Latinas: A Social and Cultural Survey

Asynchronous Assignment on García Peña and Negrón-Muntaner’s Discussions

Asynchronous Online Assignment


Pick ONE of the following assignment options and post your answer in the comment section below:


Using Lorgia García Peña’s article “Non-essential Knowledge: Latinx Studies in Times of COVID 19” especially the section entitled “Before the pandemic, there was another crisis,”  answer the following three questions in a paragraph.

1. García Peña believes that the framework of ethnic studies is essential to our humanity. What arguments she brings forth?

2. How the notion of being “essential “or “non-essential” is connected to the paradox (a contradictory position or state) of the type of work Ethnic Studies does within academia?

3. What does García Peña means at the end when she invites us, the readers, to go “back to Schomburg”?

(250 words minimum)



Watch Frances Negrón Muntaner interview, pick ONE of the topics listed below, and discuss her arguments and your own opinion about it.

(Example: Negrón Muntaner argues that______and I think that______.)

.Colonialism and coloniality (minutes:  2:20-7:00)

.Colonialism and coloniality within the U.S. (minutes 7:00-10:30)

.Latinas, beauty standards and U.S. media (minutes 10:30-13:40)

.Identity labels (minutes 13:40-18:30)

.Latinx Media Gap (minutes 18:30- 23:45)

(250 words minimum)



Using Lorgia García Peña’s article “Non-essential Knowledge: Latinx Studies in Times of COVID 19” and Frances Negrón-Muntaner interview  answer the following question in a paragraph:

How the ideas about colonialism and coloniality presented by Negrón Muntaner (minutes 2:20-10:30) are connected to the goals of Latinx Studies of uncovering suppressed knowledge as discussed by Lorgia García Peña?

(250 words minimum)

42 thoughts on “Asynchronous Assignment on García Peña and Negrón-Muntaner’s Discussions”

  1. Alexis Armstrong
    Option 2

    Negron Muntaner argues that the term Latinx is used to include everyone and I completely agree with her. She starts off answering this question by saying that when she was an NYU professor her students had mentioned the word and asked her for her thoughts. Muntaner goes on to explain the curiosity of the students being that back then a ton of people were not a fan due to the pronunciation, which in Spanish would be incorrect. She views the adoption/emergence of the word as a way to self-identify which gives voice to the new generation of Latinos. Personally, I totally agree with her being that we don’t have a term for someone who does not identify with he/her which would be Latino/Latina. For. Those outside a binary they wouldn’t be able to use the Latin phrase so adding the x includes everyone. With her mentioning this being used amongst the new generation shows how those who came before us aren’t too fond of the word. For example, my mother does not like the word Latinx being that my mother speaks proper Spanish and with there being an x present messes up the word disregarding that this is used to describe the community as a whole. Muntaner goes on to use the great example of how the black community over time shifted the use of language stating how Negro isn’t the same as black, demonstrating that isn’t a word people use to identify themselves as while black isn’t the same as African American. Saying these things shed light on how over time the. Words we use to identify with will change so it can be more inclusive and fit a whole new group of people.

  2. When watching the section on Latinas, beauty standards and U.S. Media I was very focused on what the standards of beauty back then were and how they connect to the beauty standards now. Negron Muntaner mentioned Jennifer Lopez and when she was a rising star. She mentions that when Jennifer Lopez was performing there was a lot of back lash based on her weight and how her body shape did not confirm to the U.S standard of beauty. In the time that Jennifer Lopez was becoming more and more famous, there were certain beauty standards women specifically had to follow to maintain their fame. Furthermore Muntaner explained the way she handled that was by having confidence and that believing that someone with her body type can be beautiful. Now while Jennifer Lopez was confident in herself she still changed her body by losing weight. This here is an example of how women have had to lose weight and change their body over time to confirm social medias standard of beauty. Many of the complexities women have today with their body comes from many social media personality holding the image of what women should look like and what is beautiful and what is not. Muntaner also mentioned Shakira and how she as well changed something about her appearance which is her hair she states, “The minute you cross over you become blonde.” This is another example of how many famous people out there change their appearance. Like having blonde hair, this kind of hair is people say women should have, it is what the white women would wear which was acceptable to society. Some of these beauty standards are still seen today but its more focused on the women body more than the women appearance. Women must be curvy, with a flat stomach, and everything big. While these standards are still present a lot of women have grown to love their bodies and affirm their confidence.

  3. Frances Negrón Muntaner presents the difference between colonialism and coloniality, which is that: colonialism is the act of one country having ownership over another country, while coloniality is the consequences of that action. She presents this by explaining the presence of both within the United States. She gives the example of colonialism by showing the case of Puerto Rico which in simpler words belongs to the United States, yet is not part of the United States, based on the lack of power. Also coloniality is present in the country because we se institutionalized discrimination systems that perpatute the way in which colonialism set them to operate. She used the example of police brutality to explain this. I think that as Negron Muntaner was explaining colonialism is very vivid in the daily life of americans. The perpetuated hierarchical system in which this country operates present a disadvantage in many ways the African (slaves) and Indigenous (natives to the continent) descendants in the smallest aspects of life, even when their identity might be intersected. One example of this, for instance, is the lack of representation and support that Ethnics studies receive from the different Universities and from academia in general as Lorgia Garcia Peña explained on her article. This issue with in the United States personally preocupantes me, because it is known that the United States, as Negron Muntaner says, have a lot of influence on other countries that have been affected by colonialization and coloniality, and the way in which, this country , has deal with coloniality shows us the bad influence that might bring into our Latino community and any community in general.

  4. Option 2
    Frances Negron Muntaner presents the topic of Latinas, beauty standards, and U.S. media. She argues that U.S. media has set specific standards for other women to follow, and I agree with her. She starts her discussion by explaining that Jennifer Lopez was criticized at the beginning of her career for not conforming to U.S. beauty standards. However, Jeniffer Lopez “affirmed her beauty,” and people began to see her body type as beautiful as time went by. Muntaner gives credit to the U.S. demographic changes by explaining that people accepted Jennifer Lopez because the demographic of media consumers shifted to more Blacks and Latinos. Although Jennifer Lopez and Shakira have had successful careers, Muntaner argues that there is still work to be done concerning U.S. beauty standards because both stars have changed their appearance over time. I agree with Muntaner because I have Latina friends who sometimes share their desire to change something about themselves, and most of the time, those changes reflect U.S. beauty standards. I am aware that this is not something we can fix overnight. Still, it is great to see that more companies are taking the initiative to cast models with different body types and sizes instead of conforming to U.S. beauty standards. Everyone is beautiful in their way, so telling ourselves that we must look a certain way will only make us unhappy. I hope that as a community, we can continue to push for changes so that younger generations do not have to think that they must look or dress a certain way to be considered beautiful.

  5. Option 3

    Both Lorgia Pena and Negron Muntaner share their views on the current struggle as well as their goals for Latin American people. Muntaner goes in depth on the explanation of colonialism and coloniality. Although not mention by Pena in her article, these two factors play a major role on the suppressed knowledge of Latin American and Black studies in Universities and primary schools in the United States. As explained in the interview by Muntaner, colonialism and coloniality are still very present today. From how the United States owning Puerto Rico as a colony as well as how the US government suppresses their right to vote or allow elected officials in congress to represent those citizens. By colonizing over other countries, it makes those native citzens to believe that they are inferior from any American citizen. As a result, it allows the government, and those responsible for higher education, to believe that Latin America and Black studies are non-essential. It intentionally oppresses knowledge that not only for those that are descent of those ethnic backgrounds, but of all citizens in the US. It once again shows that any history besides US History is the only one that matters. Therefore belittling any other culture.

  6. Celinda Gibbs
    Option 2:
    When I was watching the section on Latinas, Frances Negron Muntaner discusses the beauty standards and U.S. Media that is focused on what beauty was like back then compared to what it is like now. She examines the discourse of Jennifer Lopez’s body. She mentioned that JLO was faced with a lot of negativity through the media based on her weight and how her figure did not confirm the U.S society. She predicted that JLO’s body could be beautiful, and suddenly JLO succeeded by the demographics supporting her beauty. As time went by, Jennifer finally excepted herself; she still lost some weight. Her fame became more recognized after she changed herself. Here is my opinion about beauty in women. I think that women should accept themselves for who they are and not let society define them. Beauty is the eye of the beholder. Today, most women go through many entanglements of what they should look like to impress the community of social media, and that is not what the art of beauty should work around us. The example of how beauty should convey is an artist named “Lizzo” she writes her music about that no one should control their appearances. Another example of a beauty standard is that they are getting told by society to change their image because Shakira went through the same thing. The difference was about her hair color. When Muntaner stated, “The minute you cross over, you become blonde.” Society’s expectations from beauty standards are still alive today, but it focuses more on women’s bodies than women’s appearance. For instance, women should dye their hair in a particular color, stay curvy, stay light-toned, and change their faces in a certain way to stay perfect. To me, it is deplorable that most women are damaging God’s creation. Overall, women should accept themselves from preventing them from abusing their beauty.

  7. Option 2:

    Negron Muntaner argues that for the U.S. standards of beauty women like Jennifer Lopez were overweight. She argues that JLo embraced her beauty and that way people in the U.S. accepted her Latina body type as beautiful. Negron Muntaner also argues that Jennifer Lopez overtime did make some changes: she lost weight, she was presented to different audiences as she became more and more famous, and she adapted to the public. Muntaner also mentions Shakira becoming blonde with fame. I think that even nowadays Latinos and the U.S. have different views of beauty. Muntaner is right. For Latino America, Jennifer Lopez has always been an eminent example of beauty. Since the beginning of her career Latinas have been inspired by JLo. Women even pay a lot of money to have Jennifer Lopez’s body. But, as Muntaner says, in the U.S. she had to be confident about herself first, and then she was publicly accepted. One famous Latina that I want to bring up is Sofia Vergara. Her body has been a target of stereotypes. People say she is too sexy and that she shows too much. She is known for her acting roles as the sexy and materialistic Latina. Sofia Vergara even makes jokes about her looking like a hooker and about people not being able to stop looking at her breasts. That’s the way the media represents Latinas, mainly as high maintenance women.

  8. OPTION 1:

    1. García Peña believes that the framework of ethnic studies is essential to our humanity. What arguments she brings forth?

    The argument she brings forth is that our history should be involved as much as other history is involved. Our heritage matters and should be taught so that our people know their background, know their roots and know who they are as an individual and together with their people. The argument she brings forth is that our history is an essential because not so many people who are Latino and Black know their people struggle and what is to be Latino or Black. In the article it states, “We are Latinx/Latina/os, and in this country, in this political climate that is a mark of unbelonging and exclusion”. This quote stood out to me because the excuse of a political climate, we are not accepted and we “don’t belong”. Another quote that stood out to me was “… advocated for the creation of departments of Black History and for the formation of Black historians as a way to contrast the lies, the silences and the outright violence produced about black and brown people in the university”, this stood to me because Black history is shut out, shutting down the truth of black history, the lies that being told to us, when we know the truth. García Peña fights to know the truth, to keep our history existing and fights to know our history is an essential.

  9. Option Three

    Colonialism presented by Muntaner is connected to the goals of Latinx Studies of uncovering suppressed knowledge as discussed by Lorgia García Peña. Garcia Pena’s point in “Non-essential Knowledge: Latinx Studies in Times of COVID 19” is that Ethnic Studies should be valued as an essential because students are learning unfiltered history and the true effects of colonialism are a part of that. Muntaner explains what colonialism is and how it has deeply affected any colonized area. Places like Haiti , Domincan Republic and Puerto Rico are stuck due to being colonized or still being colonized. Haiti specifically was in a tremendous amount of debt due to the fact that they had to repay French slave owners. Muntaner states “ instead of asking why is Haiti poor … the question is how has colonialism impoverished Haiti?”, she’s emphasizing the importance of learning how colonialism has affected the world. Having students learn about the determinants that colonists had on countries and why they are in the state they’re in helps to take away the negative narrative placed on these countries and instead makes colonizers accountable for what they did. Uncovering repressed knowledge in Ethnic Studies is essential in order to empower students of color by learning black and brown history through black and brown voices since usually history classes are very whitewashed. Due to the fact that they are very whitewashed, true colonialism and effects of colonialism on poc is never discussed in history classes. Colonialism is a part of many countries’ history and should not be filtered in history to please a certain audience or to avoid white accountability.

  10. Option 2
    Colonialism and coloniality within the U.S. (minutes 7:00-10:30)
    Negrón Muntaner argues that the colonialism which started years ago still causes problems for the minorities that live in America. Whether Hispanic or black, people become part of a hierarchy that puts them down on a low level, they get abused by the police and other governmental entities. I think she is not wrong, even more i think the problem continues to grow as young generation will grow up with the same environment near them and will learn to behave and think the same. For me, one of the biggest issues that comes from living in such a time where people still continue to get discriminated based on the color of their skin or their nationality, is that the next generation will do the same and this cycle of made up hierarchies will continue to divide people. Colonialism is part of life that smaller/weaker countries have suffered. We can not change the past and neither can we judge people from many years ago based on the social morals we have today, but we can do, is implement those social morals today to the wheel of discrimination in order to at least soften up the wounds that colonialism has left on the history and future of many countries and civilizations. I believe that for the most part the world has been moving on the right direction to try and remove the idea that a certain race is superior to others.

    1. Your analysis of how coloniality affects current social relationships is very on point. While I partially agree that our moral compass is not the same as during the colonial period, it is important to note that from the beginning of the imperial conquest in the Americas people were standing up and using their voices and platforms to reject the enslavement of indigenous people and Africans and promoting ideas of indepence and liberation from colonial systems.

  11. OPTION #2:
    In the Frances Negron Muntaner interview, she talks about what is deemed beautiful for American media and how it affected colored people, especially those who are Latinas. Her main example was the case of Jennifer Lopez, and how during the start of her career she was immediately body-shamed by the US media, with complaints such as her body shape not matching the requirements of standard American beauty, and how she was seen as overweight. The artist would eventually voice her own opinion on the matter, affirming her beauty and stating that anyone with her body could be beautiful. She won this argument, receiving support from the public. Frances says its because of the ever-growing diverse demographic she is meant to appeal to. Her target audience is people from the age of 18-25, that being the main consumer for the media, and that as time goes on, a good portion of the said group has become more of color. Even though she won the fight, she still went on to lose weight and follow the unwritten rules of true beauty. So, in my opinion, she won and lost the fight and that happens to a lot of Latina celebrities: several of them might appeal to the country that they’re from, but once they start to become mainstream and international superstars, they have to unwillingly follow the “rules” of standard beauty, even if they voice out their natural beauty and get support from their fans. I guess that no matter how much support you get from the public, you’ll always have to follow the standards of what is deemed ‘beauty’, in order to become successful in your career as a celebrity.

    1. You grasped pretty well Negrón-Muntaner’s arguments about Jennifer López and the coloniality of beauty standards in the US. It would be interesting to name and point out who establishes the “rules” of beauty that you mention? How those beauty standards are intertwined with white supremacy? and if the idea of “true beauty” makes sense when we analyze it from the perspective of colonialism and coloniality as Negrón-Muntaner does?

  12. Option 1:
    1. García Peña believes that the framework of ethnic studies is essential to our humanity. What arguments she brings forth?

    One argument that she brings forth is that our future leaders through ethnic studies will learn to be more ethnical as well as a more just way to serve the community. I think this is very true considering that a big part of our education comes from what Pena mentions as white supremacy. We are rarely taught amount people of color and our history and struggles in our classes and as such we are taught to act certain ways. Through ethnic studies we learn what people of color have had to struggle with and as such makes us empathetic to the struggles. So when future leaders take these ethnic studies courses they are able to better serve the community since they will have a better understanding of the struggles of people of color. Pena also argues that ethnic studies serve to dismantle the institutions that they serve. By saying this she means that the higher education system is built on white supremacy to make white people succeed and in turn still oppress people of color. So by having ethnic studies in this system it dismantles all of this because it will empower and strengthen not only people of color but it will also give them a means to express themselves and get their opinions and voices heard. This in and of itself threatens the higher education system that was built on white supremacy. Because of this higher education institutions would like us to think that ethnic studies are not essential and thus are very underfunded.

  13. Option 1

    1. García Peña believes that the framework of ethnic studies is essential to our humanity. What arguments does she bring forth?
    According to Garcia Pena, the framework of ethnic studies will create a learning environment contrary to racism, inequality, and misogyny; thus, people will be more just and more ethical. Adoption and learning of ethnic studies will help many people from different fields such as future lawyers, doctors, business people, public servants, and educators to develop a culture of acting fairly when serving one another. Also, the framework of ethnic studies will offer a learning opportunity to acquire knowledge about the death crisis of affected people; hence come up with measures of resolving the issue. Moreover, ethical studies will eliminate oppressive frameworks of the white-supremacist university, thus dismantle structures that promote diverse aspects of racism, oppression, as well as inequality.
    2. How the notion of being “essential “or “non-essential” is connected to the paradox (a contradictory position or state) of the type of work Ethnic Studies does within academia?
    Even though Ethnic Studies are depicted as non-essential, this is ironic since they have a significant impact on academia. Therefore, Ethnic Studies are essential since they challenge the dominant narrative of black inferiority. Ethnic Studies are termed as non-essential since they are not advocated in numerous universities despite protests conducted by the students. These studies cover significant concepts based on social justice, stereotypes, discrimination, as well as racism; hence being non-essential is a paradox. Therefore, Ethnic Studies should be incorporated in learning and there should be faculty based on it in every learning institution.
    3. What does García Peña mean at the end when she invites us, the readers, to go “back to Schomburg”?
    By informing the readers to go “back to Schomburg”, Garcia Pena tells people to learn and adopt ethnic concepts laid down by Schomburg. She believes that Schomburg expressed some significant concepts as he advocated for the establishment of black history to outright university violence amongst black and brown people. Schomburg preluded ethical studies offering insights about the possibility of humanity, freedom, belonging, and equality for all. Therefore, readers should go back to Schomburg’s concepts and kindle the torch of ethnic knowledge and racial integrity.

  14. Option 1:

    1. Peña argues that all other areas of study in western society are based on a foundation of white supremacy, inequality, racism, and exclusion. She claims that this kind of racism dominates our canons, libraries, and archives. The idea following from this premise is that all people in western society, regardless of what their aspirations are, must at least encounter a contrasting area of study which might help make moral and ethical decisions in the future. Peña follows this, claiming that ethnic studies must be essential also due to the fact that ethnic minorities are being sacrificed by their countries with impunity due to racism, and that it’s essential to provide an oppourtunity for learning about this crisis from those who are affected by it.
    2. The notion of being essential or non-essential is connected to the paradox pointed out by Peña that the institutions who are deciding whether or not ethnic studies are essential or non-essential, are the very same institutions which these ethnic studies work to dismantle the foundations of. Why would any institution be complicit in its own demise by deeming ethnic studies essential? Logically, these institutions would choose to put these fields as far away from themselves as possible.
    3. Peña’s invitation of the reader to go back to Schomberg, is to go back to understanding of the concept of diaspora in order to see what ethnic minorities are trying to do in western society – to create for themselves a space – a “nation within a nation,” which gives permanent and ever-growing space for those who seek refuge inside a nation of inequality, but to stay within such “belly of the beast” and attempt to cause change.

  15. Option 2-Latina-Beauty Standards

    On media, women body image is always a controversy. Either they are closed or far away on reaching the current beauty standard. On this respond I will focus on Latinas beauty standard in the USA media.
    As soon as the video reached Latinas beauty, Jennifer Lopez was mentioned as a great example of breaking an image and been capable of reaching success in the United States regarding her background ethnicity and body shape, yet she was born and raised in America. However, in the video and overall, it seems that people tend to minimize that fact because of her big hips and other great attributes mother nature gave to her. I have seen some of her old movies and I remember she was the Hispanic wedding planner who fall in love with the white lady husband or the maid who found a rich guys, all of these character because she was talented but Latina. I was aware of these issue on Media we still have them-so many Latinas still play this role on movies Sofia Vergara is the funny cute Colombia actress. But how can women overcome this glass?
    On my opinion there has been a big advance-now at least with have commercials showing women with different skin colors and fashion designed for different types of bodies not only Victoria secret models as the saying goes. I truly believe women must keep strong and educate themselves to create a different environment specially when they face a world that has strong beauty media standards such as the United States. No giving up and loving their body and most important hold their dreams strong.

    1. It is clever the way you critically observe J.Lo’s “success story.” Especially in movies (with some exceptions), she has built a career out of playing Latina stereotypes. She surely broke some beauty standards but barely any social and cultural prejudice against Latinas.

  16. Option 2:Latinas, beauty standards, and U.S. media
    Negrón Muntaner argues that there’s a certain beauty standard that a person has to like and I think that still a struggle that the community still faces until this day. An example that she mentions was Jeniffer Lopez. She focuses talking about Jennifer Lopez’s body and that many people body-shamed her the way she looked. When Jennifer was starting her career she performed in front of many people. The media and the audience will comment that she’s “overweight” that she doesn’t meet the beauty standard of the United States. For her to keep her fame rising she has to meet those standards. Muntaner argues that Jeniffer embraced her beautiful body. She accepted that her body type can be beautiful, but throughout the years she change the way she looked. Muntaner mentions that Jeniffer was “pressured” to change the way to be accepted. These beauty standards that the media portray have an effect on the younger audience who are age 18-25. The media portrayed that famous people are role models for the younger audience and this connects how the media pressured an idol to look a certain way. That women have to be skinny and that they can’t have body fat. Or the way the person’s hair is style or colored like she mentioned Shakira when she went blonde. Many teenage girls believe that those beauty standards are the only way that they will be accepted or they will feel beautiful. Being skinny and blonde is the typical beauty standard that the media portrayed. Beauty standard is still a struggle until this day. The roles have changed now because back then you have to be skinny now you have to be “curvy” or have a ” big butt” like the Kardashians. It’s a struggle that both women and men that they have to face. Luckily, there are commercials that sends out a positive message to love your body and that your body is unique in your own way.

    1. As you noticed those beauty standards J.Lo’s confronted are articulated from the perspective of whiteness. It’s interesting how nowadays the Kardashians and other white artists are selectively underscoring elements associated with blackness (hip hop aesthetic has to do with it) as a way to enhance their fame.

  17. Option 2

    Latinas, beauty standards and US Media
    In her interview Frances Negron takes time to highlight a very big issue in the Latina community and those who are considered inferior. When speaking about Latinas and beauty standards in the US Media she focuses on Jennifer Lopez and her struggle with mage and how she was able to overcome it on a micro level. She discusses how Jennifer’s image was not conforming to US beauty standards. She also states that Jennifer was able to win the fight because the majority of media users ( those 18-25) were Hispanic, Black and Asian so they supported her views. I think it is very important that she decided to speak on beauty standards especially in the media because once we log on to social media platforms we automatically see what is considered to be beautiful and acceptable. Oftentimes Latinas with different textured hair, ethnic hairstyles and curvier bodies are put into categories that exclude them from what is considered to be acceptable in a lot of environments. What ends up happening is that the constant images of what is wanted pushes them to alter their image so they could fit into these wanted molds. Although there has been a rise in acceptance for different hair textures and body types, like the curly haired community and ‘plus size” models, the fight still continues on a macro level. We are still bombarded with people who have chosen to change their natural features to simply fit in. What that has ultimately done is made the younger generations of Latinas idolize women whose image fits what they think will get them the most attention, instead of truly appreciating and feeling comfortable and confident with their natural features. Overall, I believe that some small battles of image have been won with women of curvier bodies, thicker hair, and darker complexion, but the main battle of simply highlighting these natural features is still far from where it needs to be. There needs to be more acceptance and less comparison when we come across images that don’t really reflect what we see when we look at ourselves in the mirror.

  18. Option #2

    Negrón Mutaner argues the U.S standards of beauty that western society strive to attain due to the pressure of coloniality. The feminine beauty ideal is a socially constructed opinion influenced by the media. Mutaner, focused on artist like Jennifer Lopez to bring about what society today defines as beauty. Jennifer Lopez was shamed on the discourse of her body being overweight. Lopez body shaming and critical, negative message from the media molded the artist to be unrecognizable when weight was shed off for casting roles. However, Lopez reclaimed her Latina body image to the public eye and succeeded due to the demographic consumers, e.g. African Americans, Asia, and Latinos. These demographics changes in the U.S supported her view on what is beautiful.

    In addition this mirco-fight have also influences other artist like Alicia Keys in the no make-up movement. Keys posted photos of herself without make up to declare her insecurities on what she believed were unhealthy thoughts and in response she chose to not wearing make-up. Moreover, the socially constructed feminine beauty has an effect on the way attractiveness is perceived in the western society and how much influence it can have in a workplace as society as a whole. Mutaner argument highlight the issue of U.S. beauty standards and the way it can affect those of different cultures and backgrounds on psychological aspect. I believe Mutaner argument and perspective can influence many young women to love and appreciate how they look like without needing to conform to what is believed to be beautiful.

  19. Option 3

    The integration of Latinx people and this “one people” term representing a large and diverse mass of Spanish speaking cultures jammed under one general name remains a focal point that places ideologies of colonialism and coloniality as just ugly parts of history that we no longer want to discuss. The lack of education and discourse makes us fail in connecting Latinx history still shapes us today. Negron Muntaner (in the YouTube video) said that “stigmas of hierarchy still haunt us to this day” and that is because things that are not dealt with in history, on both personal levels as well as broader spectrums, will come back to haunt. The exclusion of relatable histories, the lack of knowledge of roots, and the difficulty in finding the space where people can learn about themselves keeps people in a repetitive cycle. Who would know that Haiti’s impoverishment stems from having been punished for winning their own freedom and being fined for doing so? I didn’t, because it is not made available or obvious. I’ve had intense conversations within the workplace about Puerto Rico’s debt to the U.S. While I am not equipped with the full history, like with Haiti, I do know from visits and relatives that Puerto Rico generates money for the U.S. in travel and franchise income and taxes alike. But I am limited on the knowledge and as an extended representation of Puerto Rico, I should know this, I should know where to find this information. But instead, I was seen as a “gringa” in Puerto Rico, for my lack of knowledge, and a “spicy Latina” in the corporate workplace, because I am bold enough to state what I know to try and change incorrect narratives. This again connects us back to Garcia Pena’s article about being essential at the disposal of others when necessary. Discarded on the island and disregarded on the mainland.

    Also, we could consider those who were forced to work during the pandemic, they were deemed essential, while being put at risk to getting sick and making those at home sick. These were low income workers whose labor was being abused while being forced to work even at the expense of being disposable and easily replaced if they felt cautionary about their health and safety. I thought about the history of “Mexican Repatriations” where masses of Mexican Americans became stripped of their birthright citizenships and forced to leave being deemed as no longer essential. The Great Depression made jobs in America scarce and so Mexican Americans were no longer needed for labor, they were made to be dispensable to America. The fact that we still live in an America that must be reminded that Black Lives Matter, the group with a history of being brutally forced onto this land, places the needs of those who voluntarily migrated here, secondary and non-essential. A white patriarchal system put in place to maintain control and designed to keep non-whites, uninformed, unorganized, unsuccessful and divided, and this is terrifying.

    -Christine M.

  20. Frances Negron Muntaner explains in her interview the strict beauty standards found in the U.S for Latina women. She uses Jennifer Lopez as her example and explains the major backlash she faced because of her body type. This is a common phenomenon in U.S media as the standard attempts to mold public figures into European beauty standards. Over the past decades the mold has changed because as Muntaner explains, the demographic consuming media has changed. While watching the video I understood heavily the struggle of body shaming and what that can do to a population, however, I couldn’t help but notice that colorism has not changed although body standards have. Although the demographics are now mostly people of color, most Latinas that are portrayed in the media are light skinned. A large portion of the Latina population is virtually nonexistent within the media. The beauty standards regarding Latinas are still strict regarding skin color and is very telling towards the colorist issue not only in the U.S but also in Latin America. From the novelas we watch to the people giving us the news, light skinned Latinas are almost entirely what is seen. Furthermore, I have noticed that within novelas dark skinned Latinas are mostly represented as the help, or given inferior roles, never the main protagonist. My mother watched a novela when I was younger about slaves in Colombia and even then the main protagonist was a light skinned Latina and the novela was named “La Esclava Blanca”. As a dark skinned Latina growing up in the U.S and also consuming Latin American media I was conditioned to believe that light was beautiful and dark simply was not. I am saddened to see that over the years I have consumed media these standards are yet to shift.

    1. As you argue, colorism is a taboo issue in Latinx communities and media in the US and in Latin America. Many Afro Latinx activists have rejected, for instance, the umbrella term Latino/a/x because, for the most part, it erases the Afro-descendants and indigenous people, as you pointed out.

  21. Option 2: Latinas / Beauty Standards

    Frances Negron Muntaner argues that beauty standards are often misrepresented in the media and that this standard of having the “perfect” image overlooks the true beauty within and that is embracing ones own standards. She gave a perfect example using Jennifer Lopez, someone who is now considered to be one of the most influential artists, who struggled to display what the standard of beauty was in the U.S at the start of her career. Muntaner mentions that Jennifer overcame that barrier and because of the demographics of her audience her image was more acceptable to society due to the fact that more women like herself were supporting her. Although I agree that Jennifer did overcome that obstacle of being body shamed for being curvy, we can now see that the current beauty standards have made a turned and that being curvy or “thick” is now more acceptable than having a slim figure. Due to the new generations and the current social media trends, body shaming continues to be an issue although society has become more acceptable to curvier bodies it has now made its way to shaming women of smaller figures which have forced many into surgery to achieve what society thinks beauty and body image should be. Overall, I believe that the main issue is not necessarily social media instead, that young girls and women need to stop shaming each other for what we think is not “normal” and stop allowing these trends on social media to influence their lifestyles and be more accepting towards one another.

    1. Apart from the personal reflection you propose, another way to work through the issue is to analyze how colonialism and coloniality have influenced mainstream and social media.

  22. Option 1
    1. García Peña believes that the framework of ethnic studies is essential to our humanity. What arguments she brings forth?
    Garcia Pena ‘s argument begins by exemplifying how a race’s integrity can be established through the accumulation of historical knowledge。This establishment can exist as a transnational anti-colonial presence. And we can learn more about other races based on studying history. The writer has mentioned a lot about the importance of setting up relevant courses in schools. I couldn’t agree more. If the system is stopped because of the epidemic or other reasons, we will not even learn relevant knowledge in the future, or even make friends with other races. However, ethnic studies’ framework would shape better when people move into the professional world with confidence.
    2. How the notion of being “essential “or “non-essential” is connected to the paradox (a contradictory position or state) of the type of work Ethnic Studies does within academia?
    Both the words “essential” or “non-essential” is the author’s satire on reality. First, Garcia Pena illustrated the importance of essential workers during the epidemic situation. How many were people of color? They were working day and night during the epidemic. Some even building schools and public facilities on construction sites during the pandemic. Besides, non-essential as an invisible knowledge power can help us build a better society and future, but the government, schools, and economy ignore its importance of ethnic studies.
    3. What does García Peña means at the end when she invites us, the readers, to go “back to Schomburg”?
    Perhaps most international students and immigrants know how it feels like when people speak about “nations without nations.” But now unity is a luxury for America; the ‘distance’ between people is still so far, just like the epidemic. The goal of equality is driven by internal structures “belly of the beast”. America still needs more people like Schomburg to appeal to Solidarity and go after it.

  23. Option 2:

    While watching the Frances Negrón Muntaner interview I found it very interesting to hear about Latinx media. One interesting point was when she was talking about her quantitative historical study on Latinx people in mainstream media she brought up the fact that when mainstream media is pressured about inclusion they will counter argue with a study showing how Latinx people or minorities for the matter are more included now than ever, but when doing her study she found just the opposite. In fact in her own study she found that Latino participation in media specifically in movies was higher in the 40s than it is now and in television it was higher in the 70s than it is now. To add to this she explains that the reason for this is because of pressure from the government for inclusion for example the good neighbor policy, which instructed movie makers and production studios to put Latinos in films for more positive representation. To go off of what Negrón Muntaner said in my opinion maybe the government should intervene in movie production so that we see more equal representation when it comes to race, gender, and orientation especially seeing how these major media companies have little to no regulation at all in the media market, but to play devil’s advocate for the media’s side maybe the media market feels as though these films won’t/don’t produce upwards to the same amount of money as say maybe a majority white cast (granted I haven’t looked at the numbers this is just speculation) as well as maybe there hasn’t been enough pushback from the Latinx people when it comes to media portrayal or lack thereof.

  24. Option 1:

    García Peña believes that the framework of ethnic studies is essential to our humanity. If institutions funded and viewed anti-colonial and ethnic studies as essential it would bear fruit to a more ethical, more jut way of living, to serve one another, creating a foundation for learning the multifaceted history of Blacks and Latinos and other ethnicities in our country (Peña). Meaning, if we educate the people of this country with the true history of their ethnic backgrounds, we can expose and change the education system that is tainted with white supremacy and fabrications of our history. Therefore, it will only strengthen our bonds with one another if we are able to unify and fight against corporate institutions that only want to feed us a fabricated history and education system that teach us to become workers not thinkers, followers not leaders, which is why we have to lead and demand change. Garcia, also discusses how college students across the country are fighting, protesting and demanding the corporate institutions to place more importance in this field and to expand the faculty of ethnic studies departments. Not only are they underfunded, ethnic studies is deemed “non-essential,” yet our people, Black and Brown Latinos/as are deemed essential when our country is in the midst of a pandemic, to risk their lives to work a low-income job that serve the masses, while the privileged elite don’t experience none of that. The reason ethnic studies is deemed “non-essential” is because what is taught is our true history, that contradicts the tainted history we learned from K-12. The wealthy and powerful individuals who control the system and institutions, do not want a department of ethnic studies that teaches us the anti-colonial history that exposes the contradictions in our manufactured history created by our government. Which is why institutions do not want to fund or expand the department of ethnic studies, but instead deem it as “non-essential” because it does not fit the manufacture narrative of their history. If we “go back to Schomburg” we must realize that we cannot accept the status quo and we must truly unify and fight for an education system that involves all ethnic backgrounds with true and factual history.

  25. Option 1

    The arguments García Peña brings forward in “Non-essential Knowledge: Latinx Studies in Times of COVID 19” to support her belief that ethnic studies are vital to humanity are that the history of these communities has been largely ignored in place of white-washed history that erases the struggles and oppression of many ethnicities and races. Having a program that focuses on this also allows for people that come from those communities to be empowered to work through a society that still profits off this negative history and look to the future. The notion of being essential or non-essential is connected to the paradox of working in ethnic studies because during the Covid-19 crisis, many of the workers who are considered “essential” come from the same background that the Ethnic Studies programs focus on, yet their history and knowledge is not being held to the same importance by universities. This mirrors the exact history that many communities went through; the erasure of their history while the country profits off their labor. It is wrong to put these people in danger and then not want to fund or support a program that empowered and educates the same communities. When the author mentions going “back to Schomburg”, they mean to go back to the mindset he had about Ethnic studies. This is a call for a revival of the passion Arthur Schomburg had about creating Black History departments in colleges and universities. The author wants the same message and attitude to continue and wants universities to actively work on and expand their Ethnic Studies programs.

    1. Strong analysis of the debate about being considered “essential” or “non-essential”. Schomburg lived and died before the creation of Ethnic Studies programs in the late 60s. Just like the public library that has his name in Harlem, he proposed spaces of knowledge and learning for Black communities beyond universities. García Peña is suggesting something similar, self-sustainable and safe spaces for diasporic Blacks and Afro Latinas/os/x

  26. Option 3

    The main theme that ties together the interview by Negrón Muntaner and the prose by Lorgia García Peña is the overlying theme of suppression caused by a white supremacist culture that directly affects the Latinx community in both academic and political environments in America. It’s interesting to analyze what Negrón Muntaner classifies as colonialism and coloniality as prelevant issues in today’s society, when they are normally associated with issues in history that happened hundreds of years ago. Though colonialism may have caused suffering to Latinx and other minority groups many years ago, its negative impacts are still very much alive today. A prime example is Puerto Rico classified as being part of America, which Muntaner refers to as the ”nation state”, but Puerto Rican citizens not being able to vote during elections or be represented by Puerto-rican officials within American government are significant downsides of colonialism. This idea of being supressed by a hierarchy is also evident in the classroom for aspiring Latinx scholars. Latinx students studying ethnic history fight an uphill battle to create a historical database that generations of future Latinx students can learn from, while trying to defy this ”supremacy of whiteness” that Lorgia García Peña refers to. As described in García Peña’s article and reinforced by discussions in class, Latinx students face the plight of history being written from the colonizer’s point of view rather than those oppressed by colonialism. Ethnic studies were deemed as non-essential classes during this Covid-19 pandemic in universities across the nation, including Harvard. It adds to the pressure that Latinx students face when trying to learn from an anti-colonial perspective that challenges white-supremacist structures found in the curriculum. The persistent attitudes of these students urging universities to mark these classes as essential represent the disadvantages minorities face in the classroom. Though it may not be considered a hierarchy within universities there certainly are similarities in García Peña’s article to the Muntaner’s definition of coloniality. Ethnic barriers created by a colonial ideology in America have made it very difficult for Latinx and other minority groups to learn about their history from their people’s perspectives. Muntaner and Peña both argue that the Latinx community has been, and continues to be at a disadvantage because America has created a society that favors the white-supremacist colonial perspective.

    1. Regarding the case of Puerto Rico, it is important to note that US colonialism has created and promoted also violent repression against Puerto Ricans (individuals and groups) who believe and act for self-determination and decolonization.

  27. Option 2

    Negrón Muntaner argues that colonialism and coloniality still exist in today’s society, and I think this is true. The reason why countries colonized other countries is because of money and power. And since the idea of capitalism has become the dominant mindset in the world, it is difficult for independent countries to come out of the situation. The reason being greed, because of capitalism, the rich and the people with power are not going to easily give back their assets. With no money, there is no power, and with no power, there is no money. This deadly cycle does not end unless one of the two is obtained. That’s why the rich are just going to be richer, and the poor will just become poorer. Furthermore, even though coloniality is unfair for the trapped nation, coloniality could also be the reason why the nation is still functioning. While the country is being colonized, the master country will introduce its technology and knowledge into the country. If the master country extracts all that from the colonized country all at once, chaos could start in the country. People might lose their job, lose their homes. The system was already implanted into the country for a long time, it is unreal for it to totally change suddenly.

    1. With this quote you are describing precisely the case of Puerto Rico: “While the country is being colonized, the master country will introduce its technology and knowledge into the country. If the master country extracts all that from the colonized country all at once, chaos could start in the country. People might lose their job, lose their homes. The system was already implanted into the country for a long time, it is unreal for it to totally change suddenly.”

      Many Puerto Ricans believed that to be a territory (a colony) of the US was going to bring prosperity, technology, and knowledge, as you said. The case is that the US has extracted and profited from Puerto Rico by holding control of its economy, trade, and resources for more than a century. Now the country is in economic chaos and in a deep dependency without resolution in sight.

  28. Negrón Muntaner argued that there is a “shameful identification” and stigma of the identification of the subject people. She mentions Jennifer Lopez as a Latina who was able to affirm the judgement of her curvier body, compared to the thin desired body of the white woman, as overweight. Negrón argues that she was able to be successful and rise to become more known because the demographic which consumed the most media at the time was of color. However, I do not necessarily agree with everything she says. I think it was less ground breaking for J-Lo to be able to be accepted more because she was born and raised in the United States, she was familiar with what was ‘accepted’ and what was not. She eventually did loose weight to fit in more. Additionally, she mentioned a Shakira and describes her ‘crossing over’ with her change in hair color. Opting for a blonde rather than her natural roots. When Jennifer Lopez also started in a movie called Maid in Manhattan, which she was a Hispanic woman working as maid. This is the most common way that Hispanic woman are showed on screen. I think that whenever I do see representation of Latinx woman on television or movies, they are taking care of the home or kids but are never the main characters. Examples of this include Weeds, Clueless and even Family guy, named Consuela. Today, curvier bodies are in style, showing that desired body types come in and out of style and it is more of a problem with how female bodies are portrayed.

  29. Option 2:
    In the Frances Negrón Muntaner Interview, she spent a brief amount of time discussing the beauty standards
    within Latinas across the U.S media. Since the beginning of JLO’s career entering America, the beauty standard then considered her to be overweight. She was criticized because it was not form-fitting to the standard, but that did not stop Jennifer to speak out and affirm her beauty to raise the standard. Negrón Muntaner argued that due to the demographics overtime surrounding the media was between ages 18-25 of mixed races that helped JLO succeeded in society and gain the support from millions because there was not just one beauty standard for all races. Muntaner continued to argued that since observing JLO’s career up to now, her body has changed due to weight loss and getting fit due to the rising pressure in American society of what the beauty standard actually entails. I think that there should be no beauty standard because all bodies are beautiful, however growing up in this society it is portrayed on shows or movies that the thin and skinny girls actually succeed as the “popular girl” and “date the hottest guy.” Now in 2020, there is a body-positivity movement that all races are beautiful which I can only hope it rises and shown across the world. Since beauty standards have drastically changed over the years, now as a 21 year old woman I see the movement shown and accepted, but there will always be those type of people who will have the old mindset and always believe that skinny bodies will be superior. There is so much pressure and blame to the media that caused so much hurt and trauma on young girls thinking their bodies were not accepted and forcing them to be someone they’re not risking their health. It started with JLO as the first Latina now there are celebrities of all races today that speak out against beauty standards for example, Lizzo, Ashley Graham, Adele, and Rihanna who set their own beauty standard to break the status quo.

  30. Option 2

    In the interview, Frances Negrón Muntaner discusses the impact colonialism has in coloniality. In colonialism one state holds territory, extracting all possible resources for the states benefit. Many countries were able to overthrow the state, but colonialism is still embedded in that country. This is termed coloniality. Muntaner emphasizes this due to the fact that the hierarchies of society are the same. Same gender, race and sexuality on top. She mentions how Haiti has been paying off their debt since post colonialism and just recently, in the 1940s, finished those payments. Colonialism and the continued coloniality has impoverished Haiti. I completely agree with what Frances Negrón Muntaner has to say about this topic. It’s not a coincidence that the hierarchy of society is the same as you go back decades and centuries. Now as a country that overcame the burden of an overpowering state, we follow in their footsteps and take part in colonialism. Puerto Rico belongs to the United States, but they aren’t a state, they can’t vote etc. Finally, the same systemic discrimination has been continuing through generations. The same gender, race, and sexuality has been judged and harshly treated, hindering their ability to grow and succeed.

  31. Option 1:

    Garcia Pena believes that the framework of Ethnic Studies is critical and of equal importance to other studies because she believes that Latinx Studies are a key bridge to understanding non-western countries and the intrinsic problems that the United States has. Her main argument is that on the whole, the United States is still a nation that is dominated by a colonial and white supremacist culture. Thus, we see the termination of many Latinx classes, teachers, and programs, along with their classification as non-essential. The preservation of Latinx classes is key because it is a powerful tool to help America grow accustomed and accept our diverse population. Without it, a unified nation would be impossible as white Americans would not be able to understand their own non-white brothers and sisters. In that same train of thought, the appreciation of Latinx and ethic studies is vital because it helps POC students understand their own past and chart their own future. As Garcia Pena said, “We need in the coming dawn the man who will give us a background of our future.” The notion of being non-essential is a paradox just by comparing the biased treatment of essential workers during the Covid-19 with the treatment of Ethnic Studies. Despite essential workers having to complete dangerous jobs, the benefits of those who need them most are being cut off. Food stamps, unemployment benefits, and most importantly access to affordable treatment are needed for essential workers but are deemed unimportant. The hypocrisy of the term “essential” begs the question; if “essential” workers are truly important how come they don’t have access to the benefits they so desperately need? The author wants us to revisit Schomburg because the author believes that Hispanic Americans and other minorities have a duty to themselves and their people to form a place of belonging in America. She believes that his work was so important because in a hostile culture the only way to carve out your own place was by questioning our institutions and values. By doing so an “alternative place of belonging within “the belly of the beast” could be created.

  32. Option 2

    Frances Negron mentions Jennifer Lopez, how in the beginning of her career she was shamed for being “overweight”, her negotiation of it by being confident in her body type, that unlike what the media was portraying back then. As the demographics changed in the United States, so did some of the portrayal of beauty for the audience. Although Jennifer Lopez did present herself as confident in her body proportions, as her popularity increased, so did the pressure to conform to a certain standard of beauty. Lopez lost weight, Negron also mentions that Shakira dyed her hair from black to blonde when she did her crossover. In my opinion, Negron makes a very valid point about Latina artists struggling to fit a certain standard of beauty in the music industry in order to be “accepted” or taken seriously by the audience. It is very sad that a lot of our latina artist have felt the need to change parts of who they are in order to fit a narrative that diminishes their latinidad. Although today, beauty standards have immensely shifted. Women are now expected to have a small waist and a voluptuous figure in order to be considered beautiful, which I find weird considering that a few years ago it was the complete opposite. In most Latino countries, women are not considered “Latina enough” if they don’t’ have curves like Jennifer Lopez. Isn’t strange how beauty standards change depending in what we are exposed to? Media can really play a giant role in how women view themselves, how men expect women to be. I believe latin woman are more than just how their body is shaped, for women in general to be reduced to a body type is insulting.

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