Gender equality is a crucial human right and a foundation towards a peaceful, sustainable
and prosperous world. Women and girls are have been heavily affected by gender inequality for
many centuries. Progress towards a world with less gender inequality has been made over the
past decades. More women are taking leadership roles in politics and business, more girls are
going to school, and reforms being made in laws that fostered and encouraged gender inequality.
Despite all these and more gains, several problem areas and racial micro-aggressions need to be
addressed. Part one of this discussion will focus on Mexican and Chicanx women in the United
States and borderlands.
One of the problem areas regarding Mexican and Chicanx immigrant women that I
learned most is that of colonial imaginary. Emma Perez defines colonial imaginary as the
colonial ideologies and history about women that happened in the past (Pérez, 2003). When
people are taught or reminded about the past stories about women, they develop an imagination
or thinking that can be challenging to replace.
The second problem area is that of cultural deficiency. Cultural deficiency is a
theoretical argument that argues that cultural practices and attributes are often associated or
related with specific historically disenfranchised ethnic or racial groups. Cultural deficiency
prevents some ethnic groups like that of the Mexican and Chicanx prevent them from attaining
social mobility. Before taking the class, I thought that colonial imaginary was something that
has no significant impact on the fight for women's rights and equality in the past and the present
years. Most stories and history about the past always portray women as weak characters and
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always fall prey or become victims of different circumstances like work-related discrimination
and sexual harassment. Even with the numerous campaigns and efforts being made to change the
history and bring equality and reduce discrimination and sexual harassment of Mexican and
Chicanx immigrant women in the United States, the full potential for these efforts has never been
realized. We are in the twenty-first century, where human beings have recorded the highest form
of advancements in almost all areas. However, the issue of gender inequalities and harassment
are still a problem.
The article by Emma Perez has deepened my understanding of colonial imaginary and
how it has affected the efforts that have been put in place to end issues regarding discrimination
and harassment of Mexican and Chicanx immigrant women based on their culture, race, or origin
in the United States (Pérez, 2003). I have also understood that colonial imaginary plays a
significant role in developing cultural deficiency because people's thinking about women is
constantly shifted in a specific direction. Colonial imaginary regarding Chicanas women exists
because most historians and past or present authors do not mainly focus on the women who have
been hidden from history or who have played a role in fighting the discriminations and
harassments that Chicanas and Mexican women have been going through over the years.
Therefore, most of these historians and authors make people develop a colonial white hetero-
normative way of knowing and thinking, making it challenging to end these two problem areas.
Some political, social and cultural mechanism encourages both cultural deficiency and
colonial imaginary in the United States. Schools are some social organizations where students
learn the history of Mexican and Chicanx immigrant women. This history is dominated by
women's negative aspects in the past and how they were mistreated and discriminated against.
This makes students think negatively about Mexican and Chicanx immigrant women who
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become challenging to change. Most of this history does not focus on a few women who were at
the forefront of fighting for their fellow women and caused significant changes that women
enjoy until today, like Anna Nieto Gomez, a prominent feminist between the 1960s and 1970s
(Segura Powerpoint). Other practices and policies in schools, such as curricular placement,
linguistic isolation, discrimination, colorism, and inadequate resource allocation to high-minority
schools, also encourage colonial imagery and cultural deficiency. The critical race theory (CRT)
provides insight into how these problems exist. Critical race theory explains that racial
inequalities emerge from economic, social, and legal differences that white individuals create to
further their interests at the expense of other people of color like Mexican and Chicanx
Actions have been happening against racial discrimination and inequalities fueled by
cultural deficiency and colonial imaginary among Mexican and Chicanx immigrant women and
girls. Some of the examples include several cases of student resistance to social inequalities.
Some examples include the student walkouts in 1994 and 2006 where they were protesting
against California Proposition 187 and H.R 4437, respectively (Segura Powerpoint, week 6).
Emma Perez also pushes for the notion of de-colonial imaginary where more emphasis should be
put on providing history and past stories about women whose efforts to fight for their fellow
women have been hidden and unrecognized (Pérez, 2003). This is aimed at re-arranging people's
mindsets about Mexican and Chicanx immigrant women. It will also make the social
reproduction theory void. Social reproduction theory states that social inequalities are passed
from one generation to another.
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Intersectionality is a perspective that explores and explains the different interactions of
social markers like class, race, gender, sexual orientation, and age that shape a person's or a
group's experience and political and social identities (Segura Powerpoint, week 5). These
experiences and identities create various models of privileges and discriminations. My parents
and siblings always have friendly to everyone regardless of their culture, age, class, race, or
social marker. However, I can remember that my young sister's friends and schoolmates visited
her during her birthday. Some of the girls were blacks, and a few were Mexicans, and others
were whites. One of the things that caught my attention is how my sister reacted when the friends
were called to help her cut the cake. She was told to arrange the friends in raw near the table, and
then each had to hold her hand as she cut the cake. Since my sister was supposed to be at the
center, she rearranged the girls and told the white girls to come beside her and other girls to stand
at the far ends. This showed me that she discriminated against the black and Mexican girls based
on their color and race even though they were her friends. I later asked her about that, and she
told me that she did not want her classmates to laugh at her when she shows them the photo at
school. This means it was something that she learned at school.
I also had almost the same experience with my peers when we had decided to take a tour
to one of the parks near our home area. The park was full of people from different races, ages,
genders, and classes. One of my friends could not sit near or talk to some attendants in the park
who were blacks. When we decided to buy ice cream, he told us that he could not buy from one
of the sellers from whom we bought from just because he was an African American and decided
to stay without an ice cream until he saw a white lady selling at a different location in the park.
After asking him why he was that discriminative, he told us that his grandfather and father have
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been telling him negative stories and histories about African Americans. This shows that social
reproduction theory, as discussed by Lorence Gracia, is active, and many social discrimination
ideologies are passed from one generation to another. Schools have also had a certain degree of
discrimination where I have realized that there are schools where high-class students go to
schools that are different from those attended by students attended by middle or low-class
students. I remember my first week in high school, where I was asked by one of the senior
students whether my parents are wealthy like his parents for me to become his friend.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has, to an extent, nullified some of the efforts
that had been made towards women's equality and discrimination reduction. A number of
Mexican and Chicanx immigrant women have played a significant role in responding to the
pandemic as frontline workers in hospitals and homes. Unfortunately, the rate of unpaid care has
drastically increased than before, even though the economy is significantly hit by the pandemic.
Domestic violence among Mexican and Chicanx immigrant women has also increased due to
lockdowns and restrictions that have been implemented with the aim of controling the spread of
the virus. These issues need to be addressed before things go back to where they were some
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Pérez, E. (2003). Queering the borderlands: The challenges of excavating the invisible and
unheard. Frontiers: a journal of women studies, 24(2/3), 122-131.
Segura Powerpoint, ”Chicanx and Latinx Activism and Feminism”.
Segura Powerpoint, ”Chicanx and Latinx Education, week 6.”
Segura Powerpoint, ”Queering the Borderlands, week 5.”