ChicanoCulture in the US
Chicanoculture has strengthened its hold in the US in the 21stcentury. Today, more Mexicans identify with the Chicano culture andeven the name Chicano. Interestingly, a few decades ago the name wasused in a derogatory manner for Americans of Mexican ancestry. Theircontribution to the American national identity, literature, andculture cannot is great and continues as illustrated in this briefessay.
Onliterature, there are several Chicano writers and poets who haveexcelled in the field and their works are widely spread in the US.One of the renowned Chicano writers is Rodolfo Gonzales (1928-2005).He had many roles as a boxer, political activist, communityorganizer, and poet, and remarkably nick named “Corky” for hisstrong views and contributions in the Chicano movement. Through hiswork as a community organizer and human rights activist, Corkychallenged racial injustices perpetrated by political, socioeconomicand cultural systems in the US. While many civil rights activismswere associated with African Americas, Chicanos made theircontribution through the Chicano Movement and through specificindividuals such as Corky. One of Corky’s poems, “Yo SoyJoaquin” has been widely used in American education alongsideothers. In this poem the author calls for emancipation of his peopleand calls for them to be proud of their identity and heritage (Lifson2010). The poem continues to inform American about the history ofChicanos and calls for the emancipation of his people.
Chicanoculture has also made a very significant contribution to the Americanfood culture. Today Americans are very familiar with food typespredominantly identified with Chicanos’ alone. This interaction incuisine has enriched the food menu in America and has had immensebenefit in uniting the people and allowing people to explore foodsand cultures further. For instance, tacos, burritos, fajitas,tortillas and guacamole are now more readily acceptable in Americanrestaurants and dinner tables than they were several decades ago.Additionally, there have emerged specifically Mexican restaurantsspecializing in Mexican foods spread out all over the US serving allAmericans and not Mexicans alone (Tatum 2001). They include theNuestra Cocina in Portland, Empellon Cocina in New York, Las Tortugasin Memphis and Maxwell Street Market in Chicago among many others.The Mexican identity goes further key public utilities such as theNational Mexican Art Museum.
Thismuseum among several others is dedicated to displaying and marketingChicano art. The very beginning of Chicano art influence in the USstarted through the New Deal partnership between the US and Mexico inthe 1930’s. Some of the first Chicano artists to have their work inthe US displayed and widely distributed are Diego Rivera, DavidAlfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco. Their works however, weretermed to have socialist’s agendas and were banned in somequarters. Rivera emerged as one of the strongest contributors to theMexican revolution movement through revolutionary art. The art pieceshighlighted Mexico and regional issues affecting both the US and theregion as a whole. While Marxist views were explicitly expressed inMexico in that era, the same were not allowed in the US (Tatum 2001).As such, some of the Chicano artworks were watered down to meetregional interests by being painted over.
Inconclusion it is clear that Chicano culture is slowly and graduallybecoming part of the American identify. This great culture hasmanaged to maintain its unique identity in spite of interacting withthe dominant American culture which tends to swallow up othercultures. The end result has been a unique blend of American andChicano culture that have livened up literature, art and food culturein the US.
Lifson,A. (2010). Theart of influence.Retrieve from
Tatum,C. (2001). Chicanopopular culture.Phoenix: University of Arizona Press