Mexican-American women formed a movement that aimed to address some of the problems that affected them. The organization was later referred to as the Chicano movement. This essay traces the historical development and importance of the Chicano movement that aided Mexicans to fight for their basic rights.
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In order to build the thesis of the paper, the views of Lucero-Trujillo in the poem entitled Machismo is Part of Our Culture has been analyzed in terms of its historical context. The poetic piece has also been related to the broader debates and questions about mobility, mobilization, and/or identity during the Chicano Movement.
To begin with, it is prudent to mention that Mexican women fought for their rights through a number of platforms. For instance, writings from reputable scholars and poets played a critical role in sensitizing and inspiring the oppressed Mexicans. A case in point was the poetic writing of Lucero-Trujillo. The author mobilized Mexicans to support the Chicano movement. From the poem, it is quite clear that the poet is condemning inter-racial marriages between Mexicans and Americans (Lucero-Trujillo par. 1).
The Mexicans are persuaded not to get married to the Anglo-Saxons. The writer criticizes those engaging in any form of relationship with the whites while they claim to support the Mexican culture (Lewis 81). The poet also urges Mexicans always to remember that their culture is machismo. Moreover, Mexicans should never attempt to behave as if they are unfamiliar with the tenets of their culture.
In terms of the historical context or significance of the poem, it is pertinent to underscore the fact that it was written at a time when Mexicans were under social strife due to oppression from Americans. Therefore, it was unimaginable for any Mexican to forge a close, intimate, or even a working relationship with the Americans. As a matter of fact, how could Mexicans fight for their rights while simultaneously married to the Americans?
It was a sad state of affairs for the Mexicans to undergo deep suffering in spite of being indigenous people in their own nation. At the same time, Mexicans were one of the largest ethnic groups in the country. In several cases, poverty, racism, and sexism were some of the issues that faced the aboriginal women, including Chicanos. Needles to say, an oppressed society might be easily compelled to seek justice using any available channel. In this regard, the formation of a robust social movement was the best option for the Mexicans.
Perhaps, there were two distinct concerns for the Mexican people during the oppression years. These included fair political representation and equitable social welfare. From an objective point of view, it can be recalled that the Mexicans were equally educated in this society. This can be affirmed by a number of high-level sarcastic writings by Mexican authors (Lucero-Trujillo par. 4). Due to continued oppression, Mexican women demanded social, cultural, and political identity. The best way to achieve the latter was to support the Chicano movement.
The movement was also a major force to reckon with in terms of the preservation of the Mexican culture. It was apparent that most Mexicans were not ready to abandon their indigenous cultural practices for American social ideals. Culture is conventionally a major cause of concern in society. In any case, most rebellions and pressures groups witnessed during the colonial era were mainly occasioned by cultural interference from the colonial masters.
Historical records indicate that the Chicano movement was against the traditional household role assigned to women. It challenged the stereotypes that were based on gender, class, ethnicity, and sexuality. In other words, it was simply a continuation of the Mexican American civil rights movement that had been established during the 1940s. The first organization to advocate for the rights of the Mexican women was the United Farm Workers. It was formed in 1962. Its main goal was to improve the status of workers in the agribusiness industry.
In an article by Lorena Oropeza on Chicano protest and patriotism during the Vietnam War, it is evident that Mexicans had to adopt certain strategies in order to be better and loyal citizens (Oropeza 61). Several Mexicans were concerned with the issue of unity against a common enemy, as suggested by political leaders, although their culture was hardly respected. In fact, some of them were ready to die while defending their culture instead of joining other ethnic groups that were fighting in Vietnam. Hence, the preservation of the traditional culture was fundamental for Mexicans. A number of Mexican women also belonged to the feminist groups that were mainly controlled by white women. However, they pulled out due to negative ethnic and racial ideals (Alvarez 90).
Conferences are also a powerful tool to push for social concerns. In 1969, the Chicano Youth Liberation Conference was held. It attracted the attention of nearly 2,000 participants. The Crusade for Justice was one of the sponsors of the conference. The meeting provided a platform that paved the way for the discussion of the issues faced by Mexicans. The formation of the La Raza Unida Party also came at the right time. Political parties are more formidable than bare social movements when it comes to the articulation of human rights.
Finally, it is vital to emphasize that Lucero-Trujillo’s thinking must have been influenced by the sporadic state of social and political inequity among Mexicans in society. The poem was specifically meant to create awareness among Mexicans on the need to preserve their culture as one way of regaining their social status in society. Nonetheless, it is almost inevitable that other divergent opinions might have existed during the same historical period owing to the freedom of expression.
Alvarez, Luis. The Power of the Zoot: Youth Culture and Resistance during World War II. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008. Print.
Lewis, Linden. The Culture of Gender and Sexuality in the Caribbean. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003. Print.
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Lucero-Trujillo, Marcela Christine. Machismo Is Part of Our Culture. 2012. Web.
Oropeza, Lorena. RazaSi, Guerra No: Chicano Protest and Patriotism during the Vietnam War Era. California: University of California Press, 2005. Print.