Essay about Chicano Studies and the Latino Student Community

Essay about Chicano Studies and the Latino Student Community

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Latino grassroots politics in the academic realm has been considered as predominantly Chicano in nature. However, the geometry of this academic sector is no longer one dimensional, due to the formation of a Chicana feminist consciousness; the rise of an identified gay community within the Chicana/o student populace; and the emergence of “Latinos” in era of Chicanismo, The abrupt growth of Latinos (e.g. Spanish speaking of Mexican, Central or Latin American decent) in the United State’s educational system led the general population to characterize them as subjects on the cusps of political power and influence. But this widespread depiction of Latinos as an untapped potential is intrinsically linked to an impression of civic cohesion within the Latino student population. Although there is a correspondence between these parties in terms of the alienation they have felt and the discrimination they have endured throughout their academic careers, there is a minimal collective effort in confronting against their oppressive status. This is mainly a result of conflicting ideologies and social agendas within the Latino student community, as well as the relegation of Hispanic subgroups into the lower echelons. Latino students, nevertheless, have demonstrated their capacity, when both Chicanos and the marginalized Hispanic subgroups join efforts to reach a communal objective. This debunks the historical notion that Chicano students are the only group of Hispanics in the academic sphere that have been actively challenging the processes of social exclusion, and also displays the capacity of a collaborative effort.
Since the 1960’s, Latino communities have experienced the implicit and explicit effects of racism through various social institutio...


... middle of paper ...


...color, were previously active in other established Latino student organizations (e.g. M.E.Ch.A), but the homophobic ideals entrenched in them [students organizations] led to the creation and solidification of safe spaces (e.g. La Familia). These students felt that although there were other organizations that offered queer (GALA) and ethnic (M.E.Ch.A) spaces, none were directly addressing their needs as gay Latino students. As a result, the queer of color community fought an uphill battle to create a social and political safety net in “La Familia” student organization. It is evident that Mechista members were against the establishment of “La Familia,” because it would create a division in an already small M.E.Ch.A community. Santiago Bernal, a cofounder of La Familia, was recalling the alienation he felt during a M.E.Ch.A meeting, in an interview with Juan D. Ochoa:

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