Miami Now! Immigration, Ethnicity, and Social Change

Miami Now! Immigration, Ethnicity, and Social Change

Miami Now! Immigration, Ethnicity, and Social Change

Miami Now! Immigration, Ethnicity, and Social Change

Synopsis

The book illustrates the unparalled happenings in what is arguably the most internationalized American city.

Excerpt

In January 1992, articles in the National Geographic, Esquire, and New York magazines converged on a single theme. The topic was not the country's economic troubles or the political battles of an election year but the remarkable events taking place in an American city. The city is not one of the nation's largest or one of the most centrally located. For many years, its familiar profile was that of a semitropical playground with southern-style race relations. But in the last quarter of a century, Miami has been transformed in ways never before experienced by an American city, and journalists and literati elsewhere have taken note.

On February 27, 1992, President George Bush published an editorial piece in the Miami Herald. It is extraordinary for any city for the president of the United States to submit an op-ed article to the local newspaper. What made the event even more remarkable is that the president did not discuss what his administration had done or would do for Miami but rather what it had done and would do toward a foreign country. The president sought to reassure his readers that he would continue to stand tough against Castro's Cuba. His was an electioneering gesture toward the Cuban-American community, concentrated in Miami, which has come to play a pivotal role in Florida's Republican party politics.

The episode illustrates the unparalleled happenings in what is arguably the most internationalized American city. What makes Miami distinct is not the large number of foreigners, for other cities like New York and Los Angeles have even more immigrants. It is rather the rupture of an established cultural outlook and a unified social hierarchy in which every group of newcomers takes its preordained place. Instead of an ethnic queue dictated by the familiar views and prejudices of white Protestants, Miami has developed an unexpected and virulent case of cultural pluralism. In the process, southern-style race relations were torn asunder to open space for some groups to reaffirm their own definitions of the situation and for others to fall farther behind.

The central event that ushered in this remarkable transformation was without doubt the Cuban Revolution. The displaced Cuban bourgeoisie resettled en masse in Miami, resisting early efforts of the federal govern-

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.