Crowding Out Latinos

Crowding Out Latinos

Marco Portales
Copyright Date: 2000
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Crowding Out Latinos
    Book Description:

    In this groundbreaking analysis, Marco Portales examines the way in which education and the media act as immobilizing social forces to shape the Latino world that exists despite the best efforts of many Mexican Americans and other Latinos. The delicate relationships between what Latinos are and what they seem to be, as perceived both by the larger society and by Latinos themselves, create and craft a culture that students of American culture have not sufficiently studied or understood.Asbandidosor gigolos, drug users or unwed mothers, Latinos continue to figure in the public consciousness primarily as undesirables. Despite decades of effort by Spanish-speaking Americans to improve their image in the United States, Mexican Americans and other resident Latinos are still largely perceived by other Americans as poverty-stricken immigrants and second-class citizens. Accordingly, the great majority of Latino citizens receive substandard educations, equipping them for substandard jobs in substandard living environments.The lives of Mexican Americans and other Latinos, Portales contends, can best be illuminated by looking at the history of Chicanos and particularly Chicano literature, which dramatizes the impact of education and the media on Latinos. Like Irish literature, Chicano literature has sought to articulate and to establish itself as a postcolonial voice that has struggles for national attention. Through psychological and sociopolitical representations, Chicano writers have variously used anger, indifference, fear, accommodation, and other conflicting emotions and attitudes to express how it feels to be seen as an immigrant or a foreigner in one's own country.Portales looks at four Chicano literary works -- Americo Paredes'George Washington Gomez,Anthony Quinn'sThe Original Sin, Sandra Cisnero'sHouse on Mango Street, and Ana Castillo'sMassacre of the Dreamers-- to focus attention on social issues that impede the progress of Latinos. By doing so, he hopes to engage both Latino and non-Latino Americans in an overdue dialogue about the power of education and the media to form perceptions that can either empower or repress Latino citizens.

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0610-1
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. About the Frontispiece
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-17)

    Despite efforts throughout the twentieth century, especially during the last thirty years, to improve how Mexican Americans and other Spanish-speaking people are perceived in the United States, Chicanos¹ and other Latinos are not yet seen as typical American citizens. Latinos continue to receive poor educations. The media continue to represent us in ways that have not been changed substantially by the emergence of Chicano literature or by anything else attempted by American Latinos during the last three decades. There has been no acceleration of efforts to educate and develop this potentially great national human resource, and success continues to be...

  7. 2 Chicano Literature and Irish Literature
    (pp. 18-30)

    Readers might be struck by the seeming disparity between my introductory remarks and the title of this chapter. One of my objectives in this study is to highlight how different expectations can give birth to different realities. With this in mind, I intend to compare two postcolonial literatures that are perceived quite differently: the literature of Mexican Americans and that of the Irish. In so doing, I seek to dramatize what can be called literary scale or value, that is, achievements and prospects, given how individual writers define themselves. These two ethnic groups in part have historically defined themselves and...

  8. 3 Latinos in American Culture
    (pp. 31-51)

    Since the 1950s, when I grew up, I have periodically observed that pictures of Hispanic people are not selected for the covers and inside pages of the national and regional mainstream magazines, advertisements, and promotional brochures in the United States. This is the kind of statement, of course, that may challenge some people to prove I am wrong. But even if a handful of pictures could be found, and I am convinced that they cannot, the fifty-year dearth I have witnessed is but another sign of the 150-year exclusion that Hispanics in the United States have endured since the Treaty...

  9. 4 Hispanics and the American Media
    (pp. 52-65)

    When we study the representation of Latinos in the American media up to and throughout the 1990s, we find what reluctantly has to be characterized as insistent disregard for most things Hispanic. Such neglect, as suggested in the previous chapter, psychologically damages both Latinos and the larger American population, since the former have to adjust to being consistently excluded and the latter remain ignorant and unaware of the progress and remarkable efforts of Latinos in the United States. This charge has been leveled against American society by Hispanics since the late 1960s and early 1970s. The American media has made...

  10. 5 Love and the Mexican American School Experience
    (pp. 66-76)

    Chicano authors have not especially dwelled on the idea of love, and neither have the critics. The medieval writers discussed by C.S. Lewis inThe Allegory of Lovecontinue to hold the literary imagination when we consider the issue of love. Of course, writers like Cervantes, Turgenev, Constant, Stendahl, and Flaubert, as well as modern practitioners such as Ford Madox Ford, Carlos Fuentes, and Lawrence Durrell have also extended the concept of love, a subject that has now turned the hot love of the Harlequin romances into a popular genre at the grocery store checkout counter. Since the 1605 publication...

  11. 6 Enhancing the Visibility of Chicano Literature
    (pp. 77-81)

    Even though Chicano literature has its followers, our books still need wider appeal throughout the United States and abroad. For Chicano literature to continue to develop in a healthy direction, we need to ask ourselves why a literature that some readers have been following for nearly thirty years is still not known by most Americans. Other than in course offerings of a few colleges and universities in a few areas of the country and in Europe, Chicano literature today seems at an impasse, suggesting it is time to take stock of this important Latino enterprise.

    When Chicano literature made its...

  12. 7 Americo Paredes’s George Wasltington Gomez: Educating Mexican American Students
    (pp. 82-99)

    Americo Paredes’sGeorge Washington Gomezin many ways is the master Chicano narrative produced by a Mexican American writer so far. Finished three generations ago, in 1940, but not published until exactly half a century later, in 1990, this novel by all rights should have exerted an enormous influence on all Chicano literature that has emerged since. Jose Antonio Villarreal’sPocho(1959), Raymond Barrio’sThe Plum Plum Pickers(1969), Abelardo Delgado’sChicano:Twenty-Five Pieces of a Chicano Mind(1969), and the other Chicano novels published in the period before Chicano literature emerged in the 1970s did not have the benefit...

  13. 8 The Lives of a Chicano Film Star: Anthony Quinn’s The Original Sin
    (pp. 100-120)

    In 1995, the year he turned eighty, Anthony Quinn publishedOne Man Tango, an account of his life among the movie stars he has known during his more than sixty years as a film star and theater actor. This second published story of Quinn's life covers his relationships with Hollywood movie stars more directly than his first autobiography,The Original Sin: A Self-Portrait(1972). Quinn’s earlier book, however, ought to occupy an increasingly significant position in the history of Mexican American thought and American culture. Whereas Americo Paredes rendered the nature of K–12 education for Mexican American students in...

  14. 9 Rape and Barrio Education in Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street
    (pp. 121-134)

    Thinking about the connection between Esperanza Cordero’s education in her barrio neighborhood and her rape in Sandra Cisneros’s 1984 novelThe House on Mango Streetcan be a disturbing and enlightening experience.¹ When this most popular of Chicano novels is discussed, invariably some reader will inquire if a rape actually occurs in the text. That such a serious violation requires several looks at the book is significant, for this traumatizing experience ordinarily shapes the form and the content of a narrative as much as rape affects a person in real life. The fact that readers feel the need to ascertain...

  15. 10 Ana Castillo’s Massacre of the Dreamers: Communicating the Chicana Experience
    (pp. 135-144)

    The title of Ana Castillo’sMassacre of the Dreamers: Essays on Xicanisma(1995) is meant to inform readers that when Hernando Cortes arrived on the eastern shores of Montezuma’s kingdom in 1519, Montezuma ordered that thousands of his dreamers, his diviners of the future, be put to death for prophesying the end of the vast Aztec empire. Because the Spanish conquerer was mistaken for Quetzalcoatl, the mythic god of the Aztecs who was expected to return from the east, Cortés was able to conquer the Aztecs in Tenochtitlan, Mexico’s central valley, two years later. Castillo contends that the massacre of...

  16. 11 Chicano Writing versus Chicano Life
    (pp. 145-154)

    If some readers remain skeptical about my contentions and interpretations regarding the psychologically unhealthy connections between the educations dispensed in the schools and the nature of the relations between the American media and Latinos, the two postscripts that close this study should illustrate how Latino citizens are routinely excluded from American life. Even though Latinos have shown an interest over the years in participating in the American experience, sociopolitical, economic, class, and race forces at a number of levels both within and outside of America’s pluralistic society constantly resist our full inclusion in American civilization.

    Aside from reiterating how the...

  17. 12 Postscripts
    (pp. 155-165)

    Several winters ago, the streets of the central Texas area were frozen over by a cold arctic blast that usually does not sweep as far south as Austin and Bryan-College Station where we live. My wife, who was teaching fourth-grade bilingual education classes at the time, called the local television station to ask the manager to place a public service announcement for the parents of the school district’s Spanish-speaking students. The request was to announce, in Spanish, that the schools would be closed due to the icy road conditions. The manager informed her that those announcements are made by the...

  18. Notes
    (pp. 166-186)
  19. Bibliography
    (pp. 187-195)
  20. Index
    (pp. 196-209)