12/17/05

A WALK IN THE PARK

By DK

http://www.forumbolt.com/viewtopic.php?t=467&highlight=&mforum=lonewolf

The thump, thump of a car bass goes by
The Downtown skyscrapers tower in the distance
A faded sign reads "Trinity Park"
Running a few steps ahead of my aunt
My cousins at my side,
little six year olds without a sense of danger
Running by the gym,
hearing the squeaks of new sneakers rubbing against hardwood
We peak inside to see giants race up and down
The sound of a basketball smacking against the floor
The smell of fresh sweat hangs in the air
The gym is worn out and although always in use,
looks as if nobody's been there in years
Outside, and intense soccer game on the faded grass
Shirts soaked in sweat as the players yell at each other in Spanish
The trees are uninviting and hunched over like monsters
Smoke and alcohol surround a group of youths by a ripped fence

Eleven years later and our younger cousins have taken our place
They run a few steps ahead of us,
not knowing the meaning of danger
The gym is locked tight and is covered in fresh grafitti
At dusk, the trees are threatening,
faces on them, telling you to stay away
A Mexican ranchera floats through the neighborhood,
echoing from one of the many parties on a Friday night
Our younger cousins zoom around the jungle gym,
that is seemingly out of place due to its bright shine
Nobody noticing the shiny black car with tinted windows,
or the outstretched hand clutching a metal object
Seven loud bangs accompanied by seven bright flashes
The car accelerates and the tires screech against the street
Nobody is hurt, but my younger cousins are visibly shaken
We hurry back to my grandmother's house
The parties continue, just an everyday occurence around here
Somewhere in the distance, a police siren wails,
and the thump, thump of a car bass goes by

11/15/05

VICTIM OF THE STREETS

VICTIM OF THE STREETS

By Ese_Stranger

http://www.forumbolt.com/viewtopic.php?t=432&mforum=lonewolf

Walking in the banks of the L.A. river and the night is hot
Frightened by a sound, the sound of a gun shot
All I heard was just pop pop
And suddenly to the floor I dropped
My jefitas blood pressure is on the rise
As the news talked about another homicide
She remembers seeing me from a distance throwing gang signs
At other vatos that were rolling by
Damn I was 16 and proud to rep that LONGO13 flashing a blue rag
Now I’m on the floor inside a body bag
I was never safe, as these streets got tougher
Jefitas no longer sleep, every night they suffer
As they think where can their lil’ son be
Not knowing that he’s on the breaking news headline on TV
Too many rumors, for her its all nonsense
But she don’t know I’m in the coroners office
My dead body was found by a homeless man
Laying there with a cohete in my hand
Bullet holes, maybe 3 or 4 on my chest
Paramedics wouldn’t save me, even with their best
I’m laying on the river’s bank, my heart no longer beats
I became one more victim of the streets
For my looks cops say it was gang affiliated
I lost a gun battle, yeah it was turf related
But no matter what it was, it happened in the county of L.A.
For those outsiders, let me tell you, this is what happens here every day
Now a mom sheds her tears for her son
The juras declare war on the streets, war can’t be won
The streets will witness bodies dropping
It just continues without stopping
With many vatos getting busted
War on the streets will keep on rising



9/14/05

THE MOG' South Central L.A.

MOGADISHU, CALIFORNIA U.S.A.

In Brazil’s Favelas, murder is the leading cause of death for 10-year-olds. In these urban Barrios, police patrol in helicopter gunships. Any ideas of crime prevention gave way to “just contain it”. At night the street children hide from both rogue cops and gang members; the well-to-do living near-by venture from their fortified homes only in armored vehicles. In the midst of Rio de Janeiro’s splendor portrayed to the world in those vacation packages and glamour movies, the Favelas are a tipping point – on the way to joining Somalia’s Mogadishu ("THE MOG") as a failed ferocious city, engulfed by gangs and a dysfunctional society.

Could Los Angeles be headed down this road?

The hot spots of underclass Los Angeles, if continued to be ignored, will methasize and will eventually pose an immense danger to the region as a whole.

L.A.’s hot zones are tiny, intensely dangerous areas where nothing works, where law has broken down and mainstream institutions simply have failed their residents. There is places where mail-carriers, meter-readers, paramedics and firefighters are hesitant to enter, and when police officers go in, it is only when heavily reinforced and supported by the Ghetto Birds.

These hot zones are to be found in and near public housing projects – like in Jordan Downs, for instance, where one of three gang-dominated housing projects in Watts, the predominantly Black gang the GRAPE STREET CRIPS are routinely involved in beatings of Latinos and other residents, as well as engaging in home-invasion robberies, and have been known to murder anyone who dares to report their activities.
When the police set up a kiosk in the projects to quell rising crime, the gangs blew it up: the LAPD left and did not set up again in the projects for more than a decade. In the Ramona Gardens (BIG HAZARD) Housing Projects, the last 3 Black families didn’t survive long enough to suffer the perpetual abuse that residents in Jordan downs have endured: Latino gangsters fire-bombed them out of their units.

The schools near and around these hot zones have an average of 70% drop out rate, lock-downs occur regularly due to violence. Young children and teens stress-disorder levels are as high as those who come from here escaping civil-war-torn countries. The neighborhoods are host to hundreds of prison-brutalized men whom are wed to a life-style of destruction; ex-cons who brave to change must defy a dehumanizing system that drags up to 70% of them back to the jaws of prison. All face a relentless search-and-destroy policing policy, and with job prospects virtually non-existent for a man with a record, and with few other exit ramps available from the prison-parole turn-around wheel, escape from the life is futile to most.

But what is to be done?

While most would agree that the street gangs pose a terrible menace to law-abiding residents, it is a deadly error to confuse them with the root cause. They are merely the toxic byproducts of malignant poverty depravation that we as a society do not as yet have a will to end. Our leaders ignore this uglier L.A. they waste time on debating and enacting small and isolated programs in middle-class neighborhoods, far away from the real hot zones and void of real strategic solutions encompassing educational services, job creation and job training, true community policing much needed to stem the violence.

On a real controversial “solution”, the City of L.A. stepped up the use of injunctions and mass evictions when a City Judge ordered the eviction of all tenants from a complex on 69th and Main Streets that the EAST COAST CRIPS Black gang had used a their main hang-out for the good part of 2 decades.

But these type strategies however welcomed by some, will not be enough. L.A.’s hot zones require radical remedies with a scaled up vision, and a sustained investment, not to mention a level of leadership, which currently does not exist. In the end, remedies that attack symptoms but leave root causes intact do nothing at all for the communities.

Eviction, if it is done, must be a last resort, and it must include full compensation, including money for relocation.

We must build a city that does not leave our children to be preyed on by predators; we must build a city where any Gangster can exit “La Vida Loca” and live.

LET’S GET RADICAL – END THE WARFARE – EDUCATE YOURSELF & LIVE, or join Rio’s trajectory towards Mogadishu.

THE CHOICE IS WITHIN YOU HOMEBOY.

AZTLAN

~ A Z T L A N ~

Aztlan is the mythical place of origin of the Aztec peoples.

In the Nahuatl language, the roots of Aztlan are the two words:

Aztatl tlan(tli) meaning "heron" and "place of," respectively.

'Tlantli' proper means tooth, and as a characteristic of a good tooth is that it is firmly rooted in place, and does not move,

The prefix (tlan) of this word is commonly used in Nahuatl to denote settlements, or place names.

For example, Mazatlan = place of deer,
Papalotlan = place of butterflies,
or Tepoztlan = place of metal.

You would replace -tlan with -tecatl to identify a resident or person from the given place.
So, for the examples above, we have that people from Mazatlan would = Mazatecatl, someone from Tepoztlan = Tepoztecatl, and someone from Aztlan = Aztecatl.

The mythical descriptions of Aztlan would have it to be an island.

In the origin myths of the Aztecs, they emerged originally from the bowels of the earth through seven caves (Chicomostoc) and settled in Aztlan, from which they subsequently undertook a migration southward in search of a sign that would indicate that they should settle once more.

This myth coincides with the known history of the Aztecs hordes that migrated from present-day northwestern Mexico/southwestern U.S. into the central plateau sometime toward the end of the first millennium AD, when high civilizations of great antiquity were already well established in the region.

It is known that the Aztecs had a sector ("barrio") in the Toltec city of Tollan, and the cultural influence of the Toltecs on the rough-edged Aztecs was subsequently to be very marked. One view of some scholars about the Aztecs, is that their cultural development was an effort to recreate the grandeur that they came to know at Tollan.

The exact physical location of Aztlan is unknown, other than it was located near estuaries or on the coast of northwestern Mexico/southwestern U.S., though some archaeologists have gone so far as to locate the present town of San Felipe Aztlan, Nayarit, as the exact place.

In Chicano folklore, Aztlan is often appropriated as the name for that portion of Mexico that was taken over by the United States after the Mexican-American War of 1846, on the belief that this greater area represents the point of parting of the Aztec migrations. There is some truth to this in the sense that all of the groups that would subsequently become the various Nahuatl-speaking peoples of central Mexico passed through this region in a prehistoric epoch, as attested by the existence of linguistically related groups of people distributed throughout the US Pacific Intermountain region, the US southwest and northern Mexico, known as the Uto-Aztecan-Tanoan group, and including such peoples as the Paiute, Shoshoni, Hopi, Pima, Yaqui, Tepehuan, Rarámuri (Tarahumara), Kiowas and Mayas.

9/12/05

1900 - 1930 MEXICANS IN L.A.

Mexican Immigrants to The City of Angels

By Lonewolf

During the in-between years 1900 – 1930, only about 15% of Mexican immigrants to L.A. came directly to the city after crossing the border. Most Mexican immigrants had their initial experiences with American life elsewhere. Few Mexicans crossed into the United States at the California border, the overwhelming majority entered through Arizona or Texas, with El Paso serving as the port of entry for close to 60% of all immigrants who eventually settled in L.A.

Many of those who crossed at El Paso made that city their initial home. Each of the eight railroad lines which passed through town, had set up maintenance shops employing hundreds of Mexican workers. El Paso served as a HUB for the transportation of laborers for the mining, cattle-raising, construction, and agricultural industries of the Southwest. Recruiters were also sent from far and wide to entice workers into signing up for work with their faraway companies, offering better wages and transportation ready for them in the form of rail cars. Given El Paso’s role as a railroad terminus, it was relatively easy for workers to head elsewhere when economic conditions turned sour or when enticed with a better offer.

In 1900, San Antonio, Texas contained the largest number of Mexican residents in the entire Southwest, the region developed rapidly around agriculture and construction of Military Bases. But followed by intense racial discrimination, strict segregation and low wages, Mexicans began to move out in large numbers to California and elsewhere, in search of higher paying jobs. So great was the exodus that employers in this region had so much trouble keeping their work force that they went so far as to try and preventing Mexicans from purchasing automobiles and prohibiting out-of-state labor recruiters in order to keep their workers both plentiful and immobile.

Along the Arizona border, the towns of Nogales, Naco and Douglas, served as entry points for skilled immigrants from Mexico, in particular miners and industrial factory laborers who were fleeing the chaos of Mexico’s Revolution and the crackdown on organized labor. Many were recruited directly from Mexico and were brought in on special trains financed by agricultural growers and the smelting companies. So many came with their families that by 1927, Mexicans made up 60% of Arizona’s mine industry labor force. Many of those who worked in the agricultural sector moved on to the Imperial & Coachella Valley’s of Southern California, adding and mixing in with the Filipinos and Japanese making a living there with the original inhabitants.

By the late 1920s, one-third of the labor force of the Imperial Valley was from Old-Mexico origin, and by 1928 that figure rose to 55%. Continued migration into California spread northward into the San Joaquin Valley, where Mexicans formed the largest single ethnic group among farm workers as early as 1920.

The advantage of free travel offered by recruiters and railroads managed to not only add large numbers of Mexican’s to the Southwest but also dispersed them through out the land that the United States government had originally tried to steal and re-populate by promoting and inviting large numbers of immigrants from other countries and ethnic groups such as Turk-Jews, Filipinos, Chinese, Japanese, Russian-Molokans, Greeks & Lithuanians, but that’s another story for another time, for now back to City of Angels.

Many Mexican immigrants, after several years’ experience in migratory labor, punctuated by the occasional trips to Mexico to rejoin family, began searching for more stability and an opportunity for employment in a more congenial atmosphere, and increasingly they looked to the urban areas of the Southwest. Los Angeles appeared to offer migrants much of what they desired. The movement into L.A. from agricultural areas did not necessarily mean a change in occupation because; agriculture remained a principal industry in L.A. well into the late 30s. Bean fields dotted the west side along Wilshire Boulevard, celery fields in Culver City, vegetable farms in the South Bay, strawberry fields in Hawaiian Gardens and citrus groves in nearby Orange County. For many Mexican immigrants to L.A. agricultural labor proved to be their first job in the area, moving on to combine it with industrial labor to provide for a year-round income.
The construction of an inter-urban railway network, which by 1913 had grew to cover an area stretching from the San Fernando, east to Riverside and south to Newport Beach, gave greater mobility for city dwellers to commute to the fields.

Mexican immigrants also chose Los Angeles because it already contained a large community with a longstanding tradition, and many residents were present in the city to welcome newcomers that would aid in their adjustment. From thereafter, Los Angeles Mexican community has been consistently dominated by successive waves of immigrants from Mexico.

The increasing number of Mexican immigrants became overwhelming for the Anglo community in L.A. who began to distort the Spanish and Mexican past of the city by developing their own historical version depicting Spanish-Mexican California past history as a lost civilization of a simple pastoral society, a “mission myth” as it was called. Then the romanticized version of the Spanish missions came to distort the Mexican reign in the region, and completely glossed over the Mexican heritage and its influence.
A clash of cultures between Mexicans and Anglos had taken an upswing from here on after, and many in the Spanish community separated themselves from the Mexican community at this time, relocating themselves along with the Anglos to the west side neighborhoods that today we know as West Adams, Hancock Park, Brentwood Heights and Hollywood, leaving the Downtown area to become fought over by the undesirables.
Los Angeles officials by depicting the city’s Mexican heritage as quaint, inflicted a particular kind of obscurity onto Mexican descendants of prior eras by appropriating and then commercializing their history, and this version in combination with the reduction in numbers of native-Californios, further reduced an insignificant constituency the historical life of native-Angelinos, thus even though they had fore-shadowed the social position of later Mexican immigrants, the newcomers were oblivious to a fact largely irrelevant to their current predicament.
Yet, remnants of native-Mexican Angelinos remained in the core of the burgeoning city.
The most important of these was centered around the Plaza of La Reyna de Los Angeles (founded in 1781), which had served as the central gathering place for the Mexican community. This was the communal place where they would gather for church, ceremonies, fiestas, bullfights & tardeadas (rodeos), and political discourse.
After the American takeover, the Plaza had taken a less sanctified aura because the American gold seekers had turned the streets and courtyards into dens of gambling, vice, and crime, but after large numbers of immigrants re-settled the Plazita barrio, it once again became a functioning part of the Mexican community. The Plaza was then used as a wholesale market for growers of vegetables and fruits, and in this form it was a familiar sight to the continuing immigrants coming into the city.
This barrio surrounding the Plazita became known as Sonora Town on account of the rowdy reputation of a gang of Mexican immigrants from Sonora’s mining camps, who claimed the streets for themselves and not the rowdy Anglos who still wished to control the area.
The city grew, quadrupling in population, from 319,000 residents in 1910, to 1,240,000 by 1930. Los Angeles life and culture was completely transformed in the face of rapid Mexican settlement and urbanization.

As the city grew, the Mexican-immigrants social and cultural center moved away from the Plaza area in a eastward and northward direction. As the Anglo-Americans increasingly settled in the expensive western parts of the city between downtown and the Pacific Ocean, leaving the immigrants to settle the eastern fringe as well as the barrios directly west and south of the Plaza, they devised racially restrictive “covenants” by real estate brokers and land owners intent on keeping non-Anglo Protestants neighborhoods clean of “undesirables”, designed, not just against Mexicans but also to keep-out Blacks, Asians, Jews, and any other foreign-born non-Anglo’s Protestants.

Increasingly isolated from the rest of the city, the Plaza provided shabby but welcome living quarters for newcomers.
While most newcomers where from Mexico, the Plaza also attracted large numbers of other foreign-born, especially immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. Over 20 different ethnic groups became represented in the Plaza community during the early part of the century.
After 1910, the increased need of Los Angeles industrial employers, requiring even more cheap immigrant laborers for their manufacturing factories, auto assembly, meat packing, and steel plants, persuaded more and more immigrants to move out to the city outskirts, elbow room was needed and affordability became primordial.

By and large, Mexicans lived in almost every part of the city, the largest concentration were in La Plazita (Sonora Town),

and in South Central along Main Street and Central Avenue (Clanton Street Barrio),

followed by the Russian Flats area directly east of the L.A. River, down the hillside of Boyle Heights (Los Flats Barrio),

Boyle Heights & Brooklyn Heights (El Cerquito / LiL Fence Barrio),

and outside the city limits in Belvedere (East L.A./Monterey Park – La MaraVilla Barrio).

Elysian Park / Chavez Ravine (Palo Verde Barrio),

ChinaTown (Alpine Street Barrio),

Lincoln Heights (La Trebol / E’S Clover Barrio),

North Main Street / Mission District (Dog Town Barrio),

Watts (La Colonia Barrio),

and along Temple Street going west (Temple Street Barrio) – North Westlake Park – later renamed MacArthur Park.

In almost every section of Los Angeles where Mexicans lived, they “shared” neighborhoods with other ethnic groups. The Plaza community was home to many different ethnic groups, the largest being Chinese in China Town & Japanese in LiL Tokyo, Italians in Lincoln Heights, Asians in the Mission / Union Station District, Russian Molokans in Boyle Heights, Jews in Brooklyn Heights, Filipinos in the Temple Street Neighborhood, Blacks in Belvedere, but the most diverse ethnic community of the era, was what today we refer to East South Central, surrounding the area around ALL NATIONS CHURCH (not to be confused with All Nations Street on the East Side).

The All Nations Church neighborhood located between Main Street & Central Avenue, was populated by 40% of all Blacks in the city, right along Central Avenue which contained the largest community of Blacks in the whole Western United States, nevertheless the rest of those residents belonged to various other ethnic groups of people such as Spaniards, Italians, Greeks, Turks, Russians, Hungarians, Lithuanians, Dutch, German, Swedes, Danes, Portuguese, Jews, poor White-Americans & of course La Raza.

Despite the original inhabitants’ origins of Los Angeles, the English language prevailed in the daily commerce and business world of the city, and despite the many familiarities to their homeland, Los Angeles to the many immigrants, was indeed a strange new environment, in stark contrast with their rural and beloved Mexico.
Angelinos were exceptionally mobile, and to any newcomer venturing into Los Angeles between 1900 and 1930, the burgeoning metropolis struck them as alien and inhospitable.
Few Mexican immigrants could have understood that L.A. was just as alien for the majority of the Anglo-American residents as it was for them, for in 1900, no more than 1/3 of the Anglo population had began life (born) in California, and this figure dropped to only 1/4 by 1930. Nine out of ten Anglos had been in L.A. less than 15 years. Los Angeles Anglo population consisted primarily of people new to the region, yet even the Anglo-Americans new to the region took it as their mission to assimilate and integrate the Mexican newcomers into their version of American culture and society. The so-called progressive reformers developed programs that would transform the values of the Mexican immigrants; these efforts often amounted to one newcomer trying to change another while neither was particular familiar with the local conditions and customs.
Anglo migrants came from the Midwest and from the American heartland, fresh from farms and rural towns, lured to the West Coast by the energetic Chamber of Commerce’s conscious advertising strategy for industrial growth opportunity by stressing the availability of land, markets, workers and the weakness of trade unions. The Chamber of Commerce wooed successfully corporations such as the Ford Motor Company and Goodyear Rubber Company along with many others.
Los Angeles by 1929 surpassed all other western cities in manufacturing, the city grew from a population of 50,000 in 1890, to 1.2 million by 1930, and its diversity when compared to eastern cities, represented a wider range of cultures and peoples.

However, it was the middle-class mid-westerner, who dominated the public culture and politics. These were the settlers who had been lured by the Chamber of commerce to populate the Los Angeles basin with the help of real estate “agents” who carved out former farm and ranch land into suburban plots.
These mid-westerners brought with them a Protestant world-view, which not only opposed parochial schools; but also viewed Mexican & Filipino immigrants as embodiments of evil and repudiated their Catholicism as well as their occasional pleasure in drink. They brought with them the 'Cross of Gold' branding foreigners as a lower class, and they had little compunction about using politics to advocate their beliefs. With the resources to make a 1500 mile journey, they were a special lot, rejecting cities like Chicago or New York, cities teeming with impoverished European immigrants and crowded ghettoes, and embracing the dream-life of a “pastoral suburbia” that California offered. This distinct anti-urban ethos, and their attitude of ruralizing the city based on the scattering of the population and urbanizing the countryside of Los Angeles with an endless expansion, failed to take into account the predominat Mexican culture already that already existed through out Los Angeles, and as the dream of a suburban paradise faltered, many Anglos turned to politics for a solution to their heightened anxieties concerning teh Mexicans and their culture. Anglo-American leaders and businesses began to support radical methods and efforts that would produce loyal, obedient employees instilled with their version of Americanism.

The philosophy that Mexican immigrants traditions and customs were impediments to their rapid integration into American life, was a view extensively promoted by the “progressive reformers” who developed strategies and programs that would break up the Mexican communities, with the goal on hand to implant and assimilate into their children, so far as can be done, the "Anglo-Saxon conception of righteousness, law and order, and popular government".
These same progressive reformers envisioned that the opening of the Panama Canal would bring an influx of European immigrants to California that would surely undermine the growth of the Mexican community; coupled with a virulent campaign against unrestricted Mexican immigration.

Politicians, academics, reporters and others who believed in the racial superiority of Anglo-Americans considered all foreigners as undesirables, but the introduction of large numbers of Mexicans from south of the border, with their makeup of Negro and Indian mixed blood was considered by them to represent an unstable element to democracy and they called for immigration restriction on racial grounds. v v v v

‘The endless streets crowded with the shacks of illiterate, diseased, pauperized Mexican, taking no interest whatsoever in the community, living constantly on the ragged edge of starvation, bringing countless numbers of undesirable citizens into the world with the reckless prodigality of rabbits’….

^ ^ ^ ^ Was the voice of the progressive reformers in L.A.

Mexican culture in Los Angeles was carefully scrutinized in the 1920s and found wanting, subsequently Mexicans became the primary targets of discriminatory practices and programs. Protestant social activists of the time, saw their role as awakening the growing Anglo-American population of Los Angeles to the dangers represented by poorer, ethnic newcomers to the region. Organized labor viewed Mexican immigrants as cheap competitors with “American” workers, they argued that Mexicans would not be content with farm labor and would soon attempt to enter the trades. Employers developed a practice in which immigrants were targeted and segregated into “gangs” according to their ethnic groups, with only the foreman as an English speaker, therefore keeping the undesirables in minor positions of labor, with the contention that “white” laborers would not and should not perform certain work.
Other employers in particular railroad, agricultural, and mining companies (who were no less racist), defended unrestricted Mexican immigration on “economic grounds”, stressing that the cultural traits of Mexicans, rejected by Anglos actually benefited American society. The Mexican worker, they argued, embodied the perfect, docile employee, had no interest in intermixing with Americans, and invariably returned to Mexico once his labor was no longer needed.
Whatever their position on the Mexican immigration issue, Anglos had to face the fact that Mexicans were the dominant ethnic group of all the migrants to Los Angeles, and it gradually became apparent that influencing the home life of married men, particularly those with children, might yield the desired results of a determined Americanization work.

After 1920, Americanization efforts shifted from employment sites and migratory camps into the schools and community centers, the shift would center on immigrant “women” and their children.

-"The Americanization of the women is of most importance. They are harder to reach but are more easily “educated”. They can realize in a moment that they are getting the best end of the bargain by the change in relationships between men and women which takes place under the new American order…Go after the woman.
The “children” of these foreigners are the advantage, not the Naturalized foreigners, these are never 100% Americans, but the “second generation” may be… Go after the woman and you may save the second generation for America."

The mechanization by which Mexican immigrant women were to be "educated" was placed on full throttle, and Mexican women became the target for a variety of reasons. First, they were assumed to be the individuals primarily responsible for the transmission of “values” in the home, and Americanization advocates were interested in the contribution they could make in transforming their families’ habits from those of a rural, pre-industrial lifestyle to a “modern” American one.
Targeting mothers was crucial to the overall strategy of Americanization, which by focusing on the strategic position of the mother in the Mexican family, Americanizers hoped to have an impact on the second generation. This ideology was infused with the traditional Anglo belief in the exalted role of the mother (in Anglo culture) in shaping the citizenry of the Republic. The conclusion was that if the Mexican home remained the “sacred institution” guarded by stolid traditions of centuries, and the home remained a fortress, then Americanization specialists would not be able to accomplish their mission.

The most potent "weapon" used to imbue the Mexicans with Anglo values was the English language and all social reformers cited the ability to speak English as a fundamental skill necessary for “assimilation”. Getting the woman out of her home, therefore, became a priority because reformers saw this as the only method by which they could succeed in altering her values.
Americanization teachers targeted Mexican women to help alleviate the shortage of housemaids, seamstresses, laundresses, and service workers. Americanization programs were busy training Mexican women to perform these tasks. Teaching the Mexican mother proper Anglo homemaking skills was meant to solve two problems at once: a happy and efficient mother would create an environment suitable for “molding” workers to the industrial order, and her newfound homemaking skills could be utilized in the cheap labor market outside the home. Reformers encouraged Mexican women to give up their penchant for fried foods, their too frequent consumption of rice and beans, and their custom of serving all members of the family-from infants to grandparents-the same meal, the “modern” Mexican woman should replace tortillas with bread, serve lettuce instead of beans, and broil instead of fry. Malnourishment in Mexican families was not blamed on lack of food or resources, according to Americanizers, but rather on “not having the right varieties of foods containing constituents favorable to growth and development.”
Within the rubric of Americanization efforts, food and diet management became a tool in a “control” system intended to construct a well-behaved, productive citizenry. In the eyes of the reformers, the typical noon lunch of the Mexican child, which consisted of “rolled tortillas with no filling,” could easily be the first step to a lifetime of crime. With no milk or fruit to whet the appetite, the child could become hungry and might subsequently take food from the lunch boxes of more fortunate children. Thus the initial step in a life of thievery is taken, so it was their theology.

None of the potential gains made by these programs could be considered noteworthy if Mexican women continued to bear too many children. Limiting the growth of the Mexican population was therefore a concern voiced by these progressive reformers who sounded the alarm pointing out the higher birth rate of Mexicans over Anglos, and instilled in the Anglo population the fears of “race suicide”, which to this day remains ingrained in Anglo-American minds. With this fear, came another rallying cry to stave off “unrestricted” population growth, which was portrayed as a vestige of Old World ways that must be abandoned in a modern industrial setting. Family planning then became focused on implanting a "limited family size" attitude into the minds of Mexican women in order to defeat the Mexican “invasion”.
But family limitation also created new possibilities for female employment by freeing Mexican women from the demands of continual childrearing, and the traditional obligations that barred them from wage labor outside the house. As the industrialization in the Los Angeles’s economy developed, so too did the demands for cheap labor performing tasks that had traditionally been performed by women inside the home. While the garment, laundering, domestic service, and food preparation industries gradually relied more on women’s work in the market place, employers in the region had fewer workers because of the restrictions placed on Asian immigration, and because Black migration to Los Angeles was still quite low. Moreover, demand of the Anglo middle class for these services increased, exacerbating further cheap labor supply.

Despite all the traditional objections to Mexican women working outside the home, Americanization programs actively promoted their entrance into these “sex-segregated” occupations. This commercialization of traditional female forms of labor made it easier for Americanizers to advocate instruction in such tasks without “appearing” to upset the social order within the Mexican family. For example, skilled needlework was viewed in Americanization programs as a talent passed down through generations of Mexican women, and reformer teachers argued that needlework instruction should replace “academic” courses for Mexican girls in school. Yet despite the progressive reformers and teachers advocating a liberalization of Mexican women from their traditional role in the family, the Mexican women continued to stand firmly in line with their native culture.

As national attention increasingly turned toward restricting future immigration from Mexico, and with little concrete evidence to prove that their efforts had effectively resolved the “Mexican problem,” Americanizers shifted their focus, and they began calling for and end to unlimited Mexican immigration under the slogan that Mexicans were “causing an immense social problem in our charities (social services), schools and health department.

The saga continues…

WHAT WENT WRONG?

By Lonewolf

Most of us ex-gang members or current ones are of a Christian upbringing (be that of the Catholic or Protestant faiths). We grew up for the most part either respecting our folks pass-on’s or simply not giving much thought to the whole religion deal. Little did we know as to the theological questions that divide the world and pit mind versus mind. It was all irrelevant to your personal every day world which surrounded you, a world where dog eats dog and the hypocrites came in all types of faces, shapes and forms. It suffice for your comfort, that you believed in God, and that on occasions you partook in some type of church or religious service. Every now and then, when you faced difficult times, you put out an S.O.S. to God, then afterwards, you went back to your norm. “Until,” that faithful day in your life when God found you in your cell room, or at some other painful place and time in your life. That is when you cried out to God to save you and to change your life. You then felt a great weight taken off your shoulders, your mind felt clean and your body was energized. Your soul felt a peace never before experienced and you let out a thank you Lord. You then went on to experience and see everything through spiritual eyes, and nothing in this world compares to the wisdom playing out within you. A changed man you are now and forever. As time goes by, days, weeks, months, years, you go on to ponder on so many questions and begin to seek answers for life’s wrongs as you seek to break free from the chains of your past. Successful you become, up to a point, then, the realities and problems of this world creep back on you, and its pressures begin to overwhelm you again. The answers and solutions now begin to evade you and before you know it nothing makes sense to you anymore. Still, you fight it and get back on your feet after each stumbling, but before no time, it’s the same old feeling of defeat as before your conversion, same bat channel, same bat time.
The questions on what is true and what is not, concerning good, evil, religion and God have now become even greater and more obscure that ever before. You have now entered into a nightmare, one which does not make sense and can not be unraveled. God failed?, I failed?, Who can help?, Who is right?, Is it all just plain B.S.? What the hell, I can’t win, I’ll just drop it and let it be, I’ll handle things as they come my way. Still, something remains in your heart and mind, and it won’t leave you alone. You try and not pay attention to it, or simply accept it as some remaining candle light which helps you through the night but not much more than that.

Back to square one you’ve gone round ‘bout.

What was it all about?

What happened?

What went wrong?

WHO IS A HOMEBOY?

I asked this same dual question on streetgangs.com

WHO IS A HOMEBOY?
DEFINE WHAT A HOMEBOY IS TO YOU?


The responses were in the like v v v v

From; Kaotik_hcp
a homie is a true friend that will stand by you through thick and thin, help you out of a tight situation, take a bullet for you and not ask you to do the same (since he knows you would), will show up in the courtroom through all your hearings, and woulda kept you out but you aint hearin that shit.. a homie is a true dawg for life.. you'll get caught up in the game unless you got at least one...

From; BlueCadillaC 167
A Cat that would C there for u through whatever. A Homie is closer than family to u. In world where everyone doin their dirt and baccstabing for some reason he potrays himself to be honest and sincere when it comes to the pact that ya'll have. In a dog eat dog world like this one its rare to have a homie. U dig?

And from; purplecityhello
Bang Out till you Hanged Out
Brother from Another
Im your Big Homies Big Homie
Nilzzz.


All these truths are legit to an extent in my opinion; ‘pero’ (but) ‘yo mero’ (“I”) ‘agarro la onda (grasp things) ‘de otro rollo’ (on another level) ‘mas calmadote’ (more down) ‘y con la neta’ (and with the truth) ‘mas en solido’ (more solid).

The way I see it, a Homeboy is a friend with whom you share a part of your life, going through good and bad times and having something in common that bonds you together in some way, shape or form, but not necessarily one who always fills your expectations.

You can have Homeboys who are down for you always and for everything, yet there are always exceptions to the rules, without leaving bad feels.

For example;
If you bumped shoulders at school with 2 vatos. You threw down with them both and got a beat down.

You did not go and get the homies for some payback, because chale ese (nah man), that was not how it worked. You took it como (like) un chingon (one tough mofo) and earned your rep’.

In this case, a Homeboy was someone who didn not run and got his people into broncas (beefs) que no valen madre (that were child’s play) and just a part of the schooling one must graduate from in order to become un cabron de calidad (a quality homie).

That’s how you earned the respect from your Boys, as well as from others. You only went an got ‘em when fools crossed lines and got happy on you, or if it took a wrong turn and went down with a permanent marker. But even then, you had the primary responsibilty to handle the business yourself.

Or a Homeboy can be one, who can look you in the eye and tell you the truth, even if he gets you all aguitado (feeling down) with him.

For example;
If you have a ruca (lady), or chamacos (young ones), or anyone who awaits you coming home. And you get beat down on account of your own making by some known foolios while you were out partying ‘til the late morning hours. Then you go up to your Homeboy’s pad’ y le echas un chiflido (you go knocking at his window) and when he pulls his boxers up & comes out to question you on the interruption, you give him the scoop and hit ‘em up for a backup.

He see’s you're all too wasted, and says for you to kickback and crash out for the night, and tomorrow a follow up will play out.

You dog him for it and you play the rewind for some past history, and question the loyalty.

But he knows better ‘cause he is of sound mind and reminds you that things have a way of being seen differently in the morning, adding that those fools ain’t going nowhere anyways. Go sleep on it and don’t worry your loved ones by staying out all night, he says to you.

You’re so fock’d up, that you don’t hear a word and insist on a quick payback ‘cause it is personal and for real.

Your Homeboy then tells you straight up that if the play is personal and for real, then you must relax and play it cool ‘cause when it happens, someone is not getting up and if it’s going down like that, then you have to sleep it off and come back for some planning “but not tonight” & “not like that”.

The next day your Homeboy comes looks you up and he is told by your loves ones, esta bien rolado (he’s sleeping). The Homeboy comes back a few more times ‘til you get your culo (a*s) off the sofa. Then you come out with, oh man I was trippin’ holmes, pinche lokera (fockin’ sh*t) me pego machin (hit me good) estaba bien loco (I was all focked up) those vatos just did their jale (work) Yo hubiera brincado igual (I would of jumped up the same way) no fue nada carnal (it was nothing bro’) they left me standing que no (right?), ahi estuvo (let it drop) ahi muere (done deal) de aquellas con el aliviane (good lookin’ out) esta firme (we’re cool).

This Homeboy took a chance with you by telling you how it was a lo derecho (straight up) even while you called him out. Yet he had your back when you did not realize it, and kept his part in being there for you by not acting in haste and knowing better at the time.

A Homeboy can also be one who spends some time kickin’ it with you. Has an ear for your turiqueo (words). Shares a ride every now and then. Te da un saludo (shakes the hand) whenever he sees you. Walks the street with you on occasions. Invites you to a party. Hits you with a joint. Will back you up if present at the scene. Doesn’t interfere with your personal business. Gives you a heads up. Passes the wire. Introduces you around. Hooks you up. Gives you solid directions. Gives you a pass. Keeps it real with you. Te echa una mano (lends you a helping hand) sometimes. Turns you down on pendejadas (stupid sh*t). Lets you know what’s up. Doesn’t look down on you. Recognizes your qualities. Gives you props, and Say’s a prayer for you.

^ ^ ^ ^ All these things a Homeboy does for you, but they are not always there when expected, still, a Homeboy he remains –if you are also a true Homeboy to him.

By Lonewolf

REQUIEM FOR A HOMEBOY

Requiem for a Homeboy

The silent passing of a camarada

By unknown writer

My music reflects a lifestyle of not so long ago

"True lowriding"


A time when vatos grew hair to comb, and knew how to comb it. When we didn't talk like wannabe black New Yorkers. We didn't want to be in anybody's face unless the message was personal. We had our own code of street honor, a suave sense of cool, and the ability to exchange chingasos was more respected than the ability of some young, tweaked-out cherry pulling a trigger from a moving vehicle.

We danced to our own music, and danced with style, we did. We had an enviable sense of street class, and an acceptance of inevitable hard times inherited upon our people.

Because we couldn't afford new cars, we fixed up and maintained old cars, in a manner and style that eventually spawned a culture that survives today, misunderstood as it is.

And we cruised in those fixed up old cars like proud warrior tribes on parade, much to the chagrin of others. We were the vanguard of generational rebellion to come, (“later to be credited to undeserving others”), and provided the standard from which all Chicanos were measured, either pro or con.

Everbody knew who the Pachucos, Cholos, Cruisers, and Lowriders were in the neighborhood. They were the stylish fighters and dancers others hoped to emulate, or avoided out of fear. There was always hopes and dreams of good and better times to come, with the Oldies keeping those hopes and dreams alive through musical mentoring and inspiration, if not examples of talent to be followed.

Getting out of the n'hood was a goal, with survival and the lessons learned from the 'hood making some of us stronger, wiser and more competitive in the real world if we were lucky enough to escape the curses of crime, alcohol, drugs and the revolving door of incarceration.

Not forgetting where you came from became a badge of honor, if only recognized by a certain few. Veteranos served as the "village elders" of sorts, when respect mattered amongst homies, and lessons were passed down from generation to generation in a tribal manner. These Veteranos seemed to annoy their same aged peers with contempt for their unwillingness to "grow up", give up the lifestyle, and denounce the 'hood.

Where these Veteranos ultimately ended up is anybody's guess. The lessons taught, however, benefitted many. Sadly, there is no commercial or historical value in the lifestyle, hence, there ar e few monuments outside of the 'hood to their commemorate valuable contributions to young men's lives, even if only in street terms which many will never understand.

Let this story be but one of many I hope to see, as I am one of those few that benefitted from a Veterano's existence.

My homeboy Mongo recently passed.

Nobody really important or significant. Just a homie from the 'hood whom I remember growing up with during the Civil Rights, Chicano Movimiento and Viet Nam War era of the 60s and 70s. A chingon and ass whupper in his own right, Mongo taught me and some others some valuable street lessons.

I first came into contact with him when he was 15, showing the "benefits" of good nutrition and weight lifting after a brief stint in Juvenile Probation Camp, which put him on an equal footing with more affluent white guys on the football team who had bullied him earlier in life.

I saw Mongo knock the shit out of seven kids and of the local white junior-varsity jock quarterback, who had a habit of bullying and calling young Chicano kids "beaners", "taco benders" and "spics", before using his athletic abilities to beat up younger kids. When the white guy's father came to his defense, Mongo promptly kicked the shit out of him too, forcing a reluctant apology from both of them.

As a 12-year-old kid, I learned that good nutrition and athletic training would belie my previous belief that white guys were superior and better ass whuppers. As I grew older, I followed my older brothers and friends and joined the local gang BASSETT GRANDE in its defense during the "surfer and biker wars" of the San Gabriel Valley in the 1960's, when it was still heavily Caucasian and discriminatory towards Latinos and Blacks.

Police brutality and racial prejudice were alive and well back in those days, and being a gang member was the only defense from the melancholy resulting from the involuntary disenfranchisement from society . I was involved in many "rumbles" on the streets with Mongo and other homies, and together we developed a reputation for brutality and never backing down.
***Mongo and the older guys also dealt out deserved ass whuppings when some young homie was learning how to get high (and inevitably acted foolish), disrespected somebody's family, or brought shame to the gang through cowardly behavior.***

On at least three occasions, I remember boxing our way out of dangerous situations in rival gang territory while being outnumbered by three to one, Mongo leading the charge. Being a close friend of my older brothers, Mongo protectively kept me from trying heroin at a young age. Mongo showed us the value of keeping yourself in fighting shape while maintaining a clean lowrider and a good "rep" en las calles by marrying the prettiest girl in the 'hood.

When I left for Viet Nam, Mongo got drunk and cried at how proud of me he was. When I got back, he repeated this in a manner only tight brothers and close homies can relate to.
Being a master mechanic, everybody went to Mongo when their car broke down and they were short of cash. He was the kind of dude that "hooked you up." He was a crack up and could make fun of anything, making you laugh till you almost peed your pants.

All this would lead you to believe that Mongo should be on top of the world today. Sadly, that is not the case. As much as I respected him, I also am angry at him in a brotherly way. The curse of the streets eventually ate Mongo up, as he would succumb to heroin and alcohol abuse for over 30 years.

Every time I saw him, I would voice my discontent at his condition. He would usually say, "I know homes, I'm gonna get my shit together someday, swear to God, ese". This dope fiend attitude would eventually alienate his wife, kids and most of the homies who all grew to resent him and lose respect for him. Sad way for a chingon to end up, huh?

Two weeks ago, Mongo was found dead in a motel room in the 'hood. He had been dead for almost a week, and nobody had missed him. At his funeral, only my older brother and three of the homies showed up. Even his wife and kids were late for the service, which only drew about 20 people.

I was in the hospital at the time, and only learned about Mongo's demise when my brother came to visit me. We shared a brief moment of pain for our lost camarada, but we both agreed he's in a better place now. We're both angry at him in our grief and loss, but we cannot deny we will miss him.

Orale, Mongo. I'll be playing some of your favorite Oldies this week, homes.
Thanks for the memories, ese.

9/11/05

THE ORIGIN OF THE "CHICANO" NAME

CHICANO

The name/term "Chicano" has now been appropriated by many Mexican-Americans as unique and therefore reflective of their unique culture, though its first usage is said to have been discriminatory, and it was insulting to be identified by this name. The Mexican-American activists who took part in the Brown Power movement of the 60s & 70s "appropriated" the term as a badge of pride and honor, and has now come into acceptance and widespread usage by millions of Mexican-Americans.

One of the likely source of the word is traced to the “30s and 40s” period, when poor, rural Mexican immigrants, were imported to the U.S. to provide cheap field labor.

~*The term is said to have come into first use in the fields of California in derision of the inability of native Nahuatl speakers from the state of Morelos to refer to themselves as "Mexicanos," and instead spoke of themselves as "Mesheecanos," in accordance with the pronunciation rules of their Nahuatl language.*~

~*In “vulgar” Spanish it is common for Mexicans to use the "CH" conjunction in place of certain consonants in order to create a term of endearment. IE: Chingon (bad ass cool dude), Chulo (good looking), Chido (cool), CHamuco (cool devil), CHeves (beers), CHocala (shake on it), CHoya (head), CHelo (short for Consuelo -feminine name), CHemo (short for Anselmo -masculine name), CHichis (tits), and so many more.*~

The root-meaning of the word CHICANO/MEXICANO comes from the Nahualt words Xi’kriztl and ‘Kano.

Chicano subsequently became a shortening of the original self-named Nahuatl people, the “Xi’Kanos” = Mexicas = "The Children of the Earth".

Xicano then became Mexica, which in turn became Mexicano, and then Chicano.

The X having the pronounciation of CH in the tongue of the Nahuatl/Aztecs.

“Chicano” came to be widely used during the late 40's & early 50's, and it was
used to describe pureness of the race by the Pachucos.

The Pachucos were the re-originators of the original Aztec name, they applied it to themselves as inheritors of the birthland of the Aztec/Mexica people whom migrated south to what is today known as EL Valle de Mexico, from the lands far north (Southwestern States & Northern Mexico), therefore they (Pachucos/Chicanos) were coming back to re-claim the land for their original owners, the Xi'Kanos (Chicanos).

In time Chicano became a general term applied to all Mexican-Americans who grew up in the mixed-culture of the Southwestern States which is known to Chicanos today as “AZTLAN”.

EL PACHUCO LIVES 4EVER

The Pachuco lives forever, immortalized in barrio lore. He is the ancestor of today’s Chicano movement, symbolizing the revolutionary warrior figure in the Raza pantheon, from the Aztec Cuauhtemoc, to the infamous Emiliano Zapata. The Pachuco spirit of rebellion against oppression represents one of the few true separatist movements in the history of the United States. They became the first Chicano freedom-fighters by their refusal to surrender their values and liberty to ignorant and racist supremacist powers.

The Pachuco is incarnated inside every Chicano, and remains forever a central figure in the struggle towards achieving equal status as citizens in this our land.
Sad to say, that, there is an obscure history pertaining to the origin of the Pachuco and the meaning of the name. Not many of the original bearers of the name left a written record of themselves, therefore, the information available as to their who, what, where, when, why, and how, comes for the most part, from those in the outside looking in.

However, enough has been recorded and passed down for us to examine and learn about them. Arguments can be made in light of the different views of understanding, in relation as to what is and what is not reliable information. A multitude of books have been written on the subject, therefore, the following story is to be taken as a view of my understanding of the Pachuco history.

The meaning of the term/name Pachuco, is one that is in contention and not yet resolved to everyone’s agreement. What is clear, is that the original Pachucos did not refer to each other by such a name, for this was a term of derision in reference to characterizeing someone as a low-life and a vulgar individual. The Pachuco name was bestowed on them by the Mexican immigrants in the border town of El Paso, where the Pachucos were considered outlaws, because of their heavy involvement with the underworld of vice. The term was known to been widely in use, when referring to a smoker of marijuana (marijuano / pacheco), in Mexico during the same period of their birth.

The negative connotation of the term can also be associated to the “pachuquismo” of the era. Pachuquismo was referred to denote ceratin characteristics, as in the
rebellious attitude ingrained in the masses of mixed-blood mestizos & mulattos of Mexico. An attitude that displayed itself without restrain, with the advent of the Mexican Revolution, giving rise to liberal anarchism tendencies, set lose during the conflagration. Pachuquismo in simple terms can be described as “a dissociation with the established order through a rebellious attitude.” In this context, the term Pachuco conveyed a specific meaning that pointed to a distinct identity, separate from the norm of society.

During the same period, the town of El Paso Del Norte (El Paso, Texas), aquired the nickname of “El Pachuco”, in its diminutive form “El Chuco”, the name was a reflection of the borderland town having a notorious reputation as a smugglers paradise. El Paso was also the town where 60% of the Mexican migrants heading to the U.S. came through on their journey north, and this is the town where those masses of migrants first came into contact with a foreign and alien environment, full of all kinds of vice. El Paso, is therefore the birthplace of the coinage of the term, but whichever is your choice; the term was definitely no badge of honor, since it was used to evoke shame and/or fear.

Later on, Pachucos were identified in general terms, with migrants from El Paso, and/or a native of the town. However, the Pachucos themselves referred to each other as “Tirilis” and “Tirilongos”, a name taken from their arcane Calo slang, which they developed for themselves by mixing Spanish, and Nahualt words with the Gypsy language. This invented slang, facilitated their communication with each other in their trade business, without having to worry about the ears and eyes of law enforcement, much in the same way of today’s Mexican Mafia prison gang using Indian dialects code language, so as not to be understood by the guards.

Even before the advent of the zoot-suit, Pachucos employed several distinctive means which set them apart from mainstream society. These Pachucos grew out of the confluence of the borderland cultural exchange, they were born out of a struggle for social space denied, yet flourished amongst the multitudes of Mexican migrants, enjoying a somewhat relative safe outlaw social status. Still, they defined an identity for themselves that reflected on their understanding as to their relegated place in the U.S.

Aside from inventing the Calo slang, Pachucos developed a kind of mystical theology, mixing in Catholicism with Mexican Indian supernatural beliefs.
They would tattoo themselves on their forehead or in-between their eyebrows with a Cross, reminiscent of Ash Wednesday, as a symbol of profound devotion.
The Cross represented a sign of both salvation and suffering, much in the same line of today’s Smile Now & Cry Later. They would also adorn their body extensively with tattoos, as part of a ritualized visual outward self expression.
A tattoo of a Cross on the back of their hand, or leg, invoked divine aid and protection in their hard and dangerous labor.
On their hands, tattoos of initials were also displayed as identification of their respective outfit / gang. They would also wear earrings (taboo for men of the era), necklaces, and rings.
The females would stamp teardrops on the lower outside corner of their eyes, to represent the number of years of separation from their vato, because of imprisonment, or death, or other.
Tirilis or Tirilongos, can be translated as Jalador (Sp. slang = hard worker), Camellon (Spanglish slang = work mule), or Tirador (Sp. = pusher / dealer), as in never stopping, and always taking care of business, staying trucha (on your toes). However additional inferences can be added to the meaning, as it is a complex name to define fully.

There is a story that makes claim of how the customs practiced by the Pachucos, entered into the El Paso region. The story relates that Otomi Indians, miners by profession, from the Sierra surrounding the city of Pachuca (State of Hidalgo), were recruited and brought in to work the mines near El Paso. Supposedly, their style of dress and their mix of Catholicism with Indian rituals, as well as their city name, was copied and adopted by some of the locals, who then re-created to fit with their identity, incorporating the Indian mystical beliefs. However, I have not been able to find any similarities between the practices of the Otomis, that coincide with practices by the early Pachucos, as yet.

Another story, points to the extensive and continual contact between the wandering bands of Gypsies, and the Mexican migrant communities. The Gypsies traveled from place to place, making a living by providing entertainment (circus style) to these migrant communities and towns. These people adorned their bodies with decorative and symbolistic tattoos, and made use of jewelry on their ears, lips, wrists, and fingers. They wore flamboyant baggy customs, and they practiced a complex spiritual mysticism mixed in with astrology, which they made use of in tarot & palm hand reading. They were also known to be master swindlers and smugglers, and above all, they had a renown communal bond to their clan, a one for all and all for one loyalty, unsurpassed by any others. A connection between the original Pachuco outlaw of the borderland, and the Gypsies can be made here with more clarity, than with the Otomi Indians of Pachuca, in light of the absence of additional information.

Anglo-Americans in Los Angeles used the name/term Pachuco in reference to the uncouth Mexican natives of El Paso –more or less, the same as “hick” in modern speech. Pachucos began to arrive in Los Angeles during the 1920s; they arrived amongst the un-ending waves of migrants searching for work. They hopped on trains and dispersed themselves through whatever towns the railroads traversed. Angelinos viewed them as a destabilizing element in the city. Many in the Mexican-American community, equated them with delinquency, and worked to rid their barrio or colonia from them, with the fear in them that unfavorable news of their actions, would bring about a worsening of race relations in L.A. and provoking more anti-Mexican animosity which would aid the radical Anglos who were looking for any excuse for displacing Mexicans from coveted lands, much desired by realtors and developers who wished to increase in their holdings. White power required possessing “maximum” access to social, economic, and political power, through the dispossession and appropriation of land of ethnic groups native or otherwise, followed by assimilation into the dominant culture, which dictates conformity by all with its own behavior, clothing, music, and symbols of national identity. White power, required that the “disinherited generation,” be stripped of their customs, beliefs, and language, thereafter exercising complete “control” over one’s life and livelihood. This anti-Mexican hysteria in L.A. viewed Mexicans through the lens of racial impureness which turned a “defected” people to degenerate into corruption and conspiracy, cultural difference was quickly interpreted as political dissent. The structure of power and privilege in America was fed through the contest over culture and social propriety, and Los Angeles served as the main arena where the very definitions of who constituted “society,” would lay claim to that structure of power.

The first generation of Pachucos arriving in L.A. from El Paso, were received with antagonism and distrust by both the Anglo & Mexican communities, because of their known notoriety stemming from their borderland self-made reputation, in conjunction with their rough physical appearance displaying facial tattoos, as well as their openly defiant attitude towards societies norm. Here in L.A. they flamboyantly flaunted their differences as badges of self-respect, and this rebellious audacity was viewed as threatening to the social order under the Anglo-American structure.
This first generation of Pachucos stemmed from a far different world, and they failed to recognize at first, the difference in atmosphere between El Paso and Los Angeles. The original El Paso Pachucos were accustomed to the rough chaotic borderland region of El Paso, in which the constant movement of migrant masses fleeing the war in Mexico did not allow them to bond with the community, and the propensity for encountering violence in the borderlands, desensitized them to the struggle of their brethren.

It is in Los Angeles, where the Pachuco re-invented himself into a militant, divorcing himself from the Mexican nationalistic migrant identity, and re-emerged with a complete new identity, which was neither fully Mexican nor American.
Their first reaction was to radicalize the youth of the barrios and colonias, and they orchestrated a break with the prevalent Mexican national sentiment of re-patriation and passiveness in the face of dicrimination and hostility from the Anglo community. They propagated a defiance to what was culturally expected by both cultures, in essence, becoming more militant in their attitude, they did not shed away their Mexican heritage, but they did come to terms with the fact that they were citizens of this land, and as such, there was no going back for them, what they did shed away was their delinquent past and embraced the role of community protection, already being performed by the local barrio youth.
They resisted assimilation efforts by Anglo society wholeheartedly. Subsequently, as the programs for Americanization of Mexican-Americans met with failure after failure, the 2nd generation of Mexican-Americans that followed added to their numbers. This 2nd generation grew up fluent in their familiarization with American culture, and as a result they began to chart their own course in ways that clashed with the values and expectations of their parents. These youth of migrant parents, identified and aligned themselves with the Pachucos. They then created networks for aiding each other, and also made wide use of their numerical weight, in dismantling the ideology of white supremacy, by laying claim to public spaces, and demonstrating through cultural rebellion that they would not be intimidated, therefore frustrating the dreams of politicians and real estate developers who sought the creation of a white utopia in Southern California, that would have established whites as lords over a servant Mexican population, since the pervasive racism of Anglo society would only allow people of color to live as segregated second class citizens, no matter how assimilated they became.

As the city continued to grow, and the new decade brought increasing numbers of other ethnic groups to Los Angeles, and with the ever increasing mixing of ethnic groups living in close proximity, a new chapter in L.A. began with the upsurge of street gangs, these ethnic zones where social energy and cultural differences were once “complementary plumes of expression,” in the communities, began to experience ever increasing tensions which sometimes would erupt in violent clashes.
The profound manual labor demands of the city, brought in thousands upon thousand of African-Americans, and their ethnic group quickly grew in numbers. Soon, they experienced discrimination and became victims of attacks by white youth and other ethnic groups, therefore, it didn’t take long for Blacks to also form self-protection gangs, just as the Mexican-Americans prior to them had done so.
The arrival of Blacks into Los Angeles, and their mixing in with Mexicans, sharing same communities, allowed for both groups to borrow from each other, from then on, they have become a symbiotic relationship, both experiencing the same racist policies, and both strongly resisting acculturation and assimilation into the Anglo version of America, yet at the same time resisting each other under their own separatist cultural identities. Pachucos helped the blacks to organize themselves, and even took them into their ranks. From the Blacks, jive-slang added to the terminology of the Pachuco slang, and their taste in music was incorporated into the Pachuco world.

Through out the decade, the Pachucos continued to dominate the gang world, and their hegemony became such, that they began to be increasingly reclusive and antagonistic towards each other, no longer just fighting the whites or protecting their little brothers and sisters from predators. Their codes and rules became more geared towards combat with each others barrios, and as the end of the decade approached, new times and a world conflict loomed on the horizon, which would bring about dramatic changes to their world, but first, the introduction of the zoot-suit style and the swing-jazz phenomenon was to take place first.

The origin of the zoot-suit is said best attributed to the Jazz culture of African-Americans, although no definite conclusion can be placed at any given time or with any given ethnic group, regardless, the Black Jazz musicians of the era were the most likely ones, who brought it into hip culture, through their performances on stage wearing the costume, yet the Pachucos in Los Angeles and in the Southwest, adopted, modified, and re-invented it by blending the elements of Mexican Pachuquismo with African-American and Filipino styles, but with their own Mexican culture clearly prevalent and distintively displayed, creating something uniquely their own, in which they continued their tradition of counter-cultural expression.

Jazz music style appeared in L.A. in the 1930s, and immediately the Pachucos took to the sounds “MUSIC HAS NO COLOR” went the saying, during the same time, the already present, although as yet not fully stylized zoot-suit, entered mainstream culture and became part of the Jazz culture, as the “race music” gained popularity in Los Angeles, so did the zoot-suit. L.A. soon became the Mecca capital of Jazz, then on 21 August 1935 at the Palomar Ballroom in L.A. –Benny Goodman’s Band electrified the audience by re-interpreting and energizing Jazz. The “Swing-Jazz” culture thus was born on that night, and by the end of the decade, the swing craze had swept the nation. What took place that night in L.A. was nothing less than Jazz being re-invented to fit the Pachuco attitude and style, thereon after, Pachuco Swing and West Coast Swing, became the music of the Pachuco zooter in conjunction with the re-invented Tacuche/Drape.

The Zoot-Suit uniform that the Pachucos wore, and the mannerism they devised to accentuate the suit, continued to challenge the Anglo decorum in a far greater rebellious expression than at any other previous time. This was the high point of the Pachuco culture, which was soon to be violently repressed upon entering the 1940s WWII time era. But, contrary to popular belief, not every Pachuco wore a zoot-suit, for it was a real expense to own a suit back in those days, and for the most part, it was the working youth who were the ones able to save up money to buy one or to have it tailor made, most poor youth could not afford the flashy styled suit, and they settled for something less. Nevertheless, the drape became the indelible sign of the Pachuco in the public consciousness.


No one understood the world underneath the “righteous sky bonnet” that zoot-suiters wore on their heads.


The zoot-suit became known by many names through out the United States, and different styles and colors were worn by the different ethnic groups who identified themselves with it. In Los Angeles, the suit names were “El Tachuche" –as commonly referred by the Pachucos, as well as “Fingertips”, and “The Drape” as it was widely referred to by most zooters in the city. In the South, “The Killer Diller” was the name ascribed to it, and in Harlem and the Northeast, it retained its original name as the Zoot-Suit or Root-Suit. The West Coast Zooters, in particular the Mexican-Americans, preferred the more conservative colors for their suits, black, sharkskin gray, charcoal gray, and pin striped, was their favorite selection, accentuated with adornments. While in the East, lime greens, bright orange, sky blue, and other “walking rainbow” colors were preferred.

Although there was no immediate association between the zoot-suit wearer and the Pachuco gang members and organized crime, the “gang” label and all the baggage that goes with it, became conveniently and too easily fitted on the Pachucos, but also on all Mexican-Americans, Blacks, Filipinos, Italians, Irish, and all who dressed the part of the “hipster” even though the vast majority of the zooters were not gang affiliated.

When the search for an alternative noun was needed in portraying the crime scene in Los Angeles, society quickly settled on the Pachuco zooter, thereon after creating a more dire description of Mexican-Americans accused of criminal behavior, validating the discriminate police crackdowns on Mexican-American youth, branding them all as gang members. The media and police, embarked on a campaign of demonization of the zooters, and they could not find any other word but “gang” to describe the social clubs of teenagers and working class youth of the barrios and colonias. The choice name of “gang” was intentional, because society as a whole, would have clearly understood the word as reference to criminals. The contest between cultural hegemony in Los Angeles continued to be a national arena for this clash of cultures, and African-Americans & Mexican Pachucos, continued to openly challenge the white privileged establishment on the streets through self-representation of their choosing. The image of the in-corrigible Pachuco zooter dominated public discourse, and in Los Angeles the Pachuco was the undeniable soul of gangsterism, but contrary to the popular image of all Pachucos being of Mexican heritage, the fact was that their ranks were joined by other ethnic groups of youths sharing the same communities. Irish, Italians, Blacks, Filipinos, Russians, and even Jews, who learned to speak Spanish with the Pachuco emphasis of Calo slang, and they also identified themselves with the same Pachuco distinctive dress code complete with the hair style, becoming one and the same in the struggle for survival in America.

By the 1940s, the Pachucos had stopped tattooing their faces, as well as no longer stamping the Cross on their foreheads, and the extensive use of tattooing their bodies also dropped dramatically, but tattoos continued to be used, however more intricate designs came to be used, with etching on the back of the hand, and the 3 dots tattoo between the thumb and index finger –signifying Mi Vida Loca, came of age during this period.

Pachucos hairstyle was “characteristically” combed smooth and straight back, with a ducktail, hence the name given “Duck Ass” aka: Argentinean style.

Recreational functions and social gatherings, played a significant role in the Pachuco gangs, with home parties, outdoor games, pool halls, malt shops, parks, as well as street corners, served to maintain a social cohesion, and reinforced their ties to the community.

Pachucos shared the conviction that the public arena (public spaces) was their domain, and that ignoring, or failing to respond confrontationally to a challenge, was tantamount to the surrender of their place within that domain. “Uppity” was the practice on the street, and backing down was frowned upon and not tolerated in their ranks, a practice that is continued in the Chicano gangs of today.

Pachuco gangs dressed in their gang uniforms “so that they could identify easily during a rumble.” One gang would wear black shirts, and another gang would wear green ones. Some gangs wore leather jackets, while others wore sweat-shirts, yet at the time, the public gave no public significance to these youth gangs and their uniforms, and would refer to them simply as “Hoodlums” and "Pachucos".

The Pachucas high pompadour hairstyle served to conceal both a knife and a fingernail file.

By 1942/43, Angelinos attributed the “grisly toll” of deaths, beatings, and violent injuries, to Pachuco gang warfare, and smashing the “Baby Gangsters,” -those vicious young terrorists, became the devoted task of public organizations. The media and the L.A.P.D. embarked on a mission to crackdown on the gangs, with the end result being that the vast majority of those arrested (who were regularly beaten by police officers), were not gang members, but were labeled as such for the simple fact of the color of their skin. This discriminatory practice by police continues to this day, and it is met with open hostility and retaliation in a state of war between the gangs and police. Gang members of old and new will not co-operate in any shape or form with police, and will protect those who are being seek for arrest, they will use every and any opportunity “pantsing” (men’s breeches in trousers) and taunting police as a show of defiance and disrespect.

Never is the pervasiveness and the propensity toward violence indoctrinated by American media and society on its youth, ever put into question as a factor in the equation for how racial animosity and discrimination transforms the “victims” into criminals. Society forces the victim to take the route of resistance to the ideals of the white privileged structure in power. The experience of Mexicans in the southwest of going from being the colonizers, to being the colonized, and subsequently displaced from their lands, through the inevitable spoils of war and reaps of victory by the U.S. set the Mexican-American citizenty on the road of a never-ending struggle to re-claim what was lost, through the achievement of equal status as citizens of this our land.

Whites who constituted the racial and economic elite of Los Angeles at the turn of the last century, jealously guarded power, and they employed a variety of means to divide the ethnic minorities, while at the same time, whites separated themselves physically, economically, and politically from the rest of the populace. They employed segregation, denied equal political participation in government, and restricted economic opportunities to non-white Anglos. The goal expressed by many Anglos at the time, was to expel the foreign born and Americanize the rest, yet keeping them sub-servant to their needs. Efforts to attract Whites to the city were widely successful though the marketing skills and fervor of the Chamber of Commerce, which at the same time that it rolled out the welcoming mat the for white immigrants, it embarked on efforts to erase the Mexican cultural distinctiveness of Los Angeles. But the local industry depended on the presence of “enough” cheap immigrant labor; otherwise the economic structure of the city based on consumerism would crumble. ~ THEREFORE THE STATUS QUO REMAINS ~

AND THE PACHUCO STRUGGLE FOR FIRST CLASS CITIZENSHIP CONTINUES...

"LA CHINGADA"

"VIVA MEXICO, HIJOS DE LA CHINGADA!" -Independence Day Battle Cry of the Mexicans.

" LA CHINGADA " The Great Whore & the mythical mother of a raped race.

La Chingada is the violated mother country who was forcibly penetrated by the White Spanish conqueror, represented in Chicano & Mexican folklore by "La Malinche" (Doña Marina), a brilliant and articulate 14 year old Indian woman given to Cortez as a slave, became his concubine, and served as his personal translator and advisor on Indian affairs. In such a key position, she played a crucial role in the shaping of events which culminated in the conquest of Mexico and her people.
She represents the emblem of female transgression, a whore, and the mother of a bastard Mestizo race, she is called a traitress because she gave herself to the "white conqueror", thereby humiliating and emasculating the male native.
La malinche goes on to represent the many Indian women who were "fascinated, seduced, or violated" by the white conquerors. She is the pinnacle of "betrayal", and lives on through the offspring of her treachery in that product of the rape of Mexico called "machismo".

By Lonewolf

WHAT IS "PACHUQUISMO?"

PACHUKISMO!

The concept of pachuquismo is too readily equated with the better-known concept of machismo. They share certain ideological traits, such as an aggressive sense of power and bravado, but the two concepts come from different sets of social definitions. Whereas machismo can be defined in terms of male power and sexuality, pachuquismo predominantly derives from ethnic, generational and class based aspirations, and is less evidently a question of gender.

The name Pachucos derived from what is described as pachuquismo life.

Pachucos are regularly described as Mexican Zoot-Suiters, but the truth is that pachuquismo existed long before the Zoot-Suiters came of age, and continues to survive to this day in both Chicano and Mexican cultural society.

The name Pachuco was not the name for the Zoot-Suit. For the suit the pachucos had the name “TACUCHE”, along with a name for everything associated with the suit, from hat (tandito) to shoes (calcos).

Therefore Pachuco is a name which was first ascribed to the Mexican Zoot-Suiters by others in the Mexican community -but then later adopted it for themselves, taking it out of that mindset and attitude related to “PACHUQUISMO” that exists in the rebellious spirit of the mixed-blood offspring of the Spaniards & Native Peoples.

Pachuco or Chuco in its diminutive form, is a name given to a class of Mexican people by the more well-to-do aristocracy and urbanites with the implication of being a low-life and undesirable, much like the name cholo or nigger came to be used by Europeans on people of Indian or Negro blood. It later became associated with the poor immigrants fleeing the chaos of war during the Mexican Revolution. The throngs of people were a motley crew of peasants, artisans, cowboys, ex-soldiers of both Mexican & French blood, along with the wandering bands of Gypsies that fled Mexico because of the turmoil that engulfed the Brown Nation.

The pachuco then became associated with Marijuana users and with people living in the borderland towns like El Paso, where they became notorious for their participation in the underworld. Thereafter, pachuquismo became synonymous with the Mexican-rebel outlaw and trafficker. Many times a mother would be heard telling her children to behave or the Pachucos (boogeyman archtype) will come get them. Later it became a coined name used to describe Mexican youth, with the implication of being gang members and criminals.

But pachuquismo is in all Mexicans and Chicanos, so the question remains WHAT IS PACHUQUISMO?

Pachuqismo is a split image between European & Indian.

The European aspect was imposed on the Indians thru Catholicism and the Spanish language, but the restless nature and symbolism of the natives remained in his heart. The merger of the two peoples metamorphosed into a spirit that thrives in festivity, language, vitality and picturistic visualization of life to be displayed in everything from dress to art.

Pachuquismo exist in the vulgarity and openness expressed in everyday speech of the Mexicans & Chicanos, it is a very significative pluralistic form of cultural expression of liberal independence. It is a savage creativity of word play, which rejects the practicality of the Spanish or English languages. The labyrinth and myriads of words such as LA CHINGADA have an all-encompassing significance or none at all.

Pachuquismo is a mode of resistance to the description of things by the established system. It exists in everything from language, religion, to festivities and symbolism.

Pachuquismo is always sumerged in celebrations, which in itself, the celebration is a symbol of the triumph of life and happiness over death and gloom. In Pachuquismo every occasion can be used as a celebration of sorts.

Pachuqismo is an exaltation of one’s own life, with the focus on showing through defiance that life is not worth anything “LA VIDA NO VALE NADA” as Mexicans tend to remind themselves of in their bravado and in such things as music, and with it comes an expressive spiritual form of laughing at tragedy.

Pachuqismo is noble & savage in its ability to synthesize its ways with those of any culture it comes in contact with, from Christianity to Yankeeism.

Pachuquismo goes on to possess all those Mexican-Americans who do not wish to be neither American nor old-Mexican, rejecting both societies that have discriminated against them. It goes on to cultivate and maintain the nostalgic identity of being original and independent, continuing to express itself in frame of mind & attitude and into a multitude of visual forms descriptive of its uniqueness which allows it to exist within a foreign society.

The pachuquismo attitude manifests itself fully in everything associated with the individual in a “pluralistic” form – from family to neighborhood, from attire to cars, from language to art. Everything becomes an outer expression for the precious treasure that the spirit of the individual carries within his/her rebel soul.

Pachuquismo assimilates everything it comes in contact with, but to everything it touches – it modifies it – thus creating something new.

Pachuquismo then would be better described as a pluricultural way of doing things by deforming foreign cultures and inventing a new one.

LIBERATION THEOLOGY

LIBERATION THEOLOGY By Lonewolf

One of the Most popular and controversial issues in modern Christianity is Liberation Theology. This theology, which grew out of the needs of the poor of Latin America, tends to view religions in revolutionary terms. It purports to read the Bible through the eyes of the poor and the oppressed. It believes that the proper role for Christianity is political identification with the struggles of the poor. The opponents of Liberation Theology see it as very close to Marxist doctrine. Liberation Theology has been expressed mainly by Roman Catholic Clergy in Latin America, but it also has a vast support by Evangelical & Missionary Christians.

Here is a case example of one of its first adherents of Liberation Theology, renown in Latin America revolutionary circles, arguably, even as much as the infamous Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

Camilo Torres: Colombian Priest and Revolutionary Guerrilla Fighter

Camilo was born in Santa Fé de Bogotá on February 3, 1929.
From a very young age he expressed his intention to study for the priesthood.
In 1954, after being ordained, he went to Belgium to study sociology at the University of Lovaina.
On his return to Colombia five years later, he discovered the complex problems affecting Colombia and immersed himself in them.

Teaching campesinos to read, and sharing with them the little food they could offer him, he came to understand and share their needs. He realized that the corrupt political class of Colombia would not develop policies beneficial to the people, nor hand over power to them, and that it fell to the people to take power for themselves. His contact with ordinary people, and his respect for them and their achievements, convinced him that only through unity could the acquisition of power be achieved, and it was from this perspective that, along with other leaders of the people's movement, he formed the United Front.

Camilo's ideas were constantly developing, and he began to stress the need for unity between Marxists and Christians to achieve the common objective of making revolution “so as to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty and give clothes to the naked.”

Camilo used to say, "Why should we debate amongst ourselves whether the soul is mortal or immortal, when we both know that hunger is mortal?"

He called on Christians to live up to the moral and ethical demands of their faith, contending, "Revolution is not only permitted for Christians, but obligatory", and "Our principal work is to organize the non-aligned majority of the poor classes, who don't belong to any political party, into a program and a line of action that will lead us toward the taking of power by, and for, the poor".

In early 1965 in an open letter to the Colombian people, he wrote, "I have joined the “ELN” Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional (National Liberation Army) because in it I find the ideals of the United Front, and the desire for, and existence of, a unity of the base, a people’s base, without differences of religion or traditional parties.

He joined the ELN as an ordinary combatant, and hastened to join the guerillas in the mountains. He happily performed his duties, rejecting any privileges offered him on the basis of his priesthood and history within the people's movement.

His life was under constant threat from the oligarchy, which feared him because they saw his leadership and ideas as a danger to their power in questioning of the structures of repression and creating consciousness amongst broad sectors of the poor classes.

His strong desire to serve led him to ask to participate in political-military actions. He was refused several times because of the risks involved. Nevertheless, he continued to ask, and eventually was allowed to form part of a column that was to carry out an ambush of army troops and attempt to seize their weaponry.

On February 15, 1966, Father Camilo Torres died in combat.

The role of Father Torres in the Colombian guerilla forces involves not only his personal trajectory, but also the mindset of Liberation Theology in the political and revolutionary arena, which leads Men of the Clergy and Christians to join the ranks of revolutionary movements as combatant fighters.

The presence of Camilo, and his contribution to the development of the ELN popular revolutionary movement, despite his tragically early death, began a process of consciousness which inspires Christians and Clergy to collaborate in the transformation of the continent's revolutionary history, and gaining their commitment to the people's struggle.

Through his actions Camilo Torres showed a path that would be taken by many Christian revolutionaries. It is a path which stresses the decisiveness of Christianity’s participation in revolution, and gives the example of personal commitment up to death, if necessary.

Father Torres used to say, "so that the next generation of Colombians will not be slaves."

His actions and his thinking are permanent invitations to struggle, Camilo personifies a liberation project in which men and women are guided by revolution as the unique option for “transforming love for humanity into an effective reality.”

Like Camilo, other priests also joined the liberation struggle as guerillas in the ELN. Among them were Fathers Domingo Laín, Antonio Jiménez, Diego Cristóbal Uribe and Father Manuel Pérez Martínez.

The example of these committed Christian revolutionaries has sown seeds throughout Latin America. Transcending borders and opening new paths for social activity of the poorest classes and the revolutionary struggle.

Camilo formed part of this history, and commitment of struggle “to the death if necessary,” for the liberation of the poorest classes.
Torres' life, work, and death, reflects on the significance to the ongoing liberation struggle of the people of all of Latin America.

“To liberate ourselves from the deadly exploitation and submission that capitalism engenders.”

THE PLAY IS FOR REAL NOW

THE PLAY IS FOR REAL
From BORDERLANDS, El Paso Community College Local History Project

Traditional Children's Play Games Have Disappeared, and Now The Play Is For Real!

The table is set for dinner and the aroma of homemade tortillas fills the house. Outside, mama is pushing Juanito on a swing for a few last minutes of outdoor fun before papa gets home from work. On the street, the sounds of children playing escondidas (hide-n-seek) and bebe leche (hopscotch), can be heard throughout the neighborhood. This scenario has now become a thing of the past and remains only a memory for those of us over 30.

Many of the games we as children used to play are not played much anymore. Those games have now died out; they lie dormant in our minds because we lack the time and will to teach them to our children. The games we played when we were kids made us happy, active children, and they reflected the neighborhood culture from which we came.

Struggling to keep their heads above water, many Chicano & Black households have out of necessity “two working parents,” and in many households—only one parent to provide. Thus leaving the task of child rearing to a babysitter or worst--the gang. There are not enough hours in a working parent's day to pass on those traditional children's games that we were taught by our elders. When parents and kids get home in the evening, the parents begin the routine of ending the day by preparing diner, cleaning up and once again preparing for the next day. In the meantime, the child sits in front of the modern world's baby-sitter “the television.” In many instances, the kids are somewhere at their friends, maybe, learning and doing who knows what?

"Nothing that comes back into our lives during old age is as important as having good friends and happy memories of our youth." A generation ago, children from the neighborhoods gathered outside after school to play games out in the street, from a simple game of marbles to a game of kickball, young girls spent time indoors dressing their dolls, and boys were busy outside with their tops. The boys needed strength to make their wooden tops spin off from a coiled string onto the ground, and the boy, who could spin-kick the other tops out from a circle drawn on the ground, became the champ. Many families also played board games in their homes, and these games not only provided fun, but also gave the family the opportunity to spend an enjoyable evening together before retiring.

A kid’s natural creativity is being lost with todays electronics mind capturing expensive games, which have fast replaced the group games of the past. Nowadays, it seems that if a game isn't store-bought, it won't be fun or cool enough to play. When we olden ones were children, there weren’t many kids in our neighborhoods that had expensive store-bought toys, but with a stick and some imagination we could work wonders.

Compared to the games that children used to play, today's toys and games seem to lack the vitality, imagination, socializing skills and innocence of the traditional group games. While the changing times have made these old traditional games appear outdated and childish, the fact was that those old kid’s games did teach children the important “socialization” skills needed to live and get along with others in any ethnic neighborhood.

Can you remember those times when children ran to school early in the morning in order to have time to play a game with their friends before the class bell rang?

How many kids nowadays know how to play a simple game of marbles?

How many even care about learning a marbles game?

Schools back in the day were filled with excitement, running, laughter and all sorts of group activities, and children used to hang around the schoolyard after the end-of-classes just to finish off games left in a tie from recess and to socialize for a while before going home. Times being what they are, kids are no longer allowed to arrive at school too early or to stay on school grounds after class. This is partly because schools are short of funds and can't afford to pay playground monitors to watch the children, but mainly because of the rising gang violence in the neighborhoods which does not respect schools or playgrounds anymore.

The demands of society on the family are partly responsible for the disappearance of our traditional children's games. The sad but true fact is that we have had to trade some of our socializing culture to stay within the mainstream of our changing world. As much as some parents would like to spend time with their children to pass on parts of their Hispanic or Black cultural inheritance, our rapidly consumerist rat-race world demands something different.

Maybe on some nights, dinnertime can be a little later, and the paperwork can be put off for a little while longer, so that we may go outside with our children and become kids ourselves once-again together with them, for maybe then we can begin to stop the madness taking the lives of so many of our young people who grow up too fast and live too dangerously in a world where the games kid’s play are for real.

TRUCHA CON LA CARRUCHA!