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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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Pocho: The Novel, The Author, And Their Times
Program #

Biography, Literature
Linda Fregoso
José Antonio Villarreal
Jan 1, 1981

Pocho: the novel, the author, and their times

Jose Antonio Villarreal discusses his novel, Pocho, and the ways in which his own life and politics influenced his writing. Villarreal first discusses his experiences growing up in the pre-World War II era in California. He traces some of the similarities between his own life and that of his character, Richard Rubio, but he stresses that his novel is not a biography. Villarreal says he wrote Pocho because he wanted to introduce the rest of the U.S. to a group of Americans they knew nothing about.

Villarreal then discusses the critique many Chicanos have leveled against his book for being apolitical. He explains that he didn’t want to get involved in politics; he was interested solely in being a writer. Villarreal does acknowledge that the Chicano Movement has created a larger audience for his work and recognizes that the novel falls within its purview, but he emphasizes that he is not involved in the movement. He also discusses some of the benefits that the Chicano movement has won and some of its setbacks. While he praises their positive impact on education, he opposes ideas of cultural nationalism.

Villarreal then talks about his decision to move to Mexico City and become a Mexican citizen. He also discusses the current economic situation in Mexico and the growing middle class. Despite his decision to move, Villarreal explains that he loves the United States and has fond memories of growing up in the ethnically diverse Bay Area. He then briefly discusses his current projects.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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