I contend that Chicano/as are an ethnic group. Chicano/as develop into an ethnic group or ethnicity when they develop (or learn) a “consciousness of kind” (Garcia, 1983). I also postulate that for the most part Chicano/as develop their learned ethnicity outside of school. In addition, I suspect that ethnicity is a subjective phenomena that is attained more so through our affective consciousness, i.e., our feelings and emotions, although I feel that there may be a cognitive aspect to ethnicity as well. Are Chicano/as therefore unique and a totally “set apart” group of peoples different from all other ethnic groups, and somewhat homogenous? I hardly think so. You see, Chicano/as are one of the most heterogeneous groups in America! (This characteristic has been addressed previously in Parts I-III of this series.) Nevertheless, I am going to take a leap of faith and say that Chicano/as (like all other minority ethnic groups in America) do the following five things I point out below in order to help them develop aspects of their ethnicity and their value system in our society.
Based on the works Bloom and Krathwohl, I think that first of all Chicano/as have to learn to Receive. At this level they are aware of what is presented in life to them and are willing to take note of it—at this level they seek a stimuli providers, and/or presenters. Secondly, Chicano/as need to Respond and be committed to discovery of stimuli—at this level they seek activities in the process of learning (about something) while nevertheless receiving satisfaction from the extent of their exploration. Thirdly, Chicano/as need to Value the learning of stimuli, and need therefore to make decisions about the value of their commitment to (and involvement with) learning. In doing so, they make choices, and upon acceptance of a value, may even attempt to sway others to their chosen values. Fourthly, Chicano/as also have a need to Organize the above-mentioned values so that they construct a system in which a set of attitudes, beliefs and values are ordered by the relationship of their values to other values. Fifthly, Chicano/as have a need to organize their internalized values into Value Sets; in that way they can apply these values to a philosophy of life, their life style, and/or a broader a range of situations. As such, Chicano/as can then live and enjoy their ethnicity more fully.
The above listed five components are known as Krathwohl’s Taxonomy of the Affective Domain. This taxonomy provides a set of criteria for classifying learning outcomes related to the complexity of human responding in the affective domain. More information about this learning taxonomy can be found on the Internet, for example at http://assessment.uconn.edu/docs/LearningTaxonomy_Affective.pdf. For those of you not familiar with the affective domain, you may want to contrast this domain with the cognitive domain (or the “thinking” or logical part of all humans). In contrast to the cognitive domain, the affective domain addresses moreso the personal, social, and emotional characteristics of learners. According to Bloom at the link (http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/Bloom/affective_domain.html) “The affective domain (Krathwohl, Bloom, Masia, 1973) includes the manner in which we deal with things emotionally, such as feelings, values, appreciation, enthusiasms, motivations, and attitudes.”
Does it stand to reason, then, that all humans (including Chicano/as) have the same five above-mentioned affective characteristics for learning? I think the answer is yes, and at the same time please know that the learning characteristics listed (above) go from the simplest behavior to the most complex behaviors. In addition, Krathwohl’s Taxonomy of the Affective Domain was developed for the most part with formal controlled learning environments applications in mind, such as schools. This taxonomy provides a set of criteria for classifying learning outcomes related to the complexity of thinking in the affective domain, as contrasted to the cognitive domain. So at this point, therefore, let me inform the reader of a qualifier for what I am about to postulate herein. In this paper I am positing that Krathwohl’s Taxonomy may apply to life in general, not only in schools, in which learning environments for the most part are controlled. This is important because the learning of “ethnicity” occurs for the most part outside of school, although I believe that the learning of ethnicity can occur both in and out of schools.
Self-Identity is a natural right, and if taken away, then this is liberty denied. I believe that an ethnic group is free to identify as an ethnic group whether or not the greater society approves or not. This is called freedom of association in the U.S. The question I also ask is whether Chicano/as, want a unique ethno-cultural category for themselves which they choose for themselves, or are they going to let others decide which ethnic group they are? In addition, one thing that Chicano/as must do in the U.S. is to be bi-ethnic and bilingual if they expect to survive in the greater predominantly English-speaking society. In my opinion, Chicano/as, whether they know it or not, are always applying Krathwolhl’s five categories of his taxonomy! This is why Chicano/as can enjoy mariachi music (sung in Spanish) while at the same time later on be able to enjoy Elvis Presley (if need be) singing in English. So let us examine the possibility that the parents of a Chicano/a child want him or her to appreciate mariachi music. The phases we would look for would be:
THE RECEIVING PHASE:
For purposes of this paper, let us also assume that the child we are talking about in this paper is ten years old (male or female). When considering what ethnic characteristic we want our Chicano/a child to adopt, therefore, I think we would be wise to consider how (or if ) we experience each of Krathwohl’s five components of the affective concerns for learning one aspect of Chicano ethnicity. Keep in mind that an “affect” is a conscious subjective aspect of an emotion considered apart from rational objective aspects, and that this impacts on whether or not a person is willing to attend to something. We could look at, for example, a child’s willingness to hear mariachi music, in other words, we want to know if the receptivity of the child evident. So paying attention as to whether said child is attending, should be uppermost in our minds at the onset. In addition, if the child is male, perhaps the mariachi singer could be male as well, and if the child is female perhaps the mariachi singer could be female. This does not mean that one could not switch the gender of the singer as well later on.
THE RESPONDING PHASE:
Once the first phase of the Krathwohl’s taxonomy is successful, the learner could get more into the responding phase of learning and be introduced to more active participation in the mariachi music; there has to occur a way that the learner can respond or react by showing a greater interest in the subject. Perhaps the ten year old child could demonstrate a greater interest or a willingness to learn more in the subject by wanting to discuss or read about or share information on the subject. Perhaps the greater interest can be demonstrated by more discussion, reading, and/or seeking out particular activities related to mariachi music like inquiring about or enjoying a particular artist.
THE VALUING PHASE:
Subsequently one of the signs in achieving ethnic literacy in any aspect of an ethnic group’s multiplicity of ethnic parameters (such as music enjoyment), is that the learner will demonstrate a valuing of a particular aspect of their inherited ethnicity. Such valuing can be seen from simply saying that one values something to actually having an attitude of appreciation of the intended area of learning. In any case the learner demonstrates a greater internalization or an appreciation (in this instance) of mariachi music. The learner may even go so far as to want to integrate mariachi music in different settings and situations. There appears to be more sharing and overt behavior at this stage on the part of the learner.
THE ORGANIZING PHASE:
From that stage of affective learning, Chicano/a learners will demonstrate a need to organize the above-mentioned values so that they construct a system in which a set of attitudes, beliefs and values are ordered by the relationship of their values to other values. The bringing together of different values is done through resolving conflicts inherent in the art of mariachi music, and doing such could even impact on developing a philosophy of life around mariachi music. For example the learner begins to accept responsibility for their behaviors and accepts professional standards of appreciating mariachi music to a greater extent. The learner at this stage is therefore doing a lot more sophisticated relating to mariachi music.
THE VALUE SETS PHASE:
Finally the affective domain, unlike the cognitive domain, demands that the learner attain to organize his or her values into Value Sets; in that way they can apply these values to a philosophy of life, life style, and/or a broader a range of situations. Life style is one of the more greatly impacted areas because the learner’s activities cover a broader range of activities which include reactions to mariachi music in a number of ways. Not only does the learner listen, but also performs, and displays a professional commitment to the art form. Now, it is not always expected nor necessary for a Chicano/a to get to the fifth domain of Krathwohl’s domains when it comes to learning an aspect of their ethnicity, but I speak to this stage for purposes of demonstrating how far the learner could go potentially. I know, for example, of persons who have involved their Chicano/a children in mariachi music to the extent of getting formal playing and singing lessons, so the introductory phase was just a first step in a life-long passion for the art form.
A concrete example of how much a person of Mexican descent might delve into mariachi music is the granddaughter of the famous singer and movie star named Pedro Infante. Her name is Lupita Infante and she lives in L.A. She is now in her mid-twenties and seems destined to become a recording star. In my opinion, Lupita is indeed a Chicano archetype for others to model. I am almost certain that Lupita had to have gone through each of Krathwohl’s Affective Domains! You can listen to Lupita on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWBXJFp7oXQ. Another star who I think may also have gone through Krathwohl’s domains is Ixya Herrera. She describes her journey with mariachi music, at the following link:
Ixya Herrera is Grammy Nominated for Rampart Latino Records 2015. This documentary film about Ixya Herrera demonstrates what I think is the manifestation of the fifth level in Krathwohl’s Taxonomy. In the film you will note how much Ixya values her mariachi career. I believe that Linda Ronstadt had to have gone through a similar process (and experience) of appreciating mariachi music, as can be seen through her project called Canciones de mi Padre in 1987. For those wanting more information on this they can go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canciones_de_Mi_Padre.
This narrative is intended to be only a theoretical paper, and should not be taken as intending to provide final or absolute proof as to how Chicano/as attain ethnicity, nor that there is only one way to do it. Rather I hope that the paper will serve as springboard for discussion of a theory of how we go about developing ethnicity, not only in our enjoyment of music, but in other areas of Chicano/a ethnicity, such as literature, cuisine, values, norms, customs, dance, art, film, fashion, blogging, etc., etc.
Copyright 2015 by Margarito J. Garcia III, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Street scene, classroom, guitar and Chicano marchers photos copyrighted by Barrio Dog Productions, inc. Album covers and Krathwohl’s Taxonomy images used under fair use proviso of copyright law. Mariachi photo in public domain.