By the middle of the twenty-first century, one out of every six Americans will be of Mexican descent; and as health care becomes of increasing concern to all Americans, the particular needs of Mexican Americans will have to be more thoroughly addressed. Mexican Americans and Health explains how the health of Mexican-origin people is often related to sociodemographic conditions and genetic factors, while historical and political factors influence how Mexican Americans enter the health care system and how they are treated once they access it. It considers such issues as occupational hazards for Mexican-origin agricultural workers—including pesticide poisoning, heat-related conditions, and musculoskeletal disorders—and women's health concerns, such as prenatal care, preventable cancers, and domestic violence. The authors clearly discuss the health status of Mexican Americans relative to the rest of the U.S. population, interweaving voices of everyday people to explain how today's most pressing health issues have special relevance to the Mexican American community:
- how values such as machismo, familismo, and marianismo influence care-seeking decisions and treatment of illness;
- how factors such as cultural values, socioeconomic status, peer pressure, and family concerns can contribute to substance abuse;
- how cultural attitudes toward sex can heighten the risk of AIDS—and how approaches to AIDS prevention and education need to reflect core cultural values such as familismo, respeto, and confianza. The book also addresses concerns of Mexican Americans regarding the health care system. These include not only access to care and to health insurance but also the shortage of bilingual and bicultural health care professionals. This coverage stresses not only the importance of linguistic competency but also the need to understand folklore illnesses, herbal remedies, and spiritual practices that can delay the treatment of illness and either complement or compromise treatment. Of all the issues that face the contemporary Mexican American community, none is as important to its very survival as health and health care. This timely book gives readers a broad understanding of these complex issues and points the way toward a healthier future for all people of Mexican origin. Mexican Americans and Health and Chicano Popular Culture are the first volumes in the series The Mexican American Experience, a cluster of modular texts designed to provide greater flexibility in undergraduate education. Each book deals with a single topic concerning the Mexican American population. Instructors can create a semester-length course from any combination of volumes, or may choose to use one or two volumes to complement other texts.
Immigration reform. Bilingual education. Affirmative action. Such issues trigger knee-jerk reactions from many people, and in California those reactions are likely to fall along strict ethnic lines. A white majority has long called the shots in voter initiatives, but with Mexican Americans becoming the majority population in southern California, their views on these matters can no longer be ignored. In Moving from the Margins, an outspoken member of the Mexican American community explores issues that have molded politics over the past decade in a state where division seems more common than unity.
Addressing immigration, education, health care, and economic and political concerns, Adela de la Torre provides a distinctly Chicana perspective that often differs from that of mainstream readers and voters. Drawn from the author's syndicated column in the Los Angeles Times along with writings from other publications, Moving from the Margins includes incisive and often provocative commentaries that provide insights into the roots of ethnic tensions in the Golden State.
The book also includes readers' reactions to the articles, creating a dialogue of ideas while confronting fears of what many Americans view as an alien culture. Whether addressing entitlements granted to noncitizens, the future of public schools, or access to health care, de la Torre challenges readers to move beyond their own frame of reference and consider new points of view. The issues she faces have shaped today's California—and they also lie at the heart of urban public policy in America for the twenty-first century.
In compelling first-person accounts, Latinas speak freely about dealing with serious health episodes as patients, family caregivers, or friends. They show how the complex interweaving of gender, class, and race impacts the health status of Latinas—and how family, spirituality, and culture affect the experience of illness.
Here are stories of Latinas living with conditions common to many: hypertension, breast cancer, obesity, diabetes, depression, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, Parkinson’s, lupus, and hyper/hypothyroidism. By bringing these narratives out from the shadows of private lives, they demonstrate how such ailments form part of the larger whole of Latina lives that encompasses family, community, the medical profession, and society. They show how personal identity and community intersect to affect the interpretation of illness, compliance with treatment, and the utilization of allopathic medicine, alternative therapies, and traditional healing practices. The book also includes a retrospective analysis of the narratives and a discussion of Latina health issues and policy recommendations.
These Latina cultural narratives illustrate important aspects of the social contexts and real-world family relationships crucial to understanding illness. Speaking from the Body is a trailblazing collection of personal testimonies that integrates professional and personal perspectives and shows that our understanding of health remains incomplete if Latina cultural narratives are not included.