Out of many, más : imagining a U.S. Latino political audience
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U.S. Latino political integration is a theme that has entered the public agenda in recent years, advanced by both professionals and scholars. However, most political actors have ignored the tremendous racial and socio-economic differences in American Latino communities. Many political actors have made fundamental assumptions about what constitutes the American Latino experience, including overemphasizing the language and other cultural similarities of these populations while disregarding their different experiences of race and class. This thesis analyzes how political actors, including American Presidents, Latino civic organizations, Spanish media and Latino youth, have constructed Latino pan-ethnicism through their rhetoric. To investigate this question, a multi-method analysis of rhetoric and political communication directed towards or about U.S. Latinos was conducted. Data indicates that official participants in U.S. Latino racial formation, Presidents and Civic Organizations, are rapidly constructing pan-ethnic rhetoric while other non-official participants challenge and deconstruct pan-ethnic rhetoric. The normative value of this thesis represents a contribution to the question of Latino inclusion in the United States, as well as complicating traditional notions of assimilation and political acculturation. Finally, this work challenges American Latinos to critically reflect on their own identity formation, and how they may begin to reclaim it.
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