The Moment You Enter An Academic Setting

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The moment you enter an academic setting as young as 4 years old, there is a constant question asked that is troubling for many to answer . It always amazes me how conscious I was in understanding that we did not belong in some spaces. This understanding of knowing that in some spaces my family did not belong was a result of my parents not being United States born citizens. Early on I learned that we could not go past certain cities because of the high concentration of “migra” or ICE in those cities. I remember some classmates asking if I had gone to seaworld and legoland, but I knew we could not go because it was close to the border. I remember my dad, before he became a US citizen, had a residency card. Somewhere in the back of that card it said the word “Alien.” I remember thinking to myself “Why does it say alien?” I remember I was around 5 years old at that time and in my head all I could think of was those green characters with big black eyes in cartoons and think to myself “my dad looks nothing like those.” Our identity is shaped by our experiences, with whom we interact, and by our parents. As Jessica Tovar and Cynthia Feliciano point out in “Not Mexican-American, but Mexican: Shifting Ethnic Self-identifications Among Children of Mexican Immigrants.” our identities are fluid and are shaped by internal and external factors. Tovar and Feliciano argue that the way adolescents self identify changes when shifting into adulthood. Many of the contributing factorsin
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