Chicana/o Studies – Publishing an Alternative View Since 1970 – CSU, Northridge

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Latino Baseball Players Lose Out in “Save America’s Pastime Act”

in The Word is Text by

by Guadalupe Canales

With a new president in office new changes in law are bound to happen.

But does the Trump administration keep targeting Latino communities?

31% of baseball players are Latinos and this spring training many were scared of the Trump administration. With many players worrying about making it to the major leagues, now, they have to worry about the pay they would receive if they successfully made it to the MLB.

The Administration signed the Save America’s Pastime Act, which will permanently exempt minor league players from federal wages; this means that team owners will be legally able to pay less to Latino players than those born here in the United States.

This becomes a problem not only for the players but also for the Latino fans of baseball. As a Latino community, we have grown to love many players of Latino decent, but with this new act, we might not be able to see many players peruse baseball. Over all MLB understands that they rely on Latino fans to watch baseball because many Americans are not watching the sport themselves anymore. Although an American sport the baseball community has expanded to many Latinos because of Fernando Mania here in LA, and with Kike Hernandez and many others players around the league that have made a huge impact for their home countries.

This administration is targeting the Latino communities, not realizing that without Latinos the United States wouldn’t be what it is now. It’s a shame that our community is getting bombarded by idiotic acts and laws that in the long run will hurt America.

Latinx Music Rises Again in American Pop Culture

in The Word is Text by

by Jose Medrano

For the last several years, latinx representation in popular music in the United States has been very slim.

We are currently seeing an amazing renaissance of hip hop where artists like Kendrick Lamar, Migos, and Drake dominate the charts and radio. White pop artists such as Adele, Ed Sheeran, and Lady Gaga have had consistent commercial success over the years as well. In all this music, where is the voice of the latinx musician? In 2017’s year-end Billboard charts, a total of only six songs (one of which was a feature) by latinx artists placed. Of course, we had the standout success of Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee’s Despacito but it’s a small success given that it’s one of the only memorable latinx songs in American pop culture last year. This year, however, things are starting to take a turn.

One of 2018’s major artists is former member of girl-group Fifth Harmony’s Camila Cabello, who’s debut album Camila debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. Two of her songs, Never Be The Same and Havana, are the 15th and 16th spot on the Hot 100, respectively (on the April 21st chart). Rapper Cardi B has a whopping thirteen tracks on the chart. It is amazing to see the emergence of latinx representation on the charts. But this emergence of representation can be seen by artists who aren’t even on those charts – particularly at this year’s Coachella festival.

Two artists who are typically considered “underground” and are now experiencing a surge of success are Cuco and Kali Uchis, who both are performers at this year’s Coachella. Columbian indie pop and R&B artist Kali Uchis has worked with the likes of Tyler the Creator and recently dropped her debut album “Isolation,” which has received major acclaim, garnering an 88 out of 100 score on the popular critic site Metacritic. This year, Daniel Caesar’s song “Get You,” on which she featured, was nominated for the Grammy for “Best R&B Performance.” She has an enormous fan base online who has been following her since as early as her 2014 debut single “Know What I Want.” Cuco, also an indie musician known in particular for his “sad-boy” ballads, also has developed a huge fanbase and his name is in the mouths of the entire Los Angeles indie artist community.

Arguably, the most important latinx act at Coachella was the iconic Los Ángeles Azules, a Mexican cumbia band that’s been around since 1976. Many millennial Mexicans grew up with Los Ángeles Azules playing at family parties and in car rides with their parents. For the community, to have such an iconic and older Mexican band be one of the top-billed headliners at Coachella, is nothing short of magical. Fans on Twitter were ecstatic to see them perform:

With the rise of artists like Kali Uchis and Cuco, a major headlining performance at a major festival by Los Ángeles Azules, and the return of latinx artists to the Billboard charts – the future of latinx representation in American pop culture seems not only promising but exciting.


Los Globos Alley (First in a Series)

in The Word is Text by

by Konzo KO (Staff Writer)

Gonzo Series: Part 1

There I was in the alley of Los Globos with my friend Ana.

We were trying to sneak in to try to see one of our favorite bands ‘Subhumans.’ The show had been sold out for months, so of course, me having the bright idea of sneaking in, tried every conceivable way to get in.

We saw our opening! There a man came out to smoke and look for his friends and that was our chance! There was no security, no bouncers, only smokers and drinkers on the smoking deck trying to get a not so fresh breath of air.

The first act had just gone on and we were fine with that but after that we noticed the security guards were keeping a close eye on us. Did they know that we snuck in? Or were our outfits that cute they had to stare? I tried to push the paranoia to the back of my head, but I couldn’t help having a sinking feeling. So to push all those thoughts out of my mind, I started to drink from the alcohol I had snuck in. Drinks are expensive, so I had to. My fake ID was at home anyways. So we pushed ourselves as close to the stage to be immersed in the body of people gathered there to drink without a worry.

That’s when I knew we were being watched.

A security guard made beelined to us, pushing his way through with his flashlight, yelling. The next band had came on and no one could hear him, as they were to concentrated on the band playing and the mosh pit starting. Finally, freedom!

We can now watch and enjoy the show and our liquor! Oh how wrong I was, the security went to get back up with an extra 3 men on his heels. We hear him yell in our direction and that’s when I knew we were in trouble. He starts pointing to his wrist shouting, he looked like a mad man but as I stare around I see everyone with red paper bracelets. I thought to myself how can we be so unlucky! We’re we really in that much trouble? Is this over got us? Can we really not watch this bad we love? As he closes in on us with his evil henchmen I grab my best friend and run, run where? I had no idea! We had to get out! I run to the exit that leads to the smoking patio and there was one of the evil men that doesn’t want us to watch the show! I panicked and saw the bathroom and pushed my best friend in and shoved in behind her.

“WHAT’S GOING!” Ana shouted.

Finally, we could speak and hear each other so I began to explain but as I was getting into the details I noticed something strange, this bathroom doesn’t look like a women’s bathroom, IT WAS THE MEN’S! Thankfully it was empty but still we weren’t safe. I remember that the women’s bathroom was downstairs. We talked, and I caught her up with everything that she missed, yes she was drunk, so I had to explain it a few times.

Once she was caught up, she asked “well what are we going to do?”

I responded with, “unless you have some paper and a red marker and tape in your purse we have to stay in here.”

We were lucky enough to hear the music from the bathroom and we planned to stay in the restroom until our favorite band came on. We were drinking and having a jolly time on our own. Alas, our fun was short lived! We heard men getting close and we ran into one of the stalls. We heard a group of men come in and heard them pee. They were talking amongst themselves how great the band playing was and soon after the band stopped. Oh no! Doomed! We are DOOMED! That’s when all the guys at the show had to use the restroom, it’s always in between bands, and we just prayed no one had to poop and use the stalls. But like I said luck wasn’t on our side and sure enough they came on knocking. I put on the most manly voice and said “I’m taking a shit man” and either he was drunk or didn’t really care but somehow that worked!

Finally I can hear our band come on! That’s it were in the clear! We rushed out and rushed into the best place to be, the pit. Being in the pit you need to either be very drunk or have your wits. There are no rules and it’s just a free for all! No one gets mad you punched them in the arm or gut or face and everyone respects each other at the end of the day. If someone falls we all stop and help them up and block the, you never want to be stomped on, and continue pitting.

Just when it was getting good I see my evil men coming to us so we go on the other side of the pit, then again they try to follow but can’t. They come to our side and the same dance happens, we move to the other side. Midway through our bands set I suppose they gave up and we were in the clear! Finally!

The show ended, and I felt a tap on my shoulder, bruised and sweaty I turn around to see the security guard that I had been running from all night. He asked me for my red bracelet and laughed.

He said “damn you gave us all a run for our money! I knew the last band was on and after everything you went through I knew you deserved it”

His name was James, and he was one of the nicest people I had the privilege of being chased by.

Would I do it again? Without a doubt, IN A HEARTBEAT!

Deconstructing Gender: Latinx Queer Identity in Los Angeles

in The Word is Text by

by Jose Medrano Velazquez

PLEASE NOTE: This article will be discussing queer identity and will use terms that might not be familiar to most. Please refer to the bottom section of this article for definitions.

In today’s America, we seem to be one of the most progressive countries for LGBTQ+ individuals, yet our understanding of queer identity is not as strong as it needs to be. The struggle of transgendered and genderqueer individuals in particular is often ignored or their identities are targeted and invalidated by both the cisgender heterosexual community as well as even other members of the LGBTQ+ community. Although queer issues come in a variety of forms from politics and policy to media representation, this article’s goal is to provide insight on the non-binary experience within Latinx culture. Keep in mind that queer people of color disproportionately are affected by hate crimes. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reported that 50% of LGBT homicide victims in the U.S. were trans women of color.

A few days ago I sat down with a longtime friend from high school (who friends have nicknamed Kho) who was designated female at birth, and identifies as non-binary. Both they and I are non-binary individuals who come from Mexican families and live/were raised in Los Angeles, CA. We had a discussion about the struggles that come with our identities as non-binary individuals in a seemingly progressive city that still has it’s boundaries.

Many of us are familiar with the idea of “coming out,” but we tend to think of coming out only in terms of sexuality and not gender. Sexuality and gender are independent of each other. I came out as bisexual (now identifying as simply queer in both gender and sexuality) to my mother at the start of my freshman year of college in 2015. At first my mother was tremendously upset and tried to use her Catholic ideals against my identity, claiming that God did not want that for me and that although she loved me she could not accept my sexuality. It is interesting how she turned to religion although she is not a very religious person; it is clear that catholicism is very much instilled in Mexican life. Over the last three years she’s grown to accept me and more recently I did not need to come out but I started to explain my non-binary identity and how I don’t feel comfortable with the gender expectations and masculinity of man, and that I also do not feel I can relate to womanhood or femininity. My gender and experience with identity is unique and doesn’t need labels. She still does not fully understand it all, and of course gender is a social construct that’s really challenging to deconstruct. I am fortunate however to have a mother and also friends and cousins who accept me for who I am and want to see me grow. The only challenge is my grandmother who is aware of my identity and keeps trying to impose masculinity and finding a girlfriend to get married and have children with even though I’m only 20.

For Kho, the situation is a lot more complex. Although their friends embrace Kho’s identity, they still haven’t been able to come out to their family. Kho says they started realizing their genderqueer identity and sexuality around 2010 when they were 13 but still has not been able to come out to due to circumstances at home. Their family is shaped by a patriarchal mold where their father is a driving force of machismo and enforcing gender roles. Kho was forced to wear dresses and act feminine when they were younger and felt pressured when all they wanted to do was “put on cool light-up sketchers and run with the guys.” One of the biggest moments of rebellion yet self-care was when Kho cut their hair. They told me, “The biggest thing with my dad was that I was notallowed to cut my hair. When I was in middle school I had hair down to my hips. I, of course, was tired of it. I wanted a pixie cut or hair at my shoulders but he said that was for boys. I remember when I first cut (my hair), he didn’t talk to me for two weeks. He completely ignored my existence.” When things started to click for Kho, they started asking themselves: “What does that mean for me? I don’t wanna be completely masc(uline) so I don’t identify as trans. So what does that make me? A tomboy?”

Another issue that Kho has had to deal with is their father’s treatment of their brother. Anytime Kho’s brother shows his feelings, cried, or done anything really seen as feminine (and as we’ve both noticed, in patriarchal society anything perceived as feminine equates to weak), he is harassed and told to “man-up.” Kho has to be a support system for their siblings and helping them feel comfortable regardless of how they have to act at home. It’s important to look at why the family structure is the way it is, and Kho brings up why it might be so: “His dad was even worse than he is. My dad lived in the pueblos…in the smaller towns they’re still looking at things in a very old way.” Personally, I grew up in a household of women. My grandmother is the matriarch and my father hasn’t really been around since I was 12. Yet interestingly enough, masculinity is still expected.

Toward the end of our conversation, we talked about the idea of an androgynous space: a space that plays with aspects of both femininity and masculinity and aspects that rebel against that idea of binary self expression. We fantasized about a world where we all can coexist without gender and gender roles influencing our perceptions of each other. There is massive privilege in living in Los Angeles where we can safely express ourselves as we see fit, and our issues of outward expression and feelings at home are relatively minor in comparison to the suffering that those in other countries (and even other states) go through daily. Still it is important to keep in mind that our identities aren’t something we woke up one day and chose, our identities are fluid and natural and the way others interact with us can be harmful to our mental health and self esteem. Both Kho and I have decided to use our Los Angeles privilege to live empowered lives, and maybe hopefully inspire others along the way. We’ve also noticed that many like us and especially those younger than us are starting to deconstruct gender.According to J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group, only 48% of Generation Z identifies as “completely heterosexual,” and most reported knowing someone who identifies with pronouns such as “they/them.” It’s a day by day process but by understanding our cultural backgrounds and misconceptions, we can begin to deconstruct the ideas of gender that bind us.


Queer Identity Vocabulary (According to Merriam-Webster with annotations by Jose Medrano Velazquez):

Cisgender: of, relating to, or being a person whose gender identity corresponds with the sex the person had or was identified as having at birth. ** The concept of being cisgender can vary across cultures and the gender roles each culture assigns to a given sex. The term designated at birth refers to the gender (and its roles) one is expected to take on based on their sex. Those who identify with their culture’s definition of their designated gender are cisgender.

Transgender: of, relating to, or being a person whose gender identity differs from the sex the person had or was identified as having at birth; ** A reminder that transgender is an adjective and not a noun.

Binary: a division into two groups or classes that are considered diametrically opposite. ** In the context of queer identity, the binary refers to the idea that the sexes male and female must be opposites and that gender is linked to sex. This is far from true. A human can be born intersex, which is both in their chromosomes and physical, and gender does not match sex.

Non-binary: relating to or being a person who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that is neither entirely male nor entirely female. ** Similar ideas of identity include gender queer, gender variant, gender fluid (which could possibly identify with both parts of a binary). The idea of gender queer or non-binary/variant identity is that an individual feels most comfortable identifying on their own terms, and not based on designated norms ideas that society might have about one’s assumed gender solely based on appearance or sex.

A final note: remember that one’s outward appearance (physically AND the way they might dress) and sex is irrelevant to that person’s gender identity or even sexual identity or their pronouns. Only a single individual has the right to identify as they like, and we might (consciously or not) make assumptions, but we must respect what they identify with and not what we want them to identify as. That individual also gets to choose their own pronouns (which are also not tied to outward appearance or sex) based on whatever they feel comfortable with. A common pronoun is the singular they/them/theirs which makes no assumptions

Schools Are Regulated to Remaking and Remaking Themselves to “Fit” State Testing

in The Word is Text by

By Jonathan Gonzalez

State testing is a method by which students are assessed and analyzed; it also provides a form of record keeping for the student’s academic progression.

The information that a standardized test is supposed to produce is information that pertains to what strategies are working and where they have been proven to work. That information is analyzed and used to form strategies to implement in the areas where students have graded lower, so that all students can be impacted in a positive way which will improve their academic achievement in the areas of English Language Arts and Mathematics. This is the reason the state puts forth to control the way students are evaluated, but an underlying benefit, for them, is that they can use this information to hold schools, teachers, and support staff accountable for the students who are “underperforming.”

As it stands, the test is focused on a student’s ability to memorize, recall, and regurgitate the information they have learned thus far. It completely skips over the most important aspect of a child’s learning; the ability to implement and apply the strategies they have learned to real world problems. The test is also under scrutiny because it has no way to take into account how the different socio-economic statuses, or access to resources, affect the child. There are many factors that go into a student’s ability to perform during an exam. The pressures that are being placed on children to get them to do good on a test, are ones that aren’t part of their daily/weekly assessment routines. So, why does the state feel that forcing a child to regurgitate all the information they have learned, in a matter of about two hours, would provide an accurate reading of how the child is doing academically?

Along with the pressures to perform well for their own sake, children are being pushed to do well so that the school they attend can look better overall and hopefully attract more parents to enroll their child in said school the following year. The test eventually becomes a method by which parents use to find the schools that their children will attend. As stated by Rainesford Alexandra in her article “The Business of Standardized Testing.” “Turns out, academic conformity sells, and business is booming: As of 2011, Gaston Caperton, the president of the College Board, nonprofit owner of SAT, was paid $1.3 million. Richard Ferguson, former executive officer of ACT Inc., made roughly $1.1 million. Meanwhile, The National Board on Educational Testing and Public Policy at Boston College reported that the value of the standardized testing market was anywhere between $400 million and $700 million.” Schools that perform better take in more students the following year, which means they will have a bigger budget the following year. This in turn means that schools that perform poorly, have less students attend the following year, which leads to a smaller budget.

So where does this leave Chicana/o/x and other communities that are ridden with low socio-economic statuses that do not have the access to the resources that would make their communities do better on state exams? It creates conditions for schools to market themselves outside the language of high scores which in the long run could fail students and regulate them to specific social tracks. Instead, they must both push their students to do well on the exams using the limited resources that they have while trying out different programs that attempt to improve their schools. Unlike schools that score well, they have to rely on making their school look appealing through the implementation of a variety of extracurricular activities. This also means that they are constantly changing teaching strategies to increase their scores. Changing teaching strategies includes changing environments and materials. This is not just a big change for the students, but for the teaching staff as well which does not promote a sense of continuity. This constant changing only leaves the school with an abundance of problems and a lack of solutions.

Unfortunately, the state test is more of a reflection of how our society is currently viewed in the sense that the rich stay rich while the poor get poorer. The state test is nothing more than a business model that allows this to happen, as it does not provide an accurate measure by which we can gauge our student’s academic progress. A new method of assessment is needed; one that is able to provide us with the information of how our future leaders are applying the skills they are learning to real world scenarios. Until this new method comes into fruition, low socio-economic communities are forced to claw, scratch, and work tirelessly to try and climb out of the deep economic hole that the state test has created.

Fear and Anxiety: A Visit to the Doctor or Just the Thinking of the Visit

in The Word is Text by

By Guadalupe Guzmán and Jonathan Gonzalez

What makes visiting the doctor such a potentially dreadful experience for Chicano/Latinos? The question of going to be seen by a doctor doesn’t normally arise when one needs to go, and it often leads to finding out crucial information about one’s health that usually comes too late. Although many would wager to say that the fear is attributed to a phobia, the reality is that the fear is linked to anxiety that stems from various other issues.

The fact that Latinos are not significantly visiting the doctor has never been more apparent than it has been in recent years. According to a study done by the Center for Disease Control, when viewing the numbers of emergency room visits in 2014, Hispanics made up only 15.39% of all visits in the United States. The numbers are saying, that even though going a visit to the emergency room consists of circumstances that can’t wait, Hispanics would rather stay at home and deal with the problem themselves.

Because of the selective negligence, we have also seen a rise in illnesses that could have potentially been avoided had the doctor been visited. By following a physician’s advice and scheduling an appointment at least twice a year, the patient would be able to keep track of their health and how it is progressing. As it currently stands, a study done by the American Diabetes Association has shown that the “prevalence of total diabetes among all Hispanic/Latino groups was roughly 16.9% for both men and women, compared to 10.2 percent for non-Hispanic whites.” The association also claimed that the numbers were linked to “a low rate of diabetes awareness, diabetes control and health insurance.”

The fear of scheduling an appointment, or going to the doctor, is often considered to be attributed to latrophobia, which is a fear of doctors and treatment centers. Contrary to this belief, the fear actually stems from anxiety brought on by a lack of knowledge, a language gap between doctor and patient, and from a lack of financial stability. Collectively, Latinos choose not to go to a doctor because they often either misunderstand or don’t understand what the doctor is telling them. This can be attributed to either a lack of knowledge of basic medical terminology or to a language gap. A visit to the doctor is not a pleasant one because one is often going to get themselves checked out to make sure that they are in good health, however, the possibility of something being wrong is looming over them. If there is a chance of receiving unwelcome news, one would prefer to be in an environment in which they feel as comfortable as they possibly can. The fact that most doctors only speak English, can make patients feel uncomfortable as they will be spending their time trying to decipher what the doctor is trying to explain to them.

Lastly, the big issue that plagues our community, is a lack of insurance. The topic of immigration neighbors the issues at hand because Latino’s fear that if they are in the United States undocumented, then their situation will be brought to light if they attempt to sign up for basic government medical insurance; this has only worsened now that the Trump Administration has come into power. Even the number of people going to clinics has decreased exponentially because of the fear of deportation or government action against them. As it is, Latino wages lack financial stability that a rise in the cost of medication in recent years has caused an even bigger decline in medical visits. Latinos fear that the medication that they will be prescribed will be out of their budget. According  to an Atlantic article, “Why Many Latinos Dread Going to the Doctor,” many prefer “treating [oneself] without a professional doctor’s help.” The treatment then varies between different herbal or “home” remedies that may not be effective. Not to say, they home remedies do not work.

The issue then becomes, “how exactly do we help ourselves overcome this ‘fear’.” There are many obstacles that we must overcome, but the main thing that we have to focus on should be education. We need to educate ourselves as to the events that ensue as consequences for not visiting the doctor. We also need to educate ourselves about the different financial opportunities that are available in terms of finding programs that help people get the medical assistance they need without the fear of being turned over to the government.

Lastly, we also need to become educated and become doctors ourselves. The Latino community is greatly underrepresented when it comes to Latino doctors. If there were more Latino doctors, the community would feel more at ease going to see a doctor that they can relate to.  It is important to realize that, as we become educated and grow as a people, we should understand that we are not only seeking this knowledge to better inform ourselves, but also to empower ourselves.

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