Journal of Law and Religion
The concept that the powerful and wealthy have the absolute obligation to offer political, financial, and social liberation to those at the margins of society should have special importance to those who are lawyers and professionals of color. People spend considerable time working through, working in, and centered in the dominant, or caucasian European culture. The legal system regularly fails to see, accept, realize, or believe when truth is presented at the margins. Nonetheless, it is at the margins that true legal and personal reform take place. Even in a friendly environment, where people are encouraged to step outside the cultural hierarchy, the hierarchical challenge must be framed within parameters that are recognized and accepted by the dominant group because anything outside the dominant’s vision will not be recognized, and will not be credible.
Nahuatl beliefs, Virgen de Guadalupe, Marianist faith, St. Mary’s University School of Law, community service, Juan Diego, racial boundaries, assimilation, students, heritage, Spanish traditions, hierarchy, Catholics, Latino heritage, dominant, Hispanic, God, church, Latinos, wealthy, caucasian, margins, color, race, tradition, multiculturalStudents live in a society dominated by Caucasian Male culture. A major difficulty for any educational institution is that true multicultural education cannot take place where the professor is so rooted in the caucasian male vision. A professor's obligation, at a minimum, is to expand the institutional vision and the vision of a critical number of the faculty to the areas that are central to the student populations. This assures students that they can be successful without abandoning their cultural heritage, and teaches them that their authentic strength is found by embracing their heritage. Students of Hispanic traditions should be educated about the pull of the dominant and the importance of the margin, and should be allowed to make an informed choice regarding each aspect of their life that is affected by the dominant. This education will show Hispanic students they can be successful by embracing their heritage without abandoning it.
Ana M. Novoa, Lessons from La Morenita Del Tepeyac, 20 J.L. & Religion 267 (2004).