Making Hispanics : How Activists, Bureaucrats, And Media Constructed A New American
The question this book asks and answers is notable for its simplicity: how did Mexicans, Cubans, and Puerto Ricans become known as Hispanics” in the United States? Mora tells us how and why this happened. During the 60s there were no civic or market organizations that connected the three groups, but by 1990, activists and media executives had forged national, Hispanic panethnic organizations. Even census forms had been modified to incorporate the Hispanic category. By 1980, media executives worked closely with census official and activists to develop programming that introduced Spanish-language audiences to the new Hispanic census classification. Mora tracks the historical emergence of a tight web of organizational networks and links that, even today, help uphold the notion of Hispanic panethnicity. She devotes a chapter to the evolution of Univision from a regional Mexican network into a national Hispanic one, showing the network’s heavy involvement in census promotional activities in the late 1970s. (Media executive could use census data to create Hispanic marketing manuals, and the data allowed them to prove to advertisers that their audience was sizeable and national in scope.) Her story unfolds in three steps: first there were the activists, who pressured the Census Bureau to count them; then the activists, supported by the media entrepreneurs, negotiated the Hispanic” category with Bureau technocrats; and finally, all three groups worked together to institutionalize and popularize the new category.