The Journey Stories of Undocumented and Unafraid Community Activists
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...
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