Beyond El Barrio: Everyday Life in Latina/o America

Beyond El Barrio: Everyday Life in Latina/o America

Beyond El Barrio: Everyday Life in Latina/o America

Beyond El Barrio: Everyday Life in Latina/o America

Synopsis

Freighted with meaning, “el barrio” is both place and metaphor for Latino populations in the United States. Though it has symbolized both marginalization and robust and empowered communities, the construct of el barrio has often reproduced static understandings of Latino life; they fail to account for recent demographic shifts in urban centers such as New York, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles, and in areas outside of these historic communities.

Beyond El Barrio features new scholarship that critically interrogates how Latinos are portrayed in media, public policy and popular culture, as well as the material conditions in which different Latina/o groups build meaningful communities both within and across national affiliations. Drawing from history, media studies, cultural studies, and anthropology, the contributors illustrate how despite the hypervisibility of Latinos and Latin American immigrants in recent political debates and popular culture, the daily lives of America’s new “majority minority” remain largely invisible and mischaracterized.

Taken together, these essays provide analyses that not only defy stubborn stereotypes, but also present novel narratives of Latina/o communities that do not fit within recognizable categories. In this way, this book helps us to move “beyond el barrio”: beyond stereotype and stigmatizing tropes, as well as nostalgic and uncritical portraits of complex and heterogeneous range of Latina/o lives.

Excerpt

In The Souls of Black Folk, W. E. B. Du Bois notes that a persistent, yet unasked question between him and “the other world” is “How does it feel to be a problem?” A similar question might be posed to contemporary America’s Latina/o populations, who recently have emerged simultaneously as a possible solution to America’s race problem, as well as a pernicious symbol of the nation’s enduring dilemma of citizenship, race, legality, and social membership. Thus the question Latinas/os face today is a similar one posed by Du Bois more than one hundred years ago, about not only the feelings of being defined as a problem, but also the strange experience of looking at oneself and one’s communities “through the eyes of others.” For many Latinas/os, media images and popular cultural renderings of their families and communities mirror the anxieties as well as the expectations and hopes of mainstream America, rather than the complex realities characterizing Latina/o lives. Ironically, at a moment in which Latinas/os are increasingly visible in U.S. popular culture, media, public discourse, and community struggles, the material conditions and actual experiences of U.S. Latinas/os are largely unexplored, misunderstood, and frequently trapped in racialized stereotypes.

This interdisciplinary volume intervenes in public discourse about Latina/o communities by featuring scholarship that critically interrogates both how Latinas/os are portrayed in media, public policy, and popular culture, as well as the material conditions in which different Latina/o groups build meaningful communities. In the chapters that follow, the authors illustrate how despite the hypervisibility of Latinas/os and Latin American immigrants in recent political debates and popular culture, the daily lives of America’s new “majority minority”—their efforts to build community with other racial, ethnic, and sexual communities; their attempts to lay claim to full citizenship rights; their community activism; their rich array of cultural production—remain largely invisible and, perhaps more important, mischar-

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.