Chicanos And Mestizaje
In contrast, contemporary expressions of mestizaje emphasize hybrid cultural experiences and the relations of power. The social position of contemporary thinkers somewhat explains the late-twentieth-century formulations of mestizaje. Whereas Mexican philosophers were members of the dominant sectors of society, Chicana and Chicano social critics, artists, and creative writers who reformulated mestizaje beginning in the late 1960s did not enjoy such a place in the United States or Latin America. In multiple genres, the earliest Chicano articulations of mestizaje were a strategy of affirmation, liberation, and identity.
Mexican Americans join three historical moments and expand the original concept of mestizaje. The first event occurred in 1521 with the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire; el segundo mestizaje (the second cultural mixing) occurred at the end of the Mexican-American War (1846–1848), in which the United States annexed over half of Mexico's territory; and the third event is the contemporary cultural interchange among Chicanos and European Americans. All three moments originate in disempowerment and suggest a rebirth. Particularly since the second historical moment, Chicanos and Chicanas have positioned mestizaje as an alternative to the social contract of assimilation. In making parallel the historical legacies of the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, mestizaje no longer serves a pluralist agenda. In the United States, it functions as an antidote to modern anti-Indian and anti-Mexican sentiments, and although alliances with Native American populations in the American Southwest have been formed, they do not continue to anchor Chicano thought in the same way that Mexico's indigenous and pre-Columbian civilizations inform Chicano and Chicana mestizaje.
Chicano mestizaje enacts a void and a congested condition. For example, the poem "I Am Joaquin" (1967) by Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales expresses a fusion of two opposites, Mexico and the United States, which are blended to form a third cultural experience: Chicano. The hybrid Chicano is neither Mexican nor American. Artists such as Amado Peña (with "Mestizo," silkscreen, 1974) and Emanuel Martinez (with "Mestizo Banner," silkscreen on canvas, 1967) produced the fusion in graphic form with a mestizo tripartite head in which two profiles faced left and right and were united in the third face in frontal position. Other artistic and scholarly proposals overdetermined a gendered mestizaje, emphasizing select indigenous characteristics and a masculine repertoire.