Latino Lives in America: Making It Home
Luis R. Fraga, John A. Garcia, Rodney E. Hero, Michael Jones-Correa, Valerie Martinez-Ebers and Gary Segura Temple University Press, 2010 Library of Congress E184.S75L36233 2010
Latinos are the largest and fastest growing ethnic group in the United States, with increased levels of political mobilization and influence. In the timely and thoroughgoing Latino Lives in America, six prominent Latino scholars explore the profound implications of Latinos’ population growth and geographic dispersion for American politics and society, tracking key changes and continuities in Latinos' attitudes, behavior, and social experiences.
Utilizing a unique set of “narratives” from focus group interviews, supplemented with quantitative findings from the 2006 Latino National Survey, the authors provide a snapshot of Latino life in America. The Latinos interviewed provide their thoughts regarding their sense of belonging and group identification, assimilation and transnationalism, housing, education, civic engagement, and perceptions of discrimination, as well as their experiences in new destinations, where they are trying to realize the “Americano” dream.
Latino Lives in America uses these conversations and the survey data to offer both a micro and macro look at how Latinos are transforming various aspects of American politics, culture, and life and how their experiences in the United States are changing them and their families.
Bringing together political science research on Latinos and an analysis of American politics from the vantage point of the Latino political condition, Rodney Hero presents a comprehensive discussion of contemporary Latino politics. The distinct and tenuous nature of Latino status in the U.S. has made it difficult to explain their unique status. This "uniqueness" stems from a variety of circumstances, including the differences among Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans, and their ambivalent racial classification (white but not "Anglo," or nonwhite but not black).
Hero introduces the concept of "two-tiered pluralism," which describes the political situation for Latinos and other minorities in which equality is largely formal or procedural, but not substantive. He observes that this formal but marginalized inclusion exists for minorities in most facets of the political process. In his critical overview of American politics, Hero explores the major theoretical perspectives that have been used to understand Latino "cultural politics"; he contrasts the three largest Hispanic population in this country; and he considers major political activities and American institutions with specific reference to Latinos. This timely work addresses the politics of an increasingly important segment of the U.S. population and an area in which previous research has been scant.
When courts lifted their school desegregation orders in the 1990s—declaring that black and white students were now "integrated" in America's public schools—it seemed that a window of opportunity would open for Latinos, Asians, and people of other races and ethnicities to influence school reform efforts. However, in most large cities the "multiethnic moment" passed, without leading to greater responsiveness to burgeoning new constituencies. Multiethnic Moments examines school systems in four major U.S. cities—Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco—to uncover the factors that worked for and against ethnically-representative school change. More than a case study, this book is a concentrated effort to come to grips with the multiethnic city as a distinctive setting. It utilizes the politics of education reform to provide theoretically-grounded, empirical scholarship about the broader contemporary politics of race and ethnicity—emphasizing the intersection of interests, ideas, and institutions with the differing political legacies of each of the cities under consideration.
The issue of political participation has been central to American politics since the founding of the United States. The Politics of Democratic Inclusion addresses the ways traditionally underrepresented groups have and have not achieved political incorporation, representation, and influence—or "democratic inclusion"—in American politics. Each chapter provides a "state of the discipline" essay that addresses the politics of diversity from a range of perspectives and in a variety of institutional arenas. Taken together, the essays in The Politics of Democratic Inclusion evaluate and advance our understanding of the ways in which the structure, processes, rules, and context of the American political order encourage, mediate, and hamper the representation and incorporation of traditionally disadvantaged groups.