Negotiating Chicano masculinities at institutions of higher education: voices of South Texas Chicano men

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Vasquez, Fernando

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As Latino demographic data (Murdock et al., 2003) continues to inform us about the upward swing of Latinos in this country, researchers will be faced with a growing number of research questions. Even though a host of varied research questions are relevant, my focus was on Chicano men from South Texas. The intersectionalities of gender, race, and cultural factors are all played out in the everyday discourses of college life and negotiated. Therefore, the researcher’s purpose was to listen and understand the voices of Chicano male students as they have negotiated their masculinities in South Texas schools. So the research question presents itself: How do South Texas Chicano men understand their masculinities as they have negotiated institutions of higher learning? Latino men have had to endure various forces that create their masculinity, without, at times, understanding its creation. The formulation of a Chicano’s masculinity must be explored in order to curtail its destructive components (Connell, 1995; hooks, 2004). The optimum methodology for capturing Chicano voices was to employ a narrative approach. This approach allowed for valuable histories (Denzin & Lincoln, 1998; Patton, 2002) relevant to specific worldviews of the Chicanos who were interviewed. Further, these stories provided valuable insight as to how Chicano men negotiated their masculinity in various school environments. The ten men who volunteered for this research were willing participants, providing a vast amount of narration that informed this study. Each of the men in this study was highly aware of his masculinity(ies) and where it stood in relation to various contexts. The importance of this research has educational implications for Chicanos throughout the U.S. As Latinos continue to become part of Americana, society will have to become much more informed about this group because they bring with them cultural components that are not understood by the dominant culture. This study will provide insight as to why Chicano males may manifest certain characteristics that do not conform to the Anglo-American way of life. The importance in this research is not to add to stereotypes, but to create discursive consciousness (Giddens, 1986).