The short play Los Vendidos portrayed by el Teatro Campesino shows the history of Mexican-Americans. It shows racist perceptions and actions towards Mexican-Americans. The title itself implies the exploitation of Chicanos. In translation from Spanish "Vendidos" can mean either those who sell-out others, or those who are sold. In the play either meaning can be applied. Those who are sold would be the eleven different characters that Sancho describes. But, the "sell-out" could be Ms. Jimenez, a main character, who is the exemplary "white-washed" Mexican-American.
The Teatro Campesino was a theater group that originated on the picket-lines in Delano in 1965. They were improve actors who cleverly mocked the large business owners that were exploiting the invaluable Mexican-American labor force. In fact, they were such an important factor in the American economy that when the Mexican-American youth were so quickly drafted for the Vietnam War the business owners of the plantations where these youth had been working were resentful, "Local rural youths were being drafted so fast…that…owners of large farms and ranches…voiced stern protests with the local draft boards." ( Vargas, Zaragosa, Major Problems in Mexican American History. Houghton Mifflin Co., 1999. P 304)
The play takes into account the major personalities and characters of Mexican-Americans in history. The Mexican peon, farm worker, pachuco, vato, zoo-suiter, boxer, barrio family, militant student, Vietnam veteran, cowboy-type bandit, and the gringo or "white-washed" Mexican-American are major figures in American history. In the play these figures are "items to be sold." The selling of these f...
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...he play has a lot of various symbols that reflect Mexican-American history. It attacks important issues, such as white-washed Mexican-Americans, police brutality, the Vietnam War, poverty, and labor organization. In the end of the play the vendidos are being sold to white-washed Americans, but it is in an attempt to survive. It suggests that there is logic to the Vendidos. There is a master plan that will bring about a positive outcome for Mexican-Americans. They may be pretending to be robots, but in reality they are in control of themselves. Raza, one of the characters at the end says to the rest of the group, "God help us to be humans." He says that it does not matter if the Americans think they are robots for now, as long as they continue to be humans. For the vendidos, being human is reacting to oppression and exploitation in any way you must in order to survive.
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