Personal Reflection on impacts of the Chicano movement

Personal Reflection on impacts of the Chicano movement

In an article by Jorge Mariscal, the author questions the impacts of the Chicano movement from 45 years ago on the education sector, and whether it means much to the present day youths both from within the Latino communities and from other minority groups in the U.S. The major theme in the article is the vanity of the Chicano movement practices in the education sector 45 years later. He opines that although most people even from the minority communities would not concur with him that there is still a deficiency of equality in the education sector; the work ahead is tougher than that done by the movement. This is more so because most of the affected people do not even recognize the modern day challenges due to the shifts in social perceptions that have been transferred to the education sector as well. To some extent, I agree with the author that there have been changes such as internationalization and globalization that have diluted the local view of youths and others in the society. That the changes have led lack of realization of the importance of the movement and the role it played in social policy reforms, is a debatable subject.

Mariscal (xv), in his argument posits that globalization and internationalization have contributed to an international outlook on culture and opinions of it. As such, most students in colleges and universities tend to keep their eyes on problems that are more globalized and may align themselves to issues that are in diverse spatial locations more easily than they do under temporal diversity. While this argument was well developed and well articulated, my own opinion is that differences in appreciation of the Chicano movement and its roles in the social setting are most likely to have resulted from changes in times, societal challenges and social issues in general. Globalization and the social media do not exactly push people out of their localities but rather give them a wider world view. What could have been perceived as a societal problem 45 years ago when the Chicano movement existed may not be such an issue in the present.

The question that the author reports to be common from his students, that is “why were they so angry?” could be a reflection of the perception that the students have about social life and the interpersonal relationships they have with others (Mariscal xvi). The students have grown up in a world where they do not have to fight discrimination as strongly as the Chicano movement had to fight in the past. For one, the movement existed when discrimination was so blatant in that there was no effort to cover it. Most of the experiences people went through because of their races were intentional. In the present days, the discriminatory experiences are more difficult to notice, most likely because of emancipator politics, through which non-discrimination social and education policies are established. The idea of being under constant watch and review is more likely to push schools and other social institutions into finding strategies for covering up discriminative practices if any. The result is that there is more emphasis on inclusive practices than on any other diversions. Observers such as those from minority communities do not perceive the ethnic discriminations since they are focused on the global happenings. At the same time, the discrimination has shifted more from the racial context and expands to other factors which inadvertently result in the exclusion of minorities.

Youths in the contemporary times do not understand what their predecessors were fighting for. The education sector on the other hand publicizes inclusion of members of minority groups, particularly the Latinos, without regard for the impacts of their inclusion. For instance, I just like the author, am less appreciative of the fact that a university can laude and publicize the recruitment of a Mexican lecturer, and even describe it as a ‘favor’ to the Latino community (Mariscal xix). In their public relations, there is intentional lack of mention of the fact that the individual recruited as a professor is well qualified for the position at an individual level and that his recruitment should not even be mentioned as a favor to a particular community. Furthermore, the university does not mention that even though the so called recruit may share in the nationality of the minorities, they do not share in their ideologies. The pride of the community concerning the favor done to them does not arise from the good he can potentially bring to them but rather on the mirage that he may be supportive of them.

Inclusion as a societal principle of life calls for more than raising voices and formulating policies. It should be a matter that stems from the heart and an in-depth culture of liberal ethnicity. In the present society, the education sector has set policies that monetize the education system. Access to higher education is open to individuals from ethnic communities, minority as well as majority. However, the thresholds have been shifted from performance to monetary value (Mariscal xx). Those who can afford education will access higher education while those who cannot afford will remain at home. As the cost of living becomes high, the minorities are the same people who are continuously being locked out of employment opportunities due to cyclic poverty and lack of financial capacity. This explains Mariscal’s finding that although seemingly more Latinos access higher education, even courses that they once populated have seen dwindling numbers of Latinos recently. In my opinion younger students will continue asking ‘what did they want?’ as they look globally while the societal problems are getting entrenched locally and diversifying in terms of manifestation.

Questions

The reading has pushed me to think beyond the conventional idea of societal problem issues. I have come to ask myself the following questions whose answers I could not get from the reading.

  • The Chicano Movement and several others that rose 40 to 50 years ago fought for the right to inclusion and provision of equal social responsibilities. Has that duration been sufficient to eliminate racial discrimination from its roots?
  • If there had not been such efforts to eliminate discrimination, would universities be intent on publicizing events such as having the first black man to graduate from college or even having recruited a Mexican lecturer? Would there still be perceptions that the recruitment of a qualified man from a minority group is a favor to the community to which he belongs?
  • How deep of a problem do we still have in the society in terms of discrimination? Is there a willingness in the education sector and in every other social institution to eliminate the racial prejudice problem in the society?
  • How can the social media be used to create sensitization to the local problems that the minority communities face in discrimination?

 

Work Cited

Mariscal, Jorge. Foreword: The Chicano movement – does anyone care about what happened 45 years ago? In, Garcia, Mario (Ed.), The Chicano Movement: perspectives from the 21st century. Routledge, 2014.