La Raza

La Raza

  • Forgotten Americans

  • by Julian Samora

  • 236 pages, 6.00 x 9.00

  • Paperback | 9780268003340 | October 1973


Today in five Southwestern states there are more than four million Spanish-speaking Americans. It is the largest ethnic group in the five-state area of California, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado and among 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 this book 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 implication 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 sixteenth-century Spain and modern Mexico survive today in the Southwest. Isolation was geographic as well as ethnic, and the main stream of Anglo-American political thought and historical evolution bypasses this part of the world. 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 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. In this research in one of the largest ethnic groups in the United States today, past, present, and future are thoroughly examined and the conclusion is one of current activity and future development. The results of this 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.