Social activism is very important to the Chicano Culture. This can be seen throughout the Mexican-American culture, starting with the Mexican Revolution. This is where the Mexicans started a search for a new leader to bring stability to their lives. Mexicans-Americans felt like they had to choose sides. Were they Mexican or were they American? In our novel Pocho we can see this type of indecision go on throughout the book. When Juan decided to move his family to America, I don’t think any of them realized how difficult it would be to assimilate to a different culture.
It’s like losing part of someone’s self-identity. Consuelo eventually adapts to the new American culture and disassociates from the traditional housewife role. Social activism plays a part in this novel because each character has his/her own social problems that they must deal with from moving to America. In Richard’s case he will need to make friends as he grows up but also try to stay true to his own culture and identlity.
“The Evolution of the Mind” by Ysidro Ramon Macias the author says that one of the most pressing problem for a person of Mexican descent is identity, also known as the identity crisis.
If someone is born in America they are considered Americans, but if someone with darker skin is born in American he is immediately seen as a minority. This sets people from different cultures apart, because people may not see them for who they are but because they have darker skin which then sets the identity crisis in motion. Young people will start asking questions like “Who am I? Where do I belong? And Why do I look so different from other people my own age? ” These questions are hard for any one person to answer much less the person asking those questions.
Alberto Alvaro Rios gives a good case of social activism in “Then They’d Watch Comedies”. In this story Leocadio comes home after having a fight, when his mom says that he’s been fighting again he replies that yes he has been because they were calling him Leo again. At this point the reader can clearly see he doesn’t like the shortened name, but as the story goes on, the reader sees that the dad influences Leocadio to fight. “He was proud, and said so, and hit Leocadio on the side of the chin…” (135). Leocadio’s father clearly shows that he is proud of his son, but at what expense?
He beat someone up because they shortened his name but also made his dad proud. But in the end he destroyed a sense of self because Leocadio didn’t want to be fighting, “Fight? Who wants to? And for what? What now? That kid still didn’t call me Leocadio, Papa. I fought to get the same results you do, only I hurt more. I hurt a lot more. For nothing” (143). He fought for what he thought his father got just to find out that his father gets called Leo to and does nothing about it. “El Hoyo” by Mario Suarez is a story about overcoming diversity.
Even though the Chicanos/as were looked down on by American they still stuck together and helped each other. The residents of El Hoyo stick together, making a dish called capirotada. These residents know who they are and where they come from, and they don’t need anyone’s approval but their own. In the end they have a sense of their own identity. In conclusion, actively seeking to be part of a different culture, is seen through Chicano Literature. Chicanos want to be part of the American Culture but they also don’t want to forget where they come from and who they are as individuals. Which is an important part of any culture.