I only read to the half way point.  Even with all of the background, and the awesome speaker, who made me feel less anti-texan because of my opinion on the events at the Alamo, I still couldn’t get into the story.  So if my fabulous fellow class mates would be so kind as to share what they drew from the novel, the story, or the characters, I’d love to discuss it. 

 I did appreciate the imagery at the very beginning of the novel, where the women walks away “bearing” the child with her.  This play on words in remarkable in the sense that it highlights the many roles that the Mexican woman must play, mother, protector, loyal helpmeet, strong enough to stand alone and more.  I just find it amazing that regardless of what you read that is related to culture of Spanish, the role and idea of the identity of the woman is always in question and always comes into play. 

Published in: on Tuesday, 6 March 07 at 12:46  Leave a Comment  

Texas wasn’t the only territory that orginally belonged to Mexico:

U.S. Territorial Acquisitions.png

So does anyone know if there is something similar to to the Texan/Mexico culture relation, in places like New Mexico, Arizona, & California?

Published in: on Tuesday, 6 March 07 at 12:31  Comments (1)  


Juan was very interested in the description of the flags and thier meanings in class.  We’ve all been to the Alamo on one school trip or another, and know that there were six FLAGS that reigned over Texas.  (http://www.lsjunction.com/facts/6flags.htm) So if anyone can find out exactly what any of the flags actually mean as far as the colors, and symbols, that would make for interesting blog conversation. 

The Six National Flags of Texas

Six national flags have flown over Texas since the first European exploration of the region by Cortez in 1519. The six flags are:

Texas Under Spain. 1519-1685; 1690-1821.

Spain was the first European nation to claim what is now Texas, beginning in 1519 when Cortez was establishing Spanish presence in Mexico, and Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda mapped the Texas coastline. A few shipwrecked Spaniards, like Alvar Nunez, Cabeza de Vaca, and explorers such as Coronado, occasionally probed the vast wilderness, but more than 100 years passed before Spain planted its first settlement in Texas: Ysleta Mission in present El Paso, established in 1681. Gradually expanding from Mexico, other Spanish missions, forts and civil settlements followed for nearly a century-and-a-half until Mexico threw off European rule and became independent in 1821. The red and yellow striped Spanish flag after 1785 depicts a lion of Leon and a castle of Castile on a shield surmounted by a crown.

Texas Under France. 1685-1690

Planning to expand its base from French Louisiana, France took a bold step in 1685, planting its flag in eastern Texas near the Gulf Coast. Although claimed by Spain, most of Texas had no Spanish presence at all; the nearest Spanish settlements were hundreds of miles distant. French nobleman Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle, founded a colony called Fort St. Louis. But the effort was doomed by a series of calamities: shipwreck, disease, famine, hostile Indians, and internal strife resulting in La Salle’s murder by one of his own company. by 1690, France’s bold claim to Texas had evaporated. The French flag features a host of golden Fleurs-de-lis emblazoned on a field of white, which was actually the French royal ensign for ships and forts.

Texas Under Mexico. 1821-1836

For more than a decade after Mexico became independent, hardy pioneers from the Hispanic south and the Anglo north flowed into Texas. It was a frontier region for both; Anglo Texans became Mexican citizens. But divergent social and political attitudes began to alienate the two cultures. The final straw: Mexican General Santa Anna scrapped the Mexican federal constitution and declared himself dictator. Texans revolted and won their independence April 21, 1836, on the battleground of San Jacinto near Houston. Mexico’s intricate flag pictures an eagle, a snake (an image from pre-Columbian mythology) and cactus on bars of brilliant green, white and red.

Texas as a Republic. 1836-1845

During nearly ten years of independence, the Texas republic endured epidemics, financial crises and still-volatile clashes with Mexico. But it was during this period that unique accents of the Texas heritage germinated. Texas became the birthplace of the American cowboy; Texas Rangers were the first to use Sam Colt’s remarkable six-shooters; Sam Houston became an American ideal of rugged individualism. Texas joined the United States on December 29, 1845. The red, white and blue Texas state flag with its lone star (the same flag adopted by the republic in 1839) today flies virtually everywhere: on government buildings, schools, banks, shopping malls, and even on oil derricks.

Texas in the Confederacy. 1861-1865

Sixteen years after Texas joined the union, the American Civil War erupted. Gov. Sam Houston, urging Texans to stay aloof or re-establish a neutral republic, was driven from office. Texas cast its lot with the doomed southerners, reaping devastation and economic collapse as did all Confederate states. But two events fixed Texas and Texans as somehow different in the nation’s eyes. First, Texas troops on Texas soil won the final battle of the Civil War, not knowing the south had capitulated a month earlier. Second, returning Texans found a population explosion of wild Longhorns, sparking the great cattle-trail drives that became American legends. The first Confederate flag flown in Texas was the South’s national emblem, “The Stars and Bars” of the Confederate States of America, although the later-crossed Confederate battle flag is better known today.

Texas in the US. 1845-1861; 1865-Present

On joining the union, Texas became the 28th star on the U.S. flag. Shrugging aside defeat and bitter reconstruction after the Civil War, the offspring of Texas pioneers marshaled their strengths to secure a future based on determined self-reliance. First was the fabled Texas Longhorn, providing beef for a burgeoning nation. Newly turned topsoil on vast farm acreage yielded bountiful crops. The 20th Century dawned with the discovery of fabulous sources–gushers roaring in at a place called Spindletop near Beaumont. By mid-century, modern Texas industries were sprouting in a fertile climate of advanced technology. Today under the magnificent “Star Spangled Banner,” Texas horizons continue to expand, thrusting up to the limitless reaches of outer space.

Published in: on Tuesday, 6 March 07 at 12:24  Leave a Comment  

Are you Tejano, Texian, or Texan or …Chicano?

From Wikipedia:  (I just found this portion of the class discussion interesting, but we didn’t get to really get into an in-depth conversation about it)

A Tejano (Spanish for “Texan”; archaic spelling texano) is a person of Hispanic descent born and living in the U.S. state of Texas.

In 1821, at the end of the Mexican War of Independence, there were about 4,000 Tejanos living in Texas. In the 1820s, many Anglo settlers moved to Texas from the United States. By 1830, the 30,000 settlers in Texas outnumbered the Tejanos two to one. The Anglos and Tejanos alike rebelled against the centralized authority of Mexico City and the draconian measures implemented by the Santa Anna regime. Tensions between the central Mexican government and the settlers eventually led to the Texas Revolution.

Tejanos may variously consider themselves to be Hispanic, Chicano, Mexican American, Spanish, or Latino in ethnicity. In urban areas as well as some rural communities, Tejanos tend to be well integrated into both Hispanic and Anglo-American cultures.

It is necessary to draw this distinction because the people who came from Mexico starting just before, during, and after the Mexican Revolution through today are and were of a different ethnic heritage than the ones who colonized Texas during the Spanish Colonial Period, of a different history. While the majority, not all, of the people who have come from Mexico since the Mexican Revolution are and drew their identity from the mestizos (people of mixed Indian and Spaniard blood) or genizaros (Indians who lost their tribal identity and adopted Spanish names and the Spanish language, of which much of the modern day Mexican immigrant population in the U.S. consists) and had their history and identity in the history of Mexico, the majority, not all, of the people who colonized Texas in the Spanish Colonial Period were and drew their identity from the Spaniards and the criollos (full blooded Spaniards born in the New World), and had their history and identity in the history of Spain and of the United States as a consequence of the participation of Spain and its colonial provinces of Texas and Louisiana in the American Revolution. This difference caused the people of Texas, the colonial Tejanos or Tejano Texians, to identify more with the people of Louisiana, which was a Spanish colony, and of the U.S., rather than with the people of Mexico. For this reason as early as 1813 the colonial Tejanos established a government in Texas that looked forward to becoming part of the United States. As revealed by the writings of colonial Tejano Texians such as Antonio Menchaca, the Texas Revolution was first and foremost a colonial Tejano cause, the Anglo Americans simply joined the colonial Tejanos in that cause, having been invited and recruited to do so by the colonial Tejanos, the Tejano Texians.[1][2][3]

While a new Tejano is a Mexican American, Latino or Chicano generally of Indian or mixed Spanish and Indian heritage, a colonial Tejano, who can also be correctly identified as a Tejano Texian, is a descendant of those colonists who pioneered Texas as citizens of the Kingdom of Spain through the Spanish Colonial Period starting in the 1500s through the 1800s up to the Texas Revolution and who were generally of pure Spaniard blood, or hispanicized European heritage, including Frenchmen like Juan Seguin, Italian like Jose Cassiano, or Corsican like Antonio Navarro, generally of white Mediterranean race, although there was also a small number of people of mixed blood among them ranging from mulattos to mestizos[4][5][6][7] who were excluded by the Spanish law of “limpieza de sangre”, purity of blood, from participating in the colonization of Northern New Spain including Texas and the American Southwest.[8][9][10][11] For these reasons a colonial Tejano, or Tejano Texian, is more accurately classified as a “Spaniard Texan” or “Spaniard Texian” or “Spanish American” or as a “Texan of Spanish heritage”, as opposed to a “new Tejano” who is of Mexican heritage.

In direct relation to this distinction, genuinely Tejano music is related and sounds more like the folk music of Louisiana known as “Cajun” music blended with the sounds of Rock and Roll, R&B, Pop, and Country with some influences of Mariachi. The American Cowboy culture and music was born from the meeting of the Anglo-American Texians who were colonists from the American South and the original Tejano Texian pioneers and their “vaquero” or “cow man” culture.[12][13][14][15]

In the Spanish language, the term “tejano” is simply the term to identify an individual from Texas regardless of race or ethnic background. During the Spanish Colonial Period of Texas, before Texas was wrested from Spain and became a part of Mexico in 1821, the colonial settlers of Northern New Spain, including Texas and the American Southwest, understood themselves to be and called themselves Spaniards[16], as opposed to the people of Central and Southern Mexico who generally understood themselves to be and called themselves mestizos or Indians or Mexicans. This is also a crucially important reason why the term “Spaniard Texan” rather than “Mexican Texan” is more correctly applied to the Tejano Texians, and to their descendants.

The Texians were Anglo-American citizens of Texas when Texas was part of Mexico, and subsequently when it was a sovereign nation.

Residents of the modern U.S. state of Texas are known as Texans.

However, the people of Texas recognize many different immigrant groups that came to Texas over the centuries. There was Spanish immigration in the 1600s, French in the 1700s and massive German, Irish, Scottish and Welsh immigration leading up to Texas Independence in the 1800s. Thus, the word Texian is not specific to Anglo immigrants or English speaking immigrants that settled the land, yet Texian refers to anyone of any color and language not of local Tejano heritage.

Also of note; the Texian Army that was organized for the Tejano Rebellion for Tejas Independence from Mexico in 1835-36 was a very diverse group of men and women from many different nations and or states. The Texian Army was made up from the local native born Tejano volunteers, United States volunteers from states like Alabama, the Carolinas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia and nations like England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

“Chicano teenager in El Paso’s second ward. A classic barrio which is slowly giving way to urban renewal.” South El Paso, Texas, July 1972. Photograph by Danny Lyon.

Chicano is a cultural identity for persons who live in the United States and have a strong sense of Mexican-American ethnic identity and an accompanying political consciousness. The term’s meaning has changed over time and varies regionally. It is worth noting that not all Mexican Americans proud of their heritage use the term Chicano.[citation needed]

A female Chicano is called a Chicana, a term which tends to have feminist connotations. The term follows the usual conventions for Spanish words, in that the masculine plural form Chicanos is used for groups that include both genders.




[edit] The term Chicano

[edit] Etymology

The origin of the word has been explained in various ways.

According to the Mexican researcher Manuel Gamio, chicamo (with an “m”) was first used in Texas in the beginning of the 20th century.[1]

Villar Raso traces the term’s origin to California in the 1930s and 1940s:

“the inability of native Nahuatl speakers from Morelos state to refer to themselves as Mexicanos, and instead spoke of themselves as Mesheecanos, in accordance with the pronunciation rules of their language.”

The pronunciation was met with derision by settled Mexican Americans, who exaggerated the sound to mock the recently-arrived. In both cases, the term and its pronunciation are analogous to the Nahuatl word Mexica.[2]

An alternate etymology holds that the conversion of the pronunciation of the “x” in Mexicano was converted to /sh/ or /ch/ as either a term of endearment or of derisiveness.[citation needed]

Chicamo eventually became chicano, which, unlike chicamo, reflects the grammatical conventions of Spanish-language ethno- and demonyms, such as americano, castellano, or peruano.[citation needed]

[edit] Meanings

The term’s meanings are highly subjective but usually consist of one or more of the following elements:

[edit] Slur

  • Ana Castillo: “[A Xicana is a] marginalized, mexican woman who is treated as a foreigner and is expected to do menial labor and ask nothing of the society in which she lives.”[3]

Chicamo (with an “m”) was first used as a derogatory term for recently-arrived Mexican immigrants by Mexican-American Texans at the beginning of the 20th century.[4]

In Mexico, the term connotes a Mexican-American person of low class and poor morals. [1], [2], [3]. Low class in Mexico is strongly related to social status and not economic status.

[edit] Ethnic identity

The term Chicano was taken up in the mid 1960s by Mexican American activists, who, in attempt to rid the word of its negative connotation and create a unique ethnic identity, reconfigured its meaning by proudly identifying themselves as Chicanos.

[edit] Generational identity

Most Americans first heard of the term in the 1960s and 1970s, and thought of Chicano as a term for children of parents who were immigrants from Mexico.[citation needed]

[edit] Political identity

According to the Handbook of Texas:

Inspired by the courage of the farmworkers, by the California strikes led by Cesar Chavez, and by the Anglo-American youth revolt of the period, many Mexican-American university students came to participate in a crusade for social betterment that was known as the Chicano movement. They used Chicano to denote their rediscovered heritage, their youthful assertiveness, and their militant agenda. Though these students and their supporters used Chicano to refer to the entire Mexican-American population, they understood it to have a more direct application to the politically active parts of the Tejano community.[5]

At certain points in the 1970s, Chicano was the preferred, politically correct term to use in reference to Mexican-Americans, particularly in the scholarly literature from the field of sociology.[citation needed] However, as the term became politicized, its use fell out of favor as a means of referring to the entire population. Since then, Chicano has tended to refer to politicized Mexican-Americans.

Sabine Ulibarri, an author from Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico, notes that Chicano is a politically loaded term, though it is considered a positive term of honor by many.[citation needed]

[edit] Ambiguous identity

  • In the 1991 Culture Clash play “A Bowl of Beings”, in response to Che Guevara‘s demand for a definition of “Chicano”, an “armchair activist” cries out, “I still don’t know!!”[citation needed]
  • Bruce Novoa: “A Chicano lives in the space between the hyphen in Mexican-American“, . . Houston: , 1990.[6]

For Chicanos, the term usually implies being “neither from here, nor from there” in reference to the U.S. and Mexico respectively. As a mixture of cultures from both countries, being Chicano represents the struggle of being accepted into the Anglo-dominated society of the United States while maintaining the cultural sense developed as a Latino child.

[edit] Indigenous identity

  • Ruben Salazar: “A Chicano is a Mexican-American with a non-Anglo image of himself.”[7]
  • Leo Limón: “…because that’s what a Chicano is, an indigenous Mexican American”.

Many individuals of Mexican descent view the use of the words Chicano or Chicana as reclamation and regeneration of an indigenous culture destroyed through colonialism.[citation needed]

[edit] Political device

  • Reies Tijerina: “The Anglo press revolutionized the word ‘Chicano’. We use it, but they use it to divide us from Latin America.”

[edit] Synonyms

The following terms are often used in place of Chicano:[citation needed]

  • la raza (literally, the race, but also connoting “el pueblo” or “la gente”, both of which mean “the people”), which refers generally to the people of Latin America who share the cultural and political legacies of Spanish colonialism, including the Spanish language and culture, and their descendants.)
  • la raza de bronce (“the bronze race”) (used to emphasze the “brown” or “bronze” Indigenous ancestry over their white or black ancestry)
  • americanista (common in early twentieth-century [citation needed])
  • indigenist (common in early twentieth-century [citation needed])
  • la raza cósmica (the cosmic race)

Due to the gendered nature of Spanish language, some activists and writers who do not find the masculine term Chicano acceptable to use as a plural, use the terms “Chicano/a” or “Chican@.”[citation needed]

Some younger Mexican Americans refer to themselves as Xicanos with an “X” to reflect a closer identification with their indigenous Mexica/Aztec roots, as well as their more radical political views.[citation needed]

[edit] Rejection

Some Mexican Americans prefer to identify themselves as:[citation needed]

  • American (sometimes the term first like “American-Mexican”)
  • Hispanic
  • Hispanic American
  • Hispano or Hispana
  • Latino or Latina
  • Mexican American
  • Mexican
  • Spanish American
  • Spanish
  • Californio, Nuevomexicano (New Mexico Spanish) or Tejano/Tejana.

The reasons for rejecting the term Chicano are numerous and varied, from an aversion to its association with the militant left-wing politics of the 1960s and 1970s, to the ability of many families, particularly in the state of New Mexico, to trace their ancestry back to the original Spanish settlers of the colonial era.[citation needed] Another common reason to reject Chicano is the bad connotations associated with it, primarily in Mexico.

[edit] Social aspects

Chicanos, regardless of their generational status, tend to connect their culture to the indigenous peoples of North America and to a historically revised mythical nation of Aztlán. [4], [5], [6], [7]. According to the Aztec Myth, Aztlán is an island; Chicano nationalists have equated it with the Southwestern United States. Historians tend to place Aztlán in Nayarit or the Caribbean, and make a distinction between the Myth, the potential historical location, and the contemporary socio-political recreation.

[edit] Political aspects

Main article: Chicano Movement

Many currents came together to produce the Chicano political movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Early struggles were against school segregation, but the Mexican American cause, or La Causa as it was called, soon came under the banner of the United Farm Workers and Cesar Chavez. However, Reies Tijerina stirred up old tensions about New Mexican land claims with roots going back to before the Mexican-American War. Simultaneous movements to empower youth, question patriarchy, democratize the Church, end police brutality, and end the Vietnam War all intersected with other ethnic nationalist, peace, countercultural, and feminist movements.

For some, Chicano ideals involve a rejection of borders. The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo transformed the Rio Grande region from a rich cultural center to a rigid border enforced by the United States government. At the end of the Mexican-American War, 80,000 Spanish-Mexican-Indian people were forced into sudden U.S. habitation.[8] As a result, Chicano identification is aligned with the idea of Aztlán, which extends to the Aztec period of Mexico, celebrating a time preceding land division.[9]

Paired with the dissipation of militant political efforts of the Chicano movement in the 1960s was the emergence of the Chicano generation. Like their political predecessors, the Chicano generation rejects the “immigrant/foreigner” categorization status.[9]

The shared Spanish language, Catholic faith, and history of labor segregation and ethnic exclusion and discrimination encourage a united Chicano folkloric tradition in the United States. Ethnic cohesiveness is a resistance strategy to assimilation and the accompanying cultural dissolution.

[edit] Cultural aspects

The term Chicano is also used to describe the literary, artistic, and musical movements that emerged with the Chicano Movement.

[edit] Literature

Chicano literature tends to focus on themes of identity, discrimination, and culture, with an emphasis on validating Mexican American and Chicano culture in the United States. Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales‘s “Yo Soy Joaquin” is one of the first examples of Chicano poetry. See also Chicano poetry:[8]. Other important writers in the genre include Rudolfo Anaya, Sandra Cisneros and Gary Soto.

[edit] Arts

QuetzalCoatlicue Danza Mexica Azteca uses dance to portray the history of Chichimeca (or Aztec). Minneapolis, Minn.; United States. 2004.

QuetzalCoatlicue Danza Mexica Azteca uses dance to portray the history of Chichimeca (or Aztec). Minneapolis, Minn.; United States. 2004.

In the visual arts, work by Chicanos addresses similar themes as works in literature. The preferred media for Chicano art are murals and graphic arts. San Diego‘s Chicano Park, home to the largest collection of murals in the world, was created as an outgrowth of the city’s political movement by Chicanos. Rasquache art is a unique style subset of the Chicano Arts movement.

One of the most powerful and far-reaching cultural aspects of Chicano Culture is the indigenous current that strongly roots Chicano culture to the American continent. It also unifies Chicanismo, within the larger Pan Indian Movement. Since its arrival in 1974, What is known as Danza Azteca in the U.S., (and known by several names in its homeland of the central States of Mexico: danza Conchera, De la Conquista, Chichimeca, etc) has had a deep impact in Chicano muralism, graphic design, tattoo art (flash), poetry, music, and literature.

[edit] Music

Lalo Guerrero is considered the “father of Chicano music”.[citation needed] Beginning in the 1930s, he wrote songs in the big band and swing genres that were popular at the time. He expanded his repertoire to include songs written in traditional genres of the Mexican music, and during the farmworkers’ rights campaign, wrote music in support of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers.

[edit] Rock

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, a wave of Chicano rock surfaced through innovative musicians Johnny Rodriguez, Carlos Santana, Linda Ronstadt, and Joan Baez, herself of Mexican-American descent included Hispanic themes in some of her protest folk songs. Chicano rock is rock music performed by Mexican American groups or music with themes derived from Chicano culture.

There are two undercurrents in Chicano rock. One is a devotion to the original rhythm and blues roots of Rock and roll including Ritchie Valens, Sunny and the Sunglows, and ? and the Mysterians. Groups inspired by this include Sir Douglas Quintet, Thee Midniters, Los Lobos, War, Tierra, and El Chicano, and, of course, the Chicano Blues Man himself, the late Randy Garribay.

Chicano punk is a branch of Chicano rock. Examples of the genre include music by the bands Los Illegals, The Brat, The Plugz and the Cruzados; these bands have come out of the punk scene in Los Angeles. Some music historians argue that Chicanos of Los Angeles in the late 1970’s might have independently co-founded punk rock along with the already-acknowledged founders from BritishEuropean sources when introduced to the US in major cities. [citation needed]

The second theme is the openness to Latin American sounds and influences. Trini Lopez, Santana, Malo, Azteca, Toro, Ozomatli and other Chicano Latin Rock groups follow this approach. Chicano rock crossed paths of other Latin rock genres (Rock en espanol) by Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and South America (“Nueva cancion” has a more European influence found in Argentina and Chile), but Nueva cancion spread into Peru, Colombia and Venezuela.

[edit] Jazz

Although Latin Jazz is most popularly associated with artists from the Caribbean (particularly Cuba) and Brazil, young Mexican Americans have played a role in its development over the years, going back to the 1930s and early 1940s, the era of the zoot suit, when young Mexican American musicians in Los Angeles began to experiment with Jazz-like Mexican music. This type of Latin Jazz came back into vogue in the 1990’s and 2000’s, with a strong recent example being the work of the singer Jenni Rivera.

[edit] Rap

Chicano rap is a unique style of hip hop music which started with Kid Frost, who began using Spanish in the early 1990‘s. While Mellow Man Ace was the first mainstream rapper to use Spanglish, Frost’s song “La Raza” paved the way for the use Spanish in their English (Spanglish) in American hip hop. Chicano rap tends to discuss themes of importance to young urban Chicanos. Today’s main chicano artists are Lil Rob, Baby Bash, B-Real, Darkroom Familia and Delinquent Habits.

[edit] Other

Other famous Chicano/Mexican American singers include Selena, who sang a variety of Mexican, local Tex-mex and American popular music, but was killed at age 23 in 1995. And Los Lonely Boys are a Texas style country rock band, but never shyed away from their Mexican American roots in their music. In recent years, a growing Tex-Mex polka band trend and from Mexican immigrants (i.e. Conjunto or Norteno) has influenced much of new Chicano folk music, esp. in large market Spanish language radio stations and on television music video programs in the U.S. The band Quetzal is known for its political songs, while The Kumbia Kings had combined Mexican regional: cumbia, merengue and tropical, with American rap, hip-hop and rock rhythms, and Daddy Yankee, although Puerto Rican, has connected well to Mexican-American/Chicano music styles.

[edit] See also

Published in: on Tuesday, 6 March 07 at 12:17  Comments (10)  

What is a Mexican?

The question is one that still has a very vaugue answer.  The idea of what a Mexican is so limited in American culture.  I think the best example of this is in the movie “Un dia sin mexicana“.  All hispanic people disappear in California, even though the very title of the movie is a day without a MEXICAN! I belive that the directors did this on purpose to bring to light that the definition of this people and cutlture is not only unknown to us, it’s unknown to some of the very people who embrace it.  The “entertaining” aspect of the movie is when all the white people are left helpless to try and do all of the manual labor jobs that are “beneath” them.  (Sound familiar? It should, because people, no matter the era, will always be…people!) The concept of the Mexican culture is so blurred at this point it’s hard to say how, why and where it is that way.

 I couldn’t possibly imagine how to undistort an image of people.  If you think about it, and I’m guilty of it too, when you ride through a predominately black or hispanic nieghborhood, you have tendency to double check if your car doors are locked.  What is that reaction based on? The belief that ” those” people are dangerous and uncivilized.  Is that all together true? No, probably not, but it doesn’t stop you from locking your doors.  I think that the only thing that will ever change the present view of Mexican culture is a world wide catastrophe, in which Mexico comes to the rescue. 

The media can portray Mexicans, Latin Americans, and Hispanics in continous postive lights, but at the base of it all people will still make the assumption that these cultures don’t speak English, aren’t intellegent, and can only do menaial work.  Yes, that is a strong statement, but let me tell you what happened to me at the  Walmart:

I was reading a People in Espanol, while waiting patiently in an extremly slow moving line at Wal-Mart.  The lady then procedes to tell the other lady how Mexicans are dumb, don’t speak English, and should go back where they come from.  Obviously assuming I, nor my aunt or sister in law speak English.  After we’ve all paid and are walking out, the lady tells my aunt to have a good day Sra Sifuentez, and my aunt says in English, that’s Dr. Sifuentez, and you do the same mi’ja.

After that, I felt like no matter what steps the non-dominate race & culture take towards progression, they will always be remebered and treated in the respect of the distortions and misconceptions about thier culture.


Published in: on Tuesday, 6 March 07 at 12:03  Leave a Comment  

White men at the Alamo…

Wow.  Was my inital response to watching Martyers of the Alamo. With respect to the time it was shot in, I noticed that slaves or black people were only portrayed in black face.  The Mexican soilders were portrayed as kind of mindless wind up toy soilders who kept plunging forward regarless of the loss of life.  The women were portrayed as helpless pretty faces.  They were considered so harmless they were all set free once the Alamo was taken. I felt that the tory was very lopsided and incomplete.  It was almost as if the only people with any sense in the situation were the Texans.  This makes sense as the whole point was to praise the ebrave men that fought at the Alamo. 

Unfourtunatley, as anti-Texan as it may sound, these men went to another country and refused to follow the rules.  What if I went to France and then decided, I didn’t like the way the government did things, but I still wanted to live there, so I broke all of thier laws in exertion of my ” rights and freedom”?  You know what would happen? I would go directly to jail, without collecting $200. 

I do think the men were brave, and fought hard for what they belived in, but I think they were wrong for trying to make another country conform to how they wanted to live.

Published in: on Monday, 5 March 07 at 11:06  Leave a Comment  

Are inside jokes really that funny? And people will be…people.

(This blog like the many that will follow tonight, are sooooooo late, but in order to get back into the groove, I had to go way back, to get back on blogging wagon, so excuse my tardiness, and enjoy)

Just my opinions at random, on the novel as a whole

Ok, so I read the entire novel, cover to cover.  Two times.  I know it’s supposed to be funny, but I guess I didn’t get the joke.  Then it came to me, satire is simply an inside joke for an era or a generation.  For example, are the people in the year 3507 really going to get the jokes about Bush stealing and running the presidency into the ground and fighting his daddy’s battles?  Or will they appreciate the idea of spending 129.00 on a pair of Jordans?  Probably not. 

Here’s another example: If I were to say the word randomnessness or fantublastic, or the phrase misadventures in wally world, …and this is why you hot, or ps buuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrr, they mean nothing funny or signifigant to you even crack a smile on your face.  But I had had to take a whole 15 minute break to stop laughing and get back to this blog.

 How you feel about those words this picture and those phrases, (which I would believe is that you know they are probably hillarious in some context, but you have no idea what that context is) is how I felt about reading this novel. I got the impression that the book would be hillarious if I knew the way of life it was referring to.  It left me feeling like I was listening to a conversation between two old friends, who shared many memories, and many jokes, and although I could appreciated the tales, I was missing that “in” that would make the stories funny or personally my own. 

*********************New topic, same story************************

What I did gain from the story though was that people will always be people.  Mothers will always dote on thier boys, and youngest child, sometimes to the extreme, people who shouldn’t teach or don’t have the calling to do so will do it for the money, over indulged children, will becaome ungreatful imoral adults.  The thing I appreciated most about the book was that every person in the story could be realted to someone I knew.  We all have one of “those” people in our family or close circle of friends.

*********************New topic, same story**************************

Dr. Conway asked us to dicuss gender roles, and social tensions through out the book.  There are about two things that really grabbed my attention in this area. 1st was how the rich or upper class “kids” (in the sense of college kids) were allowed to rebel rouse and do as they pleases regardless of what thier expectations as students were.  It’s reminencient of kids today who are handed the prescious jewel of education, and squander it because they don’t appreciate it, never having had to work or earn privalages and money.  The 2nd was the social tensions in regards to the role of the church in society.  The church which should be of and about God and his word and his will were infiltraded with the likes of our main character and his fellow cronies of money and power, or middle class stauts, who’s hearts do not really belong to the Lord, the church and the people to whom they are to serve.  The rich networked among each other, and became richer while the poor and artistan struggled just to live life.  There is even a point in which Periquillo’s father says do not look down on the working, because without thier honest work and services the rich could not live life.   WOW! That holds true even today, people have a tendancy to look down on those who do “meanial” tasks with out stopping to think how adversly thier everyday ease would be effected if no one was willing to work “beneath” themselves.  

Which brings me back to my original point that, good, bad and real ugly.  People will be…people.

Published in: on Monday, 5 March 07 at 10:32  Leave a Comment  

What does it mean to be human?

As you view Cabeza de Vaca, you are able to see the Amerindians make connections with one another and Cabeza de Vaca, Estabanico make connections with the Amerindians and Cabeza de Vaca, and Cabeza de Vaca return those geniune feelings of respect, communication and personal connection. 

I think one of the underlying themes in the movie is to demonstrate the idea, that the European idea of superiority was wrong, and that all ethnicities of people should have been respected in thier own right, as we are all equal peoples. 

The ideas are demonstrated most in the connections between Cabeza de Vaca and his young brother from an unknown tribe, Estabanico choosing not to walk away towards freedom, but to return to comfort Cabeza de Vaca, and when the “malacosa” native sheds tears at Cabeza de Vaca’s departure.

It’s almost as if a subplot is the idea where all people’s can live together somewhat peacefully, but just a little shy of the ideal harmony, because people will always be people who do foolish things, regardless of ethnicity.

Published in: on Monday, 5 February 07 at 9:50  Leave a Comment  



Did anyone else notice the many comparisons, including martyrdom,  that Cabeza de Vaca makes between himself and Jesus? How was this not considered offensive during a time so near to the Spanish Inquisition?



Published in: on Sunday, 28 January 07 at 1:58  Comments (2)  

Cabeza de Vaca-ed Out & My Ghostly Experiences

    I have been in college for about 6 years now, of those 6 years, 3 of them have been as a Spanish Major.  In those 3 years, which the exception of Spanish 4, I have read about, read a portion of, or have had to watch a movie related to Cabeza de Vaca. 

    In fact, I have seen the movie, which we will be watching in class a total of 11 times.  It was a little difficult to read the text impartially or without preconcived notions, having seen the movie so many times and having read many versions of this story in relation to the language and it’s literature. 


I am Cabeza de Vaca-ed out. I haven’t formed any new opinions, so…

    With that said, I still have my favorite parts, and things I find facinating every time.  The thing that remains a facination to me, is Estabanico’s ability to blend in and relate to the traditions of the Native Americans.  Story telling, sharing, eating, and other traditions.  When we view the movie you will see a scene in which Estabnico is sitting with the children in what seems to be a traditonal story telling or gathering.  The reason I find this so amazing is because, it follows suit to the theory that Africa is the cradle of civilization.  Although the Native Americans traditions differ slightly from African natives, there are enough similarites to conclude that they came from similar if not the same origin. 

Huming the X-FilesTheme song

    An aspect, I’ve never considered, but am happy to entertain, is that of the unexplained that Dr. C. pointed out in class.  It’s amazing that an account of something alien like and utterly unexplainble from so long ago doesn’t really vary from a modern testamonial. 

    If you reread the passages beginning on page 119 –  121,  and compare it to one of the following, random testamoniala from the greatness that is the google/internet, you may find some similarities in the malacosas or procedures described: (cutting of the endtrails = anal probing? brigt light = transporter beam? dancing for the malacosa in a trance = suspended animation & lost time?)



Malcom GrowMedical Center

*Just an extra: Two of my many encounters with the unexplainable 1) When I was little I had imaginary friends, they were only imaginary because no one else could see them, not because they were not there, and no :p I am not schizo and I do not see things that are not there.  Thier names were June and Doc, Doc was a grown up and June was a teenager, but they were fun, none the less.  They moved things around, turned lights on and off, rearranged the Christmas tree, hid shoes, and all sorts of things I got blamed for, but still found hillarious.  When they were mad they broke windows, shattered locks, burned out lightbulbs, turned on or up the stove, and slammed doors. I kept getting in trouble for stuff I didn’t do, but was often caught trying to undo, until finally one day they were just gone when I came home from school.  Everytime I said Petey did it, my mom would look like she was gonna cry. When ever I said June did it my Grandma spanked me.  I learned later that her sister June, with whom I share a birthday, passed away when she was 16.  When I turned 12 I learned that my dad, was not my dad, and recived a letter from my aunt that included a letter from my real father to me, and one for my mom.  Mine was signed your loving dad, Velmore Lee XXXXX (who I am named after) and her’s was signed forever yours, Doc.  Que creepy no?  2)Ward 5A at Malcom Grow Medical center was/is closed.  Sometimes they try to reopen it but, it doesn’t last long.  It’s the most beautiful part of the hospital.  It’s where they used to send the military, VIP, terminally ill to “live out thier last days”.  The decorations are classy, the beds are queen size.  It’s really plush.  I was asked to do inventory of the items remaing in the chapel, at the far end of the hall. (This is what happens when you have no rank, you do what no one else wants to do.) First of all it’s freezing cold, in July, and the air is broken on  our ward(5B).  While in the chapel, I heard whispers of conversations and prayers, people walking, walkers dragging, iv stand rollers rolling.  Did I mention that this ward was closed? Or that it should be completely silent especially at 1 in the morning? So you can imagine how startled I was when I heard doors slamming, but saw no doors actually closing? I am scared of everything, but I didn’t want to be made fun of so, I kept working, until a man laughed and the light in the chapel exploded.  I left everything,  cover, clipboard, cd player, lunch, everything, walked straight out past the reception desk, picked up the keys to my car, and went home.  They tried to get me to come back, but I told them I would take a court marshall any day over having to go back to that hospital.  Incidently I spent the rest of my time in the Air Force making ID cards.

Published in: on Saturday, 27 January 07 at 11:41  Leave a Comment