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1.5: Conclusion

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    In this introductory chapter, you had the opportunity to learn about the foundations of Chicanx and Latinx studies, including the historical, cultural, and institutional background and contexts of the discipline. In addition, we introduced some key concepts, labels, and perspectives that will be further developed throughout this book. We hope this book provides an entry point into the significant and timely issues that affect our communities today and the opportunities available for future generations. 

    Ancillary materials for this chapter are located in Section 11.1: Chapter 1 Resource Guide, which includes slides, media, writing and discussion prompts, and suggested assignments and activities.

    Key Terms

    Chicanx and Latinx studies: A discipline that has worked for over fifty years to provide a more accurate understanding of the political, cultural, historical, and social contexts that shape our current-day experiences of race, identity, community, and the disparities that plague our society.

    Open Educational Resources (OER): Instructional materials that are designed to be freely used, shared, and adapted.

    Chicana, Chicano, and Chicanx: Social and political identity terms chosen by people of Mexican heritage living in the United States to signify their Indigenous ancestry to the greater Southwestern and Mesoamerican (also called Anahuac) regions. This identity term emerged as a direct response to the term “Mexican American” to focus greater attention on the political, social, and cultural position of people of Mexican heritage. When the term ends in an ‘x,’ it signifies a non-binary gender, either referring to all people regardless of gender or specifically referring to people of non-binary identities.

    Chicana: The feminine form of Chicana, Chicano, and Chicanx and refers to women and girls, and Chicano is the masculine form, which refers to men and boys.

    Hispanic A term that became popularized and is assigned by the United States Census and other government offices to emphasize Spanish influence.

    Xicana, Xicano, and Xicanx: Those whose families originate from the homeland of [Me]xicana/os and Indigenous people.

    Latina, Latino, and Latinx: People with ancestry connected to anywhere in Latin America. Latinx differs from Latina/o as the “x” renders the term gender-neutral and more inclusive. 

    Indigenous Latinx: Indigenous migrants from Latin America living in the United States who practice their Indigenous languages, ceremonies, medicines, foodways, and ancestral lands. 

    Afro-Latinx: People of African and Latin American heritage, and corresponds to national or regional variations of the term, such as Afro-Mexican or Afro-Brazilian. 

    Rehumanization: Conscious work done to combat systemic oppression so that people can participate in a civic society towards democracy in a multicultural society. 

    Hxstories: The collective impact of past events, avoiding the andro-centric and colonial association with the term history. 

    Cultural funds of knowledge and cultural wealth: Assets, information, wisdom, and expertise that exists within communities that have been neglected and disregarded by institutional systems of knowledge production. 

    Organic intellectuals: Individuals who gain advanced expertise through direct experience, working with community members directly, and engaging in hands-on work. 

    Decolonization: The diverse struggles led by Indigenous people for sovereignty, self-determination, and a transformation of the ongoing conditions of colonial power. 

    Traditional knowledge: Forms of knowledge practiced by Indigenous groups provide both content expertise and communicate lifeways and intergenerational transfers of information and guided inquiry.

    Settler-colonialism: Specific forms of colonialism in which outside powers attempt to eradicate and replace the living societies of Native people to establish and maintain settler societies.

    Colonial education: Settler institutions that have attempted erasure and genocide of Indigenous lifeways, including the government and Church-run Boarding Schools in the United States and Canada.

    Third World Liberation Front (TWLF): A multi-ethnic coalition of students that were awoken to the fact that they were being taught in ways that were dominating and irrelevant to themselves (Maeda, 2012), and included a coalition of the Black Student Union (BSU), Latin American Student Organization (LASO), Intercollegiate Chinese for Social Action (ICSA), Mexican American Student Confederation, Philippine (now Pilipino) American Collegiate Endeavor (PACE), La Raza, Native American Students Union, and Asian American Political Alliance

    El Plan de Santa Barbara: A document that united diverse activists from around the state of California and laid out a roadmap for Chicana/Chicano studies, as well as programs to increase the retention, engagement, and success of students from minoritized backgrounds. 

    Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán (MEChA, formerly Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán):  A national student organization with local chapters that advocate for equity and justice in higher education

    General education graduation requirement: A type of course that all students are required to take as part of their educational requirements to earn a degree. In California, Ethnic studies has become a general education graduation requirement in all public high schools and colleges. 

    Critical Race Theory: A legal perspective put forward by scholars to identify the link between U.S. laws and the structure of racism, with the goal of better ending racial discrimination and disparities. This perspective has been misrepresented by conservative activists. 

    Intersectionality: A concept that emphasizes the importance of recognizing multiple identities when analyzing an individual or group’s relationship to societal power structures and institutions. 

    Transnational: Social dynamics that exist beyond an individual community and nation-state. This deconstructs the importance of existing nations, borders, and paradigms of citizenship and instead focuses on how culture, society, and human life communicates identity and moves across lands. 

    Relational approaches: Frameworks that utilize dynamic comparisons between groups to yield greater knowledge, encourage solidarity, and find creative solutions to systemic problems.

    Glossary of Ethnic Studies Terms

    The following list of terms was adapted from the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum.25 Many of these terms are used throughout the book to demonstrate the methods, analysis, and content in Chicanx and Latinx Studies. This glossary is provided as a supplemental resource for learners to have more opportunities to develop confidence and understanding of the material.

    Activism: Informed action or involvement as a means of achieving a political goal. Activism can manifest in the form of protests, demonstrations and direct actions, art and cultural production, lobbying, and advocacy work, fundraising, writing, educational discussions, and more.

    Agency: The capacity of an individual to act freely and make independent choices in any given environment.

    Accompliceship: The process of building relationships grounded in trust and accountability with marginalized people and groups. Being an accomplice involves attacking oppressive structures and ideas by using one’s privilege and giving up power and position in solidarity with those on the social, political, religious, and economic margins of society. This is in contrast to the contested notion of allyship which is often performative, superficial, and disconnected from the struggles for justice .

    Cisheteropatriarchy: A system of society in which cisgender people, men and heterosexuals (especially cisgender heterosexual men) are privileged, dominant, and hold power. Cisgender refers to people whose gender identity aligns with their sex assigned at birth, and is the opposite of transgender. 

    Citizenship: A status granted to a person that has been recognized by a particular country as being afforded all the benefits, rights, freedoms, and access as a member or citizen of the country. Citizenship is also the relationship a person maintains with the country or state they are loyal to. Thus, citizenship also includes how citizens engage their communities through both political and non-political processes for the betterment of their community, state, and nation.

    Class: A category and identifier that denotes a person or group’s economic or social status.

    Classism: The systematic oppression of subordinated class groups to advantage and strengthen the dominant class groups.

    Colonialism: A practice of domination whereby one country seizes control over another country or territory and its people via force, exploitation, and/or political control.

    Community: A social group of any size whose members either reside in a specific locality, share government, and/or have a common cultural background, struggles, views, or history.

    Culture: The characteristics, creations, and knowledge of a particular group of people, place, or time. These characteristics include, but are not limited to, beliefs, customs, art, music, language, traditions, and religion. 

    Dehumanization: When a person or group of people are deprived of human qualities. This process is often carried out when a dominant group abuses power and denies opportunities and rights from another group.

    Eurocentric/Eurocentrism: A worldview that privileges and centers the thoughts, practices, knowledge, history, systems of beliefs, and customs of the western world and people of western European descent more specifically.

    Federal recognition: A status granted to Native American tribes that have gone through the process of being recognized by the U.S. federal government and have been granted sovereignty. There are over 300 federally recognized tribes across the U.S.

    Gender: Western culture has come to view gender as a binary concept, with two rigidly fixed options— men and women. Instead of the static binary model produced through a solely physical understanding of gender, a far richer tapestry of biology, gender expression, and gender identity intersect resulting in a multidimensional array of possibilities. Thus, gender can also be recognized as a spectrum that is inclusive of various gender identities.

    Hegemony: The dominance or influence of one group over another, often supported by legitimating norms and ideas. Hegemony describes the dominant position of a particular set of ideas and their tendency to become commonsensical and intuitive, thereby inhibiting the dissemination or even the articulation of alternative ideas.

    History, Herstory, and Hxrstory: History is the study of the past, including, but not limited to: events, people, cultures, art, languages, foreign affairs, and laws. Herstory is a term used to describe history written from a feminist or women’s perspective. Herstory is also deployed when referring to counter narratives within history. The prefix “her” instead of “his” is used to disrupt the often androcentric nature of history. Hxrstory is pronounced the same as “herstory” and describes history written from a more gender inclusive perspective. The “x” is used to disrupt the often rigid gender binarist approach to telling history.

    Identity: The qualities, expressions, beliefs, physical traits, cultures, and social statuses that comprise a person and/or group of people.

    Ideology: A system of social, political, economic, and/or psychological beliefs, values, and ideals that characterize a particular culture, school of thought, organization, or people. 

    Imperialism: The extension of one nation’s dominance, power, or rule over another via policy, ideology, influence (social, economic, religious, etc.), or military. 

    LGBTQIA2S+: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning, intersex, asexual and/or ally, Two-Spirit. The plus signals “and other similar identities,” recognizing that sexual and gender diversity extends far beyond any simple list.

    Liberating: The state of freedom. Within the context of ethnic studies, liberation is often used to describe social movements whose aim is to achieve freedom through equal rights and justice.

    Migration: The movement of people, voluntarily or involuntarily, from one region to another. 

    Oppression: Prolonged unjust and/or cruel exercise of authority or power over another person or group. Also, a sense of being weighed down in body, mind, or spirit. The four “I”s of oppression are: ideological oppression (an idea, concept, or theory whose qualities advocate for or can be interpreted as causing harm or upholding the views of a dominant group at the expense of others), institutional oppression (the belief that one group is superior to another and that the more dominant group should determine when and how those on the margins are incorporated into institutions within a society), interpersonal oppression (how oppression is played out between individuals), and internalized oppression (the internalization of the belief that one group is superior to another) 

    People of color; Black, Indigenous and People of Color: People of color refers to communities who are not white. People of color as a collective identity emerged as a response to systemic racism and to assert resistance and solidarity against white supremacy. People of color are a global majority. While Indigneous people are often in solidarity with people of color against white supremacy, the term “Indigenous” and/or “Native American,” or “American Indian” are included separately from people of color. This draws attention to the unique forms of colonial domination that intersect with racial oppression. Further, Black is often placed first in the phrase “Black, Indigeinous, and People of Color,” or BIPOC, which draws attention to anti-Blackness as a unique form of racism and centers Black experiences among minoritized populations. 

    Power: The ability or capacity to direct, influence, or determine behavior (social, political, economic, etc.) via authority and control.

    Privilege: An unearned advantage or benefit not enjoyed by everyone. Within systems of power, privilege is often inherited and is informed by one’s identity.

    Race: A social construct created by European and American pseudo-scientists which sorts people by phenotype into global, social, and political hierarchies.

    Racism: The belief in the superiority of one race over another. Racism manifests when power is used to deny access, rights, and/or opportunities to a particular group or person based on their racial background.

    Resilience: The ability to recover and/or adapt in the face of extreme adversity, trauma, stress, and difficulty.

    Self-determination: The process by which a person establishes agency and motivation with the hope of controlling their own life.

    Social justice: The equitable distribution of resources (rights, money, food, housing, education, etc.) to every individual regardless of ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, language, or nationality.

    Solidarity: Unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.

    Whiteness: A social construct that has served as the foundation for racialization in the United States. Whiteness is the antithesis of Blackness and is commonly associated with those that identify as white. However, Whiteness is much more than a racial identity marker, it separates those that are privileged from those that are not. Whiteness can manifest as a social, economic, political, and cultural behavior and power. For example, the “standard” or cultural “norm” are often always based on whiteness and by extension white culture, norms, and values.

    White supremacy: The belief that white people are inherently superior and represent the dominant race. It is an operationalized form of racism that manifests globally, institutionally, and through systems of power.

    Xenophobia: Prejudice and hatred, drawn from irrational fear, against people from a different country.


    25 Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Consortium (LESMCC). “Curriculum.” LESMCC.

    This page titled 1.5: Conclusion is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Melissa Moreno & Mario Alberto Viveros Espinoza-Kulick (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative (OERI)) .