A Review Of The Article Of "Unraveling America's Hispanic Past: Internal Stratification And Class Boundaries"

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"Chicano" has always had a negative connotation but Mexican Americans have turned that around. Mexican Americans have been about to make the term out to be one filled with pride. Chicanos have always struggled with the fact that they will always be too Mexican for the Americans and too American for the Mexicans. Chicanos will always be caught in the middle. Even though Mexican Americans face many struggles, they will always be Mexican American and they will carry their culture with them, whether they realize it or not.

I have experienced the same struggles that any other Chicano or Chicana has gone through. I am Mexican and Hungarian. I have light skin and blue eyes but my last name has a tilde in it. When I visit my Abuelo in Mexico, I feel out of place because my Spanish is broken and because of the color of my skin. And here, I am automatically put into the minority category because of my last name. These experiences are similar to the ones that lead Juan Gomez-Quinones, Ramon A. Gutierrez and Ignacio Garcia to writing. They each wrote about different situations and how the Chicanos handled them, each one being different.

On page 6 of the article "On Culture" by Juan Gomez-Quinones, Gomez-Quinones gives a definition of what culture is. His definition of culture is perfect. He nails it right on the head. He included every little detail, including the facts that culture is a process and that process is constantly changing and the fact that culture is learned; it is passed down from generation to generation. On page 7 Gomez-Quinones also mentions that change occurs among a culture when it is no longer satisfactory. Professor Macias mentioned in class several times that in most cases the second generation strays from their culture and the third generation returns to their culture.

This fact goes hand in hand with Gomez-Quinones' thought on how culture changes when the people are not happy with it. The second generation strays from their roots because they are ashamed. They want to Americanize themselves to fit in and not be discriminated against. But the third generation returns because they are ashamed of what their parents have done. Professor Macias said they begin to ask their grandparents questions and they learn to speak Spanish. They want to explore their culture and find out where they come from.

Gomez-Quinones also discusses three different groups among the Mexicans who descend into the United States. On page 14 he says that one of those groups is committed to the culture and identity of the United States. He calls the second group a "transitional group". He says this group consists of the Chicanos, the Hispanos, the Mexican Americans and the Spanish Americans. On page 15 he says that the third group is the group made up of Mexicano culture and identity. These three groups that Gomez-Quinones identifies really do exist out there. There really is the group that denies the fact that they are of Mexican decent, and there really is the group that identifies with both the Mexican and American cultures, and there really is the group that remains true to their Mexican culture.

In the Article "Unraveling America's Hispanic Past: Internal Stratification and Class Boundaries", Ramon A. Gutierrez begins on page 371 by talking about the theory that one day all Mexicans will dissolve into the melting pot known as America. He says that at first Mexicans will become hyphenated Americans and eventually they will become full participants in the American culture.

Ignacio Garcia discusses the characteristics that are automatically associated with Mexicans in his article entitled, "Rejecting the Liberal Agenda". On page 22 he talks about the fact that Mexican Americans are regarded to as "unskilled workers" and even the educated Mexican Americans faced discrimination.

This is something that is still very common today. It can be seen everywhere from kitchens to offices. Ironically, in most cases, the Mexican American is a much harder worker than the American is. Most likely this is because of the Mexican culture, because of where they have come from. Most Mexican Americans have never had anything handed to them. They have had to work hard for everything in their lives and as a result, they will continue to work hard. So, the stereotypes that have been placed on Mexican Americans are obviously false and anyone in the place of work of a Mexican American can see that.

Ignacio also talks about the fact that even though Mexicans come to America, they desire to remain close to their Mexican roots. He said on page 20, "They were Americans, but they would not stop being Mexican." On that same page he continues on the same topic and from what he says it seems as if Mexicans prefer to be known as Mexican-Americans, rather than just Americans. He says they, "...emphasized their Americanism over their cultural roots. But they did so while remaining confident of their mexicanismo."

Going back to what Gomez-Quinones said in his article, "Culture". The fact that Gomez-Quinones talks about Mexicans straying from their culture and Ignacio talks about Mexicans remaining loyal to their culture is ironic. It is obvious that both authors are stating the truth though. There are the Mexicans who want to be referred to as "Spanish", the ones who constantly deny being Mexican.

They are also the ones who are protesting against immigration when deep inside they know exactly what those immigrants are going through and they know that they were once in their position. And there are also the Mexicans who will never renounce where they come from. They are the ones who speak Spanish in a room full of guerros. They are the ones who listen to Vicente Fernandez. They are also the ones who proudly refer to themselves as Mexicano or Chicano. Both groups exist in society, one identifies with the Mexican culture and the other does not.

In the famous words of Abraham Quintanilla from the film, Selena, "Being Mexican American is tough. Anglos jump all over you if you don't speak English perfectly. Mexicans jump all over you if you don't speak Spanish perfectly. We got to be twice as perfect as anybody else...Anglo food is too bland and yet when we go to Mexico we get the runs...And we got to prove to the Mexicans how Mexican we are and we got to prove to the Americans how American we are. We got to be more Mexican that the Mexicans and more American than the Americans both at the same time. It's exhausting!...No one knows how tough it is to be Mexican America."

Juan Gomez-Quinones, Ramon A. Gutierrez and Ignacio Garcia each prove to the readers that each individual Chicano responds differently to the struggles that face Mexican Americans. Some take the obstacle and tackle it head on and others turn around and run from it, abandoning all they have ever known.

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