Edward Roybal, an “Hispano” from New Mexico, becomes the first Mexican-American elected to the Los Angeles City Council, replacing Parley Parker Christensen. During Roybal’s 13-year tenure, he opposes the Chavez Ravine swap that clears the way for Dodger Stadium. Elected to Congress in 1963, he becomes California’s first Latino congressman since 1879. His name appears on more L.A. buildings than anyone else’s in the city; most famous is the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building downtown.

Richie Valens, pioneering MAP from Pacoima, records “La Bamba,” creating the first hybrid Mexican-American rock anthem and forever winning the hearts of blond girls named Donna from coast to coast.

Time magazine introduces America to the Mexican American Prince in a piece filed from the “monotonous, sun-scabbed flatlands” of East L.A.: “The occasional appearance of a neatly turned-out Agringado (a Mexican-American who has adapted to Anglo styles) clashes incongruously with the weathered-leather look of the cholo (newly arrived, often wetback Mexican laborer).”


Henry Cisneros rides a multiethnic coalition to win the office of mayor of San Antonio, leading to the first of many instances that the national punditry declares the “Decade of the Hispanic.” (Cisneros later faces accusations of cheating on his wife and lying to the FBI.)

Luis Valdez’s film Zoot Suit, based on his hit play, focuses on the internal struggle of a handsome, heroic Chicano torn between his sense of duty to country and family and the dark, mystical pachuco that lurks in his soul. Mexican American Princes everywhere nod in quiet understanding.

The most misunderstood MAP of them all, Richard Rodriguez, publishes Hunger of Memory, about his rise from Spanish-speaking, Indian-looking son of immigrants to academic in the hallowed halls of Stanford and Berkeley. He follows up in 1992 with Days of Obligation: An Argument With My Mexican Father.

Absolutely convinced he is both God and Satan, “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez goes on a serial-killing rampage up and down California. Scandalized that Ramirez’s psychotic thirst for blood could taint the image of good Mexican American Princes everywhere, an angry mob finally catches Ramirez and almost lynches him on a quiet street in East L.A. Justice is served.

Oh wait, never mind. This is the “Decade of the Hispanic.”

“Golden Boy” Oscar de la Hoya wins gold at the Barcelona summer Olympics. He celebrates by parading around the ring with both the U.S. and Mexican flags.

Part-Irish MAP Jeff Garcia takes over for Steve Young as quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, proving once and for all that MAPs can roll with the big boys in any major sport.

Okay, okay, okay. Now, we mean it. THIS is the “Decade of the Hispanic.” Okay?

Antonio Villaraigosa loses the mayoral election in L.A. after opponent James K. Hahn suggests, in a grainy last-minute TV ad, that the MAP is tied to a convicted coke dealer, stoking voters subconscious fears about Mexican American Princes’ dark sides.

Back for a rematch, Villaraigosa wins, becoming the first Latino mayor in L.A. in more than 130 years. MAPs rejoice! The new mayor downs tequila with Antonio Gonzalez and hundreds of friends at a big gala for the William C. Velasquez Institute, then makes a guest appearance, as himself, on The George Lopez Show.

New Mayor Villaraigosa is chosen to deliver the Democratic response to George W. Bush’s State of the Union speech — in Spanish. Most of the country is unaware that Spanish is not the mayor’s first language.

Culture Clash premieres Water & Power at the Mark Taper Forum, a play about what happens when Chicanos, uh, Mexican American Princes, reach positions of power. Notably, MAP-in-chief Villaraigosa is not in the audience.

{mosimage}Herman, the kid who gets Magdalena pregnant in the movie Quinceañera, turns out to be a cold-blooded MAP. His mother shuns the virgin protagonist when she arrives at Herman’s door seeking help. My son is a good boy, Mom says. He’s going to college.

Lorenzo Mata, the UCLA center with the Aztec warrior tattoo on his left arm, helps lead the Bruins to the Final Four. The Ventura County Star rhapsodizes: “Each time Mata slips into his jersey, he is representing more than just a program’s rich tradition. He is representing an entire Hispanic community.”

Embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales invokes the MAP myth to defend his controversial handling of the U.S. attorney firing scandal. MAPs everywhere hope he keeps his job somehow — or least stops embarrassing us.

LA Weekly