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    Comprehensive Glossary of Key Terms

    The list included on this page contains a comprehensive glossary of key terms used throughout this OER textbook. Terms marked with an asterisk * are adapted from the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum.1

    287(g) agreements: Policies that permit the cooperation of federal immigration authorities with local police and have increased the use of invasive and violent strategies in deportation and other immigration enforcement activities.

    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.

    Acculturation: The process over time of adapting to and adopting cultural practices of a new environment, which can include both individual change and community and cultural change.  

    Act 22: Law that allows individuals to operate in Puerto Rico without paying any capital gains taxes, which encourages predatory capitalism that has left the island in a constant cycle of exploitation. 

    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.

    Activist-Scholar: A term used to describe academics who take an explicitly political standpoint in their work.

    Afro-Latinx: A term that describes people from Latin America of African descent. Also defined as people of African and Latin American heritage, and corresponds to national or regional variations of the term, such as Afro-Mexican or Afro-Brazilian. 

    AfroLatinidad: A term that centers Blackness as an analytic, acknowledging the particularities of Latin American peoples of African descent, from their racialized experiences in their countries of origin to the shifting meanings in the U.S., as well as their experiences of colorism within the larger Latinx community.

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

    AJAAS: Association for Joteria Arts, Activism, and Scholarship, an organization central to the development of joteria studies and the nurturing of joteria voices an expressions

    Alicia Escalante: A prominent Chicanas welfare rights activist in the 1960s and leader in the larger welfare rights movement. Escalante was also involved in other facets of the Chicano Movement, supporting and participating in the East Los Angeles high school blowouts, the anti-war movement, and the Poor People’s Campaign in Washington D.C.

    Anahuac: The Nahua word for Mesoamerica. Also called Abya Yala.

    Archival Movidas: Expand what is typically considered valid source material and documentary evidence by also including oral histories and extrainstitutional archives as a source of embodied knowledge.

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

    Artivist: A combination of the words artist and activist. Artivists create art not for its own sake, but to convey a political message in the service of social justice movements.

    Assimilation: The process whereby a historically marginalized person or group voluntarily or involuntarily adopts the social, psychological, cultural, and political characteristics of a dominant group.

    Attempted genocide: A project of trying to eradicate an entire population. This is accompanied by an ideologically rooted practice of dehumanization to justify and legitimize such actions.

    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. 

    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.

    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.

    Bootstraps narratives: The stories told that educational success is attainable through personal initiative, hard work, responsibility, and drive. Hence, all students need to do is “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” to succeed in school and society. The danger of these narratives are that they begin with the premise that students are lazy if they underachieve or fail, focus on individual will rather than institutional barriers, and fail to recognize that not all students have an equal playing field. 

    Borderlands Theory: This theory, developed by Gloria Anzaldúa, challenges imposed nation-state borders and provides new frames for understanding identity, hybridity, and the material realities of people who reside in the b/Borderlands, extending the notion of a geopolitical border in order to explore the boundaries of gender, sexuality, spirituality, language, and other social locations, dislocations, and encounters. This theory would become foundational for Chicanx/Latinx historians who utilize a hemispheric approach to history.

    Boricua: A term derived from Borikén, the Indigenous Taíno name for the island of Puerto Rico. Boricua is an empowering group identification that people of Puerto Rican descent took on in the 1970s as a part of a larger cultural nationalist movement. 

    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.” 

    Chican@, Latin@: Terms that came into usage around the turn of the twenty-first century as a way to signify the fluidity of gender and to acknowledge a spectrum of identities and expressions rather than a rigid masculine/feminine binary. The technological ending has been described as “part aesthetic response to the cumbersome punctuation of [Chicana and Chicano], part recognition of emergent digital identities, and part as an instance of queering or making queer.”

    Chicana Movidas: A lens to understand the everyday strategies, tactics, and relationships, often occurring within and between highly visible movements, as intentional and significant individual and collective liberatory maneuvers. Also defined as a political framework that is rooted in an intersectional perspective, acknowledging the uniquely racialized and gendered experiences of Chicanas, as well as the value of using transformative and innovative approaches to build coalitions and advocate for social change. 

    Chicana Welfare Rights Organization: Originally the East Los Angeles Welfare Rights Organization (ELAWRO), this organization was founded in 1967 by Alicia Escalante. The organization ran workshops on welfare policies, advocated for welfare forms in Spanish and additional local offices staffed with bilingual Mexican American caseworkers, and worked for humane public policy at the county, state, and federal levels. 

    Chicana, Chicana/o: Terms that intentionally place the feminine word-ending “a” at the end of Chican- to challenge the colonially gendered Spanish language masculine/feminine dichotomy by substituting Chicano for Chicana, Chicana and Chicano, and Chicana/o. 

    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.

    Chicanismo: A political framework that calls for justice and liberation for Chicano communities, which was widely mobilized in the 1960s as a response to pervasive social, economic, and racial issues in the United States, especially the Vietnam War, segregation, and discrimination. 

    Chicano: A once denigrated term, was resignified in the late 1960s and 1970s by students and community activists into an empowering alternative to “Mexican,” “Mexican American,” “Hispanic,” or “Spanish” as part of a larger cultural nationalist movement. 

    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.

    Chicanx, Latinx: Terms that are another feminist and queer disruption to the gender binary. The “-x” “signifies fluidity and mobility, setting aside the conventions of ideological, philosophical, and medical binaries that assign humans to one gender identity out of two when they are born. The ‘x’ in ‘Chicanx’ is nonbinary; it acknowledges self-determinations that refuse immovable assignments of identity.” 

    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.

    Coded language: A practice long used in policy in which race-neutral terms are used to disguise the racist motives that maintain power structures meant to sustain white supremacy. 

    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.

    Colonial Imaginary: The epistemology, or way of knowing, that the dominant discipline of history relies on. Time and space are arranged linearly and origins, categories, chronologies, and periodization is emphasized. These prevalent approaches reinforce a colonialist historiography, which have omitted or obscured women, queer, and Indigenous peoples’ stories.

    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.

    Colonization: The action of overtaking control of another group’s territory by force.

    Colorism: Prejudice or discrimination based on dark skin color.

    Community cultural wealth: A framework that recognizes six forms of cultural capital (aspirational, navigational, social, linguistic, familial and resistant capital) that minoritized groups possess. This framework affirms that marginalized groups posses an array of knowledge, skills, abilities, and networks to survive and resist racism and other forms of oppression.   

    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.

    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. 

    Conocimiento: An aspect of consciousness, a living theory, and a praxis laid out by Gloria E. Anzaldúa. It describes the journey one takes in the development of an embodied self-awareness, questioning reality and dominant paradigms, and experiencing shifts in perception.

    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. 

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

    COVID-19: A pandemic that reflects many recurring and long-term barriers to healthcare, including a lack of healthcare providers in Chicanx and Latinx communities, skepticism of physicians, and the exclusion of immigrants and non-English speakers from health resources.

    Critical Latinx Indigeneities: A framework that emerges at the intersections of Latinx studies, Latin American studies, and Indigenous studies to examine how Indigenous migrants from Latin America are transforming notions of Latinidad and Indigeneity in the U.S. Also defined by Maylei Blackwell and colleagues as a lens to “critique enduring colonial logics and practices that operate from different localities of power as well as the physical, social, cultural, economic, and psychological violence that often targets Indigenous Latinx peoples, including forms of state and police violence, cultural appropriation, economic exploitation, gender violence, social exclusion, and psychological abuse.”

    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. 

    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. 

    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. 

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

    Curandera Historian: A person who works to heal the damage caused by imperial histories. They work to restore the dehistoricized sense of identity and possibility of colonized and oppressed 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.

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

    De jure: The legal practice. In contrast, de facto describes situations that exist in practice, even if not legally recognized.  

    De-Indianization: The processes that disrupt the livelihood of Indigenous peoples, through assaults on foodways, herbal medical resources, and cultural sensibilities.

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

    Decolonial Imaginary: A new category, a political project, and a theoretical tool developed by Emma Pérez to counter the colonial imaginary by writing Chicanas into the historical record. 

    Decolonization: The diverse struggles led by Indigenous people for sovereignty, self-determination, and a transformation of the ongoing conditions of colonial power. Also defined as the multiple processes of resistance that work to end the dynamics of colonialism and establish, restore, and defend Indigenous sovereignty. It is important to note that decolonization is a political process that refers specifically to Indigenous sovereignty, and it is not a general term that captures all forms of social justice.

    Deficit-based discourses: Thoughts, language, practices, and representations that communicate deficiencies and failures. Deficit-based discourses such as the labeling of minoritized youth as “at-risk” in schools are disempowering as it is fixated on an individual’s traits rather than the oppressive structures that cause failure.  

    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.

    Dichotomy: A division between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different. 

    Differential consciousness:  Shifting modes in thinking (and action),  involved in navigating systems of power, in turn leading to action. This is based on early contributions, concepts, and theories by feminist lesbians of color and the different namings of their identities point to interconnectedness, power in difference, and solidarity.

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

    Dominant narratives: The stories we tell ourselves, learn, or share with others- whether consciousl or unconsciously- that are told in service of the dominant social group’s interest and ideologies. The dominant narrative serves to uphold power dynamics that serve the dominant culture and groups. These narratives are told at the expense of marginalized groups who are demonized and blamed (i.e. scapegoat) for society’s social ills. 

    El mundo zurdo: (left-handed world) refers to those of us on the margins, outside of the dominant world, because of our multiple intersection identities such as queer folks, immigrants, disabled, and others, and the potential among us to create solidarity and social change

    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. 

    El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán: A document that inspired and motivated Chicanx activists to pursue liberation and justice, especially in education. This document was published during the 1969 Chicano Youth Conference hosted by Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez in Denver, Colorado. The seven goals laid out in the plan focus on unity, economy, education, institutions, self-defense, cultural values, and political liberation. 

    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. 

    Environmental justice: Addressing environmental concerns in conjunction with other aspects of exploitation and oppression, including white supremacy, capitalism, cisheteropatriarchy, and settler-colonialism.

    Equality versus equity: Whereas equality means that each individual or group of people are given the exact same resources and opportunities, equity recognizes that equal outcomes cannot be produced without catering to the specific needs. This differentiation is essential to create fairness and achieve justice. 

    Essential work: A phrase that describes people whose jobs contribute directly to the daily basic functioning of society, most of whom would be categorized as low-income and working-class workers, including agricultural workers, retail clerks in grocery stores, pharmacies, and supply stores, and maintenance workers.

    Ethnicity: Meanings, values, practices, and expressions of a group that understands itself to be linked by a shared way of life. Ethnicity often involves fictive or actual bonds of kinship and/or a related widespread sense of common collective origin, ancestry, homeland, and history and may include a common language and cultural system or customs such as religion, mythology, ritual, food, dress, and style. 

    Eugenics: An ideology rooted in the belief that the white Anglo race is genetically superior and to maintain this group’s racial purity, it informed social policies, programs, and practices set out to control “undesirable” populations often characterized by their race, gender, intelligence, physical ability, low socioeconomic status, among other characteristics. 

    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.

    Farah Manufacturing Strike: An event that began in May 1972 when 4,000 garment factory workers, predominantly Mexican American women, walked out of their jobs at Farah Manufacturing Company plants in Texas and Júarez, Mexico. The strikers demanded the right to unionize for higher wages, maternity leave, workplace safety, and an end to sexual harassment, which they won after twenty-two months of striking and a successful national boycott.

    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.

    Funds of knowledge: Collections of knowledge based in cultural practices that are a part of families’ inner culture, work experience, or their daily routine. It is the knowledge and expertise that students and their family members have because of their roles in their families, communities, and culture. In schools, this is an asset-based approach to the knowledge, skills, ideas, practices and overall cultural contributions students bring with them into the classroom. 

    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.

    Gendercide: The systematic violence that targets non-binary individuals in the pursuit of settler-colonial goals. Chumash scholar Deborah Miranda coined this term in the context of Spanish assaults on the aqi.

    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. 

    Genocide: As defined by the United Nations, “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: 

    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.

    Hemispheric Approach: An approach used by scholars in the field of Chicanx/Latinx history to examine transnational histories of the Americas, beyond national, regional, or even continental borders, accounting for the ways that power structures race, culture, gender, sexuality, and resources across time and space. It emphasizes thinking beyond borders that contain the nation-state and expanding the scope and frameworks many U.S. historians rely on. A hemispheric lens also allows for an expansive examination of mobile commodities, ideas, and peoples in diaspora that flow across imperial geographies.

    Hispanic A term that became popularized and is assigned by the United States Census and other government offices to emphasize Spanish influence. Also defined as people in the U.S. with heritage from Spanish-speaking countries. Federal, state, and private agencies and organizations that collect demographic data define Hispanic as an ethnicity, even though many who identify with this term define it as a race as well as an ethnicity, due to the fact that those who are understood as belonging to this group have been racialized. 

    Historiography: The study of the ways a group, culture, or discipline constructs its history. 

    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.

    Hunger strikes: The literal starvation and the risk of death, as a political tactic to create social and institutional change.

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

    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.

    Immigrant and immigration policy: Laws that influence immigrant experiences and the rates of immigration in a country. Whereas immigrant policy regulates the experiences of people who have already immigrated to the country, immigration policy refers to the processes and practices that influence the process of migration itself.

    Imperial Histories: Narratives manufactured official histories wielded by a colonizing power or repressive regime “to attack the sense of history of those they wish to dominate and attempt to take over and control people’s relationship to their own past.” Imperial histories are created to justify and explain oppressive power imbalances by naturalizing them, making them seem inherent and permanent.

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

    Indígena: A pan-ethnic Spanish term of empowerment to refer to an Indigenous person from Latin America. 

    Indigeneity: A broad term used to refer to a sense of belonging and ties prior to colonization among people from a shared homeland. It is important to understand the distinctions between Chicanx, Indigenous Latinx, and Latinx Indigenites.

    Indigenismo: A term that emphasizes a celebration of Indigenous cultures and that Indigenous peoples are the foundation of contemporary Mexican culture, politics, and society. This is often deployed as an Aztec-centric celebration of the Indigenous past of the nation, which often serves to erase the present and future of the sixty-three Indigenous pueblos of Mexico and the millions of Indigenous peoples living around the world.

    Indigenistas: A constituency of Indigenous Xicana/o/xs who practice a transnational or hemispheric mode of Indigenous political solidarity.

    Indigenization: Efforts supporting revitalization of Native languages, ancestral foodways, medical use, cultural burnings, midwifery traditions, dances, coming-of-age ceremonies, land acknowledgment, and more

    Indigenous Chicanx: A term that signifies being Indigenous to Anahuac (Mesoamerica), It is a self-identity category used by people, unlike Hispanic or Latinx which emerged from western institutions.

    Indigenous Latinx: An umbrella term used to refer to Indigenous migrants to the United States from South and Central America, the Caribbean, and Mexico (for example, Maya, Mixteco, Purépecha, Taino, Zapoteco, etc.). Also defined as Indigenous migrants from Latin America living in the United States who practice their Indigenous languages, ceremonies, medicines, foodways, and ancestral lands. 

    Indigenous: A label used to describe peoples who existed before colonization, and can be used to describe the Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Always use the capital I: “Indigenous” to designate the term as a proper noun.

    Institutional health care: Health care provided by hospitals and with doctors, physicians, prescribed medications, surgical procedures, and psychiatric appointments, which typically involve insurance. 

    Interlatino subjectivities: The result of cultural contact and mixing between different Latinx national identity groups resulting in the creation of new hybrid cultural productions from music, food, clothing, aesthetics, and language that coalesce from the multiple cultures in their families and neighborhoods.

    Intersectional standpoint: The unique knowledge and perspective developed based on the combination of one’s multiple identities, especially race and gender, as well as sexuality, immigration status, ability, age, religion, and other social categories. 

    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. Also defined as a mode of analysis developed by feminists of color that examines how power structures (ideologies, discourses, institutions, systems) shape particular subject positions, access to resources, experiences, and life outcomes and how these vary based on the intersecting dynamics of gender, class, language, religion, ability, sexuality, tribal affiliation, nationality, and immigration status. 

    Jim Crow and Juan Crow: An era of legal segregation that focused on maintaining social and structural separations between white people and Black and Brown people. These specific laws were most prominent in the late 1800s, as a response to the end of slavery, and they maintained this form until the middle of the 1900s when they were challenged by civil rights movements. 

    Jotería identity and consciousness: a way of thinking and being based on a journey of self-discovery and collective healing,  guided by eleven tenets that include a commitment to multidimensional social justice, values gender fluidity and self-expression, is rooted in laughter, fun and radical queer love.

    Joteria listening: A sonic approach to the world that describes how jotería listen collectively and what meaning they make of music, sounds, memories.

    Jotería-historias: Individual and collective histories that embrace the contradictions and beauty of being queer and Chicanx and Latinx and recognize the need for interweaving personal experiences in our telling of history

    La Conferencia de Mujeres por la Raza: The first nationwide Chicana feminist conference held in 1971 in Houston, Texas.

    La Malinche: The Indigenous woman on one side of the virgin/whore complex known for being Hernan Cortes’s concubine, translator, mediator, and fabled mother of the first mestizo. As a Native woman, she is characterized as sexually available, disposable, and condemned as a traitor for contributing to the downfall of the Aztec civilization.

    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. 

    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.

    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. 

    Latine: A term that has come into usage in Spanish-speaking countries through the work of feminist, nonbinary, and genderqueer activists and academics. Advocates call attention to its uncomplicated pronunciation. 

    Latinidad: A shared subjectivity among disparate Latin American ethnic and national groups with shared attributes, experiences, and realities among its members.

    Latinidades: An extension beyond the singular Latinidad, referring to “the shared experiences of subordination, resistance, and agency of the various national groups of Latin American in the United States.” It is “a conceptual framework” that can be used “to document, analyze, and theorize the processes by which diverse Latinas/os interact with, dominate, and transculturate each other.” Latinidades also calls for the examination of “power differences, conflicts, tensions, and affinities between and among Latinas/os of diverse national identities.”

    Latino Health Paradox: The pattern of immigrant Mexican and Latinx people report better health and longer life expectancy compared to their acculturated Mexican origin and Latinx counterparts and European Americans of higher class statuses. 

    Latino: People in the U.S. of Latin American descent, acknowledging a shared complex historical experience of colonization, oppression, and resistance. 

    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.

    Little School of the 400 (LS400): A preschool program that was first created in Texas to teach Spanish-speaking children to be bilingual by teaching them 400 English words.

    Loyalists: A designation for Chicanas who were guided by the ideology of Chicanismo and believed that race and class oppression should be the primary agenda of El Movimiento and that feminism was divisive to the movement.

    Mapping Movidas: The technique used to organize Chicana movidas. It is a mode of historical analysis that charts the small-scale, intimate political moves, gestures, and collaborations that reflect the tactics women used to negotiate multiple scales of power within their homes, communities, organizations, social movements, and dominant society.  

    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. 

    Marianismo: The narrative found on one side of the virgin/whore complex, which typifies the deep reverence for La Virgen de Guadalupe who is valued as the subservient all-suffering virgin mother.

    Master narratives: Culturally sanctioned stories that benefit the status quo and members of privileged groups.

    Medicinal Histories: What curandera historians produce. Medicinal histories re-establish the connections between peoples and their histories, revealing the mechanisms of power by which their current condition of oppression was achieved as well as the multiplicity, creativity, and persistence of resistance among the oppressed.

    Mestiza consciousness: A framework developed by queer Chicana theorist Gloria Anzaldúa, which is a cognitive decolonization process of racialized, gendered, and sexed subjects wherein la mestiza becomes aware of the Borderlands and makes conscious decisions regarding the construction of her multiple and often contradictory identities.

    Mestizaje (mixed-race identity): A term that emphasizes the multiple lineages that not only shape individual identity, but also the communities, cultures, languages, and traditions that we practice. Also defined as the term for the biological and cultural blending that often occurred through sexual violence and exploitation against Indigenous and African women in the colonial era. 

    Mestizas/os/xs: A diverse population that has a combination of mixed heritage, often including Indigenous lineage, along with a combination of African and/or European backgrounds.

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

    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

    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.

    Mutualistas: Community-based mutual aid societies created by Mexican immigrants to connect them with a network that links their homeland and new home with resources, support, and a community.

    Muxerista: is a person whose identity is rooted in a Chicana Latina feminist version for social change, committed to ending all forms of oppression including but not limited to classism, racism, sexism, homophobia, and citizenism. Its definition is rooted in the scholarship and activism of Chicanos and feminists of color, but it's extended by the work experience and theoretical understandings of the members of Raza Womyn

    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. 

    Native American: A member of any of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, often used to refer to those from the continental United States, Alaska, and Canada. Native Americans are the original inhabitants of these regions and have diverse cultures, languages, and traditions that vary among different tribes and nations. They have a unique historical and cultural connection to the land and have faced a history of colonization, displacement, and ongoing struggles for recognition, rights, and self-determination.

    Non-violent resistance: A strategy to achieve social change through tactics such as protests, boycotts, sit-ins, marches, and other forms of civil disobedience that do not promote violence. 

    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.

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

    Opportunity gap: Life chances that are determined by the lack of opportunities, which are inherently influenced by factors such as race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and ZIP code, among other social and structural conditions that prevent student readiness and better educational outcomes.

    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) 

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

    Overt racism: Conscious, purposeful and deliberate racial hatred that includes speech, ideas, attitudes and behaviours rooted in white supremacy and directed at racially marginalized groups. More often, racial discrimination that is disguised and subtle, rather than public or obvious (covert racism).

    Panethnicities: “Confederations created when several distinct ethnic groups come together in alliance for social, economic, or cultural advantage, thereby augmenting their numeric power and influence around issues of common concern.”67

    Paradigm: “A shared set of understandings or premises which permits the definition, elaboration, and solution of a set of problems defined within the paradigm. It is an accepted model or pattern…. Paradigms of race shape our understanding and definition of racial problems.” U.S. settler colonialism is built on a Black/white racial paradigm.

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

    Patriarchy: A system of gender-based control and domination where women and gender non-conforming people are subordinated to men through legal and extralegal measures. Patriarchy “includes cultural ideas about men and women, the web of relationships that structure social life, and the unequal distribution of power, rewards, and resources that underlies privilege and oppression.”

    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. 

    Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA): Law that made permanent residents are ineligible for public assistance during their first five years in the U.S.

    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.” 

    Political Familialism: A term coined by Chicana feminist sociologist Maxine Baca Zinn to describe the fusion of cultural and political resistance during the Chicano Movement demonstrated by the call for total family participation in the struggle for racial justice.  

    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. 

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

    Post-racial society: The idea that all ethnic differences have fused, and it erases the realities of inequity and the importance of advocates calling for justice. For Indigenous peoples, reductive deployments of ethnic categorization can disrupt attempts for collective liberation.

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

    Praxis of Memory: A term that describes the ways in which Chicana feminists compile a personal archive of personal objects and materials, creating a space where Chicana memory practices are both preserved and performed.

    Praxis: The act of putting theory into action. Also defined as the ongoing cycles of theory, reflection, and action––as a practice of freedom.

    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.

    Promotoras: Health workers who have received specialized training to provide basic health education in the community, who have been key mediators for Chicanx and Latinx communities to gain health access. 

    Public charge rule: A policy based on the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) § 212(a)(4), which states that individuals are inadmissible to the U.S. if they are “likely at any time to become a public charge”, and discouraged noncitizens from pursuing needed benefits prior to regulating their status 

    Queer Latinidad: A concept that considers queer identity in relation to Latina/o/x subjectivity, questioning the construction and validity of normative identity categories.

    Queer trans environmentalisms: Relates to our relationship to the environment and a lens that looks at intersectionality from a queer, trans Latinx perspective and the environment

    Race: is both an organizing principle and an identity, both individual and collective. It is unstable and evolves due to social, historical, political, and legal processes, meaning it is socially constructed, but is often misrecognized as natural and fixed. Also defined* as 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.

    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. 

    Reactionary movements: Movements that work against other movements, often through direct opposition or by countering their activity. Reactionary movements are often politically conservative and form in response to the gains of historically marginalized groups. 

    Reform movements: Movements that involve advocacy and mobilization to accomplish focused, limited goals that change laws, regulations, and policies within existing organizations and institutions. These movements respond directly to the needs of groups that are currently being harmed.

    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). 

    Régimen de castas: A system of racial classification laid out by Spanish settlers in the mid-eighteenth century to categorize the resultant mixing between Spaniards, Indigenous, and African peoples. The casta system was not abolished until Mexico’s independence in 1821, however racial and ethnic social stratification remain prevalent even today, echoing colonial conceptions of identity.

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

    Relational Approach: The study of how one racial group is affected by the ways another group is racialized through co-constitutive historical, social, and political processes. Rather than studying a racially marginalized group in contrast to white supremacist and colonial power structures exclusively, a relational approach moves beyond a white/nonwhite binary to examine racially subordinated groups in relation to one another. A relational view does not advocate for simply comparing and contrasting groups’ experiences, viewing them independently. Rather, groups are understood to be interdependent. Also defined as frameworks that utilize dynamic comparisons between groups to yield greater knowledge, encourage solidarity, and find creative solutions to systemic problems.

    Reproductive Justice: An expansive feminist of color standpoint at the intersections of  reproductive health and social justice that goes beyond the pro-choice movement’s singular commitment to legal abortion access. RJ advocates for the right to not have a child, the right to have a child, and the right to parent children in safe and healthy environments. It also demands sexual autonomy and gender freedom for all.

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

    Retrofitted Memory: A concept developed by Maylei Blackwell to interrogate why certain stories remain untold, uncovering the ways power functions in the creation of truth regimes, in order to make space for women’s (his)stories and their visions of liberation and transformation.

    Revolutionary movements: Movements that advocate for transformative changes in society that include abolishing, replacing, and fundamentally challenging the institutions that exist. These movements work to address the root causes of inequality. 

    School-to-deportation pipeline: School policies and practices that effectuate the removal of undocumented immigrant youth from schools and ultimately the U.S.

    School-to-prison pipeline: The school practices and policies that disproportionately place students of color into the juvenile and adult criminal justice system. 

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

    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.

    Settler-colonialism: Instances of colonization where the colonizing groups seek to eradicate the people living in the territory they are colonizing and replace the Indigenous population with the settler population. Also defined as 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.

    Sex-positive: Having positive attitudes about sex and sexuality and recognizing how colonialist and white supremaist ideologies led to stigmatization of sexuality, especially queer of color sexualities.

    Sexiles: Queer migrants leaving their home/nation as a result of their sexuality.

    Sexism: Discrimination or devaluation of women, based on their sex or gender.

    Social construct: When meaning is contextual and changes over time and place as a result of social, political, and historical processes. 

    Social identities: The ways in which a person understands themselves as belonging to a social group. Examples of social identity categories include race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, socio-economic status, religion, and the like. The ways an individual self-identifies within these categories––the labels that one uses––is a personal choice and may shift depending on the context. 

    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.

    Sovereignty: Not a metaphor but rather the capacity and ability to exercise collective self-determination to govern one's people and land. North American Indians are the only group in the United States whose sovereignty is recognized in the Constitution of the United States. In the context of Indigenous people, sovereignty has often been undermined and determined by settler-colonial constructs.

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

    Structural vulnerability: Someone’s status in society’s multiple overlapping and mutually reinforcing power hierarchies. 

    Survivance: A term coined by Anishinaabe scholar and writer, Gerald Vizenor, refers to the collective process of survival, which carries forward the culture, peoples, and land beyond the individual.

    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.

    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. 

    The Chicano Moratorium (The National Chicano Moratorium Committee Against the Vietnam War): A movement of anti-war activists opposed to the U.S. military’s role in Vietnam. The protest emphasized how the war was disproportionately impacting Chicano and Chicanx communities. 

    Thematic Approach: An approach to history that focuses on key concepts and themes such as empire, conquest, wars of expansion, and revolution; migration and nation-building; industrialization and labor; and civil rights and resistance movements, among others, from the perspective of Latinx populations.

    Theories in the flesh: woman of color feminist and queer theories created from lived experiences

    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

    Traditional health care: Indigenous ways of health and healing of cuerpo y alma (body and soul) mediated through curanderas/os (healers) or other specialists, like parteras (midwifes) and involves remedios (medicinal herbs), ceremonies, limpias (spiritual cleansings), sobaradoras/os sobadas (massage therapist or massage), huezera/o (bone setter), informal counseling for bilis (rage), susto (fright), or envido (envy), and ancestral foodways.

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

    Translatina/o/x: A neologism that combines trans/transgender and Latina/o/x, while also encapsulating Latin American and latinoamericana/o identities. 

    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. 

    Triple Oppression: A phenomenon named by feminist writers in the early 1970s who argued that Chicanas were subjugated based on their race, as workers, and as women. U.S. Third-World, Puerto Rican, and Black feminists were simultaneously theorizing and organizing around the convergence of multiple systems of oppression, drawing on an intergenerational feminist lineage dating back hundreds of years.

    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. 

    Two-Spirit: A term that was developed by Indigenous peoples to describe the shared experience of third gender people. Two-Spirit should only be used in reference to Indigenous peoples, and whenever possible, in conjunction with a more tribally specific term.

    U.S. Third World Feminism: A transnational feminist standpoint developed in the late 1960s and informed by global decolonial and anticolonial movements. As they critiqued and attempted to dismantle interlocking systems of oppression through racially specific feminist projects, feminists of color in the U.S., including Chicanas and Latinas, co-created a new cross-racial political subjectivity and oppositional praxis that linked various struggles for social justice.

    United Farm Workers (UFW): A labor rights and social movement organization that was founded by Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez in central California. This group represented the predominantly migrant labor force in the fields and built solidarities between Mexican origin communities and Filipinxs. The UFW still operates today to advocate for labor rights and has inspired the formation and mobilization of multiple organizations that serve, represent, and advocate for farmworkers. 

    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. 

    Virgin/Whore Complex: An example of a dichotomy that was first imposed by the colonial Catholic Church during the Spanish conquest that constructed women as a ‘mujer buena or a ‘mujer mala. In modern times, this gendered cultural expectation about Chicana womanhood reinforces patriarchy, obliging Chicanas to take on the contradictory roles of obedient wife and mother and to also be sexually available.

    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.

    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.

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

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

    Xicana/o, Xicana/o/x Indígena: Terms that replace the “Ch” in Chicana/o/x signaling a reclamation and reconnection with Indigenous ancestry and identity. 

    Xicanisma: A retrofitted form of Chicana feminism developed in the late 1980s and 1990s intended to create an avenue for mestizas and Indigenous women to “not only reclaim our Indigenismo––but also to reinsert the forsaken feminine into our consciousness.” Xicanisma is a practical way for retribalizing peoples of any gender to express an Indigenous sensibility, reconnect spirituality with the body/sexuality, and to (re)claim and (re)construct their traditions in ways that serve their present needs. 

    Xicanx: A preferred identity term for Chicanx involved in Indigenous movements there is often a preference to use the term Xicanx and not Chicanx. The Chi is the same sound as Xi, but Chi is the Spanish pronunciation and the Xi is the Indigenous one.

    Zero tolerance policies: Punitive school measures that push out “problem students” through practices such as expulsion and suspension regardless of the severity of a student’s behavior.

    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.


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