Esteem Journal: Interview with Gilda L. Ochoa
EXCERPT: Academic Profiling, comes out of larger questions I’ve been grappling with, not only as a professor, but in graduate school and also before. It speaks to my early interest in my family connections to the neighborhood, to the communities, and always trying to understand and link my lived experiences with academic concepts. I really like using Delgado Bernal’s concept of “cultural intuition.” It allows us to affirm our own lived experiences and histories and link them to the academic literature and try to answer questions with regard to those dynamics. So as I said whenever I was in college, I was seeking ways to analyze La Puente. My first book Becoming Neighbors looks at the city of La Puente, a primarily working class Latina/o community east of East LA. My focus with that study was trying to understand the dominant ideologies and larger structures in shaping Mexican American and Mexicana/o relationships. It was the community I was living in, and I was going to parent organizing meetings at the time, talking to families, learning a lot from community members and looking at historical factors. In that process, education was a crucial factor shaping relationships. Even though I was interviewing adults, they kept talking about their own experiences of segregated schools, the process of Americanization in schools, and the debate at that time over bilingual education…all these things were shaping group relationships. So education ended up becoming central to the book.