"No one lives in this room
without confronting the whiteness of the wall
behind the poems, planks of books,
photographs of dead heroines.
Without contemplating last and late
the true nature of poetry. The drive
to connect. The dream of a common language."
"Today we all speak, if not the same tongue, the same universal language. There is no one center, and time has lost its former coherence: East and West, yesterday and tomorrow exist as a confused jumble in each one of us. Different times and different spaces are combined in a here and now that is everywhere at once."--Octavio Paz
Finally, it's not words that make language. It's our lives. Speaking Spanish, speaking English, speaking whatever doesn't mean much if the words no longer reach for and find, in that small moment they are spoken, the thing they claim to represent. In this sense, Chicano studies are always about language.
But language is spoken by people, who don't follow the rules so neatly. Chicano studies, because they are about language, are people studies, and every person is different. This would seem to make the task of studying this group impossible. But, rather than weakening the process, it empowers it, as tackling the impossible is always heroic. There may be rules for languages, but there are finally no rules for being Chicano.
We encourage and further the support of diversity in the greater culture. But we must also look into our own backyards, and celebrate the diversity within our own group. We are many things, without limit. In that sense, we still belong to the imagination as much as to experience. This is an exciting proposition. It gives us room for choices.
Languages are solutions, not problems. People are solutions, not problems. But we must remember to recognize language in all the places it offers itself. We must taste it as well as hear it; we must feel it as well as smell it. We must see it. And when we speak, we must remember how many hundred and thousand ways there are to say what we are about to say. In this sense, English or Spanish or anything else like that are laughable labels, absolutely inadequate to the task. There is no "only" language, except language itself. And all languages together still do not get the job done. There is joy as much as anything else in this recognition, which suggests that something "only" is something lonely.
It's time to start thinking big, and we--whoever we are--may as well be the first to try. Really try. Let us choose our words wisely, and know that we are choosing from all the words that have ever been. To think otherwise impoverishes us as human beings.