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Thursday, April 15, 2004
I like this collage. I borrowed this image from the site that is being used to promote this Americo Paredes Distinguished Lecture that CMAS center is sponsoring on "Performative and Visual Art in the Construction of Social Identites." Hits right on the button on what Frank and I are trying to do. I am excited to be going and to learn more about the arts and expressing social indentity. I will save any information I can get for the students in Fronteras Cruzadas as well.
But one thing quirks me about this image is that it cuts off any visual representation of the Valley. Perhaps I am taking it personal, but don't you think a image being used to promote an Americo Paredes Distinguished Lecture should pay some recognition to his origin. In a way, I want to say that it goes to show how dislocated the Valley is from the Chicano movement and culture. I almost want to say the Valley isn't persay a Chicano culture. I am pointing to Chicano culture..because it is the mainstream movement that most people reference when it comes to Mexican-American identity.
I am not making conclusions, but sometimes I feel that the Mexican-American culture is too freely associated with California, barrio issues, catholicism, the Chicano movement and physical borders. These are some fundamentals of Chicano culture that I just cannot totally relate to. I was raised in a sheltered Southern Baptist home for one, totally oblivous to catholicism until my high schools years. I lived in Brownsville for my whole upbringing, where the Mexican population is abouy 96%, so tensions of ethnic and cultural assimilation were never a big issue growing up. It wasn't until I came to college that I was told I was a minority. I grew up not too far from a swirling, muddy river, that churned and meshed my American heritage with my Mexican heritage as a first generation Mexican-American, not seperated it. And even if demographically I am an minority, I don't feel it, not even today. While in Austin, I have been harrassed for being a Mexican-American woman and threatened, but even then, inside of me I do not feel like an ethnic minority. I am a Mexican-American woman and many things beside that, so why is it all of a sudden that I have to relate myself to a title like "Chicano", a title so freely associated to things I am not? Funny how one image can stir so many emotions huh? Maybe this is my issue and no one else's, but I do have to say one thing: There is more to being Mexican-American than being Chicano. I would love to say that the Chicano movement is a sub-culture of Mexican-American culture, as is the Rio Grande Valley. But who knows, this statement may be too premature and naive to say. Still have more things to do, learn and see.
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