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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Chicano and Black radical activism of the 1960s: A comparison between the Brown Berets and the Black Panther Party in California
by Yanez, Angelica Maria, M.A., University of California, San Diego, 2010, 120; 1474777
Abstract (Summary)

This project seeks to disrupt a black and white paradigm that rests on the foundation of a dominant narrative of American society that creates a binary understanding of race relations in the U.S. This binary privileges the social position and historical trajectory of Euro-Americans by simultaneously creating a deviant “other” through black and brown bodies. I disrupt this binary by centering the parallel experiences of Chicanos and Blacks during the 1960s and 1970s; and see their struggles as a common one. I take a comparative approach in my analysis of the historical Brown Berets and the Black Panther Party and use a Critical Race Theory framework of “counterstories”; a way for oppressed voices to disrupt dominant narratives of white supremacy, legitimacy, and “truth.”

I focus on the Power Movements, represented by both groups, which embraced a distinct political and cultural politic that resisted various forms of white racism; this politic typically veered from assimilationist models of integration. I was interested in the comparison of the Brown Berets and the Black Panthers and throughout the literature did not find compelling comparisons about the intersections of both racialized groups.

The primary sources that inform this project are the independent newspapers and its content, published by each organization, La Causa and the Black Panther. Major themes revealed in the newspapers included social justice, self-defense, cultural pride, and a re-evaluation of American society. These primary sources helped me identify the larger social intersections of the Chicano and Black community explicated by both organizations. 1

1The terminology I use in this thesis is intentional for example; the labels Chicano and Black have direct political and historical significance. I will use the term Chicana/o in a politically conscious sense. As it was a label used by activists like the Brown Berets to define and name themselves; it was a strategic political identity that was created in response to American racism. This term also emphasized pride in cultural ties to Mexico and did not necessarily embrace assimilation, as did Mexican-American organizations such as (LULAC and MAM.) In the same vein, the label Black, like Chicano, is used instead of African American due to its political significance. The term Black was also used to emphasize pride in one’s cultural roots toward Africa; though the Black Panthers did not necessarily want to go back to Africa but understood they had a dual value system. It is also important to note that not all definitions are agreed upon or understood the same amongst members of the respective communities or amongst scholars. However, when citing various authors I will use their original terminology.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Alvarez, Robert R.
Commitee: Alvarez, Luis, Yang, Wayne
School: University of California, San Diego
Department: Ethnic Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 48/04M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: African American Studies, Black studies, American history, Ethnic studies, Hispanic American studies
Keywords: California
Publication Number: 1474777
ISBN: 978-1-109-70419-8
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