Goin’ Cholita Essay

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Goin’ Gangsta, Choosin’ Cholita, by Nell Bernstein, is claiming identity and describing how the youth in certain parts of the country are choosing their preferred identity rather than accepting their own. For example, in Bernstein's essay a girl named April, living in California, wants to be Mexican; therefore, she dresses like and attempts to talk in the same accent as a true Mexican, even though she is Anglo. I agree with Bernstein that people are influenced by what they see and hear. April portrays a perfect “cholita,” with her “dark lipstick,” “even darker lip liner,” and “baggy pants, blue plaid Pendleton and her bangs pulled back tight off her forehead.” I also believe, like Bernstein, that people claim only part of their ethnicity to fit in. Even though April looks and acts like a Cholita she is of “Anglo” descent. The essay also specifically talks about the state of California, where all this identity changing is happening due to the great diversity of race here. Bernstein claims that this is a positive situation when youths choose an identity other than their own identity. Whatever makes them feel better or boosts their self-esteem is okay, I guess? However, they still have to face the facts; they cannot change their identity. I do not know what dictionary Bernstein is reading, but the definition of identity does not include the word "appearance." Identity is who a person is, not who they appear to be. Nell Bernstein does a very good job in describing the “glamour,” associated with race. It seems, there is always a particular culture that many people want to be associated with and hang around. In the case of Goin’ Gangsta, Choosin’ Cholita Bernstein talks about how teens choose and define their identity, what “claiming,” an ethnic identity is, and what the concept of “city” is according to these teens. Bernstein explains that as time goes by the suburbs are becoming more diverse, and people in the suburbs have become infatuated with the “city life”. The...
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