Moving beyond the Stratification of Mexican Identity through Art

Amanda Alders

Abstract


The determination of societal worth among Mexicans in Mexico and the United States has traditionally been decided by color (e.g. skin tone, hair texture, eye color). Such social stratification negatively affects education and healthcare access and has been correlated to increased delinquency rates as well as to violent crime. These issues raise significant social justice concerns. Art in Mexican societies is used as a way to challenge as well as to instate concepts relating to identity and socially ascribed roles. Although issues of stratification still abound, this paper will present an overview of the use of art within Mexican societies as a method of identity-affirmation and identity-reconstruction. Examples will be provided as to the role of art in informing community members of social injustices, implementing visual literacy, and in re-constructing visual associations affiliated with identity. The potential of art education to increase social interaction, facilitate assimilation, and enhance cross-cultural understanding will also be mentioned.

Keywords


social justice; Mexican-American; stratification; identity, visual literacy; cultural resources; indigenous; art education; metaphor; mestizo

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