(PNS reporting from IRVINE, CA) Roland Vega, 33, formerly known as “Rolando,” has come to an important moment in his life: He’s transitioned from a “Chicano” to a “Hispanic.”
The decision to change the way he self-identifies came as somewhat of a shock to his family and his homeboys, but not necessarily to Vega’s former Hispanic fraternity brothers.
He made the announcement on Facebook Sunday night.
“You know, Roli — er, I mean, Roland — was always the most radical Chicano in the fraternity, but c’mon man, he was studying accounting. I kinda always knew he was going to end up a Hispanic,” said Ed Taboada, Vega’s college roommate.
One of Vega’s strongest detractors is his cousin Pepe Castillo, who at 19, is in the full swing of his Chicano pride phase. Castillo told PNS that it was Vega who initiated him into Chicanismo in the first place, and that he’s become what he always said he wouldn’t be: A sellout.
“Look man, I’m not sayng you can’t make a good living and move up and all that, but when you start saying ‘Hispanic this’ and “Hispanic that,’ it showed me that your priorities have changed,” Castillo said.
“The movimiento was all good when you were using it to get chicks and weed, but as soon as you feel like you don’t need that anymore, your people aren’t important to you anymore? Fuck that, ese,” Castillo said.
Vega doesn’t think the transition to being Hispanic was such a big deal, and he can’t understand why people had to be “hating on me just because I’m respectable now.”
As an accountant for BioSystems Inc., Vega is responsible for managing a team of seven accountants and oversees millions of dollars annually. He said his job gave him a newfound sense of pride that replaced what he once felt about his Chicanismo.
“It’s not that the movimiento isn’t important to me anymore, it’s just that I have a lot of responsibility now — I can’t be spending my time out at marchas when we have audits due on Monday at 10:30 AM,” he told PNS.
“Someone has to be the adult here.”
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