This article is the first essay of a series on the interplay between dominant thought and Latino issues. It focuses on critical social justice through an exploration of the phenomenon of the sixteenth century apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe to an Amerindian, Juan Diego. It is dedicated to la Virgencita, and its goals are to elucidate some personal challenges for all professionals, especially those who are “other,” through a critical analysis of the story of the dark skinned Madonna; to draw an understanding of how dominance affects society; and to suggest conclusions concerning the role of a law school wishing to be friendly to Latinas/os, and/or one dedicated to Mary.
There are three popular schools of thought about the origins of the phenomena of the Virgen de Guadalupe. One is that the autochthonous people invented her in order to facilitate the continuation of their devotion to the goddess Tonantzín. Another is that the Spaniards invented her in order to reach the autochthonous population who had largely resisted conversion before the apparition.