Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cultural Rules?

I am the only brown person in my Statistics course (19 students) - the rest are White, Asian, and European nationals. No affirmative action rules apply at UCLA.

Sometimes I feel like I am missing Thee Rule Book. That is, when and when not to ask questions. What kinds of questions are okay and which are definitely not okay. What is appropriate and what is just not done. I know I have overstepped the bounds of propriety when I get the squinty-eyed look of contempt and half-smile in response. I anguish over having said too much, been too much for my environment.

Then I think, if someone did give me Thee Rule Books for how to be successful in middle-class white society or even how to be a good Latina in Latina society or how to be a nice Social Worker in Social Worker society or a properly coiffed woman in woman society, it wouldn't change a thing. I might still break the rules. I would still be me. One of my older sisters used to say to me, has de hacer lo que tu quieres - you're going to do what you want. Nimodo que haga lo que tu quierras - what else am I going to do, what you want? That leads me to my favorite question, "What do you want?" Feel free to reply and post your answer.

Either way, there is a price to pay. Follow the rules and belong to the group (but what part of you do you lose?). Break the rules and risk being an outsider (and lose the group). What is the middle path? Is it really okay for me to be me and for you to be you?

The Rule Book would still help. Then I could break rules with intention and not out of ignorance. Heard any good rules lately?


  1. hey homegirl!!

    i may be a total "juera," but i do believe that "nimodo" is actually dos palabras, ni modo (!). love the blog, and love the fact that through viewing it, i get to once again, "ride your coattails!!"

  2. Sissay! you are a two-fer in my book - only half "guera" and I stand duly corrected. I see "ni modo" as a singular concept that I joined them at the hip. Thanks for joining me on this journey - it makes it more like a party.

  3. today at our AEWC meeting, your blog was mentioned, and some of the SWers were not aware--so i think you need to email link again--spread the wealth sister. me n' maria were extolling the virtues, and she looks at me and asks,"what's that word, the latest thing she's studying?" i replied, "i think it's e-p-i-s-t..." again, i don't talk like you, so i'm just going along and acting like i always knew that it is the study of knowledge (!)

    ok--btw, i asked 3 people at adams how to spell "juera"/"guera", cuz' i didn't want to sound like a dumbass after i corrected you. i got different versions...anyway i googled "white girl" + slang, and it said "juera."

  4. OMG!! speaking of cultural rules, i think i just broke one by writing "dumbass!!"


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