Obstacles That Selena Overcame

The division of Anglo's and Latino's dates back to the Mexican American war (1846-1848). The Mexican American war is an example of American expansionism of the Southwest that created segregation for the future. Even many years later, Tejano's were thought of as inferior to Anglo's and found under control of Anglo rules. According to Manuel Peña, an associate professor of La Raza studies at California State University and author of, The Texas-Mexican Conjunto , “Expansionism in the Southwest perpetuated the ethnic boundary between Mexicans and Anglos. Furthermore, a set of proscriptions governing relations between the two groups made cultural assimilations difficult, structural assimilation (e.g. intermarriage, acceptance into Anglo clubs etc.) almost impossible.” 7 Even today, Tejano's remain culturally isolated from American society; as a result there are ethnic prejudices and segregation. Even with the segregation of these two groups, Selena had the ability to gain much fame from the two.

Selena, a Tejano (Mexican from Texas ), successfully gained popularity from the distant Latino's and Anglo's, by incorporating her Mexican American background. There are many hostile feelings of these two groups, which makes it amazing that she had the ability to gain recognition from both groups. According to Manuel Peña's in his book titled, Música Tejana , “Selena's LP, Entre a mi mundo , had sold 385,000 copies in the United States and 200,000 in Mexico .” 8 Many people loved Selena, even during a time where there was fear of Latino spread.

Selena's status skyrocketed at a time where domestic problems in the United States were being aimed towards Latino's. According to Francis R. Aparicio, associate professor of Spanish and American culture at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, “Anglo insecurity looks to the claims of Latino's and other minority constituencies for the erosion of the United States position in world leadership, the downturn in the economy and the bleak prospects for social mobility for the next generation.” 1 Her success in the 1990's persevered during a time where anti-immigration, anti-affirmative action and English Only initiates were taking place. According to Ilan Stavans, “Selena's album Dreaming of You , which included a handful of songs in English, sold 175,000 copies in a single day.” 13 The Latina icon was loved by people who were trying to give Mexicans fewer rights in the United States . Ultimately, Selena gave Tejano's a voice in the public.

Selena overcame many obstacles to be a sensation in Tejano music, especially being a woman and living in poverty. Like many Mexican Americans, her story has been a persistent struggle to break out of the usual poverty of her working-class family. Selena was talented enough to gain success in the male-dominated Tejano music business. In the book, Música Tejana , Peña says, “She aimed to carve out a career in a male-dominated, machismo-driven industry, while projecting an image suggestive of both sexuality and family values.” 8 During Selena's prime in the nineties, Tejano music exploded with the “Big Four”—Selena, Emilio Navaira, La Mafia, and Mazz. The “Big Four” consisted of all men, except for Selena.

Selena put Latino's on the map. This Tejano queen made the world aware of her talents. She put her own touch on Tejano music, while being sexy and modest at the same time. Latino's are generally underrepresented whether it is with music, politics, and/or music, but Selena's popularity put Latin@os on the front cover. Selena brought people of all ages and races together with her music. She will forever be missed and will be remembered as one of the greatest Latina icons of all time.


Altars Awards and Achievements A Brief Biography Selena Changed Tejan@o music and image Bibliography

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