CCSRE Stories

Jasmín Espinosa: “CSRE helped me to recognize opportunities to improve issues of race and ethnicity.”

Jasmín Espinosa

Jasmín Espinosa, '19 -  Photo by Eric Koziol

BAs in Chicana/o - Latina/o Studies and Psychology, MA in Latin American Studies

I never thought I would study something I love so much. Race is a critical concept to recognize and acknowledge, yet many people don’t understand its deep historical roots and how they play out in society today.

For example, I interned with a lawyer specializing in immigration law, and learned firsthand how race dynamics played out in an immigration court: participants' roles were broken down by race, from the judges, to the guards, to the defendants. As a Chicana, I was often mistaken for being a defendant when I arrived with the white attorney I was interning with. But the experience also showed me how comparative studies in race and ethnicity (CSRE) could be applied in real life. Even the small conversations the lawyer and I had with courtroom participants could raise people's awareness of unspoken racial biases, and produce changes in the way that others dealt with our clients.

Studying race and ethnicity has made me more empathetic toward others with different life experiences, and much more critical of my own actions. At Stanford, I try to encourage others to explore how race and ethnicity factor into their lives, and the lives of others. CSRE courses offer tools to help navigate the world, and to learn to live with questions with dynamic answers, such as who we are, what our identity is.

CSRE has helped me recognize opportunities to improve issues of race and ethnicity. It's a major that has so many intersections with other subjects, and I plan to use it as a lens for my work in public interest law after college. It's critical to have professionals in the legal field at all levels who are aware and care about the privileges that one's race may give—or take away.