Defiant Braceros: How Migrant Workers Fought for Racial, Sexual, and Political Freedom

Defiant Braceros: How Migrant Workers Fought for Racial, Sexual, and Political Freedom

by Mireya Loza

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In this book, Mireya Loza sheds new light on the private lives of migrant men who participated in the Bracero Program (1942–1964), a binational agreement between the United States and Mexico that allowed hundreds of thousands of Mexican workers to enter this country on temporary work permits. While this program and the issue of temporary workers has long been politicized on both sides of the border, Loza argues that the prevailing romanticized image of braceros as a family-oriented, productive, legal workforce has obscured the real, diverse experiences of the workers themselves. Focusing on underexplored aspects of workers' lives--such as their transnational union-organizing efforts, the sexual economies of both hetero and queer workers, and the ethno-racial boundaries among Mexican indigenous braceros--Loza reveals how these men defied perceived political, sexual, and racial norms.

Basing her work on an archive of more than 800 oral histories from the United States and Mexico, Loza is the first scholar to carefully differentiate between the experiences of mestizo guest workers and the many Mixtec, Zapotec, Purhepecha, and Mayan laborers. In doing so, she captures the myriad ways these defiant workers responded to the intense discrimination and exploitation of an unjust system that still persists today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469629773
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 09/02/2016
Series: The David J. Weber Series in the New Borderlands History
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 254
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Mireya Loza is a curator in the Division of Political History at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Defiant Braceros is unique in that it both signals original arguments concerning the diversity of the bracero population and demonstrates how the effort over the last twenty years to create the 'ideal bracero' has sanitized and shaped the public memory of the program and its workers. In examining the 'deviant' nature of this diversity, Loza brings the braceros into full view where one can see that these workers were often defiant in the face of intense discrimination and exploitation as transnational workers without a country looking out for their well-being and security.—George Sanchez, University of Southern California

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