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NOV latino generationThe Latino Generation: Voices of the New America
Mario T García
2014, University of North Carolina Press
269 pages, hardback

 

DONALD TRUMP, the political chump with a funny hairstyle who has very unpleasant views about Mexicans, would be well advised to read this book. That is because his dream of becoming president is far more ridiculous than the dreams that have driven waves upon waves of Latin American immigrants to enter a country not known for its warm embrace in search of a better life (one free, by the way, of intolerance). Mario García’s interviews with second-generation Latinos – the children of those immigrants – is a fitting testament to the power of those dreams as well as the contradictions that they can create. Despite the obstacles the Latino community faces (not least because of specimens like Trump), this collection of oral histories reveals the breathtaking mobility that the Latino generation is achieving. As the author himself pointed out in an interview, “… these second-generation Latinos had within one generation gone from working-class parents to first-generation college students. This is remarkable and unprecedented in Latino history in the US …” This mobility helps to explain the growing power of the Latino community, which now amounts to 55 million people, or 16 per cent of the US population. As García points out, by 2050 one out of every three Americans will be Latino and all Americans will be affected by this momentous demographic trend – making it imperative for them to understand their Latino neighbours and their backgrounds. They could start by reading this book. Trump would be well advised to take this to heart. Perhaps someone should send him a copy. – EC

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