Why Do Chicanos Love the Aztecs?

[¡Ask a Mexican!] And what are some Mexican regional stereotypes of Mexicans?

DEAR MEXICAN: Why do so many Chicanos claim to be Aztec?

Chicano Stuck In Leavenworth


DEAR GABACHO: You're right. The beaner love for everything Aztec mostly stems from the Chicano Movement, whose members appropriated various Mexica iconography (the stylized United Farm Workers black eagle, the concept of Aztlán, the airbrushed paintings of warriors and scantily clad heinas on car trunks and blankets) to make a long-vanquished culture their own during an era when they were searching for an ethnic heritage. They, in turn, got the idea from indigenismo, the Mexican intellectual movement from the 1920s that took pride in Mexico's Indian past. And the indigenistas, in turn, went with the Aztecs because they're the Lost Cause of Mexico. There is more known about the Aztec empire than other Mexican indigenous groups because the Conquest—the foundation myth of Mexico—involved battles between the Aztecs and Spaniards that featured copious documentation, both in the codices that survived and the Spanish chronicles. The ultimate symbol of Mexico—the golden eagle perched on a cactus, snake in its beak—references the Aztec legend of the foundation of Tenochtitlan. And Nahuatl words are muchos in Mexican Spanish—for the gabachos at home, any word that ends with the suffix -te (chocolate, tomate, cacahuate, aguacate) came from the Nahuatl suffix –tl.

But the Mexican must admit he cringes at Aztec worship. For one, all that obsession comes at the expense of other tribes, tribes the Aztecs probably would've killed or subjugated if they were still around—they were the Romans of Mexico, and I don't mean that as a compliment. In addition, that romanticizing has problematic roots: indigenismo was part of bigger project of justifying modernity at the expense of the past. "Indigenismo was . . . a means to an end rather than an enduring mission," wrote David A. Brading in his 1998 paper "Manuel Gamio and Official Indigenismo in Mexico." "If incorporation was its aim, then essentially it sought to destroy rather than fortify the peasant culture of native communities. Modernising nationalism of the brand advocated by [Mexican intellectuals] found consolation in past glories, but its inner vision was based in the liberal resolve to transform a backward country into a modern nation able to defend itself from foreign hegemony."

But, hey, if you want to change your name from Jose Gonzalez to Nezahualcoyotl Moctezuma and go to sweat lodges on weekends even though you're lighter-skinned than a Southern belle, be my guest! I'm sure your ancestors who fought the Aztecs—both indigenous and Hispanic—would've approved!

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DEAR MEXICAN: Why do Mexicans in Mexico refer to one another by certain traits when they are from different towns? For example, I heard people from Monterrey are codos (stingy)? And I heard people from Guadalajara are usually blond. What about Mexicans from Durango, Michoacán and Sonora?

El Pochito

 

DEAR WAB: It's not a Mexican trait—look at how Americans stereotype Midwesterners, Southerners, New Yorkers, even people from pinche Maine. But I'll answer your pregunta because this is a teaching column for gabas, so let me bust out a bunch of otros Mexican regional stereotypes. People from Durango have a cowboy mentality, michoacanos are trashy, and those from Sonora are rugged individualists. Sinaloans are nuts, folks from Jalisco are stuck-up, and gente de Veracruz talkative. Los de Oaxaca are stubborn, Chihuahua residents are tall and light-skinned, and people from Guerrero are born outlaws. Finally, people from the mighty state of Zacatecas are the greatest people on God's green Earth.

 
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25 comments
lenita_66
lenita_66

"Sinaloans are nuts"....THIS is news to me! I was born and raised in Mazatlan and I have never heard about SINALOENSES be called nuts! Please explain.

joejack
joejack

Charro o puto, if you're from Guadalajara...

edgarveloz1978
edgarveloz1978

 @GustavoArellano "People from the mighty state of Zacatecas are the greatest people on God's green Earth." 

Since I  have Jalisco roots, I can say this, People from the Hermana Republica of Zacaturecas (A,K.A. Zacatecas) are better know as Zacatuercanos and they have that nickname based on Zacatecas Mining heritage, 

 

Just saying.

BTW, I been in Zacatecas a few times, I been to "La mina de eden" and it's a pretty cool tour and there is great food in the Mercado.

 

mrroach6
mrroach6

Kinda like every educated Mexican I know (both of them and no Gustavo you ain't the other one) claim to be Spanish?

mrroach6
mrroach6

And what then do they say about Anaheimians? Its in Mexico....right?

steveinmexico
steveinmexico

The best thing about a Mexi woman is that she"ll never bitch about you leaving the toilet seat up!

Anna
Anna

If there were no Mexicans in Orange County, do you think that crime would drop by 60% or 90%?

Other than financial White Collar crime of course...

grvz5247
grvz5247

Inche gustavo your a Kullero. For you information people from Jalisco are the happiest on all of earth. The land were the mighty GODS decided to have Tequila should be born, the Place were Mariachi the greatest music on earth comes from. Don't call Vicente Fernandez stuck up because you know you and every member of your family has one of his cds. Respect la Rasa from Jalisco or stop drinking the mighty drink of the Gods, Tequila.

esoj1211
esoj1211

and Guanajuato?  (the Ohio of Mexico)

joker805
joker805

Michoacan trashy?!! Take that back Gustavo!

esoj1211
esoj1211

The Chicano thing never got big here in Chicago.  There's less shame on account of not being close to the border, having more Catholics among the caucasian population, and everybody being a million times more scared of the black population.

EC_Esq
EC_Esq

The answer to the first question is:  because they are misguided & mistaken.  Chicanismo is not an ethnicity or a culture, it was a political movement.  The Mexican hits the nail on the head here, "to make a long-vanquished culture their own during an era when they were searching for an ethnic heritage."  What other people in this country do you know who have purposefully separated themselves from their mother culture & identity?  An Irishman or Italian born in the US still refers to himself as Irish-American or Italian-American.  Mexicans are the only ones who have created an entire pseudo-subculture to distance themselves from their ancestral past.  For example, if Mexican & Chicano supposedly come from the same root word, "Mexica", why would you choose to call yourself anything other than Mexican?  The fact is the leaders of the movement didn't feel welcome here and were ashamed of their parents & grandparents culture so they tried to create something different.  The saddest part of this is that their "ethnic heritage" was right next door. 

DonAlbertoDoyle
DonAlbertoDoyle

A couple of months back I needed a ride from Nuevo Laredo back to Queretaro (car permit problems), so I hired a complete stranger to bring me and my dog back down.  When he hit town, he couldn't stop talking about the coches: "Son todos nuevos, son todos buenos, que grandes!", etc.  He then started talking about the mujeres.  My landlord replied: "si, ay las bellas y las pobrecitas."  So I'd venture that the Quereterano reputation is Rich Snots.

ihearu1950
ihearu1950

Gustavo, what is said about the women from San Luis Potosi?

Dave_Lieberman
Dave_Lieberman

Don't forget the chilangos (from Mexico City and the surrounding area of Mexico state)... who have a reputation for being so stuck up even the tapatíos (from Guadalajara) won't deal with them; regios (people from Monterrey, Nuevo León) are obsessed with work and business and money... it goes on and on until even a gabacho like me traveling in Mexico learns about them. (Also, most of them aren't remotely true.)

 

And the women from Jalisco, well, they have a justifiable reputation for being las más bellas del país.

OCWeekly
OCWeekly

@adriennemarkes Gracias for rt!

BillxT
BillxT topcommenter

 @mrroach6

 Two,  now THERE'S a representative sample! Youare to be congratulated on your stellar research.

larivr
larivr

 @Anna Yeah! Let's keep up the Wall St crime destroying the globe!

larivr
larivr

 @EC_Esq Not exactly.  More a reflection of the uniqueness of the Southwest and our proximity to the US and to instill pride in response to being treated like second class citizens not only for our parents but ourselves in both countries.

joejack
joejack

@EC_Esq Don't let the MeCHA kids at ELAC hear you say that...

joejack
joejack

@Dave_Lieberman My uncle told me that on his various trips around Mexico, he'd encounter such "people from here are x, people from here are y" attitudes...the only thing he said stayed consistent was hatred for Chilangos...according to him, he even saw graffitti that said "Amas a Mexico, mata un Chilango" in more than one state...

mrroach6
mrroach6

 @BillxT

     I should have figured someone of great intellect such as yourself  would assume my statement said I only knew two(2) Mexicans. I know many Mexicans but I DID say "Educated" and as I don't live in the best part of Phoenix that tends to lower the base. At least I gave Gustavo the benefit of the doubt by acknowledging he is educated. He IS a racist hate mongering rabble rouser who makes his living feeding off Liberal White (gabacho/a) Guilt by championing the poor oppressed brown masses. While simultaneously advocating the overthrow of his native country (Anaheim) by virtue of Reconquista. But He IS educated.

     BTW...it is either "you are" or "You're".

 
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