understand that side, and use our mexican heritage like a mourning gown we never take of, we react defensively to anything that threatens this ‘identity’. Though this theory is hardly embraced because it means that Aztlán lieth not in one nation but precisely in the being of two de facto lands. So don’t expect people to nick away in approval at the latter exposed idea.
Little is known about the degree of gringoness in each and one of us. We discuss this not because doing so would mean too much differentiation rendering atoms a mere metaphorical image. So while we spouse in all glory all México we seldom do so our American side. Yuck say some. Too pocho, too gabacho. Yet it is this very aspect that we tend to let radiate most in us.
We don mexican heritage like a perennial día de los muertos affair, in all earnest, we live a past and live the gringo present. Although some xicanos drape themselves in their mexicanness like a fashion gown, alas! their appearance or self image, shallow like a dead river bed. This gringo alienates us from one another because as gringo nature is we feel different. The kind of different that says am better than you. An am and you world which builds canyons the like of the Grand one. It is a fact which cannot be denied. Tis easy to lay claim to Aztec culture and ignore the rest. Tis easy to lay ink to flesh temples of the Maya when Geronimo, so close yet so far away from Quetzalcoátl, remains in the sands of the Sonora Desert surrounded by the silence of time.
I, for example, have been excluded from my so-called brethren from both sides. My brethren xicano infected by Manifest Destiny from Los, desperately trying to integrate to US society after more than 150 years of ‘integration’ and by my xicano brethren infected by over 70 years of mexican nationalism who are yet to realize how xicanos they are because one tends to cease to be mexican once one ceases to be present in México or adopts strange customs. Never mind those customs have nothing to do with, say, Tijuana.
I feel the difference like a slight scent of garlic because am not fully Mexican and because am not fully American, that is, I lack the papers on the one side and I lack presence on the other. That is my most natural state. A state that perhaps ensued in me a quest for learning to command the whip which castigated me the most, language. So I learned to command what the land gave me as a birthright. And this difference became even more apparent. I went below the shallow.
I was born in Tijuana, raised in Southwestern traditions from the San Francisco Bay Area to San Diego County. Of recent I have reached a sort of compromise with myself. I say am a xicano tijuanense. Un xicano de este lado. That is, a Xicano which is not born in the US.
By adhering to this formula I allowed myself to become closer to my own surroundings. That is, I saw that which nurtured me whilst I breathed Geronimo’s sand through nostrils filled with muck from other lands. Santa Ana winds cleared the way and I now spouse the indigenous in me and do not let myself be fooled by common Chicano semiotics.
Off course it still irritates me to be xicano in the vicinity of my gringo cousins because though I speak english I am not a US citizen. Here in Sweden they a saying about Germans: there is a little Hitler in every German. I can say this about my gringo Xicano cousins: there is a little migra in every US born Xicano.