Mambo Montage: The Latinization of New York

Mambo Montage: The Latinization of New York

Mambo Montage: The Latinization of New York

Mambo Montage: The Latinization of New York

Synopsis

New York is the capital of mambo and a global factory of latinidad. This book covers the topic in all its multifaceted aspects, from Jim Crow baseball in the first half of the twentieth century to hip hop and ethno-racial politics, from Latinas and labor unions to advertising and Latino culture, from Cuban cuisine to the language of signs in New York City. Together the articles map out the main conceptions of Latino identity as well as the historical process of Latinization of New York. Mambo Montage is both a way of imagining latinidad and an angle of vision on the city.

Excerpt

The ‘Latino’ category collapses the differences between and among colonial/ racial subjects, colonial immigrants, and immigrants in the U.S. empire. These distinctions have important implications for understanding the positive or negative reactions of dominant Euroamerican groups toward a particular Latino ethnicity. Colonial subjects have historically been the target of racist representations in the Euroamerican imaginary as a particular expression of the worldwide history of colonialism. For instance, Puerto Ricans constitute a colonial group of the U.S. empire that has been the target of many racist stereotypes. Because they also constitute the largest Latino population by ethnicity in New York City, their stereotypes have established a precedent with which new Latino immigrants must negotiate to the extent that they are frequently confused with Puerto Ricans in the hegemonic imaginary. This produces a contradictory relationship among different Latino groups. Many Colombians, Mexicans, Dominicans, Cubans, or Ecuadoreans in New York City make an effort to avoid being conflated under the rubric of Puerto Ricans for multiple and complex reasons. This is not merely a romantic attempt to mark out a distinct cultural identity. After all, to be taken for Puerto Ricans could be useful for illegal immigrants who want to take provisional cover under the former's guarantee of U.S. citizenship. This ethnic strategy of disentanglement has more to do with an effort to circumvent the racialized and stereotypical construction of Puerto Ricans. To be identified as Puerto Rican in the ethnic/racial hierarchy of New York City is a racist marker for a new Latino immigrant. the associ-

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