Through this research process I have learned a lot in regards to my subject and also in terms of the type of time and organization necessary to carry out research. It is also very important to stick to specific questions in order to keep your research focused and coherent. It has made me think a lot about academia and all that is necessary to pursue it. I have enjoyed learning more in depth about the topic and finding new ways and platforms to access data, journals, and articles on this.
I learned a lot about the history of New York City and how policy and a lot of actions undertaken by the government in the latter half of the 20th century led to the creation of New York as we know it today. There is a lot to be said and looked into about the relationship between private interests and government work. Certain policies may seem like a good idea in order to boost an economy or to create a housing boom but what are the real affects on the average citizen? We also discovered information on which the ways neighborhoods may be manipulated into a situation where they can then be “flipped” and gentrified. It’s very interesting to see how a city like New York, which has been long praised for it’s diversity and being a liberal haven, has partaken in discriminatory housing practices, unequal distribution of resources, and placing the needs of corporate interest over the needs of people. One of my favorite parts of this has been connecting the dots of all of this and truly understanding the way in which institutional racism functions and what it entails. Studying the origins of the debt crisis and what the actual factors were and how the Emergency Financial Control Board was instrumental in the rebuilding of New York and what the consequences of that decision were has also been an interesting part of this study for me.
For my work with Dr. Lavariega on Voces it has been much less eventful but just as interesting. I have been coordinating with peers to write their essays on their experience as a Latinx in this country and it has been incredible to hear such a diverse range of stories. I have loved delving into this topic and learning more about the varied experiences of my community. It has helped me to get a better feel of the sources of some issues within our community and also helped me form a deeper understanding of the ways in which bi-culturalism functions in the United States.
We have a wide range of stories that tell an important narrative that is usually missing from the greater conversation of race and identity in mainstream media. Often times, the experiences of Latinos in this country is homogenized and we are viewed as foreigners in a country over half our population was born in. Voces aims to change that narrative and humanize Latinos, especially in the current political climate. I have been able to further explore my own identity as a mixed-race Latina and what that means for me and my identity, my peers have been able to explore their experiences with machismo culture and pressures to appear hyper-masculine and dominant, or being Latino and unable to speak Spanish and the complex feelings that accompany it, and so many other experiences that challenge the current notion of Latinos in this country.