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September 11, 2003

The End of MEChA

Several days ago, I started to get into the debate on identity politics. I didn't want to and I wrote 'Stoopid' instead, got flamed for that. Today, I started trying to be fair and balanced and give it another shot, but I just don't think it's worth it to go the length. So I will fall back to material I've already written and leave logical conclusions as an exercise for the reader.
Invitations to White Citizenship

FWIW, here is the direction I was going vis a vis compare & contrast. Bottom line, whose identity politics are the worst? Whitefolks'.

(From the Archives 9/7/03)

I'm a bit disappointed that I am still talking about MEChA after a week. I'm sick of untyping the capital 'H' in the acronym, I'm sick of being bogged down in this racial traffic, and I'm tired of finding the same arguments all over the chatting, blogging and investor classes. If that's not bad enough, even the good news that Proposition 54 seems to be going down in flames hasn't lifted my spirits. I am stuck in an old pair of race man's shoes. Where there is no hero, you be the hero. Today I am concerned about the future of multiculturalism. I percieve a reluctance, in some backlash against MEChA, to get below the surface of the rage which fuels them in their identity politics. We should care, because whether we like it or not, the American mainstream must absorb Mechistas or destroy them. It was in reading an old essay of mine about black rage that this idea crystalized. That story was in black and white but the plot is the same.
I think the benchmark would be something to the effect that the race of a candidate would have no bearing on whether that individual was more or less likely to satisfy the black constituency. Furthermore, putting a dupe in with 'the right color skin' would also be unacceptable. The proper candidate should be able to articulate issues and resolve them in such a way that they serve the black constituency in direct response to their needs, without isolating them. But this is something, across many issues; mainstream politicians have been singularly unable to do. This forces blacks to seek more radical ways and means of achieving their political ends.
What do Mechistas want that politicians could deliver? Well, let us consider La Raza, as in Los Angeles' Plaza de La Raza.
The incorporation of Plaza de la Raza was a pivotal point in the cultural history of the Chicano community in Los Angeles. Based on the concept of the town plaza around which the economic, social, political, and cultural life of people in Hispanic communities revolved, Plaza de la Raza was conceived as a cultural-educational center, to serve the Chicano/Latino community in Los Angeles by promoting Hispanic forms of artistic and cultural expression. Also significant to development of the plaza were the leadership and involvement of Chicano/ Latino actors and actresses, business people, and others associated with film, communications, and miscellaneous other industries in Southern California. This is one of the identifiably ethnic endeavors the established Chicano/Latino middle and upper middle classes enthusiastically support and in which they have become intimately involved. In providing financial support and donating their talents and their time, members of the Chicano/Latino middle class are affirming and re-affirming their Chicano or Latino identity, which many had to deny or reject in order to achieve success in the racially discriminatory film and communications industries. Some of the people who have been central to the development and success of the plaza are members of NOSOTROS, the Chicano/Latino film actors organization.
But I'm certain it is more than just images and messages from the film industry that concern those people who would join the identity politics of the Mechistas.

Posted by mbowen at September 11, 2003 11:26 AM

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