By Marco Portales
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Extra resources for Crowding out Latinos: Mexican Americans in the public consciousness
But after nearly two generations in which these writers have labored intensely to create a visible literature and to promote cultural pride among Mexican Americans and other Latinos, I suspect that most Americans, Hispanics included, Page 13 would be hard pressed to name a single Chicano book, poem, and perhaps even a single author. In light of this reality, we should not be surprised to find that middle-class, tax-paying Chicanos, who understandably are still not pleased with how the media represent us, express uncertainty about our private and public roles in American society.
Although Spanish-speaking Americans comprise one out of every nine citizens, Hispanics are seldom seen speaking for and representing our country in the cultural life of the United States. Crowding Out Latinos undertakes to point out this strange absence and the lack of Hispanic participation in the public consciousness of American life. It also proposes to explain why Latinos do not factor more prominently as influential citizens and leaders when the demographics strongly suggest that we should.
The media por- Page 4 trayals, educational struggles, and attitudes that Hispanics normally encounter in American life, as well as our own understandably ambiguous responses to the postcolonial environments in which we are born, grow, and develop, are documented by Chicano historians and authors. But even though our narratives both describe how we currently represent ourselves and respond to how we are seen in general throughout the United States, such counternarratives have not received wide enough attention and dissemination to impact the rest of American society.