The Trouble with Unity: Latino Politics and the Creation of Identity

The Trouble with Unity: Latino Politics and the Creation of Identity

The Trouble with Unity: Latino Politics and the Creation of Identity

The Trouble with Unity: Latino Politics and the Creation of Identity

Synopsis

Over the past decade, much attention has been given to examining the growing political influence of Latinos in the United States in order to define the so-called "Latino vote." The existence of a coherent, pan-ethnic Latino political agenda is, as this book shows, not only highly debatable, but democratically unviable.

Situated at the intersection of political theory and Latino studies,The Trouble with Unityis a nuanced critique of civic Latinidad and the Latino electoral and protest politics that work to erase diversity and debate in favor of images of commonality. Cristina Beltrán looks at key moments in U.S. Latino political history through the lens of political, feminist, and cultural thought to provide a theoretically driven account of the many ways in which Latinos lay claim to the public realm. In its innovative approach to the realities of Latino protest politics,The Trouble with Unityadvances both social movement and democratic political theory.

Excerpt

The Sleeping Giant has awakened and will not sleep again.

—Eugene Nelson, activist, September 1966

The Hispanic giant in the United States is awakening and coming out of his labyrinth of sol
itude—to use the evocative phrase coined by Mexican poet Octavio Paz. As he stirs himself,
this giant will continue to get bigger.

—Geoffrey Godsell, journalist, April 1980

For many years, people were saying that Latinos were a sleeping giant…. That giant is getting
up now. Times are changing.

—Gaddi Vasquez, Orange County supervisor, 1991

The United States is becoming a Latino nation. In the next century, every critical decision that
this country makes will have to pass through the filter of the Latino vote. That’s where the
numbers, and this country, are headed.

—Jorge Ramos, journalist, 2004

The sleeping Latino giant is finally awake.

—Jaime Contreras, activist, 2006

Latinos in the United States have long been characterized as subjects on the cusp of political power and influence. Enmeshed in what feels like a recurring cycle of emergence, discussions of Latino political power elicit new allusions to old metaphors. Again and again, we are told that a sleeping giant is waking and that a demographic wave is about to crash upon American shores.

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