King's College London
Online Exhibitions
Ploughing the sea: Latin America observed

Ethnicity and Latin America

Front cover of pamphlet showing a group of young Mexican-American boys.Stan Steiner. The Mexican Americans (London, 1979). Reproduced by kind permission of Minority Rights Group.US influence on Latin America, in both economic and political terms, has been a defining feature of the region and the Panama Canal project is a major example of such influence.

However, Hispanic and Latino Americans number an estimated 50 million within the United States, so the relationship between the northern superpower and its Latin American neighbours, at least in demographic terms, has been a reciprocal one. Many in Latin America have made the journey north to contribute to the economic prosperity and cultural diversity of the USA and to benefit from the freedoms its society offers.

Following the Mexican-American war and the 'Mexican Cession' of territory by the United States in the south-western region in 1848, a great number of Mexicans found themselves citizens of the United States. The pamphlet on show here examines the history of these 'Mexican-American' people - themselves hailing from varying traditions and locations - and their search for an identity, equality and prosperity within the United States.

The passage below, found in the pamphlet, examines the stereotypes that Mexican-Americans have fought against.

The stereotypes of the lazy Mexican, sleeping beneath his huge sombrero, are one such caricature; he is lethargic and treacherous, romantic and murderous, cold-blooded and passionate. Comic and cruel, these stereotypes are still common. The media image of the Mexican American has changed little through the years and it persists in the fantasy of ignorance that gave it birth.

ARCHIOS™ | Total time:1.2534 s | Source:database