Chicano Nations: The Hemispheric Origins of Mexican American Literature

Chicano Nations: The Hemispheric Origins of Mexican American Literature

Chicano Nations: The Hemispheric Origins of Mexican American Literature

Chicano Nations: The Hemispheric Origins of Mexican American Literature

Excerpt

Technically, I don’t qualify as a Chicano. I wasn’t born in East L.A. I
wasn’t born in de southwest U.S.A. I wasn’t even born in Méjico. Does dis
make me Hispanic? … Dese terms, Latino and Hispanic, are inaccurate
because dey lump a whole lot of different people into one category. For
example, a Mayan from Guatemala, an eSpaniard from eSpain and a
Chicana/o who speaks no Spanish might all be described, in some circles,
as Hispanic. And de term Latino could include people as different as
right-wing Cubans living in Miami, exiled Salvadoran leftists, Mexican
speakers of Nahuatl, Brazilian speakers of Portuguese, lunfardo-speaking
Koreans in Buenos Aires, Nuyoricans
(dat’s a Puerto Rican who lives
in New York
) and den dere’s de Uruguayans—I mean dey’re practically
European. … As for me, let’s just say … I’m a pachuco
.

—WIDELOAD MCKENNAH, FRONTERAS AMERICANAS (27)

Guillermo Verdecchia’s 1993 play Fronteras Americanas alternates between two characters, Verdecchia and his alter ego, Facundo Morales Segundo, who prefers the “more Saxonical” name Wideload McKennah (24). In the first act, Wideload interrupts Verdecchia’s learned disquisitions on Latin American history with satirical monologues about Latino stereotypes and “de Saxonian community” (40). As Verdecchia ponders his conflicted relationships with Canada and Argentina, where he was born, Wideload plays ethnographer to the exotic Mr. and Mrs. Smith and their children, Cindy and John, while earning his “doctorate in Chicana/o estudies” (35). Having arrived in Argentina by the end of the first act, Verdecchia returns “home” to Canada in the second, finding himself increasingly depressed and confused about the nature of home until he realizes, “I’m not in Canada; I’m not in Argentina. I’m on the Border. I am home” (74). Wideload, meanwhile, has traded his jester’s persona for commentary “en serio” about how “we are re-drawing the map of America because economics, [he’s] told, knows no borders” (76).

The character Verdecchia embraces his own inner borders and divisions as a defensive counter to the dehumanizing forces of globalization Wideload describes. The surprising turn in these not-so-novel ideas comes in linking them with Argentine-Canadian figures who cross pachuco cool with literary lions of the Southern Cone. Domingo Sarmiento’s . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.