It’s More than Culture

Insightful piece by Guy Garcia regarding the plight of male Latinos and educational attainment as compared to Latinas.

Among the possible causes of Latino men’s lack of educational attainment, say Saenz and Ponjuan, are a culturally-ingrained code of “machismo” that prizes swagger over scholarship and urban social peer groups that equate academic success with “acting White.” Other barriers to Latino scholarship include a lack of male teachers and mentors to guide them through the education process and familismo, or a strong identification and attachment to the immediate family unit that discourages individual attainment, even if that means forgoing the life-long advantages of a college education.

While I agree with most of the discussion here, cultural factors impacting the Latino/Latina academic achievement gap go beyond “machismo” and “acting white.” While I think there is a portion of the Latino population that holds that perspective, I think the vast majority of Latinos WANT their children to obtain a good education. Latinos WANT their children to go to college. Indeed, there are cultural struggles between Latino collective cultural traits and the individualistic (independent) culture of the U.S.; however, this becomes less apparent among Latino later generations.