Analysis Of “The Chicano Generation: Testimonios Of The Movement”

The Chicano Generation: Testimonios of the Movement is a book written by Mario T. Garcia, who is a prominent civil rights scholar. People of Mexican ancestry born in the United States are known as “Chicanos.” During the Chicano Movement of the 1960s, Mexican Americans started using the phrase widely as a sign of national pride. The majority of Mexicans in America, including those who subsequently immigrated and those who resided in areas where the U.S. border was moved, however, discovered that they were treated as second-class citizens. Chicano power represented a community that would no longer put up with being oppressed by Caucasian society. Chicanos wanted a shift in the social and political landscape in the United States to be treated equally with white Americans. The work of Garcia offers a unique glimpse inside the Chicano community struggles that took place in Los Angeles throughout the 1960s and 1970s. It is possible to claim that The Chicano Generation: Testimonios of the Movement is one of a few books that provide a well-written analysis of the historic Chicano Movement in Los Angeles.

To begin with, Garcia stated that the Chicano movement was the largest and the most widespread civil rights and empowerment struggle by Mexican Americans, which challenged the U.S. system (Garcia, 2015). To research that, the author interviewed and recorded for a long time three influential activists of that time —Raul Ruiz, Gloria Arellanes, and Rosalio Muoz. He decided to pay attention to more than just their activism during the pivotal periods of the Chicano movement. For example, Garcia describes their family histories and extremely varied upbringings, the circumstances surrounding their coming to identify as Chicanos, Gloria Arellanes’ experiences with racism, sexism, and the consequences of their chosen political life experiences. Many themes relevant to the United States in the 1960 and early 1970s can be found in this book. Each section embraces different ideas to give a better representation. Ruiz describes his involvement with student blowouts, which he refers to as his “baptism by fire” in the movement, as well as his work with the Chicano journal Inside Eastside, which focused on the mistreatment of Chicano high school students (Garcia, 2015). Arellanes’s testimonies detail her involvement with the Brown Berets and the birth of Chicana feminism (Garcia, 2015). While a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, Muoz, the third narrator, joined the United Mexican American Students (UMAS) and subsequently the Chicano Moratorium, where he became engaged in the Chicano movement (Garcia, 2015). The book, which mostly depends on testimonials as its style, succeeded in informing readers about the struggles of the Chicano movement.

The work is written in a way that delivers clear messages and is easy to follow. The book consists of an introduction, three main bodies that represent the stories of three main characters, and an epilogue, which serves as a conclusion. The introduction makes a reader familiar with the history and ideas of the Chicano movement. Later then, Garcia tried to distinguish the roles of Ruiz, Arellanes, and Muoz in this historical period and concluded by encouraging the readers to deconstruct the meaning of the main characters’ lives. By demonstrating how these activists saw themselves, as well as their real contributions to and limits within the movement, Garcia (2015) imaginatively presents a human face to this historic battle. Overall, the book meets the author’s objectives because it brings light to the biggest challenges Chicano people had to face, which is a strength. Another strong point is that Garcia provides details about what it was like to be a Chicano in Los Angeles by giving specific examples for that context. Nevertheless, this leaves some questions as to how this social struggle was fought in other American regions or what were the other representatives of the movement in Los Angeles.

To conclude, The Chicano Generation: Testimonios of the Movement addressed the intersection of race, ethnicity, class, and gender as cornerstone challenges in the 1960s. One of the most engaging ways to support claims and understand humanitarian efforts is via testimonies. The book did its part to contribute to the Chicano Movement as a new symbol of ethnic awareness and political power. The issues of democracy, sexism, and racism are major in this work, and they are all connected by the idea that everyone should be treated equally irrespective of their gender, social status, or skin color. Comparing this work to other articles on Communities-of-Color, it also embraces the importance of recognizing communities that exist within the United States. Although the population of the United States is extremely diverse, it is crucial to recognize this variety and examine the injustices that local communities have had to deal with. It is reasonable to state the book has an impact on the understanding of Communities-of-Color in the United States because it provides an in-depth analysis of this Mexican community. Garcia carried out the ideas, aspirations, and values of Ruiz, Arellanes, and Muoz, and that is what distinguishes this book from the others.


García, M. T. (2015). The Chicano generation. Testimonios of the movement. University of California Press.