Guadalupe Rosales’s popular Instagram account, Veteranas and Rucas, has been receiving press coverage for the past few months. The account provides a glimpse into the Los Angeles area party crew, chola scene from the ‘80s and ‘90s, but occasionally, she will share images from the ‘60s and ‘70s or even earlier. The goal of the account is to highlight a segment of Chicano culture that is often maligned and overlooked.
In a recent interview with Elle magazine, Rosales said the following:
“Chicano is someone who is first or second generation; for example, my parents were born in Mexico and migrated to the U.S., and I was born in California. So I’m Mexican American/Chicano. Latino could be anyone who is Mexican or Central American or South American. My parents are Latinos, and so is someone from El Salvador.”
Elle’s author, Kira Garcia, accepted this definition without pushback or clarification. Rosales’s narrow definition of Chicano by generational status in the US leaves out a lot of gente, especially those with roots in the Southwest states that go back more than one or two generations.
Rosales’s statement also ignores the political identity and consciousness that those who identify as Chicano have. Primarily, those who identify as Chicano not only have a cultural awareness of their Mexican ancestry but also acknowledge the social and political activism of the movement in the ‘60s and ‘70s that brought us to where we are today.
Collecting photos from Chicano Los Angeles in the 1990s beyond party crews would indicate that there was a lot of political activity going on, especially with the anti-immigrant Proposition 187 that prompted protests and high school student walkouts. Just prior to Proposition 187’s passage, there was the well-publicized fight for Chicano studies at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1993.
When Rosales says that Latinos could be anyone who is Mexican or Central American or South American, she gives credence to a pan-Latino identity that many Mexicans and Chicanos have sought to distinguish themselves from. The term Latino doesn’t acknowledge indigenous roots, whereas Chicano, coming from the word ‘Mexica,’ does.
Because of her Instagram following and press coverage of her work, Rosales might be viewed as an authority on Chicanismo in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Hopefully, she will take into account some of the things that gente were doing beyond house parties and cruises that reflect the desire to improve our collective condition, while acknowledging that Chicanos cannot conveniently be put into a box that suits her liking or that of the editors of corporate media outlets.
— by Adriana Maestas (@AdrianaMaestas)