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New Latino Diaspora Essay

1196 words - 5 pages

In the readings by Figueroa and Wortham et al, they introduce the term “New Latino Diaspora”. Wortham defines “New Latino Diaspora” as “areas without traditional Latino presence to which Latinos have increasingly moved over the past 15 years” (Wortham, 4). Figueroa defines these new areasof immigration as located in the US Rush Belt, the post-industrial region straddling the Northeastern and the East North Central States (Figueroa, 265). In these areas, as Wortham et al discuss, long-standing residents are confronted with the questions of who Mexican immigrants are and how Mexican immigrants fit into their town. Because Mexicans have just begun to settle in these areas, “models of Mexican identity are normally less entrenched” and so there tend to be more positive models of immigration identity than in areas where Mexicans have settled for a long time (Wortham et al, 3-4). However, as the readings show these immigrant identities’ often pit Mexicans against other minorities, creating a racial hierarchy that keeps whites in power, and depicts them as educationally inferior to others.
In the reading, by Wortham et al they focus on the increasing population of Mexicans in the suburb of Marshall. Most Marshall Residents characterize Mexican immigrants “as uncomplaining hard workers who contribute to civic life and who are different than African Americans” (Wortham, 7). When asked to describe Mexicans the Italian resident, considered white, said, “Mexicans, you put them to work and they work. ... but the black people they just want everything for free” (Wortham et al, 6). Many other residents, again mostly white, responded in a similar way; Mexicans are hard workers while the African American residents are lazy and criminals. The authors describe this description as the “model minority” stereotype. Wortham et al define the “model minority” as “‘the good’ minority that seeks advancement through quiet diligence in study and work and by not making waves; the minority that other American minorities should seek to emulate” (Wortham et al, 6). While Mexican immigrants might be depicted in a positive light through the “model minority” stereotype, this stereotype only furthers white supremacy and leaves minorities, including Mexicans, inferior to whites. The concept of a “model minority” was developed in the 1960s and it was first used to specifically describe Asian Americans, it signified that “Asian Americans had finally succeeded in becoming accepted into white, middle-class society through their hard work, uncomplaining perseverance and quiet accommodation” (Wortham et al, 6). Thus, “model minority” is a term used to show the acceptance of a minority into the hegemonic white society;therefore, whites continue to be seen as the ideal race, and continue to dominate over other races. It is also a tool for whites to create the idea that minorities’ socioeconomic status is their fault and not the cause of systematic oppression and segregation. Mexicans are...

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