Therehave been evident inefficiencies in the definition of Chicano socialidentity hence, there is dire need to correct it and make iteffective.
TheChicana people have their roots in Mexico, but they are staying inAmerica where they are referred to as Mexican American. In America,they have gone through different kinds of oppressions through thehands of the Americans. The Chicana social identity definition seemsto draw mixed reactions from different readers and scholars. Theyexhibit a unique social identity that contradicts what othersocieties consider to be the correct social identity definition. Theyhave a very strong political stance that goes against the principlesof patriarchy a case that is seen to be very odd from othersocieties. The Chicanas have found it hard to adapt to the social andcultural identities as they are the minority race in America.
TheState of Chicana social identity
Tounderstand social identity, one should know about his/herself-identity. The term self-identity is a combination of personalidentity and social identity (Romero 3). In self-identity, anindividual ought to understand who he is and where he belongs to.This will make one identify his/her social identity. Personalidentity encompasses the personal qualities and characteristics.These are the features that make somebody unique and different fromothers. Thus, in a community of people staying together, there can bea variety of personalities.
Socialidentity tries to place each and every individual to a certain groupor groups. It is characterized by areas of singular self-personalitythat is achieved from an insight of being a person, from classes andgatherings, together with the worth and enthusiastic importancejoined to those memberships. Social identities can be clarified bythe social psychological procedures that are social classification,social correlation, and the mental work. “The creation of socialidentities is the result of three social psychological processes:social categorization, social comparison, and psychological work”(Romero 6). In social classification, when diverse individuals meet,they try to put one another in a given box. It can be based onnationality, skin color, or language among others. In America, theChicano was regarded as Mexicans and not Americans. Their Englishcould easily be distinguished from that of the Americans because ofthe accent they had. Ideally, they were placed in the Chicano socialidentity, a social that was discriminated against by the majorityAmericans. The fact that they were white did not give them any undueadvantage the treatment they received was not different from that ofthe African Americans. Therefore, Chicano social identity’sdefinition still hold value in today’s society because there arestill cases of discrimination and the Mexicans played an importantrole in the economy of early America. The youths are still strugglingand all the evil activities during that period are still evidenttoday though at a reduced and almost insignificant rate. The roots ofthe Chicano nationalism are better understood by the affirming itscultural identity.
Strengthsof Chicano social identity
TheChicano social identity unearthed the inhuman activities that weretargeted at the Chicanas. In particular, it addressed the issues ofgender-based discrimination, minority discrimination, and racismamong others. The definition gave the Chicana women a new positionand roles in the society. Women were could take part in all mattersof the society just like men could do. Their traditional householdduties were seen as discrimination from their men. “Chicanas seeksto recover the history of Mexican American women from out of theshadows” (Romero 19). It has identified the Chicanas as themajority ethnic group in the in America and as one of the minoritygroups. It also addressed the issues poverty, racism, and sexismamong the Chicanas both in the dominant culture and their culture.The women from Mexico recognize that they are Americans though bornin Mexico and so they recognize and embrace their Mexican culture.All these activities show how the Chicanas are committed towardsactivism. The definition has taken into consideration theconsciousness in the society and among the Chicana women that theyhave been treated unfairly both at Mexico and at the United Statesand, therefore, they are trying to fight fair treatment just likeother people either at home or in the foreign country (Romero16).They should be entitled to equal rights with men at Mexico and equaltreatment with the Americans while in America.
Thedefinition has led to streamlining the education sector of theAmericans to an extent of taking care of all the students in theAmerican schools regardless of their ethnicity may it be Chicana orthe Americans themselves. Before the definition was put in practice,the education system was broken, unequal, and discriminatory to theminority race students in the schools, colleges, and universities inAmerica. The definition ensured that the education reform made theneeds of the ethnic students. There were no sufficient facilities forthese students compared to the schools attended by most of theirAmerican colleagues. This had a long-term effect on the quality ofeducation the students received which later on affected the communityat large. In most schools, the Mexican American children and youthswere separated from their white counterparts (Valencia 394). For sometime, school children isolation by race became a normative as therewere no legal structures that could have helped segregate the whitestudents from Mexican American students.
Dueto this segregation, the Mexican American community decided to seekthe intervention of the court to resolve the matter. In one way, thedefinition helped streamline the court structures in Texas andAmerica as a whole. The first case brought before the court in 1930by parents of the Mexican American students challenged the court tovalidate the segregation of the students on racial grounds atschools. The outcome of the case was to give ground for ground forchallenging the segregation matters that was to arise after that.After the ruling was made, in the case of Independent School Districtv. Salvatierra, the judge ruled for Salvatierra stating that theracial segregation of students on grounds of race was illegal becauseboth the Mexican American and the American students were both whiteand belonged to the white race (Valencia 396). Similarly, in theOrange County, the case of Mendez v. Westminister put the segregationissue to an end after the judgment was made for Mendez (Valencia400). In Doss v. Bernal successfully challenged residentialsegregation (Romero and Fernandez 1).
Limitationsof Chicano social identity
TheChicano racial identity identifies the Chicanas to be Mexicans livingin America. The fighting for equal treatment is one of theAmericanization programs. “Teachers, social workers, and religiousmissionaries created programs to Americanize Mexican immigrants”(Romero 37). If the Mexicans get fully Americanized, they will nolonger be preservatives of their culture as the Americanizationprogram is deficient of cultures. Instead of sticking to theirculture, the Chicanas should learn to socialize with the culture ofthe citizens of America with whom they interact with and socializewith their day to day lives while in America. The definition of theChicana racial identity is culture deficient and the only way theLatinos can stay successfully n America is by shedding their cultureso that it can fit that of Americans.
Anotherlimitation arose due to the Mexico Americans demanding to beidentified as whites. Though it was beneficial to them due to thediscrimination they faced, it phased of the Equal Protection clausethat was previously for the Chicanos and other similar people.“…therefore, they could not be discriminated against as if theywere Black, Asian, or Native American” (Chao 43).
Importanthistorical and social groups excluded
Historically,the Chicanas seem to be isolated from other ethnicities in the USA.Their activities are independent of other any other ethnic globally.Historically, Chicanas are Mexicans, and Mexicans are Latinos. Fromthe historical background, therefore, the Latin should comprise ofFrance, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Latin America. Currently, Latinrefers to any state or ethnic group that has the Latin Americanancestry more specifically the Asians in this case. The Chicanas arenot regarded as being Latin because of their political biases. Theyare not politically neutral. Socially, all the groups that stay inAmerica, who interact with the Chicanas, have been excluded. Thepolitical elites have not been included as well.
Opinionon revising traditional Chicano social identity definition
Personally,given the power to, can change the traditional definition of theChicano social identity. In defining the term, I would prefer toincorporate the feminism matters as well as the cultural matters.This is because, the Chicano people do not recognize women as peoplewho can participate fully, just like men in matters of leadership andother matters in the society that are traditionally seen asresponsibilities of men. The discrimination against women is morepronounced within the Chicano people and the community at large. Mostof the Chicanos, particularly men believe that the roles of women areconcentrated around the family and the house. They do not recognizewomen as people who can perform any other duty apart from that.Duties outside family and house are taken to be duties specificallymeant for men. Those who are advocating for expanded roles of womenface intolerant remarks regarding them as betrayers. Culturally, theChicana people seem to embrace their culture so much than anythingelse. They identify themselves as Mexican Americans, but theirculture is purely of Mexicans. They are the minority race in America,and their cultural practices cannot favor them to successfullyinteract with the Americans. Their definition should shade light onthe culture of the Chicanos and its usage while in the foreign land.
Thesocial identity definition should consider all the facts that areconsidered moral and do not contravene the basic humanity principles.Globally, the definition should be accepted. Otherwise, it will leadto counter reactions from different stakeholders. The Chicana Socialidentity definition stands unique from any other definition from anyrace on the globe. This is because of the political stance in it thatis discriminatory in nature. The definition ought to be changed sothat it does not undermine the principle of equality to any genderand also focus on the issue of Chicana culture and its applicabilityso that the Chicana people can relate successfully with the peoplethey interact with.
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Valencia,R. TheMexican American Struggle for Equal Educational Opportunity in Mendezv. Westminster: Helping to Pave the Way for Brown v. Board ofEducation.London. Routledge, 2005. Web.