The stories of these young Latinos reveal them as ordinary young Americans with many of the same experiences and hopes and aspirations as other young Americans of other ethnic backgrounds. Latinos are no different and perhaps here is what I want to convey in this book. Latinos are us and we are they. There should be no basis for irrational fears or hysteria that Latinos will fundamentally change American life and culture. Yes, they will add to it and the country will become to some extent Latinized but not in a way that fundamentally changes the culture. All ethnic groups contribute to what we mean by being “American” and the same has been true of Latinos. They change and we change and that is the process of social life.
Combating racism and other forms of discrimination, Latinos have a long history of civil rights struggles with the aim of integration. Despite being considered foreign, strangers, aliens (including “illegal aliens”), Latinos have fought in all of this country’s wars and as American soldiers in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan. In World War II, as part of the Greatest Generation, perhaps as many as half a million Latinos fought in the military—and not for the Mexican army but for the U.S. Army. Latinos have shed their blood as Americans. The Latino Generation that I write about is the inheritor of this legacy.
In some unexpected ways, it is Mitt and Gwen who have the most in common. For both of them are not only children of immigrants, but children of parents who were themselves children of immigrants.
Historically, race and gender have had the most significant impact on the creation of immigration policy and its outcomes; but those factors have always been intertwined with larger social concerns about foreign policy and national security, the economy, scientific and medical issues, morality, and attitudes about class, religion, and citizenship.
Everyone loves their mama and their grandmama, but we’ve always felt like mamas and grandmamas have a special place in the southern kitchen and the southern heart. That legacy of family as a source of strength is especially southern. We heard stories from so many people who have maintained a strong connection with their mothers and grandmothers despite being half a world away.
For too long, popular interpretations of the Civil War have portrayed foreign-born soldiers as hirelings and mercenaries, similar to the hated “Hessians” who had fought for the British during the American Revolution. It is high time to acknowledge that they had as many ideological reasons for fighting as their native-born counterparts.
Dolly’s story is one of many that take us into the complex humanity of Italian immigrant women. She was anything but a victim. Throughout her life she embodied a full range of possibility. While her actions were at times controversial, she was decisive, savvy, and acted on her own behalf and in service of those in her community. It seems she learned this from her own mother Rosa, whose combined wisdom and ability to act was what saved her grandson’s life.
On the discovery of Confederate tchotkes in a not-so-Confederate region of the South
As someone who has experienced the melting pot first hand, and who has seen the worst that Americanization can do to hummus, I beg you join me in saying to corporate America: Hands off my hummus.
As a continuation of our series of posts on National Women’s History Month, today’s post will be about an event from 99 years ago today–the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City. While horrific–146 workers, mostly poor Italian, German, and Jewish women between the ages of eight and twenty perished–the fire at Triangle Shirtwaist …
Looking for an inexpensive get-away this summer? Well, you’re in luck. Now through July 5th on the National Mall in Washington DC is the annual cornucopia of world culture–the Smithsonian Folklife Festival! The best part about it? IT’S FREE! This year one of the festival’s three themes is Wales which, of course, reminded me of …