Hola Queridos! Welcome to Pachuco Week at Latinopia. Yes, this week we are exploring the enduring, controversial and enigmatic figure of the 1940s “Pachuco.” For those of you who don’t know (your Tia even needed to brush up on her Raza history here) pachucos were Mexican American youth of the 1940s who dressed up in stylish and flamboyant Zoot Suits. Your Tia has it on good account that this was really the first generation of bilingual-bicultural Mexican American youth who, despite discrimination, longed to be accepted as full Americans. They felt wearing the Zoot Suit was one way of commanding respect. Unfortunately, American society saw it differently. They were not accepted as incidents like the Sleepy Lagoon Murder case of 1942 and the so-called Zoot Suit Riots of the 1944, all served to single out this first generation of Mexican Americans and scapegoat them. We hear from playwright Luis Valdez how he developed the character of El Pachuco for his play Zoot Suit and we hear from poet José Montoya as he reads from his classic poem, “Pachuco Portfolio.” Next week, we’ll continue with Luis Valdez as he explains how he came to cast Edward James Olmos in the lead role of the acclaimed play, “Zoot Suit.” Enjoy, mijos and mijjas! Siempre para servir, su Tia Tenopia.