MECHA Name Change Draws Fire From Chicanos
Reactions online to MeCHA proposed name change. via twitter user: @Franzia_Fanon
La Cartita --- A small group of students within California decided to eliminate the term 'Chicano' from the organizations name. The reactions have been contounding though to the obvious historical nature of the group. Throughout the organization's existence, white authors, institutions have sought to display the group as 'exclusionary' because of its Chicano centric mission. Despite the obvious need for such an institution and the many options for non-Chicanos, a small group of elite institution based chapters have voted to deny 'Chicano' a place within the organizations identity. "National Meeting Hijacked By Right-Wing Ideologue
A report from Union del Barrio indicates that a series of procedural changes led to the absurd vote.
In one section, the report addresses the constant and bizarre need to equate Chicanos with racists: To accuse MEChA de UCLA of racism, ultra-nationalism, or anti-indigenous, anti-Black, anti-LGBTQIA+ behavior is simply ridiculous. Anyone suggesting such a thing must be challenged for their reactionary dishonesty.
While most of the members intended to vote for inclusion, the concept was hijacked and taken to mean that acknowledging yourself was oppressive despite the colonial context in which students have struggled.
In general, the charge on Chicanos and Mexicans that creating a space for their problems is racist strikes a balance between the absurd and self-defeating. Chicanos - if they have any institutions - rarely deviate from pro-social behavior towards other communities. The event itself was explicitly intentioned to be as inclusive as possible, but many reactionary voices have taken ahold of the organization, meaning to portray Mexican nationalism as somehow equivaent to white supremacy. Nothing can be further from the truth, with the same charge never being levied at black organizations that themselves exclude - for logistical and cultural reasons - non-Blacks.
Full quote: "We also want to be clear, basing ourselves on observations made by our members who were present during the debate, we are convinced that the vast majority of MEChistas who voted to change the name did not have malicious intentions. However, many of the arguments made in favor of the name change demonstrated a clear lack of awareness regarding the historical and current significance of the terms in question, and a clear disconnection from the legacy of community struggle and sacrifice that it took to build MEChA into the organization that was being represented within that national meeting."