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Creating/Uncreating Ethnicity

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Creating/Uncreating Ethnicity

  1. Juanita has grown up in a white neighborhood. Her parents do not have strong Mexican traditions. For instance, they do not speak Spanish or eat traditional Mexican foods and this has prevented her from knowing about her Mexican heritage. According to Cooley, people form their self-image based on how they think other people see them. They think about themselves based on how they imagine that others see them. Juanita does not know that she is Mexican. She thinks that she is American because that is the perception she has when she sees other people in the neighborhood.
  2. Gaby and Carlos think that being American is white because that is the perception they have had when growing up. They have different realities from their children. They are more aware of the differences between them and their white friends.
  3. Gaby and Carlos could not understand Juanita’s confusion. They thought that it would be obvious to her that she was Mexican since she resembled other Mexicans and her parents were Mexican. Moreover, they all have Mexican names and they could not understand why this would not be obvious to Juanita.
  4. a. food does not make a person Mexican. Many people eat Mexican food despite being from other nationalities. It just means that they want to try cuisines from different places. Moreover, Mexicans enjoy eating foods associated with other nationalities and ethnicities such as Chinese. Eating such foods does not mean that they stop being Mexican.
  5. language is a strong symbol of nationality. However, speaking Spanish does not make one Mexican. It is possible to learn foreign languages to a certain level of perfection but that does not make one a Mexican.
  6. Family, neighbors, and media do not make one Mexican. In the case of Juanita, her family is Mexican but she does not identify with them on that level. If her family had strong cultural background and heritage that were passed to other generations, then she would identify herself as a Mexican. It is possible for a person to consider himself a Mexican if he comes from a neighborhood where other people are Mexicans. People in such neighborhoods are more likely to practice one or more elements of their culture and this is likely to affect a person’s perception of self.
  7. Social class does not make one Mexican. It is just an indication of a person’s economic position in life. People from all nationalities come from different social classes. There are poor, middle class, and wealthy Mexicans
  8. Although some symbols such as the drink type, the type of music and the drinking style are strong indicators of a person’s ethnicity, they are not sufficient to quality a person as belonging to that specific ethnic group. People from different ethnicities enjoy margaritas yet this does not make them Mexican. Just because someone enjoys the music of a mariachi band does not make him Mexican.
  9. Historical consciousness is important in defining a person’s identity and ethnicity. However, it is not a major factor in determining a person’s ethnicity. If a person is not willing to embrace his or her history, culture, and background, then historical consciousness loses its significance in determining a person’s ethnicity
  10. When a person accepts her identity and culture, then that person will not be ashamed of other people from the same ethnic background. He will see himself as part of that ethnic group and he will not refer to them as ‘those people’. Acceptance includes sharing of cultural symbols and norms such as language and mannerisms

 

Work Cited

“You Gotta Get A Gmimmick.” Desperate Housewives. ABC. 10 Jan. 2010. Television.

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