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Top Ten List in Defense of MEChA

Ten. By attacking MEChA, the anti-MEChistas play into the hands of the enemy’s effective strategy: divide and conquer.

Nine.   The term “Chicano,” which has evolved over time to “Chicana/o” and “Chicanx,” originated from the basic fact that the so-called Mexican American of the 1950s and 1960s was never “Mexican enough” to be fully accepted in el surnor “American enough” to be fully accepted in el norte. Thus, this powerful and political name arose as a means of self-determination for those seeking their own identity and voice in el norte. How, then, can this be exclusionary or racist?

Eight. The notion that MEChistas are anti-black is ahistorical and absurd. MEChistas have

historically defended the rights of African Americans, from the civil rights movement to the black power movement to the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa to Black Lives Matter.

Seven.The notion that MEChistas are anti-Central American is equally ahistorical and absurd.

MEChistas played a key role on college/university campuses (and the streets, etc.) during the 1980s and early 1990s, protesting against U.S. military intervention in Central America. This includes being an integral part of the sanctuary movement for Central Americans fleeing U.S. sponsored wars during this same period.

Six.      While there’s no consensus on the meaning or significance of “Aztlán” among Chicana/o activists or scholars in terms of a political plan of action, etc., which the anti-MEChistas have also attacked, Aztlán serves as a spiritual and political claim against the racist notion of Raza being “aliens” or “strangers” to this land or our ancestral land.

Five.    Anti-MEChistas should not generalize about all MEChistas. If one MEChA chapter is led by a sexist, misogynistic or homophobic pig, etc., that doesn’t mean that all MEChistas or MEChA chapters engage in similar, abhorrent behavior.

Four.   Anti-MEChistas should be self-reflective and comprehend that we all have contradictions, where we should differentiate/resolve between those among friends and enemies. I didn’t invent this idea or concept, but borrowed it from great thinkers of the past. Thus, instead of attacking and debating with MEChistas, the anti-MEChistas should be engaging and dialoging with MEChistas. At the end of the day, we have more in common than we have differences.

Three. If the anti-MEChistas hate MEChA or feel alienated or excluded from it, instead of

destroying MEChA from within—which the proposed name change essentially did—they should create their own organization from scratch. I don’t say this in a mean-spirited or malicious manner, but as a matter of principle. For example, you will never see me attending a Black Lives Matter meeting, demanding that its leaders or members change the name to “Brown and Black Lives Matter” or “BBLM” because I feel “aliened” or “excluded.”

Two.    To educate themselves on the evolution of MEChA and its philosophy, etc., the anti- MEChistas should read El Plan de Santa Barbara. This way, they, too, can learn how to create their own organization from scratch.

One.    “Once a MEChista, always a MEChista.” Again, I didn’t invent this idea or concept, but borrowed or learned it during my proud time as a MEChista many moons ago.

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Dr. Alvaro Huerta is an assistant professor of urban and regional planning and ethnic and women’s studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He is the author of “Reframing the Latino Immigration Debate: Towards a Humanistic Paradigm,” published by San Diego State University Press (2013).

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