These case studies were selected to illustrate basic concepts in this chapter. As you review the case example see if you can "spot the concept" from the chapter which is illustrated in the case. These case examples may be useful for classroom discussion, for role playing in class, or to put the concepts from this chapter in a real-world context.
1. A twenty-two year old Mexican-American female from central Illinois left home to attend college in California. A few weeks into the semester, she began to notice the cultural difference between her and other Hispanics on campus. Jessica noticed that the majority of the Hispanics were able to speak both English and Spanish fluently. Although her parents spoke Spanish at home, it was not mandatory that the children be bilingual.
In her English class, which was predominantly white students, Jessica felt comfortable and relaxed. However, in a Chicano studies course that fulfilled the cultural pluralism requirement for graduation, she felt out of place because she did not share the same types of experiences as other Hispanics in the class.
Jessica shared her feelings with the Chicano studies professor who was very sensitive to her issue. The professor responded by telling Jessica that not all Mexican-Americans share the same sociocultural experience and that people need to understand and respect the values of others.
2. Raquel, a twenty-nine year old Hispanic college student, recently received her Bachelors of Arts in English. Raquel graduated with honors and was the first of seven siblings to finish college. Raquel was married and had two children ages 2 and 4. Her husband worked swing shift at a supermarket and she worked as a teacher's aide at an elementary school. During the day Raquel's husband would take care of the children and in the afternoon, he would leave them with his mother. Raquel attended classes three nights of the week and after class she would pick up the children.
A couple of weeks prior to graduation Raquel was informed about an award for which she had been nominated by the faculty in her department. The award recognized outstanding students in Comparative English Literature. In addition, the department chairperson met with Raquel to discuss graduate school. Raquel was offered a scholarship to attend the Masters program in English for the following Fall.
Raquel was torn between graduate school and staying at home with her children. After several days of thinking about the offer, she decided that she would take a year off from school so that she could be with her family. Coincidentally, Raquel did not receive the award for which she had been nominated.