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Latinas/os on the East Coast

A Critical Reader

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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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Daniel Enrique Pérez

The representation of Latina/os in film and the media in the United States has a multilayered and vexed history. Besides feeling compelled to address the lack of representation, Latina/os in the industry have had to contend with combating negative stereotypes that have long and stubborn roots. Furthermore, despite the fact that Latina/os have participated in, and made important contributions to, virtually all segments of U.S. society throughout the history of the United States (e.g., socioeconomic, political, and cultural), we have yet to figure into the national imaginary and cultural heritage of the United States as anything other than foreigners. Our true heritage and contributions remain deeply embedded beneath a sea of lies and omissions regarding who we are and the contributions we have made. There are at least two main factors that have played a significant role in shaping the representation of Latina/os in the visual culture and media of the United States: (1) the lack of visibility or virtual erasure of Latina/o heritage and identities in cultural production, and (2) the distortion or misrepresentation of the limited depictions of Latina/o heritage and identities that do manage to make their way into the visual culture and media of the United States. The essays included in this section address both of these issues; they compel the reader to rethink Latina/o heritage and identity in the United States by documenting and examining the representation of Latina/os in film, media, and other forms of cultural...

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