The image of the "underclass," framed by persistent poverty, long-term joblessness, school dropout, teenage pregnancy, and drug use, has become synonymous with urban poverty. But does this image tell us enough about how the diverse minorities among the urban poor actually experience and cope with poverty? No, say the contributors to In the Barrios. Their portraits of eight Latino communities—in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, Chicago, Albuquerque, Laredo, and Tucson—reveal a far more complex reality. In the Barrios responds directly to current debates on the origins of the "underclass" and depicts the cultural, demographic, and historical forces that have shaped poor Latino communities. These neighborhoods share many hardships, yet they manifest no "typical" form of poverty. Instead, each group adapts its own cultural and social resources to the difficult economic circumstances of American urban life. The editors point to continued immigration as an issue of overriding importance in understanding urban Latino poverty. Newcomers to concentrated Latino areas build a local economy that provides affordable amenities and promotes ethnic institutional development. In many of these neighborhoods, a network of emotional as well as economic support extends across families and borders. The first major assessment of inner-city Latino communities in the United States, In the Barrios will change the way we approach the current debate on urban poverty, immigration, and the underclass.
Race in the United States has long been associated with heredity and inequality while ethnicity has been linked to language and culture. In the Shadow of Race recovers the history of this entrenched distinction and the divisive politics it engenders.
Victoria Hattam locates the origins of ethnicity in the New York Zionist movement of the early 1900s. In a major revision of widely held assumptions, she argues that Jewish activists identified as ethnics not as a means of assimilating and becoming white, but rather as a way of defending immigrant difference as distinct from race—rooted in culture rather than body and blood. Eventually, Hattam shows, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Census Bureau institutionalized this distinction by classifying Latinos as an ethnic group and not a race. But immigration and the resulting population shifts of the last half century have created a political opening for reimagining the relationship between immigration and race. How to do so is the question at hand.
In the Shadow of Race concludes by examining the recent New York and Los Angeles elections and the 2006 immigrant rallies across the country to assess the possibilities of forging a more robust alliance between immigrants and African Americans. Such an alliance is needed, Hattam argues, to more effectively redress the persistent inequalities in American life.
Since ABC’s George Lopez Show left the airwaves in 2007 as the only network television show to feature a Latino lead, the representational landscape of Latina and Latino actors has shifted from media invisibility toward an era of increasing inclusion.
Sofia Vergara became the highest paid woman and Latina on TV for her starring role on Modern Family. In the first successful dramedy starring a Latina since ABC’s Ugly Betty, Gina Rodriguez gained critical acclaim for her role on the CW’s Jane the Virgin. And the first Latina leading lady of TV, America Ferrera (Ugly Betty), returned to TV stardom in NBC’s Superstore.
This period of diversity brought U.S. Latina and Latino lives to the screen, yet a careful look at TV comedic content and production reveals a more troubling terrain for Latinas/os producers, writers, actors, and audiences.
Interweaving discussions about the ethnic, racial, and linguistic representations of Latinas/os within network television comedies, Isabel Molina-Guzmán probes published interviews with producers and textual examples from hit programs like Modern Family, The Office, and Scrubs to understand how these primetime sitcoms communicate difference in the United States.
Understanding the complex ways that audiences interpret these programs, Molina-Guzmán situates her analysis within the Obama era, a period when ethnicity and race became increasingly grounded in “hipster racism,” and argues that despite increased inclusion, the feel-good imperative of TV comedies still inevitably leaves racism, sexism, and homophobia uncontested.
In giving President Obama a record level of support (75 percent) and reaching a watershed 10 percent of the voting population, Latinos proved to be decisive in the 2012 election outcome—an unprecedented mark of influence for this segment of the wider electorate. This shift also signaled a radical reenvisioning of mobilization strategies by both parties and created a sea change in the way political organizations conduct outreach and engagement efforts. In this groundbreaking volume, experts in Latino politics ask: What is the scope of Latino voter influence, where does this electorate have the greatest impact, and what issues matter to them most? They examine a key national discussion—immigration reform—as it relates to voter behavior, and also explore the influence of Latinos within key states, including California, Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Nevada, and Florida. While some of these states have traditionally had strong Latino voting blocs, in others Latinos are just emerging as major players electorally. The book also discusses the extent to which Latinos were mobilized during the 2012 campaign and analyzes election outcomes using new tools created by Latino Decisions. A blend of rigorous data analysis and organizational commentary, the book offers a variety of perspectives on the past, present, and future of the Latino electorate.
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.
Latinos in Michigan
David A. Badillo Michigan State University Press, 2003 Library of Congress F575.S75B33 2003 | Dewey Decimal 977.400468
The history of Latinos in Michigan is one of cultural diversity, institutional formation, and an ongoing search for leadership in the midst of unique, often intractable circumstances. Latinos have shared a vision of the American Dream--made all the more difficult by the contemporary challenge of cultural assimilation. The complexity of their local struggles, moreover, reflects far-reaching developments on the national stage, and suggests the outlines of a common identity. While facing adversity as rural and urban immigrants, exiles, and citizens, Latinos have contributed culturally, economically, and socially to many important developments in Michigan's history.
Latinos in New England
edited by Andrés Torres Temple University Press, 2006 Library of Congress F15.S75L38 2006 | Dewey Decimal 305.868074
More than one million Latinos now live in New England. This is the first book to examine their impact on the region's culture, politics, and economics. At the same time, it investigates the effects of the locale on Latino residents' lives, traditions, and institutions.Employing methodologies from a variety of disciplines, twenty-one contributors explore topics in three broad areas: demographic trends, migration and community formation, and identity and politics. They utilize a wide range of approaches, including oral histories, case studies, ethnographic inquiries, focus group research, surveys, and statistical analyses. From the "Dominicanization" of the Latino community in Waterbury, Connecticut, to the immigration experiences of Brazilians in Massachusetts, from the influence of Latino Catholics on New England's Catholic churches to the growth of a Latino community in Providence, Rhode Island, the essays included here contribute to a new and multifaceted view of the growing Pan-Latino presence in the birthplace of the United States.
Latinos in the Midwest
Rubén O. Martinez Michigan State University Press, 2011 Library of Congress F358.2.S75L37 2011 | Dewey Decimal 305.868077
Over the past twenty years, the Latino population in the Midwest has grown rapidly, both in urban and rural areas. As elsewhere in the country, shifting demographics in the region have given rise to controversy and mixed reception. Where some communities have greeted Latinos openly, others have been more guarded. In spite of their increasing presence, Latinos remain the most marginalized major population group in the country. In coming years, the projected growth of this population will require greater attention from policymakers concerned with helping to incorporate them into the nation’s core institutions. This eye-opening collection of essays examines the many ways in which an increase in the Latino population has impacted the Midwest—culturally, economically, educationally, and politically. Drawing on studies, personal histories, legal rulings, and other sources, this book takes an interdisciplinary approach to an increasingly important topic in American society and offers a glimpse into the nation’s demographic future.
Moving beyond the black-white binary that has long framed racial discourse in the United States, the contributors to this collection examine how the experiences of Latinos and Asians intersect in the formation of the U.S. nation-state. They analyze the political and social processes that have racialized Latinos and Asians while highlighting the productive ways that these communities challenge and transform the identities imposed on them. Each essay addresses the sociopolitical predicaments of both Latinos and Asians, bringing their experiences to light in relation to one another.
Several contributors illuminate ways that Latinos and Asians were historically racialized: by U.S. occupiers of Puerto Rico and the Philippines at the end of the nineteenth century, by public health discourses and practices in early-twentieth-century Los Angeles, by anthropologists collecting physical data—height, weight, head measurements—from Chinese Americans to show how the American environment affected “foreign” body types in the 1930s, and by Los Angeles public officials seeking to explain the alleged criminal propensities of Mexican American youth during the 1940s. Other contributors focus on the coalitions and tensions between Latinos and Asians in the context of the fight to integrate public schools and debates over political redistricting. One addresses masculinity, race, and U.S. imperialism in the literary works of Junot Díaz and Chang-rae Lee. Another looks at the passions, identifications, and charges of betrayal aroused by the sensationalized cases of Elián González, the young Cuban boy rescued off the shore of Florida, and Wen Ho Lee, the Los Alamos physicist accused of spying on the United States. Throughout this volume contributors interrogate many of the assumptions that underlie American and ethnic studies even as they signal the need for a research agenda that expands the purview of both fields.
Contributors. Nicholas De Genova, Victor Jew, Andrea Levine, Natalia Molina, Gary Y. Okihiro, Crystal Parikh, Greg Robinson, Toni Robinson, Leland T. Saito
An outpouring of memorial tributes and public expressions of grief followed the death of the Tejana recording artist Selena Quintanilla Pérez in 1995. The Latina superstar was remembered and mourned in documentaries, magazines, websites, monuments, biographies, murals, look-alike contests, musicals, drag shows, and more. Deborah Paredez explores the significance and broader meanings of this posthumous celebration of Selena, which she labels “Selenidad.” She considers the performer’s career and emergence as an icon within the political and cultural transformations in the United States during the 1990s, a decade that witnessed a “Latin explosion” in culture and commerce alongside a resurgence of anti-immigrant discourse and policy.
Paredez argues that Selena’s death galvanized Latina/o efforts to publicly mourn collective tragedies (such as the murders of young women along the U.S.-Mexico border) and to envision a brighter future. At the same time, reactions to the star’s death catalyzed political jockeying for the Latino vote and corporate attempts to corner the Latino market. Foregrounding the role of performance in the politics of remembering, Paredez unravels the cultural, political, and economic dynamics at work in specific commemorations of Selena. She analyzes Selena’s final concert, the controversy surrounding the memorial erected in the star’s hometown of Corpus Christi, and the political climate that served as the backdrop to the touring musicals Selena Forever and Selena: A Musical Celebration of Life. Paredez considers what “becoming” Selena meant to the young Latinas who auditioned for the biopic Selena, released in 1997, and she surveys a range of Latina/o queer engagements with Selena, including Latina lesbian readings of the star’s death scene and queer Selena drag. Selenidad is a provocative exploration of how commemorations of Selena reflected and changed Latinidad.
Like two friends sitting down in front of the television together, in Talking #browntv, Frederick Luis Aldama and William Anthony Nericcio dialogue about the representations of Latina/os in American television and film from the twentieth century to the present day. One part conversation, one part critique, one part visual cultural studies, and one part rant against the culture industry profiting off warped caricatures of Latina/o subjectivities, Aldama and Nericcio analyze the ways in which Latinx performers have been mediated—with varying degrees of complexity—on the American screen. A comprehensive review of the history of Mexicans, Mexican Americans, Hispanics, Chicana/os, Latina/os, and Latinx performers in television and film, Talking #browntv boldly interrogates one of the largest paradoxes in the history of American television: Why are there so few Latina/os on television, and why, when they do appear, are they so often narcos, maids, strumpets, tarts, flakes, and losers?
From the subversive critiques embedded in well-loved children’s characters like Speedy Gonzalez to the perpetuation of racial stereotypes in modern-era pornography, from Eva Longoria as ethnic mannequin to J-Lo flipping the sexy Latina music video on its head in “I Luh Ya Papi,” and with more than 150 full-color images, Aldama and Nericcio seek to expose the underlying causes as to why Latina/os constitute only 2 percent of mainstream cultural production when they’re the majority minority in the US. In a moment when anti-Mexican and anti-immigrant rhetoric oozes from TV sets and medias platform, Talking #browntv emerges as a bold antidote, an eloquent rejoinder, and a thoughtful meditation on Latina/os on the American screen and in America today.
Greenport, New York, a village on the North Fork of Long Island, has become an exemplar of a little-noted national trend—immigrants spreading beyond the big coastal cities, driving much of rural population growth nationally. In Village of Immigrants, Diana R. Gordon illustrates how small-town America has been revitalized by the arrival of these immigrants in Greenport, where she lives.
Greenport today boasts a population that is one-third Hispanic. Gordon contends that these immigrants have effectively saved the town’s economy by taking low-skill jobs, increasing the tax base, filling local schools, and patronizing local businesses. Greenport’s seaside beauty still attracts summer tourists, but it is only with the support of the local Latino workforce that elegant restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts are able to serve these visitors. For Gordon the picture is complex, because the wave of immigrants also presents the town with challenges to its services and institutions. Gordon’s portraits of local immigrants capture the positive and the negative, with a cast of characters ranging from a Guatemalan mother of three, including one child who is profoundly disabled, to a Colombian house painter with a successful business who cannot become licensed because he remains undocumented. Village of Immigrants weaves together these people’s stories, fears, and dreams to reveal an environment plagued by threats of deportation, debts owed to coyotes, low wages, and the other bleak realities that shape the immigrant experience—even in the charming seaport town of Greenport.
A timely contribution to the national dialogue on immigration, Gordon’s book shows the pivotal role the American small town plays in the ongoing American immigrant story—as well as how this booming population is shaping and reviving rural communities.
The history of Mexican Americans in Utah is complex, but it is also a history that is neither well represented in mainstream recounting nor well recognized in the mainstream understanding of Utah’s past. Convoluted interactions among Native Americans, Spaniards, French, Mexicans, Anglos, and others shaped the story of Utah. Awareness of the long presence of Hispanics in Utah is essential to understanding the history of the state. This volume is an attempt to piece together that history through photos and oral histories.
As Armando Solórzano and other researchers conducted oral history interviews with Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and other Latinos throughout the state, a number of participants began giving the team photographs, some dating back to 1895, which provided an opportunity to begin reconstructing a history through pictures, as a community project. Within two years, Solórzano and his colleagues were able to create the pictorial history of Mexican-Americans and Latinos in Utah and launched their efforts as a photo-documentary exhibit. This book collects photographs to represent different historical periods and the manifold contributions of Latinos to the state of Utah.
Readers who delve into this book may see these photos as artistic expressions or artifacts of history and photographic technique. Some readers will see images of their relatives and precursors who labored to create a better life in Utah. The images evoke both nostalgia for a time gone by and the possibility of reconstructing history with a fairer premise. The book does not tell the full story of Latinos in Utah but should prove to be a catalyst, inspiring others to continue documenting and reconstructing the neglected threads of Utah’s history, making it truly the history of all of us.
Recipient of the Meritorious Book Award from the Utah Division of State History.