Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Department

Modern Languages

Additional Departmental Affiliation

Diversity and Community Studies

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

I was able to study abroad three times, as well as study away. I went abroad to Buenos Aires, Argentina (fall 2016 for three months); Oaxaca, Mexico (fall 2017 for three months); New York City, New York (spring 2018 for four months); and Heredia, Costa Rica (winter 2019 for three weeks). These opportunities have changed my life tremendously. But no one told me what all going abroad entailed. When a person goes abroad, they do not have a bubble around them that shields them from the way that country operates. Students all over the world learn about Christopher Columbus but fail to learn the truth about his impact and how it changed the world forever. Europeans (I will be discussing Spanish and Portuguese more specifically) enslaved Indigenous people and Africans. While the Europeans were destroying these countries, individuals, and families, they were also implementing ideas and policies that continue to affect people of color all over the world, today. Colorism and racism are social constructions that are embedded into our social norms, policies, education, and other institutions that oppress and discriminate people of color only. Colorism and racism are consequences from the racial caste system that the Spaniards created in Mexico to determine a hierarchy based on ethnicity and eventually on race to the liking of the Spaniards. In this paper, I will analyze my experiences abroad and show the connections between the history of those cities and my experiences. These connections will help readers understand racial hierarchies in Latin America and how they came to be, due to colonizers and slavery. Then, I will write about my Fifth Black Lives Matter fashion vi show that I coordinated and used my experiences abroad to inspire my pieces and the messages I wanted my audience to take away. Understanding my experiences and history in these countries are important for the WKU Study Abroad office to know so that they will prepare students for the experiences and challenges they can face while abroad due to the color of their skin.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Leah Ashwill, Dana Cuomo, Siera Bramschreiber

Disciplines

African American Studies | Latin American Studies

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