Know your Roots
WHAT: The meaning of being Chicana for Nelda was created by her experience along the US-Mexican border, as well as her bi-culutralism which gives her much power towards social rights and justice. In the text she supports this reason by establishing the reason she associates herself as chicana is when she read the book Occupied America which is about the southern western lands being taken from the Mexican government. (181). Being Chicana for Nelda is knowing that becoming middle class in America is definitely possible, and she will continue to live her life, regardless of how she is looked at by the Mexican community. The way that she thinks about the possibilities that Mexican-Americans have is an example of her perspective of how culture is not essentialized, but merely fluid-complex.
SO WHAT: Lorena refers to her job as a human being as we are all human beings. Just because of the color of our skin, or the way our culture is, we all have DNA coursing through our veins and we all have means of living a happy, successful life. By both Nelda and Lorena establishing themselves as Chicana in a judgmental society, they were able to slightly slip pass the discourse that resides in America, and have become the respective human beings that they deserve to be through means of education. This education has helped them form their own identity and regardless what Americans or Mexicans say about them, they are on the road to fulfilling their job as a human being.
NOW WHAT: Education is definitely power. In Nelda’s perspective, she had gained knowledge of what it means to be Chicana by reading the book Occupied America which changed her cultural and ethnic label as chicana. This new information Nelda recieved gave her the power to shape her identity in the education system.From Lorena’s perspective, she used Education as a means of a way out, and believed that she owed something to her parents since they worked labor heavy jobs to support her as well as her siblings. I feel Lorena’s perspective mostly relates to my own situation. My parents work extremely hard, but have never been to college and are working backbreaking jobs as we speak. My cultural identity is shaped by education due to a fact that knowledge is power, and it is also a way out of the poverty discourse that resides in our country today. My Community partners as well influences the kids to do well in their reading, because having that extra knowledge gives way to becoming successful in this country. Their drive to learn to read is how education shapes their cultural identity at CCCSF.