Living in Spanglish by Ed Morales
The Search for Latino Identity in America

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Synopsis

Chicano. Cubano. Pachuco. Nuyorican. Puerto Rican. Boricua. Quisqueya. Tejano.

To be Latino in the United States in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has meant to fierce identification with roots, with forbears, with the language, art and food your people came here with. America is a patchwork of Hispanic sensibilities-from Puerto Rican nationalists in New York to more newly arrived Mexicans in the Rio Grande valley-that has so far resisted homogenization while managing to absorb much of the mainstream culture.

Living in Spanglish delves deep into the individual's response to Latino stereotypes and suggests that their ability to hold on to their heritage, while at the same time working to create a culture that is entirely new, is a key component of America's future.

In this book, Morales pins down a hugely diverse community-of Dominicans, Mexicans, Colombians, Cubans, Salvadorans and Puerto Ricans--that he insists has more common interests to bring it together than traditions to divide it. He calls this sensibility Spanglish, one that is inherently multicultural, and proposes that Spanglish "describes a feeling, an attitude that is quintessentially American. It is a culture with one foot in the medieval and the other in the next century."

In Living in Spanglish , Ed Morales paints a portrait of America as it is now, both embracing and unsure how to face an onslaught of Latino influence. His book is the story of groups of Hispanic immigrants struggling to move beyond identity politics into a postmodern melting pot.

 

About Ed Morales

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Ed Morales is a Village Voice staff reporter who has contributed to numerous publications, including Rolling Stone, The Miami Herald, San Francisco Examiner, The Los Angeles Time and The Nation. He is also a poet whose work has appeared in Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Café and a fiction writer included in Iguana Dreams and Boricuas.
 
Published April 1, 2007 by St. Martin's Press. 320 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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My astrological sign is Gemini, and my twin sides are a harmony of opposition, both sides of the human story.” The author eventually concludes that “the working definition for Latinos (or Hispanics) should be ‘everything.’ ” Impassioned but fragmented.

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In discussing the Lower East Side's famous Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Morales examines the effect of gentrification, finding that the (now defunct) Jennifer Lopez–"Puffy" Combs relationship mirrors the economic and cultural help that black culture has supplied in the mainstreaming and commercializatio...

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