Forming connections with cultures familiar and diverse equips Ethnic Studies Professor Alberto Pulido’s students with the wisdom and perspective to transform their lives by being a real part of their community.
“USD has really made it a point of emphasis for our students to see the world, but I feel that we have a really important story here in San Diego. The fact that we’re so close to the international border, every culture of the world is represented in San Diego, so you don’t have to go far to learn much.
I grew up here, and recently had the opportunity to produce a documentary on the rich history of San Diego’s Lowrider culture. It’s a story about politics, self- preservation, self-expression and resilience. It’s also a story about families and communities, and my hope is that it debunks the widely held theory that Lowrider culture is inextricably linked with gangs and violence.
I am a firm believer in experiential learning, and think it’s important to take my students to Tijuana. The proximity can heighten the sense of realism, I think.
We go to a place called Casa Migrante. The house is run by an order of missionaries who are specifically committed to work with migrant people. They don’t care about politics; they just want to provide these people with something to eat, a place to sleep, a shower. The simple things that we all too often take for granted.
These topics, these issues, need to be out there in the community. I think we’ve gained our reputation by just being visible. You don’t always have to interact with people just because you want something. It’s just as important to listen and be present as anything else.”