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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Founded in 1969, the undertakes, promotes and disseminates research regarding the Chicana/o experience in California and the United States. In pursuing this goal, the Institute involves faculty, staff and students from all parts of the UC Santa Barbara campus. The Institute strives to coordinate its activities with Chicano, Latino and Mexican community organizations locally, nationally and internationally. The Institute is particularly committed to supporting research with policy implications.

Cover page of The Smart vs. The Hardworking:  The Academic Self-Concepts of Mexican Descent GATE students

The Smart vs. The Hardworking: The Academic Self-Concepts of Mexican Descent GATE students

(2008)

For students of color in college preparation educational programs, messages of exceptional ability have significant and unique effects. Being a student of color in a society that privileges whiteness, the few students of color who are actually in these programs face difficulties that white students do not. While high-achieving white students face the possibility of being called “nerds” or “dorks,” high-achieving students of color face the possibility of being accused of “acting white” and therefore being ostracized by their friends of color. Thus, what it means to have a high-achieving identity is qualitatively different for students of color than white students. In light of this, we are forced to ask: what do “high-achieving” identities look like for students of color? More specifically: what do high-achieving identities look like for students of Mexican-descent? In what ways do these students react to constant messages of superiority? How do their high-achieving identities affect their interaction with Mexican descent peers who are not in college preparation programs? The author challenges the notion that being perceived as “acting white” is inevitable for high-achieving students of color. The author argues that this approach fails to see the role that feelings of superiority play. Thus, high-achieving students do not only choose from internalizing a “smart” or “hardworking” identity; they also choose between being “a superior” or “an equal.”

Cover page of The Silent Films of Lupe Velez

The Silent Films of Lupe Velez

(2008)

Maria Guadalupe Vélez de Villalobos, named after Our Lady of Guadalupe, an important icon of Mexican religiosity, ironically, became one of the most exoticized Latin temptresses of Classical Hollywood cinema during the 1940s. Today, Vélez is remembered as a Mexicana that broke into Hollywood during the silent era, only to later become one of the most hyper-sexualized Latinas in United States film history. The author began to research Vélez because she wanted to learn more about what writers seemed to be avoiding and it is for this reason that she discusses the silent film history from the perspective of a film archivist. The author hopes that the research can perhaps begin to unravel why the silent period of Vélez's career has so often been left in the dark.

Cover page of Homosexual Latinos Creating Spaces of Social Belonging

Homosexual Latinos Creating Spaces of Social Belonging

(2008)

This essay explores the author’s notion of “participatory narrative” as it examines efforts to create a space of social belonging where diverse voices, particularly (homo)sexual Latino men’s voices, become audible and navigable to witness. In this vein, the author examines the development of digital interactive venues as one key method in providing access to histories that largely go unnoticed: histories that remain invisible to most audiences. Such venues allow Latino men to discuss their histories individually. At the same time, all participants bear witness to each other’s testimonies. The venue thus becomes a transformative site of healing and growth. The dialogue process becomes a form of participatory witnessing that enables one to come face to face with the ethnographic histories of (homo)sexual Latino men. The author argues that the notion of participatory narrative creates a space of social belonging where dialogue can transmit the potential of a social landscape where racial and sexual freedom resides.

Cover page of The Politics of Mexico’s Oil Monopoly

The Politics of Mexico’s Oil Monopoly

(2008)

The paper addresses various questions that need to be taken in consideration in any discussion regarding the privatization of the federally-managed Mexican oil company, Pemex. In the first part of this essay, the author provides a brief history of Pemex in order to emphasize the circumstances under which the oil sector in Mexico was nationalized. In the second part, he discusses Mexico-United States relations regarding oil because the United States is currently the major consumer of Mexico’s oil. The third section looks at the current problems that Pemex needs to address as soon as possible if it wants to maintain its status as an oil exporter.

Cover page of Voices of Courage and Strength: Undocumented Immigrant Students in the United States

Voices of Courage and Strength: Undocumented Immigrant Students in the United States

(2008)

In the academic literature and the media, attention is focused on adult undocumented immigrants who are more visible and whose progress through the labor market and the immigration bureaucracy can be more easily traced. As more immigrant families relocate to different areas of the United States, it is imperative for educators, health service providers, researchers, and policy makers to become familiar with their needs and contributions to society, especially those of immigrant youth. Although undocumented immigrant students face many stressors and barriers, many overcome these obstacles, become academically successful role models, and continue to make a difference in many lives. Resilient undocumented immigrant youth are making valuable contributions in our society.

Cover page of Under-representation in Academia:   A Chicano Philosopher’s Perspective

Under-representation in Academia: A Chicano Philosopher’s Perspective

(2008)

A report published in 2000 by the American Philosophical Association Committee on Hispanics/Latinos, found little more than 2 percent of the graduate student body in the field of philosophy was Latina/o. Latina/o students are dispersed throughout many different programs across the country, often leaving them isolated from other under-represented students who may share similar perspectives and concerns. Being isolated often leads to introspection and, in particular, questions regarding how one fits into the profession. The problem of under-representation prompts the following questions. First, could this problem be rooted historically in the discourse of canonical philosophers studied by contemporary graduate students? Then, what is some of the content of this historically-rooted prejudice? Further, what seems to be the contemporary trend in dealing with questions of under-representation in the field? Finally, what can under-represented minority students do in order to address this problem? The author offers various proposals to address the situation.

Cover page of Social Capital’s Influence on the Likelihood of Mexican Immigrants Having Type 2 Diabetes or Being Obese in Los Angeles County

Social Capital’s Influence on the Likelihood of Mexican Immigrants Having Type 2 Diabetes or Being Obese in Los Angeles County

(2008)

Most social capital research in the United States has tended to address issues concerning a middle class white population and little has addressed specific health outcomes. Even though it is frequently presented positively, social capital might have a negative relationship for more socially and economically vulnerable populations like Mexican immigrants. For example, social capital is negatively related to Mexican women’s wages, while positively related for non-Latino white women. It is clear that social capital does not guarantee positive outcomes. The currency of social capital is found in the relationships that people have, as the resources embedded in the community remain dormant until they are activated by individuals who pass along information through social interactions. Often overlooked is that negative information and resources can be transferred as well as positive. This paper examines two health outcomes--diabetes and obesity--to explore how social capital is related to an individual’s health, controlling for the influence that might be experienced by a vulnerable lower socioeconomic group like Mexican immigrants.

Cover page of Vocal and Visible:  Latino Political Mobilization in the 21st Century

Vocal and Visible: Latino Political Mobilization in the 21st Century

(2008)

To better understand the significance and implications of the 2006 pro-immigrant rights marches on Latina/o political behavior, it is imperative to study why this particular example of Latina/o mobilization proved to be so effectively organized. The essay examines how the U.S. Latino population, sometimes called the ‘sleeping giant,’ was finally awoken by focusing on the methods of political mobilization that were chosen by the Gran Marcha organizers. The author also examines how the 2006 strategies differed from those employed in the past.