Para Una Mujer Fuerte, Mi Querida Abuelita Rosario

img_7199 For my alter project de Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), I decided to focuses on one particular person who continues to be very significant in my present life. The person I have chosen is no longer with us. However, through her love and courage, she has made an impact on my life. My alter project will focused on my maternal great-grandmother Rosario Alvarado Romero De Zaragoza. She was born on August 19, 1920 in La Estancia De Landeros, Jalisco, Mexico and died from a severe cancer illness on July 2001 in San Juan de Abajo, Nayarit, Mexico. Although I was only six years old when she died, I still remember all the great memories I was able to share with her. To me, she was not just my great-grandmother, she was my abuelita Chayo who I love and wish was still alive. Therefore, my altar for Dia de Los Muertos celebrates the existence of a strong, courageous, loveable, and independent woman that she was when she was with us.

Although I do not know much of her childhood life, my great-grandmother was raised in a small village in La Estancia De Landeros, Jalisco. She was the daughter of Juan Alvarado and Rosario Romero de Alvarado and was also one of the oldest child of her family a total of eight brothers and sisters. Growing up my mother Paula Castellanos (Zaragoza Alvarado) would tell stories how my abuelita Chayo and her family lived in a very small house in La Estancia made out of mud bricks. My grandmother’s father was a farmer in the tequila fields in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. However, the Alvarado Romero family was very poor and did not have a chance to provide their children education and other resources. When my abuela was a teenager she got married to my great-grandfather Jose Zaragoza Gonzalez and had about eight children together. The family migrated from La Estancia De Landeros, Jalisco to San Juan De Abajo, Nayarit in search of better economic opportunities to raise their family but was also faced poverty their as well.

My Abuelita Rosario is a very important individual to my family and I because she was the one who raised my mother, Paula. When my mother was born, her biological mother Teresa who is one of the eldest daughters of my abuelita Rosario abandoned her as a newborn baby. My grandmother Teresa was only a teenage when she gave birth to my mother and did not want to deal with the responsibly of having a daughter at a young age especially when my mother’s biological father was not in the picture. As a result, my abuelita Chayo took her in and raised my mother Paula as their own daughter. Since my mother, Paula was raised with her grandmother; she has always considered my abuelita Chayo as the only mother and still in present day she does not have a relationship with her biological mother Teresa. Growing up, my mother Paula would always tell her story to my sisters Melissa, Pamela, and I of how her family lived in poverty and did not have access to resources in Nayarit, Mexico.. Therefore, at a young age my mother began to work selling food in the streets in their village in Mexico with my abuelita Chayo. In addition, to selling food, she would also clean houses, wash, and iron clothes for rich families in their pueblo in Nayarit. She did anything possible to sustain her home and herself.

In our family my abuelita is seen as strong and independent woman who was able to raise her family on her own.  When her husband, my great-grandfather Jose migrated to the U.S to work as a farm worker during the Bracero program, she stayed in Mexico to raise the family on her own. My great-grandfather would come and go from the U.S to Mexico for many years but never really took care of his family. Like many women, she was expected to take care of the children, however; she exceeded the expectations of a wife and mother. She not only cared for the family, but she also worked the fields picking tobacco to economically support the family aside from selling food, cleaning houses, washing, and ironing clothes. With no financial support from her husband, she was the only provider of the family.  When my great grandfather moved and stay at in the U.S permanently, he left behind his family and his marriage with my great-grandmother became distant which resulted in separation. With time she began to develop resentment against him for leaving her and their children behind with no support.  My grandmother Rosario’s story reminded me of the poem, Beneath the Shadow of the Freeway writer Lorna Dee Cervantes  discuss how the female’s roles in the poem took over the male role and adapted them in their everyday lives. Cervantes describes three different women on her poem a grandmother, a mother, and the granddaughter. The grandmother in the poem was able to built a home without the help of a man. Similarly, my grandmother who was able to sustain her home  and “built her house” without the help of a man (Cervantes). The women were portrayed as taking the roles of male and not having to depend on them just like my grandmother Rosario.

As a result, she had to worked hard to support her children and herself. She did not have any help from no one and was able to take care of all her children own. My abuelita demonstrates her ability of being a woman and having to work while still having to be a mother. The family had always admired her braveness and courage. Despite the obstacles she faced in life, she always found a way to move forward. No matter what she would always put her family first.  In the novel, So Far From God author Ana Castillo fictional character of Sophia reminded me of my grandmother Chayo because both take on the role of being the mother who provides economical and mental support for her children since both husbands abandon them. Like Sofia character, my abuelita did not give up on life and continued to go no matter the circumstances. Both Sofia and my grandmother demonstrated a form of resistance to be a strong mujeres despite the challenges that life brought them. For many years she worked hard doing all her jobs just to maintain her family until some of her children began to help her financially. For example, when my mother migrated to the U.S in 1980, she began to work as a domestic worker in Los Angeles, California and would send money back to my abuelita and other members of the family. My mother came to the U.S with the purpose of working for her family to have better access to resources and so my grandmother would not work as much.

When my sisters and l were younger, my parents would take us to Nayarit, Mexico every year in March especially during holy week to spend time with her and other members of my maternal family. My abuelita Chayo gave so much love and care, something my sisters and I never received from my mother’s biological mother. She was a very thoughtful person and would always make sure everyone was okay. Every time my family and I arrived in Mexico, she would always have food for us ready and make us feel right at home. My sisters and I were the only great-granddaughters that would visit her year despite having other grandchildren. Even my father, Manuel Castellanos considered her as his mother because she considered him as a son too. Our family would spend almost a month in Mexico which gave us enough time with her, as a result, my sisters and I had a great bond with her. Although I was very young when we would visit our grandmother, I still remember her a lot. To my sisters and I, she was very kind and lovable.

Unfortunately, when I was about five years old she began to develop stomach Cancer. For about three years, she was in a lot of pain and suffering; the cancer spread fast. Little by little she began very ill with time. I remember hearing her cry in pain in her stomach and she would tell my parents to take us out of the house so we would not see her suffer. As a young child, I did not know what she was going through but as I grew up, I look back and remember her traumatic painful experience. However, even with her cancer, she never stopped being the lovable and caring great-grandmother that she was despite pain and suffering that she was in during the last years of her life. When my family and I would go visit her, she would still received us with love and care despite being in a wheelchair or in bed rest. After battling cancer for three years, she passed away in 2001.  Her death caused us an impact in my family especially towards my mother who still today remembers every day. El Dia De Las Madres (mother’s day) is one of the hardest days for my mother because she no longer has her mother to celebrate it with. My sisters and I lost the only grandmother who had loved us tremendously.

Furthermore, considering this great loss, I thought it would be nice to build an altar honoring my abuelita. In my family, el dia de los muertos is not really celebrated, so building this altar was very special especially for someone that I love. Since it is my first building an altar, I wanted it to be very traditional. I placed one of the few photographs we have left of my grandmother before her cancer began to develop on top of the alter. She did not like to take photographs, so we only have a few pictures of left of her. I also placed various items that I think are significant. For example, next to her picture I placed my personal rosary as a symbol of her catholic faith and as well as her name Rosario. Most of the time she would always carry a Rosary with her and especially when she was very ill.  She was a very catholic women with a lot of faith that would attend church regularly on Sunday but was forced to stop due to her illness. Additionally, I also placed a little bird next to the Rosario because my abuelita used to love having birds as her pets. Over the years, she had a variety of birds such as parrots, cockatoos, lovebirds, and parakeets. I know that each one of her birds meant a lot to her because when one of her birds would die she would cry. Therefore, I decided to place a bird as a symbol of the love she had for her pets.

In addition, to the photo, the Rosary, and bird, I also placed a variety of skulls. Although I wanted sugar skulls, I placed other skulls such as male mariachi calavera (skeleton) and female calavera catrina, two pumpkins painted skulls, and four regular painted skulls. The skulls represent the departed spirit that is no longer here in this world. As I previously mentioned, I tried to keep the alter as traditional as possible. The catrinas and skulls are among the most popular items that are placed in el dia de los muertos altar. However, the male skeleton demonstrate the Mexican culture but adds a touch of the mariachi Mexican regional music to the altar which is was the favorite music type that my grandmother loved to hear.

Moreover, I added a bouquet of the traditional cempasuchil flowers (marigolds) and spread the petals throughout the alter. The flower’s are a ways to guide my grandma’s soul/spirit to the her alter I made for her. The cempasuchil flowers is also know to be “la flor del muerto” (flower of the dead) and are commonly used only for day of the dead. I also placed another bouquet of flowers on the altar to symbolize the love my abuelita had for flowers, roses, and plants. She used to like spending her time gardening flowers and specially plants and would take care of them with love and tenderness. Her plants, roses, and flowers she had planted in her garden in Mexico meant a lot to her and did not like for anyone to touch them. As a kid, I would make sure not to touch them or ruined the garden because she would get angry if anyone damage them.

Furthermore, I also placed food and drinks on the altar which include fruits, traditional pan de el muerto (bread of the dead), water, and a tequila shot glass. The food was laid out for her spirit to have a meal once she came visit her alter. However, the tequila shot glass symbolized her Jalisco roots. On the contrasts, to keep the altar religious, I also added lit candles and small cross, which I made out of tissue paper to recreate cempasuchil flowers to welcome my grandmother’s spirit. Last of all, one of the most important items that was in the alter is a small figure of La Virgen de Guadalupe. My abuelita Rosario was a great believer of the La Virgen De Guadalupe and would always prayed to her especially when she was ill. La virgen is a beloved religious symbol in our family as well in the Mexican culture. Therefore; it was important to incorporate la Virgen into the alter. In addition, the alter helped me commemorate the strong women that my grandmother was. Today, I celebrate her existence through the altar I created, especially recognizing how significant she is in my life. Although she has been gone for a long time now, I still remember and cherish all the time I spend with her as a kid and I know she continues to watch over my family and I. Her story continues to inspire me everyday to become a strong independent women like her despite the adversities. I will continue to honor her life, braveness, courage, and hope to make her proud of what have I become. I will continue to miss her, admire, and love her forever.


Different Racial Identities for Latina/o’s

For this week, we continue to explore racial identities for Latina/o individuals in the U.S. We learn how Latina/o’s Chicana/o’s individuals come from different racial identities that are combined of a variety cultures, food, language, music, and others. In the U.S there is a variety of different mixture of racial identities especially among Latina/o’s. As mentioned in a previous blog post, Walter Thompson Hernandez is a part Mexican and black biracial young man those identities himself as Blaxican in Los Angeles. Through his photographs on his Instagram account “Blaxicans of L.A” Thompson Hernandez documenting the many individual in Los Angeles that identify as both “Blaxicans” capturing two different culture into one. As a result, he describes the multiple identities that Latino. As I was researching, I came across a New York Times article entitled “For Many Latinos, Racial Identity Is More Culture Than Color” by Mireya Navarro discusses how in the last 2010 Census Bureau more than 18 million Latinos checked off the box that said “other” on the contrast from the 2000 census bureau which only had 14.9 million Latino registered under “other.” Navarro indicates how in the U.S there are many Latino do not fit into the racial categories that done by the government. The census categorizes are divided based on the common physical traits but how Latinos tend to identify themselves and their ethnicity. However, Navarro describes how Latino or Spanish origin “maybe any race, and more than a third of Latino check other.” She indicates that there are multiple identities between Latina/o’s. The census causes problems among Latinos because they are often have to question the race they belong to. Many Latinos are racially mixed within Indian, African, European, and other ethnicities. As a result, the Latino communities are blended with different racial identities but Navarro mentions how some Latino’s have a hard time wondering what category they belong due to their mixture of identities. She mentions, how “race to me gets very confusing because we have so many people from so many races that make up our genealogical tree,” Navarro implies that even Latino families do not identity their children as Latino in the census form because of the confusing of categories they belong to. Similarly to Walter Thompson Hernandez, Navarro discusses about how there different and very common for Latino’s to identify themselves within multiple identities. I thought it was interesting to see how both tell how it is difficult for someone to identify with one more than other racial categories but also how in Latino’s there are t identify with other cultures too.


Week 12: Latina/o Racial Identities in the U.S

In this week’s readings and podcast, explored the issues of racial identity for Latina/o individuals in the U.S. “Race” is always at the center of discussion most of the time, whether it’s how we identify ourselves or who we are racially characterized by society in the U.S. For many Latina/o’s, our racial identities is a constant issues that are brought into questioned because of the way we define ourselves among others. “Race” is relative because is an issues we have to often deal. In the U.S there are many identities especially among Latina/o’s. The Latino USA podcast, “Being Blaxican in LA” Walter Thompson Hernandez has to question his identity when he is confronted with the reality of what his race really is. However, Walter who is part black and part Mexican but has dealt with the being biracial/bicultural growing up as child. He discussed although in the U.S biracial is seen to be only black and white; it can also be black and brown. As for Walter, he sees as a struggle to identify between both because they are both two distinct Ethnicities. Therefore, he considers himself multiracial for having a little bit of both but not fully identifying with both ethnicities fully. I myself identify, as both part Mexican and part Salvadorian. As a result, I considered myself bicultural but sometimes I find myself dealing with what culture do I identify more. What are your thoughts on the different racial identities of Latina/o’s in the U.S?

On the contrast, “race” continues to be in Latina/o’s. In the readings, “The Latino Flight to Whiteness” by William Darity Jr. and “Why Latinos won’t become white” by Gabriel Arana discusses similar issues of the Latina/o fight against whiteness. Both describe about how Latina/o’s can assimilate with time to become more white. Arena mentions, “The idea of Latinos becoming white in the American sense a vision of racial and cultural assimilation independent of self-identified race…” Latinas/o’s racial identity is discriminated in the U.S. However, with time Latina/o especially lighter skin Latinos can assimilate to the white culture similar to the Irish. Even when marrying to a non-Hispanic marriage can end up for identifying more white than Latino. Do you believe as time goes on, Latinas and Latinos can assimilate to the white culture?

Male Gender Roles

In the Chicana/o or Mexican culture patriarchy/machismo is represented among most Chicano males in the community. At a young age, men are told and taught that they must be strong and not be sensitive. As are result, most Chicanos develop machismo ideologies since they influence to be the dominant gender. Men are to represent masculinity, and when they don’t there sexuality is brought into question. Chicano families are gender structured that they set specific roles for males to follow. In the novel, “The Rain God” author Arturo Islas tells the story of a Mexican family living in the Mexican borders. Throughout the characters, they demonstrate the structure of a family that live in patriarchal home. For example, the character of Miguel Chico at a young age was taught about gender structures at a young age after his father did not allow him to play with dolls with Maria. His father Miguel Grande teaches Miguel Chico that men are not mean to be weak or emotional. Miguel Grande demonstrates the idea of what a macho male is suppose to be in a family by illustrates the roles how males are supposed to follow in the way they act or how they portray their masculinity to society.

Furthermore, in the article, “Hegemonic Masculinity in Boys Don’t Cry (1999)” writer Renee S. Grozelle discusses how at a young age boys are exposed to negative characteristic associated with masculinity. Teaching young men about how to be masculine can develop violence and aggression within men. Grozelle states, how “negative impacts that hegemonic masculinity has on constructions of gender and sexuality” that challenge male dominance (Grozell). I thought it was interesting to see how Grozelle the masculinity roles of men by giving an example of the film Boys Don’t Cry which describes the notion of masculinity in young males while trying to address issues with the main characters Brandon Teena gender and sexuality problem he encounters for not being “masculine” enough. The film demonstrates how the character has to deal with “dominant masculine ideologies “ for not fitting into the social norms of having to be a straight male. What stood out to me was when Grozell mentions, “ideologies of ‘masculinity’ held by the characters in the film are embedded in the social structure of society.” Males are expected to be masculine because they are set to be strong mentally and physically, if they do not show their masculinity men are often devalued and mistreated like Brandon’s character because they non-masculine individual challenge patriarchal social norms. Therefore, Islas character of Miguel Chico is taught to not be weak because it is not accepted within the Chicano culture. Males in Chicano culture are expected to be masculine and if they not show, they are challenging the dominant discourse.

Women Roles Through a Fictional Perspective

The novel, So Far From God author Ana Castillo discusses a lot about roles that Sophia and her daughters Fe, Esperanza, Caridad, y la Loca play throughout the novel. In the beginning of the novel, Sophia takes on the role of being the mother who provides support and economical well being for her daughters and herself since her husband abandon them. Despite her husband Domingo leaving her, Sofia did not give up on life and continues to go no matter the circumstances. Sofia demonstrates her masculine side by becoming the men of her house while still having to be a caring mother to her daughters. Even with the death of her daughters Sofia find a form of resistance to be a strong Chicana despite the obstacles. However, throughout the rest of the novel, the women and her daughters all go through life changing experiences that completely changes them and their ways of living. Sofia and her daughters Fe, Esperanza, Caridad, y la Loca represents the struggle that women have to face in life. The women went through a series of emotional and tragic struggles. For example, Caridad who struggles with the abandonment of her husband Memo, she is also brutally attacked which causes a tremendous impact in her life. While Esperanza, Fe, and la loca have their own experiences throughout that completely shape their lives as well. As I observed the women of the novel, I come to think that the issues that these women go through are similar to the contemporary issues that women continue to face today. What does the class think? Do the issues of the women in the novel connect to today women issues or gender roles in Chicana or Latina women today?

On the contrast, as I previously mentioned, the women in the novel come to face tragic life events. The novel illustrates other issues such as religion, psychological issues, heartbreaks, and death. Throughout the novel, the women encounter death. For example, Fe and Esperanza are both women are killed. Esperanza encounters death while working across sees while Fe dies from cancer caused by chemical exposure. However, Esperanza comes back home in spirit after her death but Fe does not. While reading the novel, the most interesting part of the novel is to see that Esperanza come back in spirit. Throughout the novel, Esperanza is seen as the good daughter that helps her mother Sofia with her sisters. Sofia looks at Esperanza as the daughter she can count on because of the mother and daughter bond (47). While Fe is the daughter is more distance from her family. Fe is portrayed as being “too ashamed of her family” because she did not want her family to meet Tom (31). I though it was interesting I got see that how both Fe and Esperanza are portrayed different but Esperanza is the sister that comes back to the family in spirit. I think that Esperanza comes back in spirit because she was helpful person to her and family while Fe was more distance had a different attitude that isolated herself from than her sisters and her mother. I believe that Esperanza spirit comes back for her family upon her death while Fe’s did not come back she was not as close to her family like her sister. Why do you believe that Esperanza spirit came back in spirit and Fe does not?

My Family Is Forever

img_6957-1Families share a kinship that distinct them from others through beliefs systems, values, religion, culture, rules, love, and other. “La Familia” is one of the most important things there is to value especially in a Mexican American family. In the book, Next of Kin: the Family in Chicano/a Culture Politics Richard Rodriguez discussed the issues of family structure in a Chicana/o family and how “la familia, as an organizing principle and symbol for cultural empowerment”(Rodriguez, 20). In my photo collage, I chose six different photographs that illustrates a bit of my family. Throughout the pictures, you can see both my parents Manuel and Paula Castellanos, and also my two older sisters Melissa and Pamela Castellanos along with my “primo/hermano” (cousin/brother) Giancarlos. I also added photo of my dog Missy who is very important in my family and a photo of our culture food. The photographs in the collage describe how my family is composed of mostly women since my two older brothers both died at infancy. My “primo/hermano” is considered as the son they never had since he also grew up with my sisters and I. To me, my family are the most important people I value my in life.

As my sisters and I grew up, we were raised in a bicultural home because both my parents emigrated from two different countries. My father was born in San Salvador, El Salvador while my mother was born in Nayarit, Mexico. As a result, my sister and I grew exposed to both cultures through our parents different but similar culture beliefs and traditions. However, my mother’s Mexican culture had a higher influence in my life than my fathers. Since I was a child, I remember going to Mexico every year throughout my childhood. The Mexican culture dominated in our home especially because my father assimilated to the culture when he married my mother. My parents have been married for over thirty years now. His accent and beliefs shifted from Salvadorian to Mexican. In the photo collage, I decided to add picture of “Tostadas de Carne” which a typical Mexican food that is served in the village where my mother is from in Nayarit, Mexico. As a child, it was difficult for me to identify with Salvadorian because I knew more about the Mexican culture despite my father efforts to input his culture on us. When I came of age, I learned to embrace both cultures. As a result, I identify myself as Chicana/Latina women.

As I previously mentioned, I grew up with both my sisters and my cousin/bother. The photo collage shows a couple of pictures with my siblings and as well of my mother and father. Since kid’s we have maintain a close relationship. While my father was at work, my mother was a stay at home mother for many years. Although my father was very helpful with raising my sisters, my cousin, and I, my mother spent most of the time raisings us. Like many stay at home mothers she cooked, cleaned, washed, and made sure we went to school everyday. In most patriarchy Chicana/o Latina/o families, the women has the typically role of taking care of the family. My mother was one of the many women who followed the typical gender roles that women in a patriarchal culture are force to follow. Even though my father most of the time was helpful with trying to help my mother with cooking, cleaning, or watching over us, most of the hard work was done my mother while my dad worked most of the time.

When my siblings and I grew older, my mother began to work full time. She worked as a domestic worker taking care of children. As a result, she became very independent. She challenges the Chicana/o Latina/o family structure by demonstrating she was an independent women not having to depend on my father all the time. As Marcela Christine Lucero-Trujillo mentions, “machismo is part of culture”: because the males are use to being the dominant leaders. Like in the film, A Crushing Love my mother is a woman that works hard while having to still comes home and continue to handle the family. My father has never liked my mother working full time because he felt challenged with the idea of my mother being independent and did not like that she was not home as often but with time he learned to cope with it.

Furthermore, in one of the picture in the collage, there is a picture of my entire family together at my high school gradation in 2013. In our home, we valued education because my parents were able to provide us with the education they never had growing up in their native countries. With their support and motivation I was able to go on to college and pursue a career to become an educated Chicana/Latina. However, like in most Chicano families my parents implemented rules, traditions, and beliefs for my siblings and I to follow. They made sure for us to follow the rules they told us such as being respectful to everyone and religious beliefs. I was raised in catholic home where my parents made us go to church every Sunday as kids. Since my family is mostly composed of females, our parents were very protective with us because they wanted us to be safe and protect us from all harm. Despite the family structured challenges, every family shares different dynamics, social, and culture issues within themselves. In Chicana/o Latina/o families constantly have to deal with the obstacles of living in a patriarchal ideologies and gender structures family. My photo collage demonstrates how my family is the most important thing in my life including the picture of my dog Missy who is also a big part of my family. Although my family may have some challenges among them, they continue to be what I value most in life because family is forever.

Expressing Sexuality In Chicana/o Families

In today society, the community of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) has become very present. However, the LGBTQ community especially Chicana Lesbians women continue to oppressed and rejected by different communities that are composed by patriarchal social structures. The Chicana/o community that identifying as Lesbian or as gay individual are constantly rejected and challenge especially in the patriarchal structured Chicana/o or Latina/o families that live in heterosexual ideologies. In the readings, Chicana Lesbians: Fear and Loathing in the Chicano Community” Carla Trujillo Chicana Lesbian are seen as a “threat in the community” because of the male dominance social structures that they live in. Their sexuality among their community is a constant issues that they have deal for not being accepted but as a Chicana lesbian Trujillo addresses how embracing their sexuality has helped accept themselves despite the negative concept Chicana Lesbians face. On the contrast, in the reading, “Queer Aztlan: the Reformation of Chicano Tribe” writer Cherrie Moraga discusses the struggles she deals with being a Chicana Lesbian in a community that did not accept her as she is. She suffered from sexuality oppression but eventually accepted despite the struggles of “limitation “ and “alienation”. Trujillo and Moraga discussed similar issues of Chicanas who in the pathway of finding themselves through patriarchal structures. Individuals in the LGBT face oppression in their families for being different.

I came across the article, “Latino American More Accepting and Supportive of the LGBTQ Issues, Yet LGBT Latino Youth Still Feel “Rejected” in Hispanic Community” writer Nicole Akoukou Thompson examines how the LGBT community has grown and become visible in the last couple of years. However, Latinos who identify in the within the LGBTQ community have found themselves exposed to discrimination and hate crimes in the last couple of years. Although in the last recent years, more Latino families have began to accept to support LGBTQ, Thompson describes how some people in the Latino community negative attitude continues to be present against LGBTQ individual because of religion. Families that are involved in the church are influence to not support the LGBTQ community because they do not support gay marriage or “homosexuality.” The church is an institution that is does not support gay marriages or homosexuality.” The young youth that begins to identify within the LGBT community constantly worries about the not being accepted within their families or Latino communities because of their sexuality. Thompson emphasize that the Latino LGBT community need support from their families especially the youth who begins to develop to uncover their sexuality. For a Chicana lesbian or gay it is difficult to accept himself or herself when no support that is provided from their families and their communities. I thought it was interesting that this article discussed how it is important for Latino communities to be more open an supportive the oppression structure that are input into the LGBT communities. Without support LGBT individual with continues to be marginalized and hide him or herself from society. Any individual should be able to express and liberate themselves no matter how they identify as.

Rap in the Chicana/o Culture

In chapter three, “The Versus of the Godfather” in the book Next of Kin: the Family in Chicano/a Culture Politics Richard Rodriguez discusses about the Chicana/o rap culture. Chicano rap or rap in general is a form of identity that helps in individuals express themselves throughout their lyrics. In Rodriguez’s book, he examines how Chicano and Latino rap addresses certain political and working class identity in the rap culture frame. He mentions how a popular culture forms such as rap can help “empowerment…within an everyday context” (Rodriguez, 96). Chicano and African American rap music share almost the same characteristics within their lyrics because they discusses about different aspects and narratives of their communities that they address throughout their music. However, Chicano rap is not as popular African American. On the contrast, Chicano Rap involves ties within family context as well through rap family narratives that impacts both black and Chicano culture. Rodriguez focuses on how the aspect of family is integrated into the art of rap kinship of gender and heterosexuality that are composed into the rap. It was interested to see how Rodriguez also discusses how Rap is an important aspect of the Chicano culture. Chicano rap incorporates historical and contemporary issues like the Chicano movements or current movements regarding the culture. Rodriguez mentions how “the evolution and dissemination of Chicano rap necessarily entails understanding the social phenomena that motivate and influence popular culture’s content and form” (Rodriguez, 104). Chicano rap or hip-hop culture demonstrate how the “power of the culture nationalism “ and the dominance of others towards “la Raza”. In the Chicano rap also focuses incorporates poetic aspect that about culture nationalism in the songs. On the contrary, Chicano rap revolve surrounds the aspect of family because of the struggles and unity “discourse to consistently involve it for the sake of political though and mobilization” (Rodriguez,133). Chicano hip-hop describes the content of family into their rap because Rodriguez empathizes the important of family kinship that is written and said in the music that involves Chicana/o family aspects. As a result, while reading Rodriguez’s text, I have thought a lot Chicano rap in present day, I come to think that Chicano rap is not heard as much as other hip-hops music. Do you think Chicana/o rap is not popular like other rap music because it involves a lot of the culture aspect or family kinship?

Quinceañera Movie Review


As a girl in a Latina/o or Chicana/o family, having a Quinceañera is every girls dream. For some it means the transition from “niña a mujer” (childhood to womanhood) while for others it is just a religious celebration. As a young Latinas or Chicanas we see some of our sisters, friends, and cousins in big bridal looking dresses with a tiaras. As a result, we dream to have one of our own. In the film, Quinceañera (2006) directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland illustrate the story of a young girl Mexican American named Magdalena who is waiting for her fifth-teen birthday to transition from child to women. Magdalena grows in a Mexican American religious family in Echo Park, California. The film demonstrates how the family structures of a Mexican American family are threatened when Magdalena becomes pregnant before her fifth-teen birthday celebration and even before being marriage. As a result, her father Ernesto a preacher at church is outraged and tells her how she brought shamed to her mother, family, and their Christian church because she committed a sin. Her father even blames Magdalena for getting pregnant for letting her be around her “friend” Herman. The character of Magdalena demonstrates how women many Latina/o or Chicana/o families are put in ashamed when their daughter gets pregnant at young age.

In most Latina/o or Chicana/o families are constructed with conservative ideologies. Fathers of Chicana/o and Latina/o families construct patriarchal structures that want their families to follow and to not worry for what other people are going to say. Parents set values and rules for their children to follow. However, Magdalena shows how family structures are broken when she challenges the norms and set of values her parents taught her. Like Magdalena’s family, her father is more concern of how she caused a sin and disrespected the family honor because she conceived a child with her Herman who leaves her and does not provide for her. With no support from her Herman and family Magdalena finds comfort in her Tio Tomas’s home. The also film discusses about another issues that challenges Chicana/o and Latina/o families when Magdalena moves in their Tio Tomas and cousin Carlos who also got kicked out of his house for being gay. Carlos who is portrayed as a masculine male as well caused shame and disgrace for his family especially for his father who kicked him out from sisters Quinceañera at the beginning of the film. Carlos situation discusses how in Chicano families identifying as “gay” or LGBTQ is against the families beliefs and values. Identifying as gay man challenge the family patriarchal structures of machismo. Parents mostly fathers want their sons to grow up be machos. For Carlos his father was at shame and was not accepted for being different.

The film Quinceañera both character Magdalena and Carlos breaks the frame of la familia perfect (the perfect family). Some Chicana/o’s or Latina/o’s families symbolize the nuclear family structures because they want to their families to follow traditional norms in a Chicana/o family. Magdalena’s character is seen as disrespectful to her parents for breaking the family rules of getting pregnant at a young age because in Chicana/o house holds the females in the family are set to follow the rules that their parents impose on them. Women who get pregnant at a young age are often criticized some people believe in the ideologies that they ruined their life for becoming young mothers especially when the father of the child does not support. The Quinceañera film portrays how family structures are composed by patriarchy, values, and beliefs. As a result, wives and children are expected to follow certain family norms and rules. However, the film demonstrates how families are sometimes threaten when they are face with situations that they do not accept or expect to happen in their family such as a young pregnancy or identifying as gay that can threaten family beliefs and values.