Papi: Understanding the Tejano Father Hybrid Identity Within the Mexican American Family, Community, and School Experience Through a Postcolonial Lens




Alemán, Jason

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The purpose of this study was the better understand the hybrid identity of the Tejano father and his role within the educational journey of his children. This study examined the “in-betweenness” (Asher, 2008) space the Tejano father occupies two unique cultures and histories. It also examined the Tejano father narrative through a postcolonial lens in an attempt to unsettle the portrayal of the people of the colonized world as inferior (Young, 2003). Minimal analysis has been conducted in the area of Latino identity formation through a postcolonial theory framework. Said (1989) views colonization as a fate with “lasting, grotesquely unfair results, reinforcing the dreadful secondariness of some peoples and cultures” (p. 207). In order to avert this secondariness, informal conversations, or platicas (Guajardo & Guajardo, 2004), were the primary methods of collecting data from the Tejano father participants. The research suggests that the Tejano father is a secondary role player (at best) in the educational journey of his children. Issues such as the notions of machismo (Mirandé, 1997), and acculturation (Anzaldúa, 2007) all play a role in how we view Tejano fathers as an educational partner. More importantly, these play a role in how Tejano fathers themselves views his own sense of identity. In regards to the relationship between the dominant power group and Tejano fathers, Bakhtin’s (1996) notion of addressivity speaks to the criticalness of power, knowledge, and language. This research further develops scholarship in identity formation for Tejano families and community, the impact of postcolonial theory on Latino educational issues, and culturally relevant educational practices. It builds on the postcolonial track laid by Gandhi (1998) and Asher (2008) while connecting it to the Tejano experience in and out of formal school settings. This research has implications for bridging the Tejano home with the formal school setting in an attempt to better support Tejano students. It directly connects to addressing the colonial past with a postcolonial approach to strengthening the family-school relationship.



Postcolonial Theory, Identity Formation, Latino Studies, Parent Involvement


Aleman, J. (2013). Papi: Understanding the Tejano father hybrid identity within the Mexican American family, community, and school experience through a postcolonial lens (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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