Wailing for My Cultura: Disenfranchised Grief among Mexican Americans Navigating a Bicultural Identity

Sandra Ramirez, University of Texas at El Paso


There is a gap in grief research in the field of Communication that is related to the Mexican American experience. Mexican Americans navigating two often opposing cultures may experience additional complications as they attempt to maneuver the differences in grief rituals that align with either American or Mexican customs. This may result in the bereaved experiencing disenfranchised grief. This study aims to examine the significance of Mexican American bicultural grief rituals as a third option to determine how that relates to disenfranchised grief. The first part of this study is a textual analysis of media coverage of Mexican American grief rituals as they were publicly performed following the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas on August 3, 2019. The second portion of this analysis embraced autoethnography in the form of a textual analysis of my personal journal entries following my mother’s death. The results showed that public displays of Mexican American grief rituals resulted in me resolving my own feelings of disenfranchised grief following my mother’s death. These results suggest that by understanding and acknowledging the significance of Mexican Americans grief rituals, Mexican Americans may lessen the possibility of experiencing disenfranchised grief.

Subject Area

Communication|Hispanic American studies

Recommended Citation

Ramirez, Sandra, "Wailing for My Cultura: Disenfranchised Grief among Mexican Americans Navigating a Bicultural Identity" (2021). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28541047.