Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2020


In Part I of this essay I interpret this unique moment in history through a retelling of the folk story La Llorona in order to identify the monsters and ghosts of the past and the present. Domino Renee Perez describes her own critical reflection of La Llorona as reinforcing 'a valuable lesson about power and authority' because her family’s 'storytelling circle was more than simply an arbitrary setting; it was a safe place for them to create, however problematically, a world of words, where they faced the dangers and challenges of life, embodied by a woman, and survived.' The lore represents 'a powerful, dynamic, culturally specific way to address the larger issues (the effects of racism, poverty, classism, and gender role expectations) at work in their lives.' In Part II, I explain Prudentia’s tools—a mirror and snake—which represent her view of historical difficulties as she attempts to make decisions that are not only intellectually wise but morally right. I reflect on the ghosts of America—the past that haunts us under Rudolfo Anaya’s analysis—through the lens of Hamilton, the Broadway musical adapted for on-demand viewing by Lin-Manuel Miranda. I draw parallels between the lack of prudence at the founding of the United States and the ghosts of oppression that continue to haunt us today in the specific context of economic exploitation. By understanding the ghosts that linger today, we can incorporate prudence— that is, ethical and moral decision-making—to remake the nation into one that does not perpetuate economic oppression and injustice against BIPOC communities. Finally, in Part III, using prudence as the overarching guide, it is clear that economic justice is the sine qua non of any strategy seeking to achieve broad-scale racial justice. Not only must government leaders practice prudence, but so too should law professors, by eliminating or lessening the burden of student loans on millennials and xennials, 'a common problem' which besets us all. 'The lessons of La Llorona (in which Prudentia is the monster), the reflections of the past (the ghosts of oppression that linger today), and the momentum of the present (which has before inspired revolutions) can help liberate the people of the United States of America from oppression.'

Publication Title

Journal of Legal Education





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