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Brown Tide Rising

Brown Tide Rising

Otto Santa Ana
Foreword by Joe R. Feagin
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  • Book Info
    Brown Tide Rising
    Book Description:

    "...awash under a brown tide...the relentless flow of waves on a beach, these human flows are remaking the face of America...." Since 1993, metaphorical language such as this has permeated mainstream media reporting on the United States' growing Latino population. In this groundbreaking book, Otto Santa Ana argues that far from being mere figures of speech, such metaphors produce and sustain negative public perceptions of the Latino community and its place in American society, precluding the view that Latinos are vested with the same rights and privileges as other citizens.

    Applying the insights of cognitive metaphor theory to an extensive natural language data set drawn from hundreds of articles in the Los Angeles Times and other media, Santa Ana reveals how metaphorical language portrays Latinos as invaders, outsiders, burdens, parasites, diseases, animals, and weeds. He convincingly demonstrates that three anti-Latino referenda passed in California because of such imagery, particularly the infamous anti-immigrant measure, Proposition 187. Santa Ana illustrates how Proposition 209 organizers broadcast compelling new metaphors about racism to persuade an electorate that had previously supported affirmative action to ban it. He also shows how Proposition 227 supporters used antiquated metaphors for learning, school, and language to blame Latino children's speech-rather than gross structural inequity-for their schools' failure to educate them. Santa Ana concludes by calling for the creation of insurgent metaphors to contest oppressive U.S. public discourse about minority communities.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79635-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Joe R. Feagin

    In the year 2000 the U.S. Census counted 35 million Latinos, marking a substantial increase since the previous census. The Latino population is increasingly dispersed, and Latinos are now the neighbors of other Americans in every region. Many are immigrants who work hard under difficult conditions and for little pay. They harvest crops, build and clean houses, dig ditches, cut lawns, cook, and wash dishes for other Americans. Yet, they and their native-born relatives are often treated as unwanted or hated outsiders.

    Across theUnited States today, growing numbers of Latinos report housing, policing, and other discrimination, usually at the hands...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xxii)
  6. CHAPTER ONE Why Study the Public Discourse Metaphors Depicting Latinos?
    (pp. 1-12)

    The Mexican Sleeping Giant never woke up. It died in its sleep in the summer of 1993. At this time, the image of Mexicans and other Latinos maintained by the public in California and the rest of the United States changed, seemingly almost overnight. For fifty years, the Sleeping Giant image sustained the general view that Mexicans posed no threat to the Anglo-American hegemony in the United States.¹ During this same period, on the other hand, what Anglo-Americans did greatly affected their Latino compatriots. Before the 1990s, far-ranging injustices were visited upon Mexican Americans, notably during the Great Depression the...

  7. Part I: Theory and Method

    • CHAPTER TWO How Metaphor Shapes Public Opinion
      (pp. 15-62)

      In the late twentieth century, Latinos were represented by thoroughly negative and derogatory images in contemporary American public discourse. These were not petty aggravations that could be swept away with amended media practices of political correctness. Nor were they harmless remnants of the blatantly racist public discourse prevalent in the earlier part of the century. These prejudicial representations were and continue to be indices of the operative social values of American society.

      By representations, I mean the constructs in public discourse with which Americans build their commonplace understanding of the Latino community.¹ These demonstrate that foundational racism against Chicanos and...

  8. Part II: Analyses

    • CHAPTER THREE Proposition 187: Misrepresenting Immigrants and Immigration
      (pp. 65-103)

      The textbooks say the United States is a nation of immigrants. However, while schoolchildren are steeped in the pageantry of American history, they seldom learn to appreciate the depth of its reprehensible acts and persistent inequities. A case in point is the history of Mexican Americans. For most, it is news that in 1846, when President James Polk initiated the U.S.-Mexican War, between 75,000 and 100,000 Mexicans were already living in the Southwest,¹ including my father’s family.

      The virulent racism with which nineteenth-century white Americans elevated themselves above all other people also infected relations with Mexicans, leading to the view...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Proposition 209: Competing Metaphors for RACISM and AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
      (pp. 104-155)

      Following closely on the heels of Proposition 187 was a second anti-Latino measure, Proposition 209. This referendum, called the “California Civil Rights Initiative” by its promoters, was narrowly passed by the electorate. It eliminated affirmative action in all state hiring and promotions and in higher education admissions.

      Strikingly, Los Angeles Times coverage of Proposition 209 from 1994 to 1996 was limited by and large to day-to-day political events, with the almost total absence of discussion on the concept of affirmative action itself. The nature of affirmative action or its historical trajectory was rarely developed. There was little public discussion about...

    • CHAPTER FIVE Student as Means, Not End: Contemporary American Discourse on Education
      (pp. 156-196)

      Over 1,300,000 children were legally eligible for bilingual education in California in 1998. Eighty percent were Latinos. Children who should be taught in their home language currently constitute one-fourth of California’s public-school children.¹ The public has become aware that these and all other Latinos, as well as other students of color, have been receiving an increasingly inadequate education over the last twenty years. The current state of this inadequacy can be illustrated with three sets of figures: While 91 percent of white students received a high school diploma by age twenty-one, only 67 percent of all Latinos were receiving theirs....

    • CHAPTER SIX American Discourse on NATION and LANGUAGE: The “English for the Children” Referendum
      (pp. 197-250)

      Twenty-five years ago, California’s public education system ranked number one in the world by any number of measures of quality. In 1997 California ranked number one in the nation only in total number of students, five million. During the past two decades, as the need for an ever more educated citizenry accelerated, the voters starved the system and its quality plummeted. Now it is thirty-seventh in the nation in high school graduation rates; forty-first in per-pupil expenditures; forty-seventh in students-percomputer ratio; fiftieth in students-per-teacher and students-per-principal ratios; and fifty-first in students-per-guidance-counselor and students-perlibrarian ratios.¹

      It is no accident that Latinos...

  9. Part III: Conclusions

    • CHAPTER SEVEN DISEASE or INTRUDER: Metaphors Constructing the Place of Latinos in the United States
      (pp. 253-294)

      In the first of two concluding chapters, the metaphors constituting everyday understandings of CITIZEN, IMMIGRANT, LANGUAGE, RACISM, and ENGLISH are linked together by way of the most prevalent metaphors of the concept NATION. In the course of the book, the cognitive linguistic theories of Lakoff and his collaborators have been subjected to an extended empirical investigation. These investigators theorized that metaphor, above other structures of language, establishes the basis of people’s everyday comprehension of life. Metaphors provide a framework to make sense of behavior, relations, objects, and people, even to the point that people forget that the semantic associations created...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Insurgent Metaphors: Contesting the Conventional Representations of Latinos
      (pp. 295-320)

      Latinos’ place on the American political stage, as has been assessed in the public discourse at the end of the twentieth century, remains subordinate and marginal. Moreover, there are few indications of changes in contemporary public discourse to suggest that Latinos will achieve political, educational, and social parity with the now-favored Anglo-American population in the near term or middle term. Although in the last fifty years we can note that the public discourse on Latinos has been “sanitized,”¹ the underlying nineteenth-century worldview and tacit presumptions of Anglo-American predominance continue to operate to maintain social inequity.

      However, unlike metaphors that conceptualize...

  10. Appendix: Tallies of Political Metaphors
    (pp. 321-332)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 333-364)
  12. References
    (pp. 365-392)
  13. Permissions Acknowledgments
    (pp. 393-394)
  14. Index
    (pp. 395-402)