La Mirada ~ The Look

Listening to Soul Wounds

Poetic (Spanish followed by English version)

¡ Sí!  . . .  ¡Es cierto! . . . ¡Existe!

¡Es el asco de la mirada!

¡Sí!  ¡Nos ven diferente!

¡Es la repugnancia de la mirada!

¡Sí!  ¡Uno siente la mirada!

¡Es el peso de la mirada!

¡Sí!, ¡Es algo real! 

¡Es el desprecio con arrogancia!

¡Como si quisieran escupir!

¡Es lo que no dice y se esconde!

¡Es la cobardía!

¡Es el miedo que lleva!

¡¿Adónde la aprendieron?!

  ¡¿Quiénes se la enseñaron?!

¡No es cristiana . . . sin religión!

¡Sí!  ¡Sí! . . . es como miran a nuestros hijos!

¡Sin compasión . . . fria . . . sin ternura!

¡Como si quisiéramos robarle su blancura!

¡Ellos manejan y cuidan bien su igualdad! 

¡Es la mirada de privilegio y derechos!

Yes! . . . It is true! . . . It exists!

It’s the repulsiveness of the look!

Yes!  They see us differently!

It’s the repugnancy of the look!

Yes!  One feels the look!

It is the weight of the look!

Yes!  It is something real!

It is disdain with arrogance!

As if they want to spit!

It is what is not said and hides!

It is the cowardice!

It is the fear that it carries!

Where did they learn it?

Who taught it to them?

It is not Christian . . . without religion!

Yes!  Yes! . . . it’s the way they look at our children!

Void of compassion . . . cold . . . without tenderness!

As if we want to steal their whiteness!

They manage and protect well their sameness!

It is the look of privilege and entitlements!

The major focus of the book Trenzas ~ Braids is to provide voice to Mexican parents on how they defined parental involvement. The vehicles providing voice were qualitative research methods, critical theories, and poetics.


The qualitative research study involved participants reacting to questions developed to coincide with the objectives of the study. But the planned questions and answers were only a starting point. It quickly became apparent that confirmability of the nuances of idiomatic phrases required adjournments to reread, rewind the tape, re-listen and re-interview to clarify meaning. An example was when one of the participants mentioned la mirada (the look.) The word and concept was repeated by other participants which meant going back to the tapes, transcripts and translations to find context. New questions surfaced in order to clarify and validate meaning.

Re-interviewing each participant that had used the word provided deeper meaning by way of synonyms and antonyms. Context clarified and endorsed meaning. Perspectives and examples were enhanced as to the why, when, where, how and impact on personal feelings. How were these participants left to deal with the meaning of  la mirada (the look) upon seeing and feeling it? Was it real or imagined? Did it matter if more than one participant felt it? Wasn’t it all dealing with intangibles and subjective perceptions? To what degree did it matter if they felt la mirada disrespecting and targeting the value and dignity of their children? The more I tried to disprove notions, the more la mirada was actualized and confirmed as to perceived intent.

To write the transcriptions, translate the words, find the domains, do the taxonomy and componential analysis led to findings, but there were still missing components that I felt were part of the data. What was missing was  the spiritual “golpe” (the emphasis) of the expression – the vitality of the phrasing, the richness of passion that could only be felt as one human being divulges their intimate feelings to another. How does a researcher provide the intimacy of the moment? How does the researcher express a mother’s tears as she described the racism and bigotry that her son faced by way of school staff and teachers? And most challenging, how does a researcher make available to readers those undercurrents of lingering multi-generational and intra-generational trauma (Danielli, 1998) and soul wounds? (Duran & Duran, 1995) The poetic La Mirada is but one lingering open wound.