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Justice and Space Matter in a Strong, Unified Latino Community

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Kathy Bussert-Webb, María Eugenia Díaz and Krystal A. Yanez

Justice and Space Matter in a Strong, Unified Latino Community provides a detailed analysis of colonias along the Mexico–United States border, examining the intersection of culture, education, language, literacy, race, religion, and social class in Latino immigrant communities. The researchers investigated Corazón, a colonia in South Texas, as a case study of these unincorporated border settlements, consisting of mostly Mexican heritage residents and lacking many basic living necessities. Highlighting over ten years of research findings, the authors consider structural inequalities alongside the unique strengths of Corazón. Their acute observations dispel myths about such high-poverty communities and demonstrate how residents overcome the odds through activism, faith, and ganas. In presenting a portrait of the Corazón colonia, the authors offer a deeper level of understanding of one Latino community to inspire the development of a more equitable, compassionate world. This book will be invaluable to students and scholars of all fields who work with culturally diverse people in poverty, and will be ideal for courses in ethnic studies, multicultural studies, ethnographic methods, and socio-cultural applications for education.

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Chapter 2. Texas Colonias

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TEXAS COLONIAS

Introduction

Because we have not visited another colonia besides Corazón, we do not start with a scenario. Chapter 2 consists of a literature review and interviews with some adult Corazón residents. By applying the imprimatura or toned ground for Chapter 3, Chapter 2 begins with the Rio Grande Valley. It focuses on colonia demographics, histories, and economies along the Mexico-Texas border. Next, we explain why colonias are important for policy and research, and how colonia case studies may help us to understand culture, education, language, literacy, neighborhood, social class, slantwise, diasporic (motherland) practices, and neoliberalism. Slantwise, discussed in this chapter, signifies unorthodox practices for socially-acceptable ends (Campbell & Heyman, 2007). Next, people who live away from their homeland may engage in diasporic practices, e.g., using Mexican oregano tea for respiratory infections. Neoliberalism, an old concept, resurged in the 1980s with Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan (Duménil & Lévy, 2013).

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