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Chicano, A Community That Has Overcome

1178 words - 5 pages

The Chicano community has endured and overcome many struggles since the conquest by conquistador in 1491 and eviction from Atzlan. Race was used by the white community as tool to structure inequality for the Chicano community by classifying the Chicano community as white but treat them as a minority community. Chicano activist during the Mexican American generation found community self-determination by becoming actively involved in their community and taking hold of their own destiny. The Mexican American activists created a new way of seeing themselves by taking the term Chicano and making the term a symbol for who they truly are and who they want to become. The new ethos of the new identity of a Chicano is community self-determination; it is a community that is in total control of its own destiny.
The Chicano community has been racially profiled according to their race and skin color, but they were legally seen as white because of their surname. Spanish surnames such as Garcia are what create the misconception that Chicanos are Spanish. Surnames such as this became incorporated into the Chicano society when the Spanish colonized the New World. Once there the Spaniards gave the locals an option to assimilate or be forced into the lower class and work as the slaves of the Spaniards (Gonzalez). In Racism on Trial Ian Lopez tells he reader how the jury and the judges “did not recognize Mexicans as a racial groups” (Lopez 43).By classifying the Chicanos as Spaniards the judges in a way denied Chicanos of their constitutional rights provided by the fourteenth amendment. This allowed the other communities to continue the racial profiling of the Chicano community. This racial profiling was especially devastating to the youth through the school system where Chicanos were thrown aside by the board and the teachers. The Chicano would be racially profiled and dehumanized and when Chicano Activist would approach the court system about this matter the judge and how the Chicano community is not protected by the 14th amendment the judges would claim that they are Spaniards and are protected and that there is no such thing as a Chicano race. Instances such as this sparked the Chicano community to begin to take matters into their own hands and shape their own destiny.
By becoming actively involved in the community and in politics, Chicano activist began to achieve community self-determination. By starting to speak up and act for the Chicano community, Chicano activist broke free of the chains which have tied them down since the white man came to their homelands and drove them from out of Atzlan. A great example of Chicanos involving themselves in their community came from the walkouts staged by the Chicano youth in East L.A. In Ian Lopez’s Racism on Trial, Lopez states, “the student strikes symbolized the awakening of Mexican youth to a political consciousness of themselves and of their ability to fight for equal treatment.” (Lopez 23). By organizing the...

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