Crowding out Latinos: Mexican Americans in the public by Marco Portales

By Marco Portales

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I begin with these facts because most Americans do not think of Hispanic American citizens as much more than unskilled laborers. Rarely are we seen as a people who can contribute to the social and economic growth and development of the United States. Most citizens cannot produce an acceptable answer when they ask themselves, ''Why aren't Page x more Hispanics successful? Don't they aspire to more? '' This book endeavors to demonstrate that we Latinos want to contribute to this great country of ours as much as the next taxpayer, but certain realities continually obstruct that desire generation after generation.

About thirty years ago, Chicano literature began to surface almost simultaneously in the heads and hearts of a number of Chicano activists in the Oakland-Berkeley area; Albuquerque; Denver; the Los Angeles-San Diego area; Crystal Page 19 City, south Texas; and other Mexican American communities throughout the country. Interest in a literature of our own was prompted by the vacuum that many Mexican Americans began to feel in the wake of the 1965 Delano grape strikes and the marches that Cesar Chavez and the National Farm Workers Association organized in California.

As we enter the twenty-first century, Mexican Americans and other Latinos need to diagnose our situation in the United States in order to determine the legacy we would like to leave our children. Like all people, we have our own problems, but we should not be blamed for educational and media-representational limitations that essentially have been imposed on us. We are proud of our heritage and roots, but sometimes we also tend to be embarrassed and ambivalent about our circumstances and prospects.

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