Locating Latinos in the Field of Civil Rights: Assessing the Neoliberal Case for Radical Exclusion Who Is White?: Latinos, Asians, and the New Black/Nonblack Divide Essay
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Locating Latinos in the Field of Civil Rights: Assessing the Neoliberal Case for Radical Exclusion WHO IS WHITE?: LATINOS, ASIANS, AND THE NEW BLACK/NONBLACK DIVIDE. By George Yancey.[dagger] Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2003. Pp. x, 230. $49.95.
I. Introduction: A New Kind of Racism
Poor Latinos! Nobody loves them. Think-tank conservatives like Peter Brimelow, joined by a few liberals and a host of white supremacist websites, have been warning against the Latino threat: Because our dark-haired friends from south of the border insist on preserving their peculiar language and ways, they endanger the integrity of our Anglocentric culture. In order to guard against Balkanization and associated disorders, we should limit immigration from Latin America and police the southern border even more vigilantly than we do now.1
Recently this group of scholars has been joined by a second group. Composed for the most part of moderate liberals, these writers argue that Latinos pose a different kind of threat. Classified as minorities by many university and public administrators, members of this group nevertheless consume social services and affirmative action slots intended for the country's historic minorities-blacks and Native Americans. Precisely because Latinos assimilate, according to these commentators, they have little claim on our civil rights sympathies.2 Latinos, then, come under fire from the right for not assimilating and from the left for doing the exact opposite. The right uses unassimilability as a rationale for keeping Latinos out; the left, their success in fitting in as a reason for denying public benefits and places in colleges and universities to ones who are already here. Individualistic, no-nonsense Americans have a limited stock of empathy, this group writes. Why risk compassion fatigue by extending our civil rights sympathies to groups who