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All this is turning white now: latino constructions of "White Culture" and whiteness in Chicago

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Abstract:

In the past decade or so, scholars in white critical studies have focused largely on how whites have produced and redefined whiteness in their own terms as a means of preserving their social privilege and legal entitlements. Ramos-Zayas' article contributes to this literature, by examining how a subordinate population-Latinas/os in Chicago- construct and articulate whiteness and expose-even question- white normative privilege. Drawing from extensive ethnographic data, the article argues that, in varying degrees, Latinas/os in Chicago have developed complex conceptions of "white" culture and identity. These conceptions are rooted in dialectical racial perceptions shaped in the context of demographic and economic change, urban gentrification, everyday interactions, and Latina/o (largely Puerto Rican) displacement in the northwest of Chicago. In this sense, Latinas/os construed and articulated whiteness as a function of power and privilege, as a multitiered "ladder" of whiteness. Some Latinas/os position certain whites, particularly dispossessed or "ethnic" immigrants, more proximate to themselves in class and social values; although this proximity does not generate measurable class (much less ethnic) solidarity.

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