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Sunday, June 12, 2016

EARLY AZTLANISTA ACTIVISM – FOUNDATION OF PRESENT TURMOIL: Petty grievances, real wrongs, educational failure and always on the prod

Opinion by Allan McNew

I dug out “Making of a Chicano Militant” by Jose Angel Gutierrez yesterday and superficially reacquainted myself with it. A long time ago, I read through it a couple of times, but spent much more time subsequently in the back half of it where Gutierrez describes his governmental conquests. Some of the front part seems to be playing drama queen victim concerning invented grievances, other parts of the narrative I can buy as genuine 1950's white discrimination.

Something that struck me was Gutierrez' frequent compulsion in the book to elaborate on how many white women he says he's had sex with, which, true or not, maybe he feels he's poking his finger in the Anglo eye, or maybe he's among the male set who've spent much more erotic time in the shower with only a bar of soap for company than with women anywhere and makes up for personal inadequacy with public blather.

As an example of petty invention of grievance: Gutierrez talks about keg parties for which he and his “Chicano” buddies pooled their money for hamburger patties, wieners and chicken, even barbecuing bologna and salami. A chapter or so later he flips his tune and whines about “Anglo” school cafeteria food, which included white bread, pork and beans, sauerkraut with wieners along with some nasty versions of “Spanish rice” and frito pie. None of it was “Chicano food” and somehow comprised a willfully malicious ethnic insult. If anyone is so unhappy with the cafeteria option, why not take responsibility for oneself and just pack a lunch from home?

On the other hand, there were things like the community swimming pool in Crystal, Texas being reserved for whites only until the day before the dirty water was to be drained and replaced with clean water, which was “Mexican” day. In Banning, California there was one such pool with the same racial conditions formerly located directly under where the new court house is now. However, that pool was gone by 1957, and the new pool, which was constructed in the next town over in Beaumont about 1960, didn't have those practices. There were discriminatory things which did go on back then, but that was 60 and more years ago, and most who experienced those first hand are either dead or soon to die.

Gutierrez discussed education, saying that his parents pushed him to learn English and become educated, then declared that the vast majority of “Chicanos” failed educationally because their parents didn't see the need for their children to be educated. Gutierrez then flips the problem on its head by describing those kids as “push-outs” rather than dropouts, and it was all because of an oppressive white educational system rather than parental indifference according to his narrative.

Here is a description of the 1968 LAUSD Chicano walkout and present circumstances (Gutierrez had no part in the LA walkout, his participation in organizing school walkouts was in Texas):

“We stood up, and it mattered."

By Luis Torres

The Chicano walk out of 1968 was about dignity and fundamental change that we're still striving for...

We also wanted to protest the conditions that led to a drop out rate hovering around 45%. Barely half of us were making it out of high school. Something was desperately wrong and we wanted to do something about it...

I gained a pride in my heritage that made me more comfortable with who I was -- a young man whose parents were from Mexico. I overcame the shame that I used to feel as a kid when my mother "spoke funny" in public. ..

In those times, I remember reading that "the best way to get the Man off your back is to stand up." We stood up on that day...

Forty years ago, the Los Angeles school board was the Man. Today it is an ally with the community in the effort to improve education...

The drop out rate at my alma mater, Lincoln High School, and the other Eastside high schools is still about 45%...”

Another:

Hispanic activist speaks to students . . .

Things have changed since Bobby Verdugo walked out of school to protest discrimination.

"The mayor of LA is Latino, and we have a Hispanic Supreme Court justice," he said. . "These are things we couldn't fathom 40 years ago."

But in a talk to Moreno Valley High School students Tuesday, the 59-year-old Verdugo said some things stay the same.

He said that the dropout rate at his alma mater, Lincoln High School in Los Angeles, is about the same as 40 years ago.”

The LAUSD school board was all white male then, the walk out was intended to change the racial composition of the school board, which it did. A few years ago, about the same time as the above accounts, it was a majority Latina entity with four brown women, one black woman and two white males. It now has 4 white males, one black male and two Latinas - and it's probably a hard core hammer and sickle outfit which buys into all the "teacher land" nonsense about racial disadvantage while no one considers that parental indifference rather than white malice might be involved with student failure.

Something both informative about Gutierrez then and ironic now – Gutierrez worked in downtown Los Angeles for the LA Times and other companies for at least part of 1963, he said Los Angeles was too white for him (which most of it was white indeed during the 1960's). I worked for a while in the Garment district part of downtown LA a few years ago, it was anything but white.

Octavio Paz had an interesting take on pre-1960 Los Angeles in his book “The Labyrinth of Solitude”, in which he talks about old white women who chatter on like they're never going to die and describes the pachuco, which by extension includes American born descendants of Mexicans of the time, who doesn't want to be Mexican yet, even though he knows it's dangerous for him to do so, purposely antagonizes the majority culture.

[Octavio Paz – Mexican poet, philosopher, journalist, historian, writer, publisher, diplomat, etc… His father was with Zapata during the Mexican revolution and grandfather was in the hierarchy of the Porfiriato. The chapter titled “The sons of La Malinche” in “The Labyrinth of Solitude” is thought provoking]

I want to get into Gutierrez' co-option of governments and other important entities, it might take a few days.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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