Racism in the Americas and the Latino Scholar

  • Silvio Torres-Saillant


Citizens become most deserving of the name when they recognize themselves as agents of change responsible for making society more truly human. In that respect, the burden of citizenship usually weighs heavier for members of diasporic communities than for the regular citizenry since they have more than one society to improve. Among ethnic minorities in the United States, Latinos face this civil overload with distinct acuity. I can think of at least two reasons for this. First, Latinos for the most part still retain meaningful ties to their ancestral homelands. This is true whether their insertion into the U.S. population resulted from an act of American imperial conquest such as those of 1848 and 1898 or from the massive migratory flows that poured in from Latin America beginning in the first half of the twentieth century Second, most Latin American societies have in recent decades made seductive advances to their respective emigré communities to secure the continued flow of remittances that have become practically indispensable to the region’s economies. These advances include dual citizenship and voting rights abroad, initiatives whereby Latin American state authorities have sought to formalize legislatively their ties to their diasporic communities. Given this scenario, Latinos can feel authorized to intervene on behalf of the downtrodden in their ancestral homelands without concern for the predictable charge that in seeking to influence Latin American societies from their location in the North they might perpetuate the ethnocentric assumptions of American cultural imperialism in the region.


Dominican Republic Latino Community Racial Oppression White Supremacist Cultural Citizenship 
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© Anani Dzidzienyo and Suzanne Oboler 2005

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  • Silvio Torres-Saillant

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