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Diaspora Studies in Education

Toward a Framework for Understanding the Experiences of Transnational Communities

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Edited By Rosalie Rolón-Dow and Jason G. Irizarry

The Latino/a diaspora is undoubtedly transforming the demographics and cultural geographies of the United States. Diaspora Studies in Education advances an active use of the concept of «diaspora», focusing on processes that impact the diasporization of the Latino/a population, and more specifically, examining those diasporization processes in the arena of education. Focusing on the education of Puerto Ricans, the second largest Latino/a subgroup, the authors of this volume elucidate themes that are useful not only for those concerned with the education of Puerto Rican youth but also applicable to the study of other diasporic communities. The book is useful as a text in a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses, including foundations of education, multicultural education, anthropology of education, and introductory courses in Latino and ethnic studies departments.
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From “La Borinqueña” to “The Star-Spangled Banner”: An emic perspective on getting educated in the diaspora

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EILEEN M. GONZALEZ

The first line of the famous national Puerto Rican anthem by Lola Rodriguez de Tio, “La Borinqueña”—“La tierra de Borinquen, donde he nacido yo” (“The land of Borinquen, where I was born”)—sent chills down my spine as I heard it sung each morning in the school that I attended in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. My heart filled with pride as I let that line, the rest of the lyrics, and the melody fill my heart, run through my veins, and emanate through a smile, as I joined my childhood Puerto Rican classmates in singing the song. This affirmation of my identity through song was the perfect way to begin each day. It helped me feel cared for, and gave me a sense of belonging to a larger community. The transition between home and school was seamless for me, as I was encouraged to achieve academically, and I felt connected to a long line of Puerto Rican intellectuals who were part of my history. In short, I was proud to be Puerto Rican, and academic pursuits seemed as “Puerto Rican” as the coqui, the native tree frog that lives only on the Island.

My sense of self and views of schooling were challenged and shaken to the core shortly after my ninth birthday, when my mother informed me that we were moving to Los Estados Unidos. The shift from singing “La Borinqueña” to the “Star-Spangled Banner” was more...

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