HISPANIC U.S.A.: Assimiliation or Separatism? by Thomas Weyr

HISPANIC U.S.A.: Assimiliation or Separatism?

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KIRKUS REVIEW

It's not easy to write a book about a group whose members range from middle-class Cubans in Miami to impoverished Mexican Indians working the soil on US mega-farms. Recognizing the difficulty of assembling accurate information on this elusive subject, Weyr (Reaching for Paradise: The Playboy Vision of America, 1979) here takes an anecdotal, sometimes rambling approach, drawing on interviews with Hispanic leaders from across the country and covering an enormous territory: immigration history, bilingual education, Hispanic politics and culture, etc. Weyr gives a good feel for what it is like for most Hispanics to be on the outside of the melting pot, waiting for the chance to jump in. Unlike previous immigrant groups who assimilated more quickly, Hispanics have held back for a number of reasons, including their mistrust of US authorities and politicians--going back in many cases to their early ""illegal"" days--and their strong attachment to a culture kept alive by proximity to the homeland and by the efforts of an advertising industry that caters to the $70 billion Hispanic ""universe."" Ultimately, according to Weyr, the sheer population of this universe, expected to include 25 to 30 million by 1990, will force change: ""The future for Hispanic politics looks bright,"" he says. ""It has to. The numbers alone are the guarantee."" Weyr gives the mistreatment of agricultural and other workers short shrift, but acknowledges the importance of Hispanics in the US economy--and thus offers a useful look at the awakening political power of this huge immigrant population.

Pub Date: April 13th, 1988
Publisher: Harper & Row