African-Americans, Latinos, and the Construction of Race: Toward an Epistemic Coalition

Chicano-Latino Law Review, Vol. 19, 1998

SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 304

10 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2016 Last revised: 8 Jul 2016

See all articles by George A. Martinez

George A. Martinez

Southern Methodist University – Dedman School of Law

Date Written: 1998

Abstract

Latinos will soon become the largest minority group in the United States. African-Americans may therefore be about to give up political clout to Latinos. This prospect has generated tension between African-Americans and Latinos. Given this background, it is important for Critical Race Theory and Latino Critical Theory to consider the matter of the African-American/Latino relationship. With this in mind, the author discusses two important questions posed by the organizers of this panel: (1) How is the relationship between African-Americans and Latinos affected by the construction of race? and (2) Can Critical Race Theory benefit by a consideration of the race or racialization of Latinos?

In light of these questions, in Part II, the author argues that the construction of race impacts the relationship between African-Americans and Latinos. Specifically, the legal construction of Mexican-Americans as white has generated tensions that form a barrier to coalition-building between African-Americans and Latinos. He contends that Mexican-Americans should embrace a non-white identity to facilitate coalition-building with African- Americans.

In Part III, the author argues that Critical Race Theory can benefit from considering the racialization of Latinos. He contends that the racialization of African-Americans cannot be fully understood without considering the racialization of Latinos. As a result, he calls for an epistemic coalition comprised of all minority groups so that each group achieves knowledge about themselves and their place in the world.

Keywords: Critical Race Theory, Latino Critical Theory, Race, African-Americans, Latinos, African/Latino Relationship, Law, Minorities

Suggested Citation

Martinez, George A., African-Americans, Latinos, and the Construction of Race: Toward an Epistemic Coalition (1998). Chicano-Latino Law Review, Vol. 19, 1998, SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 304, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2798890

George A. Martinez (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University – Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States
214-768-3065 (Phone)
214-768-3142 (Fax)

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