All too often, groups who do not effectively define themselves find that others assume the power to explain them. Until recently, this has certainly been the case with American Latinos/as, as evidenced by demeaning media stereotypes and the groups's near-invisibility in U.S. history texts.
Indeed, as the demise of the Soviet empire shifted America's national anxieties to domestic irritants, images of Latinos/as changed for the worse. Immigration reform acts in 1965 and 1986 brought millions of new immigrants from Latin American countries. By the end of the 1980s, their presence had become vexing to many. English-only movements sprang up. Bilingual education came under attack. Movements to close the border gained momentum.
Now, Latinos/as are speaking back. The Latino Condition brings together some of these new voices, and some of the pioneers, in law, sociology, history, politics, and literature. This pathbreaking volume addresses such questions as:
- Who exactly is a Latino/a? Who is Hispanic? Who is Chicano/a?
- How did Spanish-speaking people come to the United States?
- Should the United States try to control Latino/a immigration and is this even possible?
- How has "the silent minority" been stereotyped by popular culture?
- Why don't traditional civil rights remedies work for Latinos/as?
- Is assimilation possible, or even desirable, for all Latinos/as?
- What makes for conflict between Latinos/as and other racial groups?
- Are Latinos/as a race or an ethnicity?
- Should Latino/a children be taught in Spanish?
- What can border theory tell us about culture, language, and power?