Show Less
Restricted access

Identity, Social Activism, and the Pursuit of Higher Education

The Journey Stories of Undocumented and Unafraid Community Activists


Susana M. Muñoz

The topic of immigration has become increasingly volatile in U.S. society, and undocumented college students play a central role in mobilizing and politicizing a critical mass of activists to push forth a pro-immigration agenda, in particular the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. The DREAM Act is the only federal legislation that would grant conditional citizenship and some financial aid assistance to undocumented students who have completed two years of college or enlist in military service. Since the DREAM Act failed to pass, undocumented students have moved from peaceful marches to acts of civil disobedience, seeking to disrupt the public discourse that positions undocumented students as living in the shadows of our system. Undocumented college students have created public forums in which they «come out» from these invisible images and pronounce themselves as «undocumented and unafraid».
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter Six

Foundational Identity Formation Models


Cultivating Undocumented and Unafraid as a Form of Resistance to Legal Violence … “We fight, sometimes, for single issues, but as human beings we aren’t single issues”

During my freshman year of college, I remember stepping on to the neatly manicured lawns of my predominately white college campus, with the usual measures of hopes, anxiety, and fears. As I interacted with my fellow college mates, I felt the sidelong glances at my appearance, as if I was being studied. I was caught off guard when I was first asked, “What are you?” I felt inadequate because I had rarely thought about that question. When I answered, “I’m Mexican,” my response was met with another face of confusion. My white skin and light eyes did not neatly fit the normative assumptions behind what was considered “Mexican,” which angered me and prompted me to journey on my own meaning-making process of my ethnicity. Who am I?

Attempting to find an identity development model that speaks to the experiences of individuals without legal status is like to trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. While I discuss different foundational identity models in this chapter, none gives credence to the political and contextual nuances that come with identifying as “undocumented and unafraid” under the auspices of social and political contexts. This chapter examines foundational student identity theories and their shortcomings with regard to their applicability to undocumented individuals. I introduce how the notion of legal violence...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.