A culture’s history explained through literature

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Most students take a history course to learn about different societies in the world, including their own cultural backgrounds.

Delta College offers Chicano Literature under English 35 during the spring and fall semesters and gives student the opportunity to learn in depth Chicano history.

The course information describes the class as “a critical survey on the literary periods of Chicano Literature from the Pre-Columbian, Hispanic, Mexican, Transition, Interaction, and Chicano.”

A Chicano is defined as a man who comes from Mexican decent but the course expands a little further than Mexico ans also educates on Latin America.

The course was initially introduced about 40 years ago and continues to thrive. English Professor Pedro Ramirez has been teaching the course for 13 years and is passionate about teaching the culture of Mexican Americans. 

“Chicano Literature is about our cultural background in written form,” said Ramirez.

According to Ramirez the course is all about what it is like to grow up as a Mexican and Latino Americans in this country. 

In the class students are challenged by having conversations of social issues that come up for Chicanos. 

Ramirez discusses the importance of  knowing important events in history such as the Bracero Program.

Signed in 1942, the Bracero Program, or manual labor, was an agreement signed with Mexican government to import Mexican men to the states for cheaper labor in efforts to restore the economy in the United States after the World War II.

“In 1942 my dad was imported to the United States as a Bracero. Between 1942 and 1963 there were more than 2.5 million imported Mexican men imported to the United States …We are those workers who hold up the economy. All these industries need our labor,” said Ramirez.

In the course there are primarily Mexican and Latino American students and Ramirez aims at letting them know that they are not “minorities” but that they belong here in the United States. He also encourages anyone to take the course to   network and gain cultural awareness.

“I think it’s a good class to have because then we all can learn about the actual culture and not just the stereotypes we are known for,” said Lisbeth Barocio.

Through the cultural lectures and writing he hopes to help students with issues of identity, because knowing where we come from is fundamental to understanding who we are.

Students will be challenged to become better writers explained Ramirez. English 35 is CSU and U.C.  transferable and is open for registration.