The Chicano movement of the 1960s and 1970s provides a window into the construction of race in the United States. Never a unified entity, the Chicano insurgency was instead a series of events and actions waged by organizations that used cultural nationalism and Marxist-Leninist ideas to press their demands. Among these organizations were the Brown Berets, the National Chicano Moratorium Committee, the Crusade for Justice, the Movimiento Estudiantíl Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA), La Raza Unida Party (LRUP), and the Centro de Acción Social Autónomo (Autonomous Center for Social Action, commonly known as CASA). They all used the common anti-American political language of Chicanismo, which gave them the semblance of a mutual identity and experience. Another notion that the groups shared was the idea that Chicanos were an internal colony of the United States.
The Chicano movement was never a unified entity, but during its short-lived existence it sought to empower Mexican Americans in a more militant and sensational manner than had been done before. Ultimately, it was a moment of political experimentation that imagined community in a myriad of ways, and in the process brought to the forefront the dynamic and multifaceted nature of the ethnic Mexican community in the United States. Thus, understanding the Chicano movement allows for greater insight into the construction of race and racism in America.
Read more about the Chicano Movement CREDO: Encyclopedia of Race and Racism (login with your COM account for off campus access)