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‘Mi Familia’ a Film by Gregory Nava Essay


Races entail social realities, which form potent constituents of personal identities in the society. Most studies show that races arise from self-identification and they are sometimes consistent with various ancestral foundations. However, the social categorization and classification of different individuals in the society is based on various racial and ethnic groups, which vary from region to region because of various factors associated with intermarriages, self-identification, migration, and different social categories (Henderson and Olasiji 2).

On the other hand, ethnicity shares some social concepts with races. Here, ethnicity involves the social categorization and classification of individuals relative to their skin color, historical origins, language, customs, and religious denominations (Henderson and Olasiji 5).

In the contemporary societies, various physical and cultural attributes are used to classify individuals into different racial and ethnic groups. As a result, different individuals have learned to co-exist with other individuals from different racial and ethnic groups in divergent ways while losing or maintaining the basic attributes of their ancestral origins. This essay reviews the movie; ‘Mi Familia’ relative to how various characteristics of race and ethnic groups changes from generation to generation.

Video Summary

The movie, ‘Mi Familia’ entails a story, which is presented by the eldest son of the Sanchez family living in Mexico. The movie unfolds as the head of the family; Jose Sanchez makes a long trip from Mexico to Los Angeles, LA in the USA. Mr. Sanchez travels to LA to visit a relative, El Californio who lived in the city since it was part of Mexico. As a result, Sanchez and El Californio become friends and they join forces to grow corn.

Unfortunately, El Californio dies a few years later while insisting that LA is part of Mexico. Later, Sanchez marries an American Native known as Maria with whom they have a son called Chucho who was born when Maria was mistakenly deported to Mexico by the US government. Later on, Maria makes a long trip back to LA with her son Chucho.

Twenty years later, Chucho and Paco (the eldest son and the narrator in the movie) are all grown ups. Moreover, the family has expanded and it has additional members such as Irene (the eldest daughter), Toni (the nun), Guillermo, and Jimmy. Chucho’s life takes a dramatic turn after Irene’s wedding whereby he accidently kills a rival in a dancehall while dancing with his girlfriend.

Chucho becomes a fugitive and one night he gets killed by the LAPD while playing with his brother, Jimmy and other friends. This moment marks the close of the second generation. Subsequently, the third generation begins twenty years after the death of Chucho. This generation encounters several challenges such as assimilation, acculturation, and different socio-economic problems.

For instance, the movie continues as Jimmy completes a jail term as a result of his increased anger after Chucho’s death. Toni returns home to the surprise of her family when they learn that she is no longer a nun. Isabel marries Jimmy in order to avoid deportation to Mexico. Later, Jimmy and Isabel have a son after which Isabel unpredictably dies and Jimmy goes back to jail for attacking a doctor and breaking into a store.

The son of Jimmy and Isabel, Carlitos develops behavioral problems due to the lack of parental love and attachment. As Jimmy returns from prison, he does not want his son but he later learns to take care of his son who is resentful towards his father. It takes lots of conflict and trying moments for Jimmy to start a positive relationship with his son, Carlitos. The movie comes to an end with Jose and Maria recounting their blessings for they have lived to see three generations of their family fighting to make ends meet in the contemporary LA.

Movie Analysis

Studies show that the US became a safe heaven for the oppressed persons, ambitious people, and the slaves since the beginning of colonization. Therefore, America is a nation made up of various racial and ethnic groups such as the immigrants, ethnic minorities, and the natives (Schaefer 1). This is the essence of the movie, ‘Mi Familia’ which captures the historical development of the contemporary families in the US.

The movie shows that the family being the basic foundation of the wider society is made of different individuals whose social, behavioral, and economic characteristics are informed by various ancestral foundations (Schaefer 15). Furthermore, the movie captures the origin of the diverse ethnic identities found in the contemporary America today. Here, migration, intermarriages, and other socio-economic interactions are captured as the main factors contributing to the emergence of diverse racial and ethnic groups in the US (Schaefer 23).

Additionally, the movie shows that there are some people in the contemporary society who can choose to assume various unremarkable identities in order to pass for Native Americans and avert deportation from the US. However, it is worth noting that the essence of ethnicity and racial lineages is pervasive in the US since different social interactions and economic opportunities are distributed along racial and ethnic lines.

Yet, various socio-economic and psychological problems continue to challenge the existence of different generations in the contemporary US in different aspects. Overall, the movie captures the struggles of different family members in the contemporary societies as each person attempts to fit into communities and social surroundings, which are characterized by diverse racial and ethnic groups.

Works Cited

Henderson, George and Olasiji, Thompson. Migrants, immigrants, and slaves: racial & ethnic groups in America. Maryland: University Press of America, Inc., 1995. Print.

Schaefer, Richard T. Racial and ethnic groups. New York: Prentice Hall, 2007. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2019, October 27). ‘Mi Familia’ a Film by Gregory Nava. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic-video-report/

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"‘Mi Familia’ a Film by Gregory Nava." IvyPanda, 27 Oct. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/topic-video-report/.

1. IvyPanda. "‘Mi Familia’ a Film by Gregory Nava." October 27, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic-video-report/.


IvyPanda. "‘Mi Familia’ a Film by Gregory Nava." October 27, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic-video-report/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "‘Mi Familia’ a Film by Gregory Nava." October 27, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic-video-report/.


IvyPanda. (2019) '‘Mi Familia’ a Film by Gregory Nava'. 27 October.

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