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10.6: Conclusion

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    In this chapter, our study of Chicanx and Latinx cultural productions offered a rich and complex framework for understanding the intersection of race, racism, and other forms of oppression with culture and media. Throughout this chapter, we have explored a range of concepts and topics, including pop culture analysis, stereotypes, encoding and decoding, controlling images, tropicalism, disidentification, nationalism, and artivism.

    One of the key takeaways from our exploration of Chicanx and Latinx cultural productions is the critical importance of analyzing representation and cultural meaning-making in relation to intersecting systems of power and oppression. By examining how cultural productions operate at the intersection of race and racism with class, gender, sexuality, immigration status, ability, and Indigeneity, we can better understand how these productions both reinforce systemic violence and offer opportunities for struggle, resistance, and liberation.

    Furthermore, we have observed how cultural productions have played a crucial role in the struggle for racial and social justice in Chicanx and Latinx communities, both historically and in the present day. From muralismo to artivism, from telenovelas to zines, Chicanx and Latinx cultural producers have used their creativity to challenge dominant narratives and offer alternative visions of the world. By investing in anti-racist and decolonial efforts for liberation, social justice, and equity, we can harness the power of culture to promote solidarity and transformative change.

    Ancillary materials for this chapter are located in Section 11.10: Chapter 10 Resource Guide, which includes slides, media, writing and discussion prompts, and suggested assignments and activities. 

    Key Terms

    Pop culture (or “popular culture”): Cultural practices that are produced and distributed for mass audiences

    Pop cultura analysis: A framework that examines day-to-day experiences in combination with academic analysis and structured knowledge sharing. This pays close attention to the dynamics of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and ability. 

    Encoding: The process of constructing meaning in creating culture. This refers to the producers, writers, artists, performers, and others who showcase narratives and cultural scripts. It is the complementary process to decoding. 

    Decoding: The process by which people view, understand, and interpret stories. It is the complementary process to encoding. 

    Stereotypes: Limited representations of individuals that reduce someone to a negative association with their group status. 

    Controlling images: A concept that describes the ways that common narratives about Black women are used to reinforce exploitative and racist systems. These include: The Mammy,  The Matriarch,  The Welfare Mother,  The Black Lady, and The Jezebel. For Chicanx and Latinx communities, specific stereotypes have been constructed in response to social, political, economic, and cultural systems. 

    Tropicalism: A negative trope that homogenizes Latinx people by focusing on a fixed set of shared traits: bright colors,  rhythmic dancing, and darker skin suited to an “exotic” locale. 

    Latin Lover: A stereotype Latinos as aggressively sexual and exotic. The trope was developed by white actors who played Latin characters with a vague accent and no specific cultural or familial ties. 

    Cantina girl: A stereotype characterized by great sexual allure, teasing, and dancing. These are hallmark characteristics of this stereotype. This is also  a form of sexual objectification, and the narrative of a ‘‘naughty lady of easy virtue.” 

    Vamp: A trope of an individual who uses their intellectual and devious sexual wiles to get what they want. This poses a threat, counterbalanced by the draw of charisma. The vamp is a psychological menace to anyone who is ill-equipped to handle them. 

    Self-sacrificing señorita: A woman who usually starts out good but goes bad over time. In this narrative, the woman realizes she has gone wrong and is willing to protect her love interest by placing her body between the threat intended for him, ultimately becoming a martyr.

    Disidentification: The process of situating oneself within a broader cultural narrative while also existing in opposition to that narrative. 

    Tejano music: Sometimes called Tex-Mex, this style is known for its use of vocal melodies that mirror traditional Mexican musical styles, combined with instruments and rhythms with American and European influences.

    Norteño: A style popular in northern Mexico and what is now the southwestern United States, and reflects a cultural blend of musical instruments and moving narrative ballads.

    Rancheras: Songs that focus on love, beauty, and nature, as well as regional and national pride. They tend to take on a local character, with references to specific places and activities that resonate with audiences in that region, as well as form a symbolic connection to individuals who have personal or family ties to these other regions. 

    Corridos: Songs that use complex narrative to tell stories through song. This genre inspired American country music, which utilizes similar narrative formats and styles.

    Boleros: Songs with a slow or moderate tempo and a repeating rhythm that supports a strong melody by the lead singer. These are rooted in Cuban and Spanish influences that were reinvented by Mexican composers.

    Bachata: A style that grew out of the fusion of European and African influences with Indigenous Taino sounds, reflecting the rich and diverse culture of the Dominican Republic. 

    Cumbia: A style that comes out of Colombia and reflects the unique combination of European, African, and Indigenous influences of the Colombian peoples.

    Reggaeton: A style that developed with a regional and global character. While the genre originated in Panama, it spread to Puerto Rico and rose to prominence there and brought together Afro-descendent styles from Panama, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and the United States (particularly, Afro-Latinx communities in New York City). 

    Ballet folklórico: A nationalized version of Mexican folk dancing, which has also become popular in the United States, with local groups and schools sponsoring dance groups and holding lessons for children, adolescents, and adults.

    Danza: Folk dances that communities carry on through specific dance forms and performances among Indigenous peoples. 

    Danza de los Viejitos (Tharep’ Hiti Huarar'i in Purépecha): A style with dancers who dress in traditional attire with masks of old men and women. The dancers use canes and play at being hunched over and feeble throughout the dance. The early origins of this dance are thought to reflect narratives about aging and humor. After European and Spanish colonization, the dance changed somewhat, and now includes elements of poking fun at elderly Spanish men who have exerted colonial power.

    Nationalism: A social construction, which takes on authority and power to implement policies. While we often take borders for granted, it takes continual efforts to create and maintain a sense of national identity, which justifies and legitimates the actions of elected officials and government agencies. Nationalism exists based on the perception of the people who are part of that nation, and the symbolic connection between a seemingly unified political body. 

    Mariachi: Bandas (bands) that typically wear full charro/charra attire, signaling a post revolutionary Mexican aesthetic. This historical reference is important, because this signals an emphasis on the political efforts to unify the Mexican people to overthrow colonial control and re-establish a locally governed system. 

    Pirekua: Music that expresses the thought, feelings and pride of the P’urhépecha people from Michoácan, México, where creators (composers) and the pirericha (performers) manifest all their talent, their creativity and their most profound feelings.” 

    Image analysis: An approach that is complementary to a variety of research methodologies, and can illuminate a great deal about a media text’s racial politics, as well as its implied ideological messages about ethnic and racial groups and race relations.

    Latina icons: Highly recognized Latinas who have achieved a high-level celebrity status. The significance of these individuals for our society can be understood both in terms of their commodification of ethnic authenticity, as well as the symbolic resistance in ensuring representation while still working toward larger goals.

    Parranda: A style with a contested history because it is a distinctly Afro-Cuban practice that reflects African cultural retention and resistance to colonization.

    Comparsa: Music with a quality of resistance because the European-origin majority characterized it as a barbaric African form of cultural expression located in the past. 

    Telenovelas (novelas): The most popular form of Latin American primetime television and cultural productions that can influence social life, capitalism, identity, and communicate learning moments of contemporary social problems (e.g. sexism, homophobia, domestic violence, etc.). Their plots usually center on love stories and family life and can represent political conflict, corruption, and other moral dilemmas. They are typically broadcasted 5 days a week, an hour per show, and can typically run for a year or more. 

    Artivism: The combination of art and activism, and the ways in which art is a vehicle for advocating for social change.

    Zines: A physical or digital piece that typically includes images and texts. It is often created by cutting and pasting magazine items or using a digital style that mimics this aesthetic. They are also usually formatted to be printed and folded. This is to make them easy to share in discreet ways, for example by folding them up and holding them in your pocket, or tucking them into another book.

    Muralismo: A practice of mural making that communicates narratives, cultural pride, and a strong sense of shared space. In the context of being denied political representation, in the case of immigrants, and cultural and social representation, which impacts all Chicanx and Latinx people, artwork becomes a way of positively exercising self-determination and collective decision-making.

    This page titled 10.6: Conclusion is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Mario Alberto Viveros Espinoza-Kulick (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative (OERI)) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform.