¿Vecinos o Enemigos?: Latino National Identity and the Debate over English as the National Language
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The intersection of race, rhetoric and public policy, particularly pertaining to Latino politics, is a growing area of development. Albeit historically, most immigrants to America faced similar questions of cultural and linguistic allegiance, the case regarding Latinos is unique. Given their continual demographic growth, now occupying the nation’s largest “minority” group, much political debate and commentary has arisen regarding the nations state of national unity and identity. For instance, is there a negative correlation between increasing levels of Latino immigration and the stability of the English language as lingua franca? Alternatively, does increasing levels of Latino immigration threaten the sustainability of “American” values and beliefs? Named and defined as a policy “problem,” Latinos, Latino immigration and the Spanish language have become framed as policy “problems” needing solutions. In efforts to unpack this rhetorically rich debate over national identity, race, culture and language, the canon of invention is analyzed insofar as the creation of Latinos as policy “problems,” with close attention drawn also toward policy makers supposed “solutions.” Engaged in both past and present attempts toward declaring English the national language on both the state and federal level, this project largely concerns itself within the 2006 Senate English as the national language debate, along with the growth of one of the nation’s most out-spoken limited-immigration, English-only proponents, Tom Tancredo.
Brown, Donathan Lawrence (2011). ¿Vecinos o Enemigos?: Latino National Identity and the Debate over English as the National Language. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from