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Nancy Ahern

is the Executive Editor of the Tocquevillian magazine, and a freelance writer and columnist in Arizona.


    Fact: A Racist is a Racist

    by Nancy Ahern

    September 10, 2003

    The Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) is not truly a racist organization. Nor is it truly tied to a plan to cede most of the US Southwest back to the Chicano peoples for the formation of the Nation of Aztlan, also known as El Plan de Aztlan.

    Did you know that?

    I didn't, but I read a position paper written by an anonymous somebody at which claims that there is no real racism in MECHa. No. It is merely misunderstood. The organization is the victim of myths and lies.

    There are some interesting points this person makes. Points he labels as "facts." After first attempting to disassociate MEChA from "El Plan de Aztlan", the author goes on to link MEChA firmly to it with this statement:

    El Plan de Aztlan is an historical document of the Chicano movement, as such MEChA would not renounce the collective history of our peoples Civil Rights struggle by denouncing what is inarguably the true history of the southwest.

    Inarguably true? "History" at any given time, presented by any given person, is never "inarguable", because it is always presented from a point of view, and spun to an ideological position. Always.

    Want more? The person whose opinion was so precious to him that he would not offer it under his full name went on to discuss some "facts."

    The facts are that the southwest was invaded upon by Anglos under the white supremacist banner of "Manifest Destiny" in 1836 and 1846.

    It would be nice for "facts" to be purely factual and devoid of emotionalism and spin. For example, while "Manifest Destiny" most certainly excluded Native Americans and those not purely descended from Europeans (blacks, and those Hispanics who were descended from a mix of Spanish, French and indigenous Central American tribes), it had several roots from which it had sprung. Check out what History Guy has to say:

    Manifest Destiny did not necessarily call for violent expansion. In both 1835 and 1845, the United States offered to purchase California from Mexico, for $5 million and $25 million, respectively. The Mexican government refused the opportunity to sell half of its country to Mexico's most dangerous neighbor.
    Not all American westward migration was unwelcome. In the 1820's and 1830's, Mexico, newly independent from Spain, needed settlers in the under-populated northern parts of the country. An invitation was issued for people who would take an oath of allegiance to Mexico and convert to Catholicism, the state religion. Thousands of Americans took up the offer and moved, often with slaves, to the Mexican province of Texas. Soon however, many of the new "Texicans" or "Texians" were unhappy with the way the government in Mexico City tried to run the province. In 1835, Texas revolted, and after several bloody battles, the Mexican President, Santa Anna, was forced to sign the Treaty of Velasco in 1836.

    Yes, the US was seeking to expand its borders, but belligerence occurred on both sides of the issue.

    The anonymous editorialist continues with more "facts:"

    The invasion was so brutal that Irish-American soldiers deserted in droves and formed the St. Patrick’s brigade and fought against U.S. forces in defense of the Mexican peasantry (anyone ever wonder why there are so many redheads in Northern Mexico?).

    There is some fact mixed in with the emotion here. It has less to do with the actual brutality (since brutalities were noted on both sides, and is part and parcel of any armed conflict) and more to do with the way Irish-Americans were treated within their own ranks, and the sympathetic bonds this set up:

    Again from

    One interesting aspect of the war involves the fate of U.S. Army deserters of Irish origin who joined the Mexican Army as the Batallón San Patricio (Saint Patrick's Battalion). This group of Catholic Irish immigrants rebelled at the abusive treatment by Protestant, American-born officers and at the treatment of the Catholic Mexican population by the U.S. Army. At this time in American history, Catholics were an ill-treated minority, and the Irish were an unwanted ethnic group in the United States. In September, 1847, the U.S. Army hanged sixteen surviving members of the San Patricios as traitors. To this day, they are considered heroes in Mexico.

    Another "fact" for our entertainment: In fact, the red stripe on the pants of the dress blues of the US Marine Corps. symbolizes the blood of the Mexican peasantry that was spilled by US aggression… to always remind the Corp. of what it did to the Mexican civilian population in 1846- 48.

    Here is the fact concerning the so-called "Blood Stripe"

    Known as the Scarlet Trouser Stripe (Blood stripe) - The red stripe was first seen on Marine uniforms in 1796. It was used off and on until uniform regulations made it standard on all NCO and Officer uniforms in 1859. It is rumored that the stripe represents the blood shed by Marines at the Battle of Chapaultepec in the war with Mexico in 1846.

    Our friend sums up his stance on El Plan de Aztlan:

    People’s ideologies may change, but we would not denounce El Plan de Aztlan, just like many in the African-American community would not denounce the legacy of the Black Panthers or Malcolm X in the current African-American struggles for Human and Civil rights in the U.S. today.

    MEChA refers to the liberation of Aztlan as the liberation of our people from oppressions and ignorance

    Rac*ism: Discrimination or prejudice based on race.
    : 2. To make distinctions on the basis of class or category without regard to individual merit; show preference or prejudice.

    Hispanics, as with blacks, tribal people, women, the poor, and even Irish-Catholics have suffered at the hands of the unprincipled, the greedy, and the opportunistic. So have whites, Protestants, Chinese, Christians, Africans, Polish ... pretty much any "group" that cares to discriminate and call attention to itself as a demographic group. People are subject to tyranny. It does not serve us well to continue to discriminate among ourselves, to identify ourselves by a "blood stripe" of our own, and to seed hatred in the name of tribal pride.

    It doesn't.

    © 2003 Tocqevillian Magazine