Resources for multicultural students creating their identities.
By Samuel Peña
I am a proud Colombian-American. Most of my friends would describe me as a “total white girl,” but occasionally, my Colombian background shines through in my personality.
These moments are usually followed by my friends laughing at the awkward Latino kid in their group, or my Colombian cousins laughing at their “gringo” family member. If this story sounds familiar, you might be a mixed kid! Congratulations—this story is definitely for you.
I love my multicultural background because it helps me appreciate various points of views. However, sometimes those cultural identities create a war inside my soul. If you can relate to this experience, here are some resources to help you understand, enjoy, and celebrate your cultural identities.
“Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza” by Gloria Anzaldúa
Gloria Anzaldúa’s semi-biographical work provides an intriguing and insightful view into Chicano culture. “Borderlands” follows the early life of Anzaldúa as she struggles to accept her cultural identity and sexuality, and examines the new identities created by multicultural families. The borderlands she refers to serve as a comparison for the multiracial backgrounds that many people have today.
The book provides a historical documentation and celebration of multicultural backgrounds. It illuminates the struggle of multicultural families while challenging the dominant Anglo narrative of history.
CSUF’s Women and Gender Studies Class
If you read “Borderlands” and want more, CSUF students can enroll in Women and Gender Studies 490T: Advanced Readings in Feminist Theory.
This class provides students the opportunity to study the work of a single feminist writer. Depending on the semester, students can learn about women who have made contributions to racial studies such as Gloria Anzaldúa, Angela Davis, and Simone de Beauvoir.
The course can be repeated with different topics and you can receive credit for up to 12 units.
A hidden gem in the photography world, Mixedracefaces is a family-owned organization that creates awareness for the mixed community. The organization produces photoshoots and publishes the stories of people with mixed ancestry, and was founded as a way to share the stories of people who struggle to find a community.
Mixedracefaces also provides resources to trace ancestry and a platform for artists to present themselves through written stories.
The beautiful portraits reveal that people can create their own communities. The organization features hundreds of people with various backgrounds telling honest stories about their positive and negative experiences as a mixed person.
Multi-Racial Student Organization (MRSO)
Located at Azusa Pacific University, MRSO is a student organization that provides a community for mixed students. CSUF does not currently have an organization like this, but it’s clear we need one.
MRSO’s President, Hanae Gonzales, is a student of Black, Japanese, Mexican, and Jewish descent. Growing up, Gonzales said that she struggled to find a group who could identify with her feelings of isolation. Since Azusa Pacific University didn’t have a multicultural organization, she created her own.
MRSO is a thriving group where people can share their stories and relate to each other’s differences instead of being alienated by them. It’s time for CSUF to create a group similar to MRSO and recognize students who face an identity discord.
Art by Alexandra Rodriguez