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The Latinx revolution in US culture, society, and politics “Latinx” (pronounced “La-teen-ex”) is the gender-neutral term that covers one of the largest and fastest growing minorities in the United States, accounting for 17 percent of the country. Over 58 million Americans belong to the category, including a sizable part of the country’s working class, both foreign and nativ The Latinx revolution in US culture, society, and politics “Latinx” (pronounced “La-teen-ex”) is the gender-neutral term that covers one of the largest and fastest growing minorities in the United States, accounting for 17 percent of the country. Over 58 million Americans belong to the category, including a sizable part of the country’s working class, both foreign and native-born. Their political empowerment is altering the balance of forces in a growing number of states. And yet Latinx barely figure in America’s ongoing conversation about race and ethnicity. Remarkably, the US census does not even have a racial category for “Latino.” In this groundbreaking discussion, Ed Morales explains how Latinx political identities are tied to a long Latin American history of mestizaje—“mixedness” or “hybridity”—and that this border thinking is both a key to understanding bilingual, bicultural Latin cultures and politics and a challenge to America’s infamously black–white racial regime. This searching and long-overdue exploration of the meaning of race in American life reimagines Cornel West’s bestselling Race Matters with a unique Latinx inflection.


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The Latinx revolution in US culture, society, and politics “Latinx” (pronounced “La-teen-ex”) is the gender-neutral term that covers one of the largest and fastest growing minorities in the United States, accounting for 17 percent of the country. Over 58 million Americans belong to the category, including a sizable part of the country’s working class, both foreign and nativ The Latinx revolution in US culture, society, and politics “Latinx” (pronounced “La-teen-ex”) is the gender-neutral term that covers one of the largest and fastest growing minorities in the United States, accounting for 17 percent of the country. Over 58 million Americans belong to the category, including a sizable part of the country’s working class, both foreign and native-born. Their political empowerment is altering the balance of forces in a growing number of states. And yet Latinx barely figure in America’s ongoing conversation about race and ethnicity. Remarkably, the US census does not even have a racial category for “Latino.” In this groundbreaking discussion, Ed Morales explains how Latinx political identities are tied to a long Latin American history of mestizaje—“mixedness” or “hybridity”—and that this border thinking is both a key to understanding bilingual, bicultural Latin cultures and politics and a challenge to America’s infamously black–white racial regime. This searching and long-overdue exploration of the meaning of race in American life reimagines Cornel West’s bestselling Race Matters with a unique Latinx inflection.

30 review for Latinx: The New Force in American Politics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Craig Werner

    The best introduction to the fluid, amorphous, confusing and absolutely crucial group of people and cultures connected by the title term, "Latinx." Moreales, whose previous book Living in Spanglish was in some ways an earlier draft of this one, does a great job tracking the complications of the Latinx (the x the unknown variable connected to gender/sexuality) matrix to the equally if differently complicated relationships between Christians, Muslims and Jews in Spain. Tracking the evolution of th The best introduction to the fluid, amorphous, confusing and absolutely crucial group of people and cultures connected by the title term, "Latinx." Moreales, whose previous book Living in Spanglish was in some ways an earlier draft of this one, does a great job tracking the complications of the Latinx (the x the unknown variable connected to gender/sexuality) matrix to the equally if differently complicated relationships between Christians, Muslims and Jews in Spain. Tracking the evolution of that triad in the relationships between Europeans, Africans and indigenous populations in the New World, he zeroes in on the crucial difference between ideas of race grounded in mestizaje and those grounded in hypodescent (the "one drop" rule peculiar to the US). Equally importantly, he's aware that even the theoretically fluid mestizaje/mestizo/border approaches to identity have in political reality been deeply impacted by the black/white racial binary. Although Latinx is occasionally repetitive--reflecting Morales's work as a journalist--it provides a clear take on the ways Mexicans, Cubans and Puerto Ricans shaped Latinx culture and politics in the US and the way that triad has been complicated by the presence of Dominicans, Central Americans, South Americans and Mexicans from south of Mexico City. He's very good on the ways neoliberal economics attempt, sometimes successfully, "multiculturalism"; his discussion of Hamilton is dead on. A fringe benefit is that while Morales never succumbs to academic abstraction or obscurity, he's thoroughly grounded in the scholarship of the last several decades, and the bibliographical notes on sources are an excellent reading list.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    This is one of the first books that I have read that also tried to cover the “mixed” experience instead of focusing on just Latinx/single race issues. It was a good step in the right direction to cover more of how people self-identify. This book is still very political and even goes into self-bashing for people that do not act like how they appear physically. If you can pull out the author’s (Ed Morales) personal opinions from the information in the book, it does provide some good base informati This is one of the first books that I have read that also tried to cover the “mixed” experience instead of focusing on just Latinx/single race issues. It was a good step in the right direction to cover more of how people self-identify. This book is still very political and even goes into self-bashing for people that do not act like how they appear physically. If you can pull out the author’s (Ed Morales) personal opinions from the information in the book, it does provide some good base information on the subject.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Markus

    Well it's perhaps best to explain this book by its pros and cons. Morales knows his history, and that is immensely important to this subject. He expertly explains Mestizaje (the Latinx concept of mixedness), how it came to be and how it clashes with the slavery-induced binary of the states. He is passionate about Latinx literature and music and gives nice sidenotes on how it is connected to the political situation(s) of Latinx. He explains the different groups that make up Latinx and their differ Well it's perhaps best to explain this book by its pros and cons. Morales knows his history, and that is immensely important to this subject. He expertly explains Mestizaje (the Latinx concept of mixedness), how it came to be and how it clashes with the slavery-induced binary of the states. He is passionate about Latinx literature and music and gives nice sidenotes on how it is connected to the political situation(s) of Latinx. He explains the different groups that make up Latinx and their differences based on history. All that is good and well, but I also had my gripes with it. First of all, Morales refuses any deeper analysis of the material conditions of Latinx (except in the very good chapter on advertising), but seems genuinely afraid of Marxism. His thoughts sometimes stray and he doesn't get to conclusive results. He alludes to DuBois and Derrida but never really applies their theories (especially Derrida and co. seem to be here for credit rather than support). The afformentioned factors make Latinx feel fuzzy sometimes. In fact it seems like a tract on Mestizaje and its results but wants to expand that topic into a full analysis of Latinx, failing to reach both the latter and the former in the process.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Read Morales' book as part of our theory reading group and gained a significant understanding of Latinx political and social positions in the United States. I was appreciative of the timely connections to the present moment and the deeper connections to U.S. pop culture and countercultures. Easily recommendable book for anyone outside the Latinx community looking for a comprehensive introduction to a myriad of political positions complex and multifaceted community.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Krystal Galvis

    “Latinx: The New Force in American politics” by Ed Morales is a political non-fiction piece that describes the in-between space of Latinx identity, revealing the blackness and indigenousness that’s been erased in history. He talks more about the mestizajie/mestizo identity that have been impacted by black/white racial binary. Latinx” is heavily political written in different approaches that I had to go back to make sure I had grasped the information correctly. But I was content with the mentions “Latinx: The New Force in American politics” by Ed Morales is a political non-fiction piece that describes the in-between space of Latinx identity, revealing the blackness and indigenousness that’s been erased in history. He talks more about the mestizajie/mestizo identity that have been impacted by black/white racial binary. Latinx” is heavily political written in different approaches that I had to go back to make sure I had grasped the information correctly. But I was content with the mentions of bilingual children like myself that learned English first and Spanish later(or don’t speak Spanish but understand it) because my brother and I are those children.

  6. 5 out of 5

    John Knowles

    Before discussing Ed Morales’ new book, it’s important to define what its title means. ‘Latinx’ is the gender-neutral terms for people of Latin American heritage. Latino, the traditionally used term, is, by its Spanish definition, masculine. Thus, many people feel that it’s an exclusionary term that associates Latin American people with men, by default. Latinx is, unsurprisingly, a book about the politics and history of the plethora of Latinx identities, which extends well back into the Middle Ag Before discussing Ed Morales’ new book, it’s important to define what its title means. ‘Latinx’ is the gender-neutral terms for people of Latin American heritage. Latino, the traditionally used term, is, by its Spanish definition, masculine. Thus, many people feel that it’s an exclusionary term that associates Latin American people with men, by default. Latinx is, unsurprisingly, a book about the politics and history of the plethora of Latinx identities, which extends well back into the Middle Ages. Morales starts off the book by relating the beginnings of Spanish identity, when what is now Spain was a Muslim colony called Al-Andalus. Muslim Moors (or Berbers) from northern Africa conquered most of the Iberian Peninsula in the 700s, a land inhabited by Catholics and some Jews. Morales writes about the complex relationship between these three groups and how the Moorish dynasty helped form the Spanish ethnicity that we know today. In 1492, the Catholic monarchs King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella forced out the Moorish dynasty (as well as the native Jews) and, ironically, set out on their own colonial expedition the same year. Christopher Columbus, rumored to be a Jew himself, thus started the transplant of the Spanish identity onto almost all of Central and South America, what we now call Latin America. Morales follows this historical progression in the following chapters of Latinx. The Spaniards brought the ethnic hang-ups that they had left over from the Moorish regime with them to the Americas. They enslaved the natives under the encomienda system and established a racial hierarchy called mestizaje. Morales writes that the, “Spaniards and Portuguese inherited the historical roots of racist views towards sub-Saharan Africans through their intimate connection with [Moorish] Islam customs, cultures & practices. Muslim practices of enslavement divided slaves between field and house work according to skin color. Lighter skinned slaves were favored over the darker skinned.” The nature of Spanish colonialism, in which swarms of male conquistadores held all the land/power and enforced the racial hierarchy by taking native wives, created the famously sexist machista culture, which persists in Latin America to this day. Importantly, Morales makes sure to write about Florida and the American Southwest (Aztlan), which most people forget belonged to the Spanish Empire for a couple centuries. In a paradigm-shifting bit of trivia, the author places, “the origin of the American cowboy in the 1850s, when a group led by Jose de Escandon crossed the Rio Grande to collaborate with Richard King, who founded the King Ranch.” By restating this history, he’s demonstrating that Latinx are as American as anyone, having occupied and culturally shaped what is now the USA for as long as the country has existed. This runs quite contrary to what many American nationalists claim today, with their foreign invasion/clash of cultures rhetoric. ‘Latinx: The New Force in American Politics and Culture’ by Ed Morales. 368 pp. Verso Morales then writes about the modern Latinx-American citizenry in the final, bulkiest section of the book. A major topic is how Latinx view themselves. The Latinx self-paradigm is shaped by nationality, religion and different notions of ‘race.’ The author notes that, “The US developed a racial matrix based on strict separation of races, rather than adopting the relatively fluid models of Iberian colonization, which engaged in a kind of exponential racial variation through both forced and negotiated miscegenation.” Latinx living in the US must internalize and externalize different ethnic identities when interacting with Caucasian, Asian, African, Native and Latinx communities. For instance, being black (negro/negra) in Latin America has some very different cultural permutations than being black in the US. The book is particularly focused on Cuban-Americans, Chicanos and Puerto Ricans (who are Americans, by definition). These three ethnicities have been closely tied to the US ever since the Mexican-American War, in which the US annexed half of Mexico, and the Spanish-American War, in which the US seized Cuba and Puerto Rico. Cuban-Americans, Chicanos and Puerto Ricans have had a huge impact on American electoral politics and culture, especially music. Morales writes a lot about the entwinement of politics in Latinx salsa, rock, jazz and hip-hop. Readers are also treated to many excerpts from Latinx poems and essays. Though, the book gives a not-so-fun fact about Latinx in Hollywood: only 1% of lead roles in movies are given to Latinx actors! American cultural hegemony over Latinx is also explored in the book. It explores how Latinx, particularly first-generation migrants, have been politically and economically encumbered. Latinx are mostly treated as objects by Democrats and Republicans alike, rather than as constituents. Politicians pander to either xenophobia or milquetoast platitudes about equality. Small wonder Latinx vote at a disproportionately low rate. As a result, Latinx are severely underserved not just on the immigration issue, but matters of employment, education and countless other issues. As the book’s subtitle suggests though, this is starting to change, just from sheer demographic changes. ‘Latino’ is now the 2nd most commonly given ethnicity in the US Census, behind ‘White.’ About 60% of Latinx are millenials or younger; thus, they will come to exert an ever-increasing influence of the labor market and pop cultural mores (Cardi B, anyone?). Latinx also have a disproportionately high purchasing power, $1.4 trillion, and social media presence. Morales illuminates the multi-billion dollar efforts to market to this young constituency, such as the NBC-owned Telemundo television network and countless focus groups. Though Latinx have under-utilized their voting power thus far, their population boom alone is making them more of a factor in elections. They disproportionately populate the biggest Electoral College states, such as New York and California, and swing states like Florida and Arizona. Pundits have spent many a segment extolling the Latinx voter bloc. Even the Republican National Committee recommended doing voter outreach to Latinos after Romney’s 2012 loss (guess Donald Trump never got the memo). Morales writes about Latinx voter enrollment efforts and misconceptions about Latinx social conservatism, particularly among the famous Cuban-Floridian voting bloc. Latinx: The New Force in American Politics and Culture is a thorough look at the history of the group of people called ‘Hispanic’ and ‘Latino.’ The effects of colonialism and banana republic neo-colonialism on people living in Latin America- and those who migrated to the US as a result- are exposed. The Latinx experience has been one of both cultural immersion and subversion of multinational power structures, such as racism and labor exploitation. There is no monolithic Latinx archetype- Latin America is a mix of Caucasians, natives, Africans, Middle Easterners and Asians. Though nominally Christian, worshippers in countries across the hemisphere have incorporated indigenous icons and beliefs, such as the Virgin of Guadeloupe and Santeria. Such diversity challenges American perceptions of Latinx and the racial hierarchy as a whole. Morales exposes these contradictions through history, data, poetry and personal anecdotes from his Nuyorican upbringing.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Darryl Barney

    I very much wanted to enjoy this book and learn more about Latinx. However, the glaring shortcoming of this work is its lack of citations. The “note on sources” section does not make me feel any more comfortable. For a work to make many historical claims, that there are no direct citations, is very troublesome. I do not doubt that Ed has the range to cite his sources directly, and I want to believe many of his claims here, but, without direct sources, for me, this work falls extremely short of a I very much wanted to enjoy this book and learn more about Latinx. However, the glaring shortcoming of this work is its lack of citations. The “note on sources” section does not make me feel any more comfortable. For a work to make many historical claims, that there are no direct citations, is very troublesome. I do not doubt that Ed has the range to cite his sources directly, and I want to believe many of his claims here, but, without direct sources, for me, this work falls extremely short of a scholarly or even serious exploration. I would not recommend this book in good conscience for these reasons. With that said, this work did at least get me thinking about Latinx, and that is a good thing.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Juan

    A comprehensive guide on the people who may or not identify as Latinx, who they are, where they are going and why they as a sleeping giant may never wake up.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Aida

    A critical look at Latinxs as an ethnic group, and the potential available in American politics. An excellent read that explores, race, class, nationalism, politics, and geography.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amy Dwyer

    Really interesting context on the Latinx community in the United States but I would've liked to have more discussion on the modern implications for the 'sleeping giant'

  11. 5 out of 5

    Soley

  12. 5 out of 5

    Josh D

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bea

  14. 5 out of 5

    Emmett O’Keefe

  15. 5 out of 5

    Criss

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Quiroz

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jhane

  18. 4 out of 5

    Juan Reynoso

  19. 5 out of 5

    Harpreet Gill

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eva

  21. 4 out of 5

    Emma

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shane Longoria

  23. 5 out of 5

    John Armstrong

  24. 4 out of 5

    Maribel

  25. 4 out of 5

    amanda

  26. 5 out of 5

    Leanne

  27. 4 out of 5

    Henry Dickmeyer

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jade

  29. 5 out of 5

    Roberto Ramos

  30. 4 out of 5

    Josh Brown

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