Chican X

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The word "Latinx" is a gender-neutral substitute for "Latino" or "Latina" and is used to refer to persons of Latin American heritage, including but not limited to those who are Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, and others from other ethnic backgrounds Gonzales, 118). As a result of language development aimed at recognizing and appreciating the many gender identities present in the Latin American society, the word "Latinx" came into use. It is crucial because the traditional names "Latino" and "Latina," which frequently fall short of encompassing the entire range of gender identities, include a gender binary that has to be challenged. "Latinx" aims to establish a more egalitarian and inclusive language that represents the wide range of experiences within the Latin American diaspora by offering a gender-neutral alternative.

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The phrase is not without its complications and difficulties, though. It has drawn criticism for imposing Western gender ideology on Spanish language and culture, among other things. Spanish is a gendered language, making it difficult to use gender-neutral terminology. Additionally, some people contend that the term "Latinx" may not follow linguistic conventions. There is a worry that the adoption of Western standards may ignore or disparage the rich linguistic variety already present in Spanish-speaking societies.

Additionally, the phrase encounters opposition and has a low level of acceptability among Latin Americans in general and in Latin America specifically. Some contend that the phrase is predominantly supported and welcomed in English-speaking communities, causing a rift among Spanish speakers. Because it is not widely used or understood by Spanish speakers and is seen as an import, there is opposition and mistrust about it.

2. What’s a Chicana/o? Where do they come from? (5 pts.)

In the United States, the name "Chicano" has significant historical and cultural connotations, notably in relation to the Chicano Movement that developed in the 1960s and 1970s (Gonzales, 119). During this time, the term "Chicano" first appeared as a self-identification, reflecting a political and cultural awakening among Americans of Mexican origin. It denotes a deliberate attempt to stake out a unique identity that unites both Mexican and American traditions. The Chicano Movement was a significant socio-political movement that tried to solve the structural problems that Mexican Americans experienced, such as discrimination, socioeconomic inequality, and civil rights violations.

Fundamentally, the name "Chicano" evolved into a symbol of empowerment and solidarity for Mexican Americans facing sociopolitical obstacles. By adopting this identity, people demonstrated a desire to maintain and honor their cultural history while actively participating in the larger fight for social justice and civil rights. The Chicano Movement aimed to fight against discriminatory policies, promote educational reform, and foster pride and cohesion among Mexican Americans. Chicanos were instrumental in creating a narrative that sought respect, equality, and acknowledgment for Mexican Americans in the United States via art, activism, and cultural expression.

3. What’s a Boricua? Where do they come from? (5 pts.)

As a name used to describe the inhabitants of Puerto Rico, "Boricua" has significant cultural and historical connotations. The word comes from "Boriken," the Taino word for the island used by the natives before the Spanish colonists arrived (Torres 83). It represents a link to the rich legacy of the Tano people who once lived in the area and acts as a potent language link to the island's pre-colonial beginnings. The term "Boricua" is used to represent a concerted attempt to commemorate and preserve indigenous heritage that predates European colonialism, adding to a larger movement of cultural reclaiming and acknowledging Puerto Rico's rich ancestry.

The fact that Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States has had a significant impact on Boricua identity. The historical connections between the native Tano people, Spanish colonists, and African slaves are reflected in the distinctive blend that makes up Puerto Rican culture. The name "Boricua" encompasses this rich legacy, recognizing the fusion of Indigenous, Spanish, and African elements that make up Puerto Rico's cultural tapestry. The term "Boricua" continues to be a source of pride and unification for Puerto Ricans all over the world, serving as a cultural identifier that transcends geopolitical boundaries and underscores a shared sense of heritage and belonging. This is true despite the difficulties and complexities associated with political status and the ongoing debate about the island's relationship with the United States.

4. Explain the Jones Act of 1917. Under what conditions did it come about? What have Puerto Ricans been able to do as a result and why does it matter? Think 1946! (20 pts.)

The Jones Act of 1917, a landmark in the history of ties between the United States and Puerto Rico, was a piece of legislation that had far-reaching effects on island residents. The United States' strategic objectives in growing its military presence and conscription pool led to the Jones Act's passage during World War I. By granting Puerto Ricans citizenship, the US sought to increase military recruitment while incorporating islanders into the larger American citizenship structure. This action had immediate repercussions since Puerto Ricans, who were now considered citizens of the United States, were subject to the draft, thus solidifying their engagement in American military operations during a crucial juncture in world history.

However, the Jones Act's effects extended beyond only those related to the war. 1946 was a defining year for Puerto Rico's political trajectory in the post-World War II era. The ability for Puerto Ricans to choose their own governor is a critical step toward self-governance. A contradictory dynamic was generated by the Jones Act, which established Puerto Rico as an unincorporated territory, despite this seeming step towards autonomy. Although Puerto Ricans were citizens of the United States and were given certain political rights, the island's political independence and economic growth were limited by its geographical position. The complex relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States, marked by a delicate balance between inclusion and restrictions on self-determination, has been shaped by this complex combination of citizenship and geographical designation.

The intricate historical story that describes Puerto Rico's position within the American political system includes the Jones Act of 1917. Discussions regarding political independence, economic growth, and the complex dance between Puerto Rico's own character and its ties to the larger American political framework are all still influenced by its history. The Jones Act's inherent duality captures the complex and changing dynamics of Puerto Rico's relationship with the United States, highlighting the ongoing conversation about political representation, self-government, and the pursuit of a more equitable future for Puerto Ricans.

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5. Explain and expand on the U.S. intervention system in the Caribbean and Central America. Use one country’s history we went over to illustrate your points. (25 pts)

Early 20th-century American intervention in the Caribbean and Central America was the pinnacle of a convergence of ideological objectives, military tactics, and economic interests that underpinned American foreign policy in the area. An example of such intervention may be seen in Nicaragua, where the American military repeatedly invaded the nation, with the most significant occupation lasting from 1912 until 1933. Concerns over political unrest and the perceived need to protect American economic interests, particularly in the creation and management of the Panama Canal, a vital maritime route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, were at the heart of the United States' pretext for involvement. The Panama Canal functioned as a crucial international commercial route in addition to being a testimony to strategic military benefits, underscoring the economic importance that drove U.S. participation in the region.

The U.S. government backed a number of Nicaraguan governments during these operations, frequently giving preference to leaders who shared its objectives. This backing, however, sparked political upheaval and sparked resistance activities among Nicaraguans. These initiatives' effects were substantial and long-lasting, leaving behind a legacy of political unrest and economic reliance. The complicated history of American intervention in the area reveals a pattern in which American action, motivated by a desire to secure advantageous circumstances for U.S. enterprises, unintentionally aided a cycle of political unrest and economic weakness among the afflicted states.

The complicated web of American participation in Nicaragua and the larger Caribbean and Central American area highlights how difficult international relations were at the time. The operations mirrored a larger geopolitical strategy intended to build influence and control, as well as a desire to secure economic benefits. This historical chapter highlights the complex interaction between power, economic interests, and the unexpected effects of such operations on the societies impacted, illuminating the long-lasting impact of foreign interventions on the course of nations.

6. What is the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty of Nov. 18, 1903? Why is it important? (15 pts.)

A turning point in Western Hemisphere geopolitics occurred on November 18, 1903, when the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty gave the United States authority of the strategically significant Panama Canal Zone (Turzi 163). The pact, which was negotiated and signed by officials of the newly established Republic of Panama, aided American efforts to build, run, and protect the Panama Canal, an accomplishment that would fundamentally alter the dynamics of world shipping. The Panama Canal became a key factor in facilitating international trade and military movement, hence the significance of this pact cannot be emphasized.

The main significance of the pact is the strategic advantage it gave the United States. The United States created a vital maritime shortcut that connected the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans by seizing control of the Panama Canal Zone. This detour not only transformed international commerce lines but also improved the U.S. Navy's combat prowess. The US's position as the dominating force in the globe was cemented by its capacity to move swiftly between the two great seas in both the military and commercial arenas.

Additionally, the development and administration of the Panama Canal had significant economic effects. After the canal's completion in 1914, ships' trip times and distances between the Atlantic and Pacific were drastically cut, which decreased transportation costs and sped up the flow of products. The legacy of the treaty is woven into the web of international trade, influencing trade patterns and promoting economic interdependence between states. In essence, the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty of 1903 had a significant influence on international relations in the 20th century by altering not just the physical terrain of Panama but also the dynamics of world trade and power.

7. Explain and expound on the legacies of the U.S. occupation in the Dominican Republic. (20 pts.)

From 1916 through 1924, the Dominican Republic was under U.S. occupation, which had a profound impact on the country (Castor et al., 253). The main goals of the occupation were varied, aiming to protect American economic interests, stabilize the political situation, and deter European participation in the area. These noble intentions, nevertheless, were eclipsed by the complications and unforeseen effects that followed. The occupation generated massive Dominican resistance, which helped fuel the rise of anti-American sentiments that resonated across the country.

A long-lasting result of the American occupation was the installation of an oppressive government that was under American command. Although the occupation was first intended as a way to bring about order, it eventually turned into a time when stringent regulations were put in place to quell opposition and manage the political environment. This persecution had a long-lasting effect on Dominican politics, cultivating an ingrained mistrust of outside interference and influencing the country's attitude to sovereignty and government.

The American occupation resulted in dramatic changes in the economy that benefitted American businesses. The economic climate of the Dominican Republic changed as U.S. interests took primacy, resulting in resource exploitation and the concentration of economic power in the hands of foreign firms. The Dominican Republic became embroiled in a complicated web of foreign economic links as a result of this economic restructuring, which not only exacerbated inequities but also contributed to long-term economic dependency.

Additionally, a number of initiatives carried out under the U.S. occupation left their mark on the Dominican Republic's physical infrastructure. While some of these projects attempted to update the nation's infrastructure, they were frequently carried out to further American interests. As tangible reminders of the outside influences that influenced the formation of the country, these infrastructure projects have an impact on concerns of agency and autonomy.

A complicated and contentious period in Dominican Republic history is the U.S. occupation. Although the occupation was supposedly motivated by a desire for stability and economic growth, its unintended consequences, such as the establishment of a repressive regime, economic changes that favored American interests, and infrastructure projects, have had a long-lasting impact on the country's trajectory. The effects of the occupation are still felt in the Dominican people's collective memory, which helps them comprehend sovereignty, resistance, and the long-lasting effects of foreign operations in the Caribbean in more complex ways.

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Works Cited

Castor, Suzy, and Lynn Garafola. "The American Occupation of Haiti (1915-34) and the Dominican Republic (1916-24)." The Massachusetts Review 15.1/2 (1974): 253-275.

Gonzalez, Juan. Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America: Second Revised and Updated Edition. Penguin, 2022.

Torres, Lourdes. "Queering Puerto Rican Women's Narratives: Gaps and Silences in the Memoirs of Antonia Pantoja and Luisita López Torregrosa." Meridians 9.1 (2009): 83-112.

Turzi, Mariano. "Latin American silk road: China and the Nicaragua Canal." Revista de Relaciones Internacionales, Estrategia y Seguridad 12.2 (2017): 163-178.

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