ChicanaDiasporic: A Nomadic Journey of the Activist Exiled

The Southwest in the Midwest

The additional issue that challenged the introduction of a national Chicano movement was the definitive issue of identity for Mexicans outside of the Southwest. The issue of land reclamation and the re-establishment of a spiritual connection to indigenous roots wasn't really an issue for the Midwest Mexican. In places like Chicago Illinois, Detroit Michigan, Milwaukee Wisconsin and Kansas City Missouri, Mexicans were part of an immigrant community equal to all the other immigrant communities of those urban areas. Communities segregated but supported by the power base in the exercise of nationalism.
These were communities of hybridized and assimilated Mexicans claiming a nation pride and cultural identity that proudly sang both the Star Spangled Banner at sporting events and the Himno Nacional Mexicano (the Mexican National Anthem) every 16th of September to celebrate Mexican Independence. The general sentiment was that Chicano movement identity politics was understood to be necessary for the Southwest, but not for the Midwest. The politicization of the Midwest would benefit from the Chicano movement’s political awareness and encouragement to work in voter drives, and get involved in political campaigns, but third party politics had no measurable benefit. The additional challenge of third party politics in the Midwest was the volume of effort and expense to produce a third party structure would not be possible in the non-dominant populations of Mexicans in the urban Midwest. The Midwest required political education and awareness before any organizing action could occur.

In making young Chicanos aware of their mestizo history and cultivating cultural pride and self-determination, the Plan de Aztlán did much to coalesce the movement for a time, into a significant political entity. Had the Plan de Aztlán been framed and understood as a “spiritual” plan in support of an actual agenda of national policy that included political action, economic independence and educational programs, and not the protocol to reclaim lands lost as the pure and chosen race of these poems, the issues that ultimately reduced the movement to a historical footprint may not have occurred so quickly. The plan drowns in the protocol of "who" is Chicano and "what" are things Chicano--in a race for purity lost through its numerous exclusions and infinite prohibitions.


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