"Homies" by Tatiana Garcia
In 1998, artist David Gonzales released his first set of his popular Chicano figures, the Homies. However, there was a strong, negative response about the Chicano representation in his art. Some people believed that he was emphasizing negative stereotypes of Mexican youth in California; others appreciated the art and the cultural representation of real people from the barrio. The original set includes, 8-Ball, La Raza, Mr. Loco, Sapo, Smiley and Droopy. The LAPD said that they perpetuated negative stereotypes and glorified the gang life style. However, each Homie has a biography that Gonzalez wrote of the artwork. La Raza is passionate about his cultural heritage and has degrees in Chicano Studies and Latin American and Pre Columbian History. La Raza tries to educate other Homies and encourages them to become educated. Sapo is an ordinary homey from the neighborhood that eats a lot of Mexican food and isn't popular with the ladies. Mr. Loco is a youth gang counselor and settles disputes between rival gangs in the barrio. The Homies are real people from his experiences, people from the community and people he grew up with. At first glance, people can think Homies are glamorizing the gangster life style, but once the biography of each Homie is read, they do not look bad. I believe that those who get upset at Gonzales' art, are the ones stereotyping and are ignorant about racial minorities residing in inner-city communities.