In 1964 one of the hottest political potatoes in California and throughout the Southwest was the termination of the bracero...

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READINGS ON LA RAZA: The Twentieth Century

In 1964 one of the hottest political potatoes in California and throughout the Southwest was the termination of the bracero program -- a government sponsored arrangement which since its inception in 1942 had undercut the bargaining power of farm workers, adversely affected Mexican-American labor, resulted in high domestic unemployment, held agricultural wages down to bracero levels and exploited unknown numbers of ""wetbacks."" Agribusiness, predicting the unionization of farm laborers, many of whom are Chicanos, launched an expensive campaign to extend the program -- and indeed it was in the following year that the Delano grape pickers and Cesar Chavez struck. Until then and the much publicized Kennedy investigation most of us weren't aware of La Raza, an estimated 7 million Mexican-Americans, or their abominable economic condition which is linked with agriculture, who are as much victimized by racism and stereotyping (remember Steinbeck?) as blacks, yet who, until the recent emergence of spokesmen such as Chavez, Rodolfo ""Corky"" Gonzales in Colorado, Reies Lopez Tijerina in New Mexico and Jose Angel Gutierrez in Texas, have been unorganized and silent. But as this graphic and disturbing collection of magazine pieces, newspaper stories and government hearings shows, La Raza may well become within the next few years a numero uno social issue confronting us.

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Hill & Wang/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1973