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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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PROGRAM INFO

Title:
The Origins Of Political Resistance: Chicano Bandits & Chicana Organizers
Program #
1979-33
Theme:
Identity

Series:
Historical Figures
Host:
Richard Goodman
Guest:
Richard Goodman
Date:

The Origins of Political Resistance: Chicano Bandits & Chicana Organizers

Host Richard Goodman first discusses the lives of two famous Chicano Bandits, Juan Nepomuceno “Cheno” Cortina and Tiburcio Vazquez, as examples of two Mexicans who impacted United States history. Referring to Rodolfo Acuña’s study Occupied America, Goodman explains how many Mexican-Americans in the 1850s were very poor and oppressed by Anglo society. Consequently, they revered bandits who broke Anglo laws because they attacked the same law enforcement structures that oppressed them. While Anglo historians have tried to discredit these figures, many Mexicans recognize them as the precursors of the Chicano Movement. Juan Nepomuceno Cortina was an upper class Mexican living near Brownsville, Texas when one day he shot a marshal who was pistol-whipping a Mexican. From then on, he was committed to defending Mexicans against Anglo abuses. Tiburcio Vazquez operated in California in the 1850, raiding towns and robbing hotels and stores. Mexicans admired him for anti-establishment activities. He was eventually captured and hung, but before he died he explained that his activities were driven by the hatred and anger he felt towards the Anglos who deprived Mexicans of their rights.

Goodman then discusses the role of Chicanas in Chicano culture and society. He explores the role of women during Pre-Colombian times, and the gender parity that characterized Aztec society. During the conquest, however, the role of women changed as the conquistadors introduced Spanish gender norms that valued women only as child bearers. He then discusses the various ways women participated during the Mexican struggle for independence, serving as soldiers, financiers and in other roles. After the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the U.S. incorporated vast areas of Mexico, and Chicanas found themselves constrained by Anglo cultural norms. However, they continued their active participation in politics, especially around the turn of the century and into the 1920s, when they helped organize Mutual Aid Societies and defend civil rights. In the post World War II era, Chicanas have continued to work and organize, especially in agribusiness and the garment industry and then later the Chicano Movement. Goodman concludes that they have continued to positively affect society through their participation in local politics and their work in schools and women’s organizations.

 

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