Calling upon the Chicano Pope to Reflect

How was the Chicano Pope chosen? Did I miss the anointment ceremony? The Chicano Pope proudly grinds the biggest axe to attack those who do not heed his mandates and demand for complicity. This is a call for the Chicano Pope to thoughtfully engage in the issue of accountability.  After all, it was the Chicano Pope who wrote, “What is so frustrating about politics is that there is so little accountability. We can continually screw up as my students would say and are not accountable. Because we as a society are ahistorical, we are unable to sort out the lies that our leaders tell us or correct our own errors…The biggest obstacle to furthering a Chicano, Latino, or anything you want to call it agenda is a lack of accountability.” Wise words but is the Pope exempt from heeding them?

The Chicano Pope feigns objectivity and freely admits that “In times like these I have found myself trying too hard, and becoming a motivational speaker instead of a teacher, relying on what some may call hyperboles to make my point.” He also proclaims that he is “protective of the legacy of the sixties.” Is the Chicano Pope trying to suppress intellectual inquiry that does not fit into his hero making narratives?  Are the accusations that Reies López Tijerina molested one of his children off limits? Or does this history not matter?  A few months ago the Chicano Pope openly encouraged us to embrace another “martyr” by boasting, “Based on my reading of history the stock of Sean Arce will reach epic levels. If he were living in California or Texas there would have been at least a half dozen corridos (ballads) written about him.”  The Chicano Pope has been silent on this issue, why?

Maybe the Pope “dreads” going to NACCS in San Antonio because for the last two years he has used the organization to peddle charlatan leaders who silenced and threatened those who disagreed in Tucson. Or does this history not matter?  People donated to ethnic studies and defense funds because the Chicano Pope had blessed these fundraising efforts.  Are these organizations going to offer yearly reports that detail where all the funds were spent?  The Chicano Pope asked us to donate to these causes and held the collection basket in his hands as he blessed those who reached into their pockets. Where is the accountability?

The Chicano Pope has made it clear that, “If people would be held accountable, this would put people on notice.”  Chicano Pope, this is your notice.  You have sold Chican@s short and out.  The paper trail you leave in this lifetime grows each time you lead the Chicano choir in nationalist hymns and engage in perverted reasoning aimed at silencing dissent in order to achieve a “Wonderful Life.”  What you offer is delusion.

Stop using smoke and mirrors to encourage ignorance and to discourage deeper examinations into shameful, antifeminists and homophobic histories. Stop casting stones against your CSU Northridge colleagues, NACCS and anyone who disagrees with you. And, realize that you do not have the power to dictate where outrage should be directed. This message is also a call for the Chicano Pope to examine his conscience. Stop seeking conformity.  Embrace new ways of thinking and listen to youth instead of preaching to them. This is hard to hear because your narcissism gets in the way, but Chican@ Studies will not crumble if you retire. New forms and people will step in and build on what it is and once was.  And, yes, it might even be better. Don’t be a Chicano Pope who presses for the conservative and traditional.

Step aside.

It is time.

10 thoughts on “Calling upon the Chicano Pope to Reflect

  1. Haven’t you heard of the dogma of papal infallibility? The Holy See is always right when it comes to the doctrine.

  2. “Chican@ Studies will not crumble if you retire”
    I am so happy to see that intelligence, discernment and clear seeing are part of the movement in Tucson.

  3. I really like the pop analogy. Not only because of recent news events, but because there ARE interesting parallels about hypocrisy, disconnect from communities, an approach of preaching instead of listening, and a sort of unexplained divine unquestioning confidence that they both share. It is certainly interesting to compare the hierarchy, and struggles, within the catholic church to our communities here in Tucson (who here are the cardinals, the congregation, the raped children, the institution, etc).

  4. I would have taken the issue of sexual violence and rape further in this posting. I am sure that the Chicano Pope knows of the accusations but he has chosen to turn a blind eye and remain silent.

    • The Chicano Pope is political satire. It is meant to entertain and yet raise critical issues in an environment that silences and monitors speech. I am curious how people will interpret this posting. You’d need to have a lot of background information to totally GET IT.

  5. I like the Malintzine and its voice is important and innovative. Would it be better to attack the behavior instead of individuals? My reaction to the story is complex. From LA, we have supported MAS and the struggle and alliances have been accomplished partly through people/MAS networking, and yes, even Abbie’s blogging in Three Sonorans. This has started a movement in LA/Califas for Raza/Ethnic Studies. My issue is also that it seems divisive when we go at each other like this: what’s at stake is an INSTITUTION that was built – MAS – and all those years that a group of people spent building that “structure.” It seems too easy to cast stones, because they are thrown when people are down, and can be used as right wing fodder. I know even this “defense” can seem to avoid the problem of sexism/misogyny but are there more effective and thoughtful ways to do this? I disagree with the view that destroying an institution/MAS (that took years to build) and rebuilding a “new one” up will be so easy and harmless.

    • Elias, who wants “destroy an institution” or MAS? The posting states that “new forms and people will step in and build on what it is and once was.” It sounds like you are okay with critiquing “the man” but not the men who built what you call the MAS “structure.” I would be concerned if I were you. From what you say, it seems that you have modeled your LA/Califias movement on the Tucson ethnic studies movement. If so, how you explain the silencing and manipulation orchestrated by the 3S and the Chicano Illuminati? Were their actions good for the “INSTITUTION”?

      • I believe in the dialectic, criticism is due to men (and women) for sexist behavior, patriarchal structures, and male privileges that get in the way of justice movements. I learned most feminist theory and lit from Chican@ Studies courses in college. Respect, hard work, Chicana experience was also learned from my Ma and 2 sisters, and close friends over the yrs. Praxis and behavior is all up to me (and every single man).
        Checking is important; how you check someone also says alot. I disagree with the letter’s evaluation of Acuna. One major message in his essays these last few years is that Chican@ academics should be more involved in communities and activist, and I don’t see how “retiring” this voice would help. I think you can critique or challenge folks without seeming to disrespect them. His support of Tucson’s battle is unmatched in Califas; his articles and critical viewpoint helped spread the word about the issues in AZ. Bottom line is “blanket statements” are inefficient. Why not go after the dozens of careerist Chican@ Studies profes that don’t do sh– ?
        I also think it’s naive to think “new forms and people” will magically pick up the pieces because, from my experience and history, opportunists and establishment puppets are always nearest for the scraps and rubble. Malintzine should address the opportunists and the right wing as well. One thing that has been hard is realizing that MAS will never make it back, that the team of men and women that built a highly effective (albeit imperfect) and I believe amazing Chican@ Studies department at the high school level, will never be brought together. It may have been imperfect, but it was amazing what the program achieved.
        Califas movement found inspiration (and yes unprecedented pedagogical models) in Tucson. After the desmadrefication, Califas focused on local challenges, and still at it. We also dealt with issues of sexism, gender roles and realities specific to our experiences here, as best we could. And more can and will be done. I’m not for the INstitution, unless the institution is OUR institution (Chican@ Studies), then I get to work.

  6. As one of the unidentified subjects of the Pope’s last papal statement, I appreciate this clever, irreverent and on point statement. Thank you for keeping Chicana/o studies relevant by standing up for open dialogue and open-mindedness.

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