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Latinas/os on the East Coast

A Critical Reader

Series:

Edited By Yolanda Medina and Ángeles Donoso Macaya

Latinas/os on the East Coast: A Critical Reader provides a comprehensive overview of established and contemporary research and essays written about communities that represent the Latina/o diaspora on the East Coast of the United States. Collectively, it contributes to the historical, cultural, political, and economic dynamics that affect the Latinas/os’ lived experience of the country. Analyzed through an interdisciplinary lens, this reader offers a critical examination of the policies and the practices that affect the following current and emerging themes and topics: History; Ethnicity and culture; Immigration, transnationalism, and civil rights; Education; Health; Women’s studies; Film and media studies; Queer studies; Literature; Visual and performing arts.
This book is an indispensable resource for scholars, researchers, educators, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as any individual, group, or organization interested in issues that affect Latinas/os in the United States in current times.
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Introduction

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Yolanda Prieto

The four articles in this section discuss the evolution of the presence of Latinos in the East Coast of the United States. In particular, they explore the massive migrations from the Hispanic Caribbean of Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and Dominicans.

“A Plea to Destigmatize Mariel,” by Siro del Castillo, is an informative and human piece that exposes the distortions and myths that were leveled against the Mariel emigration from Cuba in the 1980s. According to del Castillo, there is “no group in this country whose social, cultural, economic and political reality has been more distorted and less understood.” The presence of some individuals who were mentally ill or had criminal records among the “Marielitos” served as an excuse to label the whole group as unfit. The sad part of this is that the established Cuban community itself, which at first considered the Mariel migrants heroes, soon turned against them. Much of the prejudice and discrimination against Marielitos was the work of already-established Cubans—those who came in the 1960s and 1970s and who were generally white and of higher economic and social backgrounds. Many Mariel immigrants have succeeded in the United States, and the extent of prejudice against them has diminished.

The work by Gabriel Haslip-Viera explains the evolution of the Latino Community in New York City. According to Haslip-Viera, most of the immigrants who came to New York from Latin America in the late nineteenth century were business people, professionals,...

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