I subscribe to google alerts. I receive news of la raza whenever the words Chicano, Chicana, Xicano and Xicana blip on the radar of the internet galaxy. So far they have been all American newspapers. That’s one, second, a few have come the way of spanish newspapers since the word chicana i sthe same word for chicane. Kind of reminds one of la Malinche, pocho and hell, those negative connotations haunts us like la Llorona does, it is there wherever three or more mexicans find themselves gathered.
However, the recent newsalerts of lately just crack me up. The 5 de Mayo celebrations that the raza is associated with are viewed from the anglo angle in a rather odd way with caution and warnings as guides of the ever expanding fiesta. This year the headlines bear puritan thinking such as Save Cinco de Mayo from tripping into the gutter, an article that curiously enough warns that we not allow 5 de Mayhem go the way of Saint Patrick’s day.
Others just don’t seem to grasp these Other American citizens and their strange customs: Hundreds celebrated Hispanic heritage during this year’s Cinco De Mayo parade. Hispanic heritage? I suspect that reporter was hungover when he wrote that, and in Bakersfield CA of all places!
Yet what inevitably remains and this has been so since my days in Aztlán and just as almost a part of the narrative that flows around these days, is the explanation of just what 5 de Mayo is. Is it mexican independence day? Is it Budweiser day? Is it Chicano day?
There is this need to explain ourselves to the rest of America, as if the dialogue that occurs across the tabloids, the newspapers, the overall media, was one were there is a need to explain to a higher authority just what the heck is this strange noise being made. There is a need and a demand to explain ourselves to the rest of America not for understanding but to alienate.
We can never be part of it or be accepted as part of America as if what we celebrate lacked an ever essential americanness to it and is therefore alien to the very fabric of the US.
Heck, why can’t we just have a celebration without having the need to explain it away to smithreens? Why can’t there be a day to just be Chicano. Celebrate our americanness in as much as we celebrate el cuatro de julio? You don’t see newspapers articles everywhere asking why is it that chicanos have carne asada and mariachi during the course of that day. Really, more than anything else, more than trying to pervert the holiday with beers let it not turn it into an alien holiday.
It’s a Chicano, Chicana holiday period.