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Forced Sacrifice as Ethnic Protest

The Hispano Cause in New Mexico and the Racial Attitude Confrontation of 1933


Phillip B. Gonzales

Forced Sacrifice as Ethnic Protest brings to light important aspects of identity politics by introducing «forced sacrifice» as a type of protest that ethnic minorities in the United States occasionally mount, particularly against liberal regimes in public institutions. Social science concepts and the literature on social sacrifice help define a spontaneous confrontation in which the protest crowd dramatically forces the institution to dismiss – that is, to sacrifice – one of its own agents as a symbolic concession to ethnic inequality and as a way to open up social reform. The Racial Attitude Confrontation of 1933, involving the Hispanos of New Mexico, is analyzed in terms of forced sacrifice. The Hispano cause is clarified as a significant tradition of ethnic mobilization that arose in the Southwest between the 1880s and the 1930s, revealing some key symbolic and instrumental elements of identity as minority groups mobilize for their interests.