by Laura E. Gómez
The New Press
A timely and groundbreaking argument that all Americans must grapple with Latinos' dynamic racial identity--because it impacts everything we think we know about race in America
Latinos have long influenced everything from electoral politics to popular culture, yet many people instinctively regard them as recent immigrants rather than a longstanding racial group. In Inventing Latinos, Laura Gómez, a leading expert on race, law, and society, illuminates the fascinating race-making, unmaking, and re-making of Latino identity that has spanned centuries, leaving a permanent imprint on how race operates in the United States today.
Pulling back the lens as the country approaches an unprecedented demographic shift (Latinos will comprise a third of the American population in a matter of decades), Gómez also reveals the nefarious roles the United States has played in Latin America--from military interventions and economic exploitation to political interference--that, taken together, have destabilized national economies to send migrants northward over the course of more than a century. It's no coincidence that the vast majority of Latinos migrate from the places most impacted by this nation's dirty deeds, leading Gómez to a bold call for reparations.
In this audacious effort to reframe the often-confused and misrepresented discourse over the Latinx generation, Gómez provides essential context for today's most pressing political and public debates--representation, voice, interpretation, and power--giving all of us a brilliant framework to engage cultural controversies, elections, current events, and more.
"The critically important story of Latinx racial formation told here requires the impressive skills and knowledge of a scholar like Gómez. Inventing Latinos is informed by a hemispheric sweep centered on U.S. empire, an ability to trace history over centuries, and an appreciation of class relations and power." --David Roediger, author of How Race Survived U.S. History
"Gómez reveals that history is not past. Instead, she shows us that as racism evolves, the U.S. commitment to racism remains steady, creating, but never quite controlling, Latinos as a distinct racial group. But if racism's allure continues to tug powerfully at some segments of the United States, Inventing Latinos reveals that creative resistance is never far away." --César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, author of Migrating to Prison
"Written with exceptional clarity and drawing on deep research, Inventing Latinos presents not only a brilliant account of the changing position of Latinxs, but also a nuanced understanding of racism in the U.S. today." --Howard Winant, co-author of Racial Formation in the United States
About the Author:
Laura E. Gómez is a professor of law, sociology, and Chicana/Chicano studies at UCLA. She is the author of Manifest Destinies, Mapping Race, and Misconceiving Mothers. She lives in Los Angeles.