Media construction of U.S. Latina/o identity as dIfference : the rhetoric of Arizona Senate Bill 1070
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This thesis focuses on the rhetorical formations of identities of people of color through news media coverage. Specifically, I investigate news media coverage of the Arizona immigration legislation, Senate Bill 1070. Major commercial media and Spanish-language media systems associate the immigrant identity to the U.S. Latina/o identity and position U.S. Latina/os as second-class citizens in American society. The language of the legislation, in addition to media coverage of it, works to reinforce race relations and the ideologies of meritocracy and cultural difference in the United States. Chapter one presents up-to-date demographic data, stressing the continuing growth of a diverse American people. Specifically, I use data on the U.S. Latina/o population as a way to establish this reality given that the data are recent. This chapter also presents the argument that current norms and standards in political opinions, such as those considered by policy makers, excludes opinions deriving from people with distinct cultural backgrounds. I present this argument in order to define and exemplify contemporary U.S. culture. The next chapter is a comparative close-textual analysis of news media coverage of Arizona SB 1070. Chapter two also outlines a theoretical framework in order to understand the functions of the media in society in relation to the rhetorical forms of reinforcing dominant ideological values. Chapter three utilizes survey data that speaks to the identity of U.S. Latina/o college students. As part of the questionnaire, I pose questions regarding language preference, generational status, media consumption and political knowledge. The results exemplify the prevailing bicultural component of U.S. Latinas/os and suggest that this ethnic group draws from different and contrasting ideologies. When comparing the identities presented by the media to the results of the questionnaire, discourse analysis suggests the notion that bicultural Americans are not acknowledged fully as citizens.