Message from a Chicano

My take on the article by Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor, which I sent to all my friends

By Tomas Gonzales
Published on LatinoLA: October 20, 2008

Message from a Chicano

Check this out: "Yo Soy CHICANO!". This vato has a decent rap, however, he doesn't get it all right.

He talks like an isolationist cholo who got jumped by the vatos from Tercera and never forgot. Hey, being Chicano can be many things, including what he talks about, but not so segregated.

He could be an East LA cholo who never left his barrio until he joined the Marines.

My Hefito was a Mariachi. I can hang with Javier Solis or the Midnighters. I marched with the movement when it was forming to free our intellect from the narrow mindset of segregated and discriminatory America.

He has defined himself as a particular type of Chicano and that doesn't make him a bad guy. But where I come from we had to fight with everyone, including our elders, for respect and the right to call ourselves Chicano.

We earned the right by standing up for our people against all odds.

In the process, we learned to respect others no matter who they are. We also learned that our point of view is not the only one that matters.

We did not emigrate. We were surrounded and completely obscured by the advancing European civilization. We were enveloped by the hordes, but we have withstood the march of time. We have much to be proud of, and our understanding and tolerance for the plight of others who are not from our tribe makes us that much more human.

Those who want to wave their flag in our country are welcome to do so because we live in a free land. Having served in the military is an honor. However, those that have been privileged to do so are not more privileged than others who have not.

My Hefito served as the chief breadwinner for six kids. He held down two jobs with a sixth grade education. My Hefita sacrificed her life for her children, and if we were ever threatened by anything or anyone, she was out the door and ready to throw chingasos, no matter who it was.

My parents were on the front lines leading their familial platoon into position to survive in this land.

For those who puff out their chests and crow that they are "Chicano y que?". my retort is hang in there son, everything will be alright. You know what I mean?

About Tomas Gonzales:
Past organizer in ELA and environs and student organizer during the late 60's, retired federal civil rights investigator
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