La Nueva California: Latinos in the Golden State

La Nueva California: Latinos in the Golden State

La Nueva California: Latinos in the Golden State

La Nueva California: Latinos in the Golden State


"Hayes-Bautista has long argued that Latinos in the United States, generally, and Mexican Americans, specifically, are members of a civil society--and not some dysfunctional minority group, as commonly imagined. As Americans lately have discovered America within the Americas, Hayes-Bautista now gives us an excellent guide to the nation's future, by describing the new possibility of California--the largest Hispanic state in the union."--Richard Rodriguez, author of "Brown: The Last Discovery of America

"For more than two decades, Hayes-Bautista has been on the forefront of social scientists researching the developing Latino identity of California. The cumulative result is "La Nueva California, a tour de force of social science, enlivened by convincing detail, historical imagination, prophetic power, and--above all else--great hope."--Kevin Starr, author of "Americans and the California Dream series

"For more than a decade, David Hayes-Bautista has accurately charted the trajectory of the New California. He is the best qualified scholar to explain the pattern of Latino growth in California and its importance for California as a whole. His analysis is persuasive and sets forth constructive initiatives to allow the Latino presence in California to be a positive force for sustaining California as a state of opportunity and achievement."--Henry Cisneros, Chairman and CEO, American CityVista


The narrative of this book begins in 1940, when Latinos were a small minority and lacked political representation or public voice in California (see Figure 1). the Spanish language itself appeared to be on the verge of extinction in the state. Certainly schoolteachers prohibited the speaking of Spanish, even in the rigidly segregated “Mexican schools” to which Latino students were routinely assigned even if they knew how to speak English. Latino daily life was marked by a number of indignities, including housing covenants, which restricted their house occupancy to a few segregated areas; widespread employment discrimination, which defined the types of jobs that were “appropriate” for them; and social and racial barriers, such as having access to public swimming pools only on the one “colored day” per week. When the Latino presence in the state was noticed at all, it was viewed as a problem, the “Mexican Problem, ” that most public officials hoped would quietly go away.

But Latinos did not go away quietly. Instead, a combination of dynamics—war, labor needs, immigration, fertility, and mortality—created for Latinos a “second act” rare in American society. For, rather than fading away, Latino numbers surged and resurged after World War ii, so that by 2000, one out of every three persons in California is Latino, as seen in the 2000 composition in Figure 1. Particularly in southern California, the number-one television and radio shows are routinely broadcast in Span-

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