Related story: MEChA movement was founded on historical fallacies
Leonardo Castaneda misrepresented the true history and philosophy of MEChA
To the editor of the Opinion section of The Daily Aztec:
This letter is in response to the column that ran on Feb. 9 titled “MEChA movement was founded on historical fallacies,” by Leonardo Castaneda.
As an executive officer of MEChA de SDSU (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlan), I feel it is important to defend MEChA and what the Chicano/a Movement entails. MEChA at SDSU is an organization that focuses on promoting higher education for youth and providing all the essential tools to facilitate this process. We strive to address all relevant issues that affect our people, and we are diligently working every year to address the numbers of underrepresented students on university campuses. MEChA embraces diversity, such as skin color, religion, nationalities and/or sexual orientation.
In Castaneda’s column, he states that “Aztlán is the mythological birthplace of the Aztec people, which Chicanos conveniently decided was located in the southwestern U.S.” Although this is one of the meanings used in the Chicano/a Movement, not defined by MEChA, there are many other translations that tie to the word “Aztlán.” To many, it is a state of being or mind, and to others it is a literal location.
I would also like to clarify other references used inaccurately by Castaneda. MEChA does not claim to be descendants of the Mexicas, the original name of the Aztecs. We acknowledge the Mestizo culture with no direct ties to a specific indigenous group. To be Mestizo simply means one has a mixture of European and indigenous heritage.
Furthermore, MEChA’s ideology, which expresses Chicanismo, is simple and grounded in a philosophy, not a nationality. Once you analyze the Chicano movement, you will understand that Chicanismo is a political ideology within a cultural context. It has evolved from the Mexicans’ struggle in the U.S. to a global struggle for those and any that are oppressed.
The idea that we live in a post-racial world is an illusion and unreal. We can see it every day from the hate crimes happening around us to the state laws like SB-1070, that promotes racial profiling, being approved. Unfortunate events such as the UCSD “Compton Cookout,” illustrates how racism is still evident in our communities. Organizations such as the Black Student Union and several others, including MEChA, were the ones to respond to these racist attacks to prevent other racist acts. Ideally, our struggle promotes and strives for a post-racial world, but racism still continues.
I acknowledge Castaneda’s opinion and his right to voice it, but we ask that it be a well-informed and accurate one. His column can be seen as an attack on the organization and its members because of his negative and inaccurate depiction of MEChA’s struggle and purpose for the past 40 years. Our struggle is not based on individualism, but rather it is a collective effort to overcome social injustices. By taking a Chicano/a studies course at our university, anyone would be able to understand the different ideologies that have been discussed. In addition, MEChA holds weekly meetings every Thursday at 3:30 p.m. (Council Chambers), where we discuss and critically analyze both historical and current issues affecting us as a people.
“If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.”
– Malcolm X
Senior Sociology Major
SDSU men’s basketball fans disgrace their team
To the Editors of The Daily Aztec:
San Diego State continued its basketball dominance by handily defeating The University of Utah 85-53 last Tuesday night. As the game came to a close, the student section is reported to have chanted, “Boylen’s fired,” in reference to the University of Utah basketball coach. This kind of taunting is shameful. It is also surprising, considering the national hoopla associated with the inappropriate religious taunting of BYU by SDSU students during a basketball game last year. In a year when two MWC teams are in the Top 10, it is a shame that the SDSU student body has again chosen to hit below the belt and tarnish the reputation of their highly ranked basketball team. SDSU has plenty to brag about without stooping to such mean-spirited depths.
University of Utah