I am going to try to seize a teachable moment amid this mind-numbing conversation that used to be about Cesar Chavez….
Much of the confusion stems from the lack of clarity regarding who is speaking and on whose behalf they claim to be speaking.
Virtually all of the public discussion centers on “Latinos” and the “Latino community”, or “the Community,” and what “they” say “they” ("the Community") wants.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The terms "Latino" and "Hispanic" do not necessarily describe the same people.
2. There is no single Latino "community." There is no formal Latino "leader."
3. There is no single Hispanic "community." There is no formal Hispanic "leader."
4. Often, "Latino" or "Hispanic" people refer to themselves as “Hispanic” in one circumstance, and as a “Latino” under a different circumstance, on the same day.
5. I personally cannot tell the difference between the two. I recognize that these categories were created by the US Census Bureau, and do not necessarily apply to any particular circumstance in real life.
6. “Hispanic” and “Latino” do not indicate any particular ethnic or national orientation.
7. Cesar Chavez's ethnicity was neither "Hispanic" nor "Latino," except in the broadest sense, like "homo sapiens."
8. His ethnicity was "Mexican American" and "Chicano." From the ground up.
9. None of the participants in the Interstate fiesta, nor any of the City officials, appear to recognize this distinction.
9. "Latinos" and "Hispanics" are not necessarily either "Mexican Americans" or "Chicanos."
10. Chicanos are Chicanos. There is no substitute. This is the essence of our identity.
11. The Portland State University Department of Chicano AND Latino Studies recognizes the difference between the two cultures. Educate yourselves. Here's the link:
12. If any process of appointment or election or other form of open public communal decision-making has indeed occurred to create or empower any cadre of individuals or groups to speak on behalf of “Latinos” or “the Latino Community” or “the Community,” on any issue, there has been no corresponding process in the Mexican American or Chicano communities in Portland.
13. Like Cesar Chavez, I am a Mexican American and a Chicano. No one speaks for me, not without clearing it with me beforehand. We Chicanos are like that.
Mexican American, Chicano Sean Cruz
From the Portland Mercury blog:
After reading Sean Cruz blog, I did pay attention to how the words Mexican American were never used in city council testimony. Thank you for sharing and teaching.
Posted by herein1956 November 16, 2007 9:01 PM
Credit: I want to thank Dr. John Kramer, my former professor and mentor in the Department of Political Science at California State University, Sonoma, for making this day possible, for finding me somehow, and convincing me that I had some talent. Thank you, John. Who knew?