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    1970’s Drug Use in Teen Mexican American Culture Film

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    This 1970's movie produced for the UCLA Social Seminar Series is about Chicanos and Chicanas - Mexican Americans - and their struggles. Specifically, the film follows a young Chicano youth named Guy who tries to survive in an urban ghetto. Guy never had any problems in school until around seventh grade. At that time, he began experimenting with drugs and getting involved with Mexican street gangs. Drug abuse at school is a major focus here. The film does a good job of describing how these Mexican gangs are built around not only Mexican pride and machismo but also a need to stand up to a society that doesn't care. This is a big part of Chicano culture. Viewers get treated to great shots of Mexican American culture in the seventies. Mexican clothing and seventies' hairstyles, as well as general fashion of the 1970's, are ever present throughout the film. Chicano culture and Chicano history are fascinating. Surprisingly progressive for its time, the film goes on to discuss marijuana and why Chicanos become so engaged with it. The main aspect that is pointed out is that Marijuana is described as dangerous and awful, but then when young people try it this is most certainly not their experience. This breeds a distrust in the authority that has lied to them, which leads to more drug experimentation. Part of drug use in Mexican American culture in the 1970's, it is asserted, has to do with Chicano pride and a need to feel powerful. The story picks back up with Guy, as he's falsely accused of rape. But the film points to the strength of the Mexican American family, where Guy's mother knows of his innocence and continually tries to save him from the clutches of this wicked system. All in all, this dramatic piece of Mexican American history is a powerful and important video.