Name change proposed
for UNM Chicano Studies
Enrique Lamadrid, UNM professor of Spanish and director of Chicano Studies, said the time has come to change the name of Chicano Studies.
"The faculty of the program, its advisory committees, and Hispanic and Chicano faculty at large in the institution are overwhelmingly in support of a name change for the program, to update, and more truly reflect its goals and objectives," Lamadrid said.
In addition to campus support, Lamadrid said they are also counting on the support of community groups.
Lamadrid said that individuals and groups use terms to identify themselves and that U.S. Hispanics/Latinos/Chicanos are a diverse group with multi-faceted national, racial and cultural elements constituting identities.
The largest group of U.S. Hispanics is connected in some way to Mexico, historically, culturally and through immigration. The second group is of Caribbean origin, namely from Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. The third group includes a broad collection of others.
"A characteristic linking these groups is a present or past relationship to the Spanish language," Lamadrid said.
Spanish Heritage Language programs identify and teach students connected in some way to the language. At UNM, the majority of the Spanish Heritage Language students are either native New Mexicans or foreign and U.S. born Mexicans.
Lamadrid said hundreds of students have taken Spanish placement tests as heritage students and only eight to nine percent chose "Chicano" as the preferred ethnonym.
"The vast majority identifies with terms like 'Mexicano,' 'Hispanic or Hispano,' and 'Mexican American,'" he said.
"Our goal is to find a way to serve a 90 plus percentile in such a way that does not immediately threaten or disrespect their identity. Identity formation is a personal process that cannot be imposed from without. It is formed by family, education and community," he said.
"The content of existing courses and program design will not change, only titles,” he added.