Featured Video Play Icon

selena-mexican americans

In the 1997 biopic Selena, Jennifer Lopez stars as Selena, the Texas-born, Mexican-American singer-songwriter who became known as “The Queen of Tejano Music.” This clip portrays a young Selena and her brother on tour with their father, who decides to lecture his children about the unique pressures faced by American people of Mexican descent. He explains the ways in which they are expected to be “authentic” members of two cultures at the same time: “We’ve gotta prove to the Mexicans how Mexican we are, and we’ve gotta prove to the Americans how American we are… we’ve gotta be twice as perfect as anybody else.”


What are the main points of conflict faced by Mexican Americans, according to Selena’s father?

What are some of the key markers that the three characters use to describe properly “Mexican” identity or behavior?

Do you agree with his assessment that Mexican Americans have it especially hard in juggling their two national identities, as opposed to Americans of Japanese, German, or other descent? Do other Americans with international identities face similar or different challenges?

Our Funders