Dissertation

Testimonios Of Strength And Cariño: Mexicanamerican Families Resisting Trump Era Politics

This qualitative study utilized a framework of Love to reconceptualize the ways in which two Mexican-American families raised their young children through Trump Era politics, specifically regarding sociopolitical issues related to (im)migration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Love, or cariño, served as a strengths-based, culturally relevant way to explore how families responded to caregiving and child rearing in challenging contexts. Working in cocollaboration with two women I had existing relationships with, I utilized a Loving- relational, storying, and a plática-based methodology. A total of six people across the two families engaged in pláticas that occurred over the course of five months. In addition to pláticas, I collected field notes from casual conversations during regular routines and special events. I coded and analyzed data with the intention of highlighting co-collaborators’ voices and preserving the storied aspects of the pláticas. Findings indicated the importance of family history and migrations stories which significantly impacted the positionality of each family in regard to how they viewed sociopolitical issues. Conversations about our current sociopolitical climate regarding (im)migration and ICE focused on how people are being perceived or perceiving others, specifically related to Mexican and migrant families. Families demonstrated cariño and their values in raising children, with significant contrast among mothers regarding the ways they protected their children. Lastly, resistance and transformation shaped the ways families responded to our sociopolitical climate, with a focus on the importance of story sharing in their communities. Within these findings, specific topics emerged as points of interest and concern. Co-collaborators were concerned with countering stereotypes that were made about Mexican and migrating people. The topic of internalized oppression emerged through conversations regarding migrating families and documentation status. The argument for why stories matter is situated in the (re)telling of stories, and the stories of these critical and analytic women and their families is crucial to each family in determining the ways in which they (re)act to the sociopolitical climate. Respect and family were key elements for families raising their children and there were many ways Love and cariño were shown through these values. Love is dynamic and fluid, demonstrated through the various ways families very intentionally cared for their children.

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