July 19, 2007

Pressured into being Mexican

Indian Cholo--Learning to Love My Native RootsThe Pachucos–-Mexican gangsters in Los Angeles during the 1940s, famous for wearing Zoot Suits and fighting with sailors-–used to beat up my grandma and my mom’s uncles just for being Indian. That just shows how ignorant people are about their own history and how their race came into existence. A lot of Latinos deny their Indian roots because they were brainwashed by Christianity and Spanish culture. In Mexican culture, “indio” is the same as “poor and stupid.”

Because of the pressure, my mom’s uncles converted into the Mexican culture and became hardcore cholos in the 1940s and 50s. One of my great-uncles even joined the Mexican Mafia while doing a 30-year sentence in prison. When the second-generation was born in L.A.-–my mom, aunt and uncle-–the same thing happened all over again.

My uncle was harassed for being Indian and he later became a cholo. Now, he’s a “veterano”-–or an O.G.--and an alcoholic. My uncle finally found his roots late in life, after years of incarceration and two gunshots to the face. Now, he lives on an Indian reservation in Arizona with his girlfriend and paints Indian images.

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