Edited by Julian Samora
Today, Spanish-speaking Americans comprise the largest ethnic group in the five-state area of California, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado, as well as one of the largest minorities in the United States. The action potential of this group is so great that area politicians refer to it as the “sleeping giant.”
The purpose of La Raza is to bring together a summary of material about this group in the related subjects of religion, political activity, civil rights, and the emerging middle class. This compilation attempts a general assessment of the current status of the Spanish-speaking people of the Southwest and the implications of their future growth and development.
The circumstances of history formed this minority. The colonizing efforts of Spain in North and South America, the mission chains, Indian resistance, the assimilation of the conquerors, the open Mexican Border, and the elements of resistance and aggression were so strongly persistent that elements of sixteenth-century Spain and modern Mexico survive today in the Southwest. Isolation was geographic as well as ethnic. Through the Mexican War the United States acquired a substantial part of Mexican territory. Although the Spanish-speaking people have gone through a triple integration of Spanish, Mexican, and United States citizenship, they have remained essentially Spanish-Mexican and are still in many instances highly resistant to complete acculturation.
The plan of presentation in this study includes the areas of history, church participation, labor problems, living conditions, education, civil rights status, and the difficulty minority groups encounter in participating in the politics of a dominant society. The results of Samora’s study indicate that the Spanish-speaking people are achieving a new sophistication in terms of education, the labor market, action programs, minority status, and language.