Chicano Studies And The Latino Student Community

1767 words - 8 pages

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 institutions, such as universities. As a response to this, students of color from numerous educational institutions have risen to redefine their status and bring about educational equality. However, the dominant notion that Chicanos are the chairmen of a majority of these student social movements has resulted in many other groups to be left out on the periphery. Chicana students, Homosexual Latino(na) students, and Central American students all have played a significant role in various Chicano related student movements. Among these historic grassroots events, UCLA’s 1993 protest and hunger strike appears to best illustrate the contributions of these marginalized Hispanic subgroups, as well as the success that can be brought upon by a collective effort. Moreover, the student activism occurring within this academic institution meticulously displayed the political and social struggles that the Hispanic community (and thus Hispanic students) were undergoing outside the university’s perimeters.
In the article “Constructing Chicana and Chicano Studies” Soldatenko noted that during the hunger strike, the notion of “chingonismo” began to reemerge at UCLA. As a result, Chicano student’s nationalistic, patriarchal, and homophobic views...

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