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Making Hispanics: How Activists, Bureaucrats, and Media Constructed a New American

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How did Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Cubans become known as “Hispanics” and “Latinos” in the United States? How did several distinct cultures and nationalities become portrayed as one? Cristina Mora answers both these questions and details the scope of this phenomenon in Making Hispanics. She uses an organizational lens and traces how activists, bureaucrats, and media exec How did Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Cubans become known as “Hispanics” and “Latinos” in the United States? How did several distinct cultures and nationalities become portrayed as one? Cristina Mora answers both these questions and details the scope of this phenomenon in Making Hispanics. She uses an organizational lens and traces how activists, bureaucrats, and media executives in the 1970s and '80s created a new identity category—and by doing so, permanently changed the racial and political landscape of the nation. Some argue that these cultures are fundamentally similar and that the Spanish language is a natural basis for a unified Hispanic identity. But Mora shows very clearly that the idea of ethnic grouping was historically constructed and institutionalized in the United States. During the 1960 census, reports classified Latin American immigrants as “white,” grouping them with European Americans. Not only was this decision controversial, but also Latino activists claimed that this classification hindered their ability to portray their constituents as underrepresented minorities. Therefore, they called for a separate classification: Hispanic. Once these populations could be quantified, businesses saw opportunities and the media responded. Spanish-language television began to expand its reach to serve the now large, and newly unified, Hispanic community with news and entertainment programming. Through archival research, oral histories, and interviews, Mora reveals the broad, national-level process that led to the emergence of Hispanicity in America.


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How did Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Cubans become known as “Hispanics” and “Latinos” in the United States? How did several distinct cultures and nationalities become portrayed as one? Cristina Mora answers both these questions and details the scope of this phenomenon in Making Hispanics. She uses an organizational lens and traces how activists, bureaucrats, and media exec How did Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Cubans become known as “Hispanics” and “Latinos” in the United States? How did several distinct cultures and nationalities become portrayed as one? Cristina Mora answers both these questions and details the scope of this phenomenon in Making Hispanics. She uses an organizational lens and traces how activists, bureaucrats, and media executives in the 1970s and '80s created a new identity category—and by doing so, permanently changed the racial and political landscape of the nation. Some argue that these cultures are fundamentally similar and that the Spanish language is a natural basis for a unified Hispanic identity. But Mora shows very clearly that the idea of ethnic grouping was historically constructed and institutionalized in the United States. During the 1960 census, reports classified Latin American immigrants as “white,” grouping them with European Americans. Not only was this decision controversial, but also Latino activists claimed that this classification hindered their ability to portray their constituents as underrepresented minorities. Therefore, they called for a separate classification: Hispanic. Once these populations could be quantified, businesses saw opportunities and the media responded. Spanish-language television began to expand its reach to serve the now large, and newly unified, Hispanic community with news and entertainment programming. Through archival research, oral histories, and interviews, Mora reveals the broad, national-level process that led to the emergence of Hispanicity in America.

30 review for Making Hispanics: How Activists, Bureaucrats, and Media Constructed a New American

  1. 5 out of 5

    Celia

    Mora gives a really interesting, easily accessible overview of the creation of a government-recognized pan-ethnic "Hispanic" label. There's a talk/presentation that exists that gives an overview of this book, though, that includes some graphs and other visual representations of her data that I'm not entirely sure as to why they weren't included in the book, though. Really helpful read for anyone who is interested in the topic, or for who is doing any work with identity formation and/or labeling.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carina Cornejo

  3. 5 out of 5

    Max Daniel

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Lichtman Castaño

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jae Anderson

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ming

  9. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Wang

  10. 5 out of 5

    Asya

  11. 5 out of 5

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  12. 4 out of 5

    Raúl

  13. 4 out of 5

    Megan

  14. 5 out of 5

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  15. 4 out of 5

    Remy

  16. 5 out of 5

    Orquidea Morales

  17. 4 out of 5

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  18. 5 out of 5

    Christine

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cristian Planas

  20. 5 out of 5

    olivia

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Riano

  22. 5 out of 5

    Haley Johnson

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hakan

  24. 5 out of 5

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  25. 5 out of 5

    Hattie Amelia

  26. 4 out of 5

    Megan Rodgers

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michael McGuigan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eric Bottorff

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sloane

  30. 5 out of 5

    Susan

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