|About the Book|
As the US has historically defined racial boundaries by the black-white binary, there has been no clear consensus as to where the Latino-identified subgroups fit in the racial and political landscape. Even though the Latino-associated are conceivedMoreAs the US has historically defined racial boundaries by the black-white binary, there has been no clear consensus as to where the Latino-identified subgroups fit in the racial and political landscape. Even though the Latino-associated are conceived of as a monolithic group in popular terms, it does not necessarily mean they consider themselves such. Therefore, what is the basis for their commonality as a panethnic group? Instead of relying on culture as an explicator of panethnicity, I use the concepts of race and racialization to highlight the way that differences from the white racial norm can be used as liabilities. I argue that the Latino identity gains its political potency from common racialized experiences--whereby Latinos are situated as a subordinate racial group. My methods include a discourse analysis of email archives from a local news website, a focus group discussion, statistical analysis of the Los Angeles County Social Survey, and interviews with staff members at two Los Angeles community organizations. My research reveals that the panethnic term is ambivalently used as a racial self-descriptor among the Latino-associated- that is, they accept it as their racial designation but are uncomfortable with using the notion of race to describe themselves. Interestingly, the term Mexican is much more negatively racialized than the term Latino, indicating that many individuals are choosing to assume their most negatively viewed identities. Further, many of the Latino-identified value multiculturalism, often using it as a response to racialization, subtly subscribing to the growing American rhetoric of identity politics as racist. In this way, the Latino-identified, racialized across the board as non-American, are ironically more American than ever. Thus, I find that those associated with the Latino identity bear a common racialized experience, but that the panethnic term is underutilized as a political tool.