"If the Soviet Union can give up the Brezhnev Doctrine for the Sinatra Doctrine, the United States can give up the James Monroe Doctrine for the Marilyn Monroe Doctrine: Let's all go to bed wearing the perfume we like best."
In this discussion the future of Chicano studies lies. And not just Chicano studies, but all studies. I say that because it's where my future lies. It's me. It's everybody like me. We are not abstractions, or easy political labels, and certainly not stereotypes. We have started recognizing who we are, and what. How we got here, and why. When this happened, and how. But all of this simply sets the stage for what must come next. The work of Chicano studies, my work, up to now has been to understand. It is time to use that understanding as a foundation.
I teach at a very large university now, and I find myself faced with a curious conundrum. In order for my university students to graduate, I must require of them a second language, the same way a second language was required of me when I graduated. This was, of course, the same language that was first taken away from me.
But enough. I've also been given a great deal, and a better understanding of the world most of all. The real discussions are, what have we learned? What do we remember? What do we need to move forward? What do we offer in exchange for our safe passage?
What do we offer? I linger on that last question. I suspect I have experience and understanding. I have been an explorer all my life--each of us has been. I have a field report to offer, and I will do so in hopes that someone will listen. If there is anger, there is every other emotion as well. Don't be fooled by the loud, and don't try to fool anybody with it. The future of Chicano studies will be largely predicated on finding the range of emotion in all of its work.
But most of all, what is our vocabulary? Spanish, English, all the things I have spoken, all the things I have wrestled with: which of these? The better question, as I've come to see it, is, Which is the truer language, the more effective communication: the word tortilla, or the smell of a tortilla? The word menudo, or the taste of the broth? Things themselves create their own language; we diminish them by naming before listening.