Güeras y prietas: remembering lived experiences with colorism through history and ethnoplática

Date
2015
Authors
Garza, Sandra D.
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Abstract

This study explores colorism with a focus on women who identify as Chicana/Tejana. Since the 1980s, empirical studies on Chicanas/os and skin color have evidenced colorism as a widespread practice with material consequences. Relying largely on quantitative approaches, these works were among the earliest to reveal statistically significant relationships between skin color and educational attainment (Murguia & Telles, 1996), socioeconomic status and income (C. Arce, Murguia et al., 1987; Telles & Murguia, 1990), as well as psychosocial health (Codina & Montalvo, 1994). More recent scholarly discussions about skin color continue to emphasize the significance of colorism as a long-standing and widespread practice impacting local and global relations, socioeconomic status, and identity formation (Hall, 2010, 2008; Herring, Keith et al., 2004; Hunter, 2005; Nakano Glenn, 2009). I build on these earlier works in order to take seriously colorism as a lived experience and to better understand how colorism is remembered, reproduced, and resisted. I draw from "ethnopláticas," or conversational-style, one-on-one, interview methods, with eight women who self-identify as: (1) Chicana/Tejana, (2) born and raised in South Texas, and (3) willing to share their experiences with colorism. This analysis focuses on how participants remember and make meaning of experiences with colorism. The overarching research questions guiding this project are: How do contemporary Chicanas/Tejanas living in South Texas remember and make meaning of experiences with colorisms? What are the historical discourses of colorism as it pertains to Chicanas/Tejanas? What are the relationships between historical discourses and their contemporary lived experiences?

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Keywords
Chicana/Latina Studies, Ethnoplatica and Personal Narrative Analysis, Gloria E. Anzaldua, Mexican American Studies, Raced, classed, gendered identities, Women, Family, Cultural Reproduction
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Department
Bicultural-Bilingual Studies