The Supreme Council of Chicanismo: A.C. Slater

{What Mario Lopez Thought of his Character’s Name?}

The Case: Saved by the Bell’s “A.C. Slater”

Opinion: Early morning re-runs of the late 80’s/early 90’s television hit “Saved by the Bell,” constantly bring back to the mind of the Supreme Council of Chicanismo the cultural genocide that was the character named “A.C. Slater!” Ethnically ambiguous – or was he? – “Slater,” as he was called by everyone on the show, was a jock athlete from a military family. He always played second fiddle to Zack Morris – or “preppy” – in the ladies department, but had more game than geek face Screech! (How did you expect him to be the ladies man when he couldn’t even flex his inherent Latin Lover persona?)

Apparently, Slater’s Bayside High amigos never thought to ask him what his initials stood for. In one episode, an old hyna from back in Slater’s days on an army base in Germany reveals the truth. A.lfonso C.arlos? Shit no! Try “Albert Clifford!” Not even Lisa Turtle, one of the few blacks on campus, thought to question all throughout her high school years how her friend could be dark as Tizoc, but still be named “Albert Clifford Slater!” This prime time denial was enough to give Mechistas permanent hotflashes! (even though they continually tuned in hoping one day Slater would pick up and read “The Revolt of the Cockroach People” and be transformed – more on that later!)

Of course, the writers from Saved by the Bell must have known the fraud they were peddling. For the show’s High School years, they nevertheless stayed away from the subject completely. Slater was written to be the longtime boyfriend of second-wave feminist and bourgeois environmentalist Jessie Spano. Despite their serious relationship, she apparently never realized that at lunch time, her boyfriend brought bean and cheese burritos while everyone else had a bologna sandwich!

Despite years of the lunchtime deception, the world would eventually come to know what the real last name of A.C. Slater was. When Saved by the Bell moved to The College Years, was it just too humiliating for the writers that Slater be ethnically ambiguous while at the university? Did they finally break down and acknowledge A.C.’s Mexican heritage so that his people could declare him as their own – a Chicano in college on T.V. por fin! In the most revealing episode yet to this saga, A.C. finds out that his apellido is not Slater but  Sanchez!

You see, all along, Slater/Sanchez’s father, faced with the pervasive racism in the military, changed his name so that he could get into the academy. So there you have it! Institutional racism was behind “Albert Clifford” all along! But wait? Wouldn’t racists look at “the Slaters” and dismissively say, “Yeah, and I’m your Irish uncle too!” This backtracking explanation also does nothing to address how Slater/Sanchez lost his cultural grounding on top of his name! Or did his military dad really take it that far?

Anyhow, in the College Years, Slater/Sanchez undergoes a further transformation. He meets a girl who is straight up conscious in her Chicanisma and grounds him in rediscovering his culture – something that Jessie Spano could never offer the cabron! Even though the College Years takes place in Southern California during the early 1990’s, Slater/Sanchez’s reawakening takes him into the cultural militancy of establishing a Chicano Studies program! One problem: his white amigo Zack Morris wants him to go along on a ski trip so he can holla at a girl who won’t go alone.

With the ethnic ambiguity of his longtime friend dashed forever, “Preppy,” doesn’t know how to handle the fact that Slater/Sanchez wants to stay on campus and fight for the right to learn his history instead! Zack eventually comes to his better senses and abandons his trip plans to come to a sit-down strike that Slater/Sanchez participates in. On top of all that, Zack even makes a speech that would make Tim Wise proud!

Decision: Fuck the writers! Fuck the College Years episode! The Supreme Council of Chicanismo always knew that “A.C” stood for A.lmost C.hicano!


3 responses to “The Supreme Council of Chicanismo: A.C. Slater

  1. I hear ya brotha!

  2. I once interviewed Mario Lopez, and I’ve yet to meet someone more arrogant than he.

  3. So the A.C. really stands for “Arrogant Cabron?” jeje

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