Chicanos in Contemporary Society class answers cultural questions

A new dual enrollment class, Chicanos in Contemporary Society, employs lectures, films, projects, and class discussions to analyze the social and cultural elements that make Mexican-Americans unique in American society. The class is divided into units on identity, immigration, education, and politics.

Senior Rebekah Carrillo took an interest in the class after taking “Chicanos/as in Film” last semester.

“I joined this class because Chicano history  is something I’m passionate about,” Carrillo said. “I love learning about what more about what the typical American history textbook excludes.”

Carrillo was especially interested by the linguistic origins taught in the class.

“[The instructor has] taught us the origin of a lot of slang like the word chicano and the word cholo,” Carrillo said. “Chicano comes from the word Mexica which is what the Aztecs called themselves, [while] cholo is the shortened form of xoloescuincle, which is a type of dog. So when you call someone that you’re essentially referring to them as a dog.”

Freshman Emily Chen, meanwhile, took an interest in the historical relations between Mexico and the United States.

“I learned about the US [and] Mexico war that occurred in 1846 [when] Mexico lost half of its land. In fact, Mexico had San Francisco and its bay before the war.” Chen said “I feel like this is one of the ways that Mexican culture grew in the US.”

Chen is taking the class as part of the early college program, a new implementation for freshman which allows them to enroll in college classes during high school.

“I get college credit for this class, so basically by the end of high school, I will have my associates degree,” Chen said.

The class is facilitated by East Los Angeles College and is worth three units at a California State University or University of California school.

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