Rumors of the Death of Chicano Studies are Greatly Exaggerated by Public Radio
God, the examples to shred apart
And then there's Cal State Fullerton, where I teach one class a semester. The Chicana/o students there just held their first-ever academic symposium, an all-day affair featuring 12 presenters and attended by over 50 people--a huge accomplishment for a student-run gig held on a weekend at a commuter school where no one got paid. My boss, Alexandro José Gradilla, just helped push through Chicana/o Studies concentrations for master's degrees in the history and Spanish programs. The tenure-track professor positions have grown by two in the two years I've taught there--is that the death of a discipline, or its emergence?
Of course, all of this is too much nuance for KPCC (full disclosure: I was a longtime contributor and was once in talks to contribute to Take Two), which has millions of dollars in grants to show that public radio can attract a big ol' happy family of "Latinos" and "Hispanics" who don't identify with silly identity politics. Hilariously enough, such a position lines them up with opponents of public radio, who have long targeted ethnic studies because it teaches a truthful narrative that American historians never bothered with. Meanwhile, the Chicano movement's influence is stronger than ever before with DREAMers, LGBTQ kids, the Librotraficante movement (the creation of community libraries stocking books banned by the Tucson Unified School District), community organizing, Lalo Alcaraz, and so much more. Do the people in these movements call themselves Chicanos? Usually not. Do they identify with their predecessors in the Chicano movement? Damn straight.
To say that a discipline is endangered just because students don't call themselves Chicanos is like saying the American Dream is endangered just because we don't make good cars anymore. Pinche bola de pendejos, I swear...
Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!