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Carmen Fought has done a remarkable job by giving us a structured form of ChE. I haven’t read Chicano English in Context through and through though but I have stopped in certain passages where my eyes have noticed the value in the observations or the examples. One such example that has drawn my attention is on page 104 within the title of the paragraph Part II: Semantic/lexical features of Chicano English and under the subtitle General lexical items. In example 6 we have American, meaning ‘European-American or white’. So up tp this day we still regard ourselves as not American.

I have argued throughout this blog how deeply important it is that we feel American. I have argued for an americanness of our own.

We have for far too long relegated America to the gringo, the blue-eyed even when we ourselves and our kin may have blue-eyes. It’s enough. We are Americans, regardless of nations and regardless of political divisions. It’s time to reclaim what’s ours. As Don Juan Preston in Jovita Gonzale’s Dew on the Thorn we must reclaim our heritage, our position in society.

We Xicanos need to put an end to the centennial bickering Mexicans and Americans have had since inception days. We the children can no longer take sides we are Mexican and we are American no matter what ye old blood feud says. Let Mexicans fear the Gringo; we Xicanos cannot do that. Let Gringos fear the Mexican; we Xicanos cannot do that.

We need to tire of taking sides to move forward, backwards for to remain ackward is no longer an option.

It be only befitting I should finish the year by writing my last post in the vernacular. Am in a Xicano mood. So I spiffed up the good old haunt Yonder Lies It. Mind you, it is the only blog that has consistently kept its name since its inception. Lest you’ve forgotten I maintain several other blogs. Well, the short lived xicano blogsphere vanished or I just ain’t aware of its whereabouts. I don’t wanna go down that path. I believe I already kissed the old porslin queen as much as Richard Rodriguez puked red and green in an Argument with my Mexican father. There is very little to add up for the year 2007 in English or xicanismo at that.

Though I still find myself at odds with a language that for so long tortured me by means of questioning my English fluency and nativeness to only come to Sweden and realize how deeply ingrained English is in me only to default to Spanish as my primary source of communication all unconsciously off course. Suddenly, Spanish became the language to be had and English ceased to be a source of joy. Before blogger I ate, thought and wrote in English. There was no room for Spanish.

I have no ready answer for this. I have put forth the question several times before and the answer eludes me. English, after so many years of struggling to make it mine and suddenly realizing it is mine become a lost cause only to be taken for granted and never straddle more the fear of abandonment. It is a small victory of sorts for me. Yet I now long and miss the old chap so much that I can not quench my thirst to hear good old English again.

The idea that am an English native speaker tends to work in many weird ways in Sweden. They see a brown, black haired person that speaks fluent English and they stand baffled before me. They don’t expect a person like me. A so called non-American being so American. Many fail to understand the multicultural aspects of our society even though many strive and look towards the US as a model for this very multi-kulti, as is it called in Sweden, society.

The fact that I lack American citizenship, political at that, does create confusion in the best of them. Specially to the ones that fear Americans. They can then be free to speak their mind without having to offend the very entity they fear most: the gringo American. I stand before them defending a culture that denies me yet a culture I form part of. Am baffled at it in as much or moreso then they do themselves.

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I suppose that the best of 2007 was that I leave it as a teacher. Here in Sweden people tend to wear their titles as a pride badge of sorts. They actually play the part. It is not in my nature to do so because the Swede tends to become a sorts of authority on the matter which it is not to be questioned at all. I am of a different nature. I cannot be that authority yet. It must be my americanness that delimits my ego or vanity from acquiring said attitude. It is deeply engrained in me that I can always do more and better before I can even contemplate the idea that I am a teacher. An apprentice of the craft am I for sure.

I have learned a lot yet I feel I have loads more to learn. I am not done learning yet despite the fact that it is advised I stop from learning at my age. I am supposed to let go. Can I let go?

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There is, however, a small bit of comfort that I am a teacher because I am an authority on something, in this case, the English and Spanish language. Moreso because I am a native speaker of said languages.

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Alright, alright already ese!

So I’ve been recycling news yet there are less folk out there concentrating on the mexican elections than there are concentrating on it. Erhm, did that make sense?

Either way, these elections matter. Lots. Beyond lots. Way beyond. (ok Julio, we get your drift.) I got the gut feeling that mexicans, some of us either way, are causing some kind of like dent somewhere and policy is being formed to mend the dent. Riddles. What am saying is that even though mexicans abroad seem not to be interested in mexican politicians my hunch tells me this is not entirely true. Those in the business of interpreting these kind of things tend to like huge numbers in order to make predictions and tend, as well, to be off the Southwest area making residency instead in seats of power. The Southwest has a life of its own that many suits fail to see.

I have argued that most mexicans who vote in the elections rather take the highway and use the oportunity to visit the motherland instead of going the IFE way. However, there are quite a proportionate number of mexicans who fear deportation the moment they come near a mexican embassy though most mexicans would not have an idea of the kind of services and embassy and its consulates offer the mexican citizen because said places are mostly seen as an establishment of the upper classes. This is very much ingrained in us. I remember how I felt the very first time I sat a foot on the premises of a mexican consulate. One has to understand that the mexican government is at times little interested on its subjects and when they show interest one does well in being cautious. Those who do know tend to be already familiar with the shenanigans of said institutions. These are the people that go and vote in places like Tijuana as they did back in 2000. They are known as emigrados. Amongst other things. Be that as it may, the politization of the mexican masses, illegal, legal, mexican-americans and other identity contraptions of our Gente is in full swing in the good’ol USA.

My question here pertains the Xicano community since the political leverage must balance somewhere and will either alienate or coalesce. The Tomás Rivera Center gave out a lofty little phamplet outlining some of its ideas in 1994 titled Latinos, Global Change, and American Foreign policy. In summary, it predicted that we were to start flexing muscle in our country of origins but since the Bush gang took over the White House they stopped listening to anyone outside their circle of realities. Nonetheless Xicanos who tend to be in positions of power understand the importance of México. Though we haven’t seen much evidence for the aforementioned for obvious reasons. The fear machinery that is intrinsic to American politics has the Latino community in a weird state of mind since most latinos have adherence to their homeland and this is not seen particularly well by the powers to be and is a strategic tool to keep that population at bay lest they begin flexing muscle as seen on May 1st. This in turn keeps many latino leaders off the ramp light as was evidenced by the L.A. Mayor who decided to take of to Texas on the most important day in American politics in many years.

I think that his fear mongering will soon stop having its effect on Latinos. The more they assert their americanness and start painting their own America instead of having others paint it for them. The sooner the better.

If Manuel López Obrador wins I think this idea will accelarate since many suspect that many mexicanamericans will lean towards the PRD. This in turn will fuel a more direct engagement with mexicanamericans and start building the necessary bridges to create a stronger Xicano community both economically and politically as well. Fox realized this only too late as evidenced by his flurry of trips to the USA where he met representatives of the mexicanamerican community. I believe gringo mentality will have a hard time swallowing this idea of a more present México in their midst. We have been in their midst for a long time. We have adapted. Its their turn to do the same in kind.

Related: What a wall can’t stop

I can’t help notice the noise that the right wingnuts make regards Aztlán and Chicanos and the whole culture clash enchilada. Specially English.

I still have a few problems with English. I grew up never feeling that English was part of me. It was a terrible atmosphere. Every vowel, every consonant got the third degree. You can imagine how that makes a brown kid feel surrounded by adults telling you that you don’t speak English when all along that is all you ever do.

The pocho phenomenon is a reaction to this constant language tit for tat in California. Pochos just realize what we dummier chicanos refuse by resisting full assimalitation: they integrate and merge in the culture forgetting and asserting their americanness at the cost of Spanish and our culture. At least they skip the language pains that are detrimental for later self-steem.

Up to this day I still don’t feel American enough. Though I am. It is easy to put in words and write down, yes, am American, pocho, chicano, watcha gonna do about it? Another to live it.

For many of us, English has always been a language of repression. The language that white americans use to put us down because our language alas! merge with our Spanish and churns out new sounds that are alien to ‘real’ English speakers.

That is why many Xicanos seek themselves to academia, to heal themselves, to prove the very thing they have always suspected, that they are American, that there is nothing wrong them.

I don’t know why gringos always feel we are never American and just wish they stopped there but they don’t. They have to have proof that we are Americans. Gringo Americans will always deny our existence. They are not ready to admit that our history is tied to the land and that even though part of our history doesn’t appear in English it sure does appear in Spanish. Why are they ready to deny us our existence as a people baffles me. It is almost as if they believe so much in their destiny, their place in history, that there is no room for nothing more tham white America in the good ol’ US.

aztlan

Photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

I have always argued that mexicans in the USA, specially the Southwest, shouldn’t feel ashamed of their ethnic background. They should assert their americanness no matter what. They should assert that spanish has a history in the Southwest. That we are an essencial component of California.

For far too long have we felt the force of the blue eyes upon our dark skin.

Don’t let anyone question your americanness because of the color of your skin, because of the accent you speak.

Damn, I just had my time confiscated by gringos. I was reading over at the Agonist chunky bits of wisdom that, alas! goes unheeded by most and, as Dr. House points out, the White House ain’t so cause of the facade. (forget what episode). Either way, just grab a wad of these as we are about to masticate some grungy ideas here:

Most crime is created by the government by choosing to outlaw something.

People like forcing other people to obey their morals.

Then there is what sociologists call labeling. Simply put, if you’re white, you won’t be stopped for driving while black.

This is particular pertinent to us Xicanos and Xicanas as we are indeed on collusion course with gringo mentality. Xicano values differ radically different and we like to put spagguetti onto sanwiches so our normal radar functions in odd ways over at Smiths.

This tends to cause friction and alienates us from mainstream America. Mainstream as white protestant value added society. The very way we think causes a furor. The mentality is that while all are created equal the guardians of procuring said right will act not as an enforcer but as giver, as if equality is to be dished out in rightful portions. This is the current mentality.

We Xicanos need to start focusing on strategies that help us be, allow us to be the way we are, assert our americanness into mainstream america. This needs to be repeated over and over until the normalized curve peaks and we are accepted as one with America not as a part of America but a whole of America. And don’tcha let no one tell you otherwise.

Reading this article am inspired to write the following

I have stated numerous times that the idea of returning the Southwest to México (a preposterous idea if there ever was one) would be detrimental to our culture, the pachuc@, chol@, lowrider, poch@, malinche, chican@, xican@ culture. The moment that the Southwest lands in the hands of México we cease to be all that has happened between now and 1846.

What makes us us is the very conflict that breeds between the two cultures.

However, I must admit that the polarization of the Aztlán homeland is taking place as we speak. Aztlán has reached a critical moment in US history, Aztlán is finally a discourse in American politics and a tool to defeat opponents in democratic held elections, people are taking a stand on Aztlán. The myth of Aztlán is competing with the myth of the American Dream head on.

Though we at the offices of Yonder Lies It insist that the fundamental question that needs an urgent addressing is our stance as americans, that what we as the Xican@ culture of this century must assert is our americanness. Which is far more important than discussing the corner alley impossibility of returning the Southwest to México because the Southwest is not comprissed of one ethnic group anymore and we must respect that, show them that we are different from them.

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Reasons to turn the tables around in the national discourse for the soul of the Southwest and our denied americanness:

We have assimilated no matter what Huntington says or others attest. Our imagination includes Bejamin Franklin, Abe Lincoln and Ralph Emerson to name just a few of the voices that run in our conscience and we speak inglés. Nor have we only assimilated the gringo lifestyle, we have taken it as our own, that it differs from the more WASP vision and its racist legacy is another matter; in fact, we have stretched out a hand numerous times to those Other Americans yet they continuously refuse to shake our hand. They belittle our culture and refuse to acknowledge us as a people. When will they assimilate to us? When will they speak spanish?

We are a culture that the rest of America doesn’t know or isn’t aware that we have a huge lot in common. This needs to change and be transmitted to the rest of America: we have always existed and it is time they stop denying our existence. If Washington fails to stop this the spiral towards confrontation and ethnic cleansing is at hand. Do we really want a repeat of that in our history books?

Aztlán is no threat to the fabric of the US, what is a threat is the very denial of Aztlán and regard it as a foreign influence when it happens to be an american idea in par with the American Dream just like apple pie is.

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.

The sad truth is that I might be the only one advocating Aztlán in Tijuana, but like in the movie, if you call them they will come. You think there is resistance to America still in Aztlán? truth be told I haven’t the slightest idea. I suppose that with every generation of Xicanos, Chicanos, (jainas included there too ese!) there is a new rallying cry for something, mine happens to have Tijuana see itself in the mirror a little more deeper. I just come from a cultural war of sorts on the Tijuana blogsphere front and oh boy did I take a beating, on the other hand I got them to think somewhat about their role in society and the labels they attach themselves. I hate the word “fronterizo” which many had started using to call themselves in Tijuana (many Julio? They were only four!) and I inadvertadly unleashed the mother of all blogsphere posts after posts diatribe against me, but I took the volley of rethoric and insults fairly well if I might say so myself. I more or less came out unscathed and left the matter at a stalemate, or, impasse as I said, man, I tell you, it was just little ol’ me there fending off some 7 blogs all against me, snif. There is so much resistance to America that it borders on the xenophobic, specially to us who have the guts to call themselves Xicano, and in Tijuana, the frontline of cultural wars, alas! civil strife is what it is but it only because the gringo there plays no role whatsoever. I supoose that it is here where Xicanismo fed itself, you know, the resistance from our abuelos, our parents to American dominion, in my youth days (when the Bionic man was popular and Wonder Woman made me tingle all over, yeah, that old ese!) when the rallying cry was “assimilation is assasination”. So it is with my fellow citizens in Tijuana. They adamantly refuse to see that they are assimilated into the Xicano culture in more than one way. We. i.e, Xicanos, stopped long ago, I believe, denying our americanness, mostly due to the english language and because many mexican americans got fed up and stood up against these derogatory rumors about being this less or that more, lacking that or being this from those filthy tongues coming from México ideology about the Other.

So yeah, that.