Evolving Latino Identity

Alfredo Mirandé, a professor of sociology and ethnic studies at the University of California, Riverside, presented a lecture on the “Evolving Identity of the Latino.”

The "Evolving Identity of the Latino" was discussed by Alfredo Mirandé Monday in the Hach Hall Atrium.

Mirandé is a distinguished professor of sociology and ethnic studies at the University of California, Riverside, and a scholar of Chicano sociology, masculinity, the relationship among law, race, class and gender. He is also a practicing attorney.

To begin his lecture, Mirandé talked about his book “Gringo Injustice,” where he introduced the attendees to the main topic of the lecture, which was the “Evolving Identity of the Latino,” in relation to the justice system, along with racial profiling.

His book was co-authored by what Mirandé described as his “dream team” of people, which consisted of ex-law enforcement as well as ex-gang affiliated people, providing different perspectives upon how the justice system reacts to Gringo culture.

“When writing this book, I was, if anything, a coach for these amazing people,” Mirandé said.

Following his background information regarding injustices for Latinos, Mirandé decided to give attendees some historical background as well. He discussed the results of the Mexican-American War, where many Latinos/Chicanos were pushed into Americanized society without being given a second thought. He also discussed the term “social bandit” and what it meant to be a social bandit in Chicano culture.

He emphasized social bandits were those who took justice into their own hands and were considered heroes among those around them, but lacked heroism in the eyes of the law.

“If you’re a member of the minority you were seen as a social bandit; if you’re a part of the majority and you’re taking justice into your own hands, then you’re a vigilante,” Mirandé said. “Vigilante sounds a lot better to me than a bandit.”

Mirandé also discussed how Mexicans face the dual system of justice regarding immigration, as well as the social attack due to racial profiling. He compared rates of lynchings and hate crimes within Latino culture in correlation to other races and cultures, covering the lack of knowledge that fully regards Latino hate crimes.

“Today Latinos/as are grossly overrepresented as victims of anti-immigrant rhetoric and hate crimes,” Mirandé said.

Mirandé then talked about gang members in Latino culture and how they’re portrayed, as well as police brutality and killings of people in Latino culture.

Following the lecture, Mirandé took part in a question and answer session, in which an audience member asked how young Latinos should pursue their careers in the face of adversity.

“As corny as it sounds, just follow your passion,” Mirandé said. “Do what makes you happy, what you’re passionate about.”

This lecture was hosted by Lazos, a group of Hispanic/Latino men in leadership positions at Iowa State. This lecture was also sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Committee on Lectures.

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