Carl J., Mexican Cinema: Reflections of a Society, 1896-1988
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989), pp. 32-34.
course, the original "Latins/Latinos" were the Latin-speaking
tribes of Latium-the founders of the Roman Republic. There are the Latin
European countries in which Romance languages are spoken-France, Spain,
Portugal, Italy, Rumania, and ministates such as Andorra and San Marino.
There are Latin "states within states" such as Catalonia,
Corsica, and Sardinia. Napoleon III fancied himself the leader of Latin
Europe against the Anglo-Saxons and Teutons. To justify his occupation
of Mexico, he created the term "Latin" America to align it
with his policy of bringing all the Latin peoples under his "protection."
of the ideas of the so-called Chicano movement border on and often overlap
into the irrational. They refer to the Southwestern United States as
the "nation of Aztlan," and some of its adherents believe
that it was the homeland of the Aztecs. (Serious scholars in Mexico
and elsewhere have established that the mythical homeland of the Aztecs
was well within present-day Mexico.) Furthermore, some of these Chicanos
dream of separating their Aztlan from the United States and establishing
an independent state. Some have even demanded that the Mexican government
denounce the United States in the United Nations for the oppression
visited upon the Mexican-American people and the loss of their lands
after 1848. Such notions amply demonstrate some Chicanos' detachment
from the real world and why they are considered ridiculous by other
Americans who happen to hear some of these ideas. Except for right-wing
commentators who believe this nonsense and use it in their constant
denunciations of multiculturalism.
declared its independence from Mexico in 1837 and became the Republic
of Texas-in which Americans were the ruling element--until it applied
for admittance to the United States, sparking the war with Mexico.
read this in an Albuquerque publication, perhaps the Daily Lobo,
the University of New Mexico student newspaper, sometime in the mid
this point I must abandon the tone of reasoned academic detachment I
have so far scrupulously maintained because what I am about to describe
is truly mind boggling. In 1998 a group of "Chicano writers"
convinced some gullible foundation or government agencies to fund a
"First International Congress of Chicano Language and Literature"
in Granada, Spain--a boondoggle by any description. Among other howlers
told to the confused El País reporter, they claimed that
"Chicanos are an accursed minority" and that the "teaching
of Spanish has disappeared in the schools of New Mexico, California,
Texas, and Arizona." The only exception to this is in "San
Antonio, New Mexico" [sic]. They also claimed that there is a "Chicano
language" with "characteristics as special as those of Catalan,
Galician, Valencian, and Euskera, which should be respected." The
article declared that writers such as Miguel Mendez, Rudolfo Anaya,
Rolando Hinojosa, and Helena Viramontes sell "millions' of copies
of their books, written both in "Chicano and English." ARIAS,
Jesús, "Escritores chicanos piden desde Granada que se respeten
los rasgos propios del 'Spanglish,' " El País Digital,
April 3, 1998.