In Latino Professionals in America, Maria Chávez combines rich qualitative interviews, auto-ethnographic accounts, and policy analysis to explore the converging oppressions that make it difficult for Latinos to become professionals and to envision themselves as successful in those professions. Recounting her own story, Chávez interviews 31 Latino professionals from across the nation in a variety of occupations and careers, contextualizing their experiences amid family struggles and ongoing racism in the United States. She addresses gender inequality within the Latino community, arguing that by defending, rationalizing, or ignoring patriarchy within the Latino community perpetuates systems of oppression—especially for women; gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals; and others at the intersections. The experiences of these Latino professionals and the author’s analysis provide a blueprint for what works—one, both pragmatic and hopeful, that uses real lives to illustrate how a combination of public policies, people, and perseverance increases the presence of America’s fastest-growing demographic group in the professional class.
Table of Contents
Preface, Acknowledgements 1. Introduction: Metamorphosis 2. The Pioneers: How Latino Professionals Overcame Obstacles Through Public Policies and Mentors 3. The Warriors: Latino Testimonios From Professionals 4. The Leaders: "Our Lived Experiences—That’s Where the Power Resides" 5. On Making it, Motivations, and Persistent Systemic Barriers 6. Conclusion: Solutions for Increasing the Numbers of Latino Professionals Appendix A: Interview Questionnaire, Appendix B: Respondents’ Demographic Background
Maria Chávez is Associate Professor of Political Science at Pacific Lutheran University. She is author of Everyday Injustice: Latino Professionals and Racism (Rowman & Littlefield 2011), lead author of Living the Dream: New Immigration Policies and the Lives of Undocumented Latino Youth (Paradigm 2015), and co-editor of Latinos in the United States: Racialization, Discrimination and Resistance (Routledge, 2018). She teaches classes in public policy, American government, racial and ethnic politics, and Latino politics.
Maria Chávez has given us a remarkable and compelling book that deftly entwines social science with courageous acts of personal storytelling. Manifesting a profoundly civic spirit and a keen sense for the resiliency in the midst of struggle modeled by the Latina/o pioneers, warriors, and leaders who populate the volume, Chávez shows us, in the memorable words of one participant, "where the power resides" to fight racism’s historical legacies and emboldened current tenor, alike. In abundant measure, this exploration of Latino professionals’ experiences-in-context illuminates the equity-enhancing policies, altered gender frameworks, and counterracialization strategies needed to wage and win that fight.
Paul Apostolidis, Professor and Judge & Mrs. Timothy A. Paul Chair of Political Science, Whitman College, and author The Fight for Time: Migrant Day Laborers and the Politics of Precarity (Oxford, 2019)
Dr. Chávez writes a rich and deeply personal account of the nuances, idiosyncrasies and challenges Latinos encounter while making their way to professional careers, and the race-, class-, and gender-specific obstacles that meet them once attaining coveted professional positions. Her book demonstrates that a combination of targeted equity-enhancing public policies and mentors is what makes all the difference in whether one can receive an education and become an active, productive, and contributing member of society. Accessible, informative and insightful—it is a must-read for all community members, professionals, students, faculty, and anyone interested in promoting equity, inclusion and social justice in the world.
Jerry Flores, PhD, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Toronto
Our ability to understand the successful pathways to social and professional mobility is crucial if we are to fulfill the great potential of our community. Maria Chávez' fascinating book is an important presentation of the, often painful, narratives of success within our community that is often shrouded in myth.
Stephen Nuño, Chair and Associate Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Northern Arizona University