Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Article in The Funny Paper today how Latino youth in high schools are finding great purpose in the Hispanic advocacy group MEChA, and are supposedly opening up the club to non-Hispanic students.

This is their second prominent article in as many months touting the remaking of this racist, separatist Hispanic organization into a student school based club at high schools and universities. I wrote my January column in BrainstormNW Magazine about it.

The Funny Paper seems to want to convince us that MEChA has changed its ways, that it is no longer just a group for radical Hispanic youth, but that now anybody can join.

The articles is headlined: “At MEChA, everyone can be Chicano.”

The sub-headline reads: “Group - Once criticized as racist, the student club now welcomes all, saying Chicano is a philosophy, not a race.”

The reporter, showing typical Funny Paper skepticism, apparently just took their word for it, and didn’t dig into what they mean by “Chicanismo” being a philosophy. If he had, he would have found on the group’s national web site an “explanation” of exactly what they mean:

"Chicanismo is a concept that integrates self-awareness with cultural identity, a necessary step in developing political consciousness. Therefore the term Chicano is grounded in a philosophy, not a nationality. Chicanismo does not exclude anyone, rather it includes those who acknowledge and work toward the betterment of La Raza."

So, anyone can be a "Chicano," as long as you work for the betterment of the chosen race? (La Raza.) Not a very convincing statement of inclusion and tolerance. And then they lurch right back to their trademark separatism:

"Chicanismo involves a personal decision to reject assimilation and work towards the preservation of our cultural heritage."

Sorry, I am unconvinced that the rapid spread of MEChA clubs in our high schools is such a great thing. Why does The Funny Paper want to lie to us about what this club is really about?

No comments: