Cultural Representations of Chicanos
How do the cultural representations and cultural practices of Chicanos and Chicanas reflect their continuing struggle for empowerment and civil rights, and their relationship with Anglo American dominant society?
Answer the above question on Cultural Representations of Chicanos by constructing a clear thesis. To substantiate your argument and support your point of view about Cultural Representations of Chicanos, you must engage with required readings from at least three different weeks, from weeks six through ten. You may also draw from lectures, discussions, and in-class material.
Your Cultural Representations of Chicanos research papers must be typed in in order to be a good research paper. Remember that the paradox of culture is that, as we learn to accept our own cultural beliefs and values, we unconsciously learn to reject those of other peoples. At birth, we are capable of absorbing any culture and language. We are predisposed to cultural learning, but we are not preprogrammed to adopt a particular culture. As we grow, our parents, our schools, and our society teach us what is right and wrong, good and evil, acceptable and unacceptable. At the subconscious level, we learn the symbolic meanings of behavior and through them interpret the meanings of actions. Beliefs, values, and symbols must be understood within the context of a particular culture. This is the principle of cultural relativity and is part of natural, human assimilation into society.
Cultural Representations of Chicanos to Consider
It may be helpful to consider the following about Cultural Representations of Chicanos:
- The zoot suit
- Style politics
- Chicana feminism
Cultural assimilation has never been more under fire as it has within the last 100 years in the history of America. America is discovering that it is not set up to be a "melting pot" of cultures living in harmony but rather a battleground both within a culture and in society as a whole, riddled with failures towards ethnic pluralism. Thus, Gloria Anzaldua has enlightened the issue in her essay Boraderlands/La Frontera, by calling to note the fact that la mestiza, or one's reality, is "sandwiched" between the cultures which surround us, battle within our own culture, and all the while attempting to create a new culture which incorporates the dynamics of the two others.
Anzaldua asserts that many Americans are caught between multiple cultures and experience a choque, or a collision of these cultures. She uses the example of a woman in a Chicano society. The woman struggles with the male/female dynamic along with her ethnic identity and the clashing of cultures of Spanish and Indian. The result of these coming together of cultures is "often opposing messages". This confusion of communication of culture creates an even more difficult barrier resolving assimilation into one "American" culture. Thus Anzaldua sets the stage for examining the benefit and even an exploration into whether or not assimilation is possible. Also, perhaps assimilation is used negatively for some groups and positively for others. Can these "opposing messages" be used for the advantage of one group or to the disadvantage of the dominant culture? Many cultural sociologists have suggested that politically, socially, and religiously, ethnicity has been used to manipulate society, much as Anzaldua asserts that la Virgen de Guadalupe was used by various groups to embrace an ideology.