The New Entrepreneurs: How Race, Class, and Gender Shape American Enterprise

The New Entrepreneurs: How Race, Class, and Gender Shape American Enterprise

The New Entrepreneurs: How Race, Class, and Gender Shape American Enterprise

The New Entrepreneurs: How Race, Class, and Gender Shape American Enterprise

Synopsis

For many entrepreneurs, the American Dream remains only partially fulfilled. Unequal outcomes between the middle and lower classes, men and women, and Latino/as, whites, and blacks highlight continuing inequalities and constraints within American society. With a focus on a diverse group of Latino entrepreneurs, this book explores how class, gender, race, and ethnicity all shape Latino entrepreneurs' capacity to succeed in business in the United States.

Bringing intersectionality into conversation with theories of ethnic entrepreneurship, Zulema Valdez considers how various factors create, maintain, and transform the social and economic lives of Latino entrepreneurs. While certain group identities may impose unequal, if not discriminatory, starting positions, membership in these same social groups can provide opportunities to mobilize resources together. Valdez reveals how Latino entrepreneurs- as members of oppressed groups on the one hand, yet "rugged individualists" striving for the American Dream on the other- work to recreate their own positions within American society.

Excerpt

Following the passage of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which made it illegal for employers to knowingly hire unauthorized workers, Doña Toña’s husband lost his job. the next day, she sent him to the grocery store and with their last $10 instructed him to buy a bag of flour, sugar, lard, and two packets of yeast. Although Doña Toña’s husband resisted, arguing that he needed the money to buy gas and find a new job, she convinced him after a few tears to do what she asked. She used the ingredients to bake her mother’s conchas, empanadas, and cuernos in her kitchen from memory. Like the fragrance of a freshly baked apple pie on the windowsill, the smell of pan mexicano wafted through the Mexican neighborhood, and the people came. “Out of those ten dollars I made eighty at the end of the day.” Doña Toña made sweet breads the next day and the day after that, until she earned enough to file her husband’s legal papers and then her own. During those desperate months, she kept her job of two years at the Port of Houston, where she washed Toyotas as they were being unloaded from Japanese ships. Her combined income from bread making and car washing was just enough to cover their expenses. After her husband returned to work, Doña Toña found a better-paying job as a janitor at Exxon, and she continued to bake and sell sweet bread and tacos to fellow employees. It was there that she got the idea to open a restaurant:

The [White] American who owned half of the business started talking about
wanting some Mexican food and asked me to make him some…. I told him I
could make them some chicken mole. After that I started making more and
more meals, including tamales. the owner of the company said that I could

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.