chapter  2
22 Pages

The Chicano Ethnoterritorial Movement and Bilingual Education Policy

The political history of the Chicano community in the United States shows that Chicanos have engaged in different forms of struggles of opposition since the Mexican-American war of 1846-48. In Texas, the struggle can be traced to 1836 when Texas fought for independence from Mexico. The diversity of struggle is the result of at least three factors: (a) the asymmetrical power relations between the Anglo and Mexican population, (b) the varied ecological and economic environment of the Southwest, and (c) the heterogeneity of the Mexican American population. Historically, this diversity has resulted in the pursuit of specific goals pertinent to regional differences and historical circumstances by different groups of Mexican Americans. Despite the differences found in regional struggles, the overall goals of these efforts are essentially of two types. One scholar has analyzed the emergence of the ethnic group's goals that have characterized Chicano political history and identified them as being those of equality and community (Barrera 1988). He states: 'The first of these goals refers to economic, social, and political equality between Chicanos and the mainstream white, or 'Anglo,' population. The second involves the maintenance of a cohesive and culturally distinct communal identity" (p. 4). In the political history of the Chicano community, however, these goals have not been emphasized with equal vigor. For example, the goal of community was more predominant during the Politics of Resistance period (1846-1915), although it reemerged with renewed energy during

the Politics of Protest period (1965-1975). The goal of equality, on the other hand, has been more predominant since the 1920s, encompassing the periods of Politics of Accommodation (1915-1945), Social Change (1945-1965), and Protest (Navarro 1974b). In the late sixties, with the growth of Chicano nationalism, different Chicano political organizations made particular appeals to ethnic identity and community in their push for equality. Hence, during the height of the Chicano Movement (1968-1975) both goals achieved high levels of integration within the emergent cultural nationalist ideology.