The Latino Family and the Politics of Transformation

The Latino Family and the Politics of Transformation

The Latino Family and the Politics of Transformation

The Latino Family and the Politics of Transformation

Synopsis

The purpose of this book is to serve as a guide to understanding the Latino family in the United States and to describe the personal, political, historical, and sacred choices available in creating a freer and more fruitful family life. By linking theory to practice, the book provides a reenvisioning of the Latino family. Before any family can look at itself in a new way, it has to have a theoretical perspective. The book's theory of transformation provides a perspective that allows us to understand Latino families and the family in general. Furthermore, the politics of transformation shows us how to create fundamentally new and better relationships within the family.

Excerpt

The Latino family, as well as the family in general, is in deep trouble in our society. After much searching and pain the reality is that there is no such thing as an ideal family. Nevertheless, an ideal model has been embraced for centuries by the Latino culture, one similar to that of the fundamentalist movement in the United States: a patriarchal family where the mother performs the usual gender tasks of the household, the children are all reared to have respect for authority, and they are all God-fearing. Trying to live such an ideal type is not easy, has contradictions, and eventually becomes dysfunctional. For example, Presidents Reagan and Bush, who romanticized this view of the family, also supported economic policies that forced women into the workplace in order to make it possible for the family to survive.

Other idealized images of the family continue to lull us to sleep. We are shown in the media the lovely wives and children of politicians and business leaders. What we are seeing is merely external appearances and not what actual qualities of relationships are necessary to hold members of a family together.

Recent demographic studies have exposed the illusions of the model held up for us to emulate. Divorce is increasing; teenage pregnancy is growing throughout the nation; stepfamilies are commonplace; test-tube babies are removing the father altogether; fro-

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