The Chicano Pipeline is an unfortunate reality that I have seen shuffle friends and family out of higher education. Originally created in the 1990s the pipeline followed 100 students from Los Angeles School District and tracked there progression through the “education pipeline” from high school freshman to graduate students. The results were pretty bleak. A 2004 study shows that while improvement in the pipeline occurs it still is not producing Latinos in higher education to keep pace with increases in the Latino population.
For most of my male friends and relatives the pressures of gang life began early, around middle school. Girls were allowed to be smart boys however, were not given the same latitude. Latino high school drop out rates are almost twice as high as Latina drop out rates. In high school I was never approached for gang recruitment which was almost always limited to boys. Being a woman has been a privilege that I did not even knew existed until it was no longer present. This is not to say that being a Latina in the educational pipeline has been a cake walk. It has not been. But the challenges I have faced are shaped by my sex and gender. In ways I was not even really aware of.
Looking back at the men who I grew up with boys who lived up and down the street from me, none have graduate from a four year university. The majority are either still involved in gang life or have joined the military. Latinos make up 18 percent of active US troops in the armed services. Id. Again, my own anecdotal evidence is not fool proof there are Latinos in law school they are my classmates and friends. But Latinas continue to move through the pipeline in larger number than there male counterparts.
I am always so aware of when other have and take advantage of their male privilege, but I realize growing up I had some pretty serious female privilege as well. Now that I am aware of it what do I do?