allow yourself to be
The legacy of our ancestors
It is yours
To the inclinations
Of your present
-Alberto Baltazar a.k.a Alurista
When I was a child, my mother would walk me to the local public library that was a few blocks from our small home. I remember the long wall behind the checkout counter and the huge mural that decorated it. I must’ve spent hours starring at that mural, particularly at the man and woman at the center of it all. The brown, dark haired man with thick jet black mustache wore a white slingshot (tank top) and a blue bandana above his brow as did the woman standing next to him. Her black hair was almost animate as it rested on her chest plate. They both stared ahead, at me, with a fierce look of determination in their eyes holding there brown fists in the air? I was confused? They looked like the type of people my mother avoided when we walked to the nearby grocery stores. How could I understand what I was disconnected from? As a first generation Mexican-American, my parents were much more familiar to the ranches and dirt hills of Baja California than Aztlan. It all seemed so primitive and alien.
Many times our brains operate under the false assumption that we have the capability of understanding everything. As a vain reaction to something that is unfamiliar, we simply dismiss it as meaningless or non-sense cal. Though this is as natural as any one of our humanistic tendencies, this almost subconscious denial often prevents us from acknowledging that there is a world outside of our immediate surroundings. As I began immersing myself into these distinct works that are often generalized as simply "Chicano Literature", I realized that the experiences documented in these works are as distinct and complicated as anyone of us are from each other.
Admittedly I have only scratched the surface of the Xicano experience and in no way do I claim to have an all encompassing understanding of this genre. I don’t think anyone can claim that. If anything this experience will serve as a reminder that even the most seemingly trivial aspects of my existence require a deeper analysis than I am often tempted to give.
-Martin "Cito" Vela-Sanchez