Week 13 Reader : Best of Both Worlds


During this week reading, we focused on DNA, race and identity. Ant i have to me to understand that in fact humans do view the world in black and white and many people are left miss represented and not represented at all. In the lecture professor Perez talked about how she was surprised about her ethnicity and how percentage of her DNA was African American.  In the Article by Ebony Bailey Blaxicans of LA capturing two cultures i one is the perfect example how many people are left unrepresented and lost in searching for an identity. in this article, people are viewed with a really narrow and rigid mind set. As humans we feel that we need to categorize things, but too many categories is too complicated so we make big categories to try to fit as many people as we can into one group. In this case the blaxicans feel forced to suppress one identity. Blaxicans make part of two of the most suppressed minority groups and it is a challenge. This article explains how mixed is beautiful because you get the best of both worlds.

Both of my parents are Mexican, i was born in the U.S and i myself feel that my identity is challenged. when i’m asked where i’m from, i always answer : i was born here but my parents are from mexico. For some reason i feel that i have to bring up where my parents were born. Does anyone else feel this way.

Week 13: Chicano History


In this week’s reading, “Chicano History: An Oral History Approach” by Mario T. Garcia, he interviews a couple of people to understand their history. He argues that it is important to have first hand documentation of the Mexican experience in the United States. Mario states, “…innovative historians have begun to employ oral history techniques to compensate for non-existing working class documentation” (Garcia). This being so, Mario explains that they are techniques in order to perform a perfect interview. In the article, Ms. Donna Salazar has four interviews. Ms. Donna Salazar interviews two families, which were the Mendozas and the Sandovals. Ms. Donna Salazar interviews them about the Mexican life in the United States. Garcia states, ” It is important to analyze the interviews for both technique and content” (Garcia). Garcia explains that Ms. Donna Salazar fails to pay sufficient attention to chronology because it is sometimes difficult to understand interviewees historical periods.

Week 13: The Best of Both Worlds


This week’s readings deal with two common issues: the documentation of Latino history, and the challenges of identifying with two cultures/ethnicities. In “CHICANO HISTORY: AN ORAL HISTORY APPROACH,” Mario T. Garcia argues the importance of having primary documentation of the Mexican experience in the United States since there seems to be a lack of sources for historians to use when studying Mexican American history. For this reason, historians have “begun to employ oral history techniques to compensate for [this] non-existing documentation.” Such oral history techniques include interviews.  In the article, Ms. Salazar interviews four members from two families, the Sandovals and Mendozas. Ms. Salazar interviewed the two mothers from each family as well as one of their children respectfully. This technique provided an insight on the experience of one generation compared to another generation. During these interviews, the questions of whether each interviewee considered themselves a Mexican-American or a Mexican, and whether each family continue to speak Spanish or continue to represent Mexican customs were asked to each person. While the Sandovals consider themselves American, due to their citizenship, but felt Mexican, and have kept some customs, but not their language, the Mendozas consider themselves Mexican, even if they are Americans, and have kept most of their customs and language. These interviews not only proved that every Mexican has different experiences in the United States, but also that every Mexican deals with the issue of identifying with either their American or Mexican ethnicity differently as well.

Now, this article ties into the article “‘Blaxicans of L.A.’: capturing two cultures in one” since this article also deals with the issue of documenting Latino history and question of whether one identifies with one culture or the other. This article focuses on Walter Thompson-Hernandez, a researcher with the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at USC, who began a research project on “Blaxican” identity. For his project, Thompson-Hernandez interviewed individuals of African American and Mexican descent like himself, while capturing portraits of Blaxicans and their families and posting them on the Instagram account called “Blaxicans of L.A.” In the article, Thompson-Hernandez claims that with his experience documenting Blaxicans, he hopes to “challenge the way we think about race and force us to think about racial identities in more inclusive and broad ways” since “Blaxicans are dual minorities [and] we represent two of the largest ethnic minority groups.” Similar to the Sandovals and Mendozas, Thompson-Hernandez probably had questioned himself as to whether he considered himself to be Black or Mexican, and as we can tell, he considers to be both (hence, the nickname).

These readings made me think about my experience with having to balance feeling Guatemalan, even though I am American. Because of my fair-skin, people always assume I’m white, and because of this, I went through a period in my life where I was leaning towards accepting being American while ignoring my Latin roots. However, as I grew up, I realized that I can be both. I partake in many Guatemalan customs just the same as I do in many American customs. I speak Spanish at home, but English outside of my home. I eat Guatemalan food and American food. I balance my Guatemalan culture with my American culture. I get to have the best of both worlds without having to compromise, and that allows me to be my true self.

Now, I want to ask you, what do you consider yourself to be? Do you feel as though you lean towards one culture as opposed to the other? Or do you accept the best of both?

The Struggles of Pinpointing Racial Identities

Identifying with a specific racial identity has been difficult for as long as anyone can remember. In this week’s readings and podcast, readers get a glimpse of the struggles of trying to fit in spaces while others make them feel as though they do not belong. American society is built on the foundation of a black and white binary. Racial identities in between of these identities go unrecognized and/or experience negative misrepresentation.

In the podcast “Being Blaxican in L.A.” scholar Walter Thompson-Hernández discusses his experience of living with his Mexican and Black racial identities. Although it was a struggle trying explain his background to others, he eventually learned that as long as he is comfortable with his identification, then the ideologies of others do not matter. He started to use social media as an avenue to address issues regarding biracial struggles and successes within communities around American society. Other biracial folk are given the opportunity to talk about their stories in a safe space free of judgment.

Assimilation is another topic that is constantly talked about within the area of social justice. Assimilation is the act of adapting to other cultures and traditions for reasons including the desire for privilege and acceptance. As discussed in the paragraphs above, the black and white binary is an ideology in which we only see two racial groups among society with blacks being the oppressed population and white folk being ‘superior.’ Within the Latina/o community, there is discrimination and a racial hierarchy with people admiring Eurocentric features and denying other such as dark and indigenous complexions. In the article “Why Latinos Won’t Become White,” author Gabriel Arana explains how the Latina/o community sometimes look up to the White community because they feel as though it would grant them privilege and keep them safe from discrimination. This is damaging because it only influences and encourages racial discrimination more. Regardless of how much they want to belong to the ‘superior’ population, they are only lying to themselves and others.


My questions for you are: do you think assimilation is an excuse for surviving in racist American society? Have you always been comfortable with the identity you are claiming today? Do you feel sorry or anger towards folk who have chosen to assimilate?

Self Identity

In the Latino USA Podcast “Being Blaxican in L.A”, Walter Thompson-Hernandez born and raised in L.A is a Blaxican meaning his mother is Mexican and his father is Black. At the age of eight he was told that he was Afro-Chicano, however he had no clue as to what that meant. His mother tried pushing him to take a class with a teacher by the name Ms. Sanders because she was black and he would be able to gain some knowledge from her on being black. As he grew older he began to understand that he was biracial. He navigated along with his multiracial experience and decided to create a project that would help others understand both races. His project is Blaxicans of L.A, it is an Instagram page which gives a founding voice and identity and reconciling worlds that were broken. Several biracial individuals have often been looked at when they go out with their parents and they do not have the same appearance. They are asked unnecessary questions that just make them feel uncomfortable. However through this project they are able to accept that they are multiracial and no longer be ashamed. On the contrast, in the article “Why Latinos Won’t Become White” by Gabriel Ana and “The Latino Flight to Whiteness” by William Darity Jr. they bring up a term of “ethnic attrition”. In the article “Why Latinos Won’t Become White” the term ethnic attrition means, “As Latinos intermarry and climb the socioeconomic ladder, the theory goes, they are likely to self identity as Hispanics”. When Latinos gain success they no longer want to be considered a Hispanic because they want to be accepted in society, and rather assimilate and identify as white. They let go of thier own identity in order to fit in within society. Do you believe that is true? Do Latinos not accept their identity after climbing the socioeconomic ladder?

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?

Embracing all aspects of your identity ……..Love Thy Self!


When I think of race relative to the United States, I think of White/Black binary constructs and umbrella terms like “Latino/as” which ignore certain members of our society. White/Black binary constructs and umbrella terms, unfortunately, ignore the fact people come from different racial/ethnic groups in the U.S. One in particular is Blaxicans, who often have to choose whether they are Black or Mexican when filling out the dreadful forms that collect demographic information. In the “Being Blaxicans in L.A.” clip we see the problems that persist from the “either or” dichotomy. The “either your this or that” dichotomy forces people to deny aspects of their identity. However, in the clip, we see how Walter Thompson-Hernández, has overcome the White/Black binary, embracing the fact that he is both Black and Mexican. He challenges binary constructs and embraces all aspects of his identity. He is not Black or Mexican; he is both Black and Mexican-a Blaxican. In doing so, he creates an Instagram page, a space, where people of color who are mixed share their powerful stories about identity in America and what that looks like for people of color who do not fit the White/Black binary. Similar to Thompson-Hernandez, and all the other people of color in the articles discussing identity in America, my daughter struggled with being a mixed child. Because she carries more of the biological features of a Black person, her identity has been ascribed to her. She is automatically marked as being “Black.” She has remarked on several occasions that people just assume that she is “Black.” Or, she gets the dreadful question of “What are you mixed with?” My daughter is Black and Mexican, who, similar to Thompson-Hernandez, is being raised in a single parent Chicano/a household. Similar to Thompson-Hernandez, my daughter does not deny her Black roots. She is proud to be a “Blaxican.” As a parent who is conscious of these binary constructs and how they have oppressed certain people’s identities in America, I make sure that she embraces all aspects of her identity when it comes to race, even gender and class.

My question would be: How do you identify and why? Do you embrace all aspects of your identity? If not, Why?

Finding Your Roots

This week focused race and identity. I was particularly drawn to “The Pioneers: Sandra Cisneros” video. Even though it was relatively short, I was like fascinated with the video because my last name is also Cisneros. It made me think, that somehow we could be, or how cool it would be if we were connected (that would be so awesome!).I even had to show it to my mom. As I was reading the Eva Longoria article before the clip, and seeing how proud she is of her heritage and how she has so much knowledge about her ancestors, similar to that of Sandra Cisneros knowing about her ancestors it made me really jealous, because I unfortunately dont. I’ve heard a few stories about who my great grandparents were but that’s as far back as i have knowledge from. I think it’s important to know where you came from and i would be so interested in knowing more about my ancestors. I have always wanted to do the ancestory.com or the 23 and me where it tells your genetic makeup, but being a broke college student doesnt really allow me to do that. I’m hoping one day i will be able to know more about my ancestors, i believe it would really help me even know more about myself.

My question for you all is do any of you know about your ancestral background, if so do you have any cool stories about who your ancestors where, or anything cool they did?

Do you think it’s important to know your roots?


Week 11: Masculinity Reconfigured

In the article “Masculinity Reconfigured: Shaking up Gender in Chicano/Latino Literature” by Pablo E. Martínez there is an analysis of the the novels “Pocho” by José Antonio Villarreal and “How the García Girls Lost their Accents” by Julia Álvarez. Martínez brings up the fact that these two novels have common leitmotifs, masculinity and machismo. Throughout his article, Martínez shows how these leitmotifs are deconstructed through nationalism, transnationalism, feminism and modernity. Martínez starts off by explaining that the father’s in both novels, Juan in “Pocho” and Carlos in “How the García Girls Lost their Accents”, grew up with a nationalistic ideology. They both came from countries where as men they held all the power in the family structure. This leads to them thinking that as men they can do whatever they want and can control everyone in their family. This is where the ideas of machismo and masculinity are found. Martínez then goes on to explain how transnationalism changes this. When the two families have to leave their countries and settle in the United States, the ideas of machismo and masculinity found in the Fathers are challenged. When they come to the United States, Juan and Carlos are not able to live like they did in their former countries. For example, Carlos who held a good job in his country ends up not being able to provide for his family in the United States. This leads to the breaking down of the nationalistic ideology of the Father’s. Martínez also explains that machismo and masculinity are challenged by feminism when the families are in the United States. The women in the novels are able to achieve more in the United States than in their past country. The women are more free to accomplish more and this challenges masculinity. In their past countries, women could not accomplish anything major only the men could. Through feminism in the United States, the women of these families are able to challenge masculinity and machismo. According to Martínez, the final way that ideas of machismo and masculinity are deconstructed is through modernity. When the Fathers come to the United States they have trouble keeping up with the times. They try to impose their ideas from their home countries in the United States but it does not work. Through modernity their ideas of machismo and masculinity are destroyed. Martínez explains in his article that masculinity and machismo can be erased through transnationalism, feminism and modernity.

My question is:

Do you think when men from countries that promote ideas like machismo and masculinity come to the United States they are stripped of these ideas through the society in the United States? Or are they still able to live their lives with these ideas?

Week 10: “The Rain God”


The Rain God” by Arturo Islas, is a novel about a Mexican family living in the United States of America. Islas writes about different characters in his novel, and first he starts off with Miguel Chico. Miguel Chico is the son of Miguel Grande and Juanita. Miguel Chico is the only family member to have a higher education and decides to go to College in San Francisco. Miguel Chico distances himself from the family, so the family raises suspicion towards him. Miguel Chico is not married, so his family suspects him of being gay. Miguel Chico’s father, Miguel Grande, did not allow him to play with dolls and wanted Miguel Chico to become a man due to Miguel Grande Macho-ness. Miguel Grande was an individual who was very patriarch. He was viewed as “head of the household” and his presence dominated all the family gatherings. although, Islas does not confirm of the character being gay, we can see that Miguel Chico suffers from sexuality in this novel. Some questions I have are, Why do you think the author, Arturo Islas, leaves us wondering if Miguel Chico was gay or not? Was it because many Chicano/s would not accept his book? Does the Chicano/a Family have an influence in this??