Viego argues that the repeated themes of wholeness, completeness, and transparency with respect to ethnic and racialized subjectivity are fundamentally problematic as these themes ultimately lend themselves to the project of managing and controlling ethnic and racialized subjects by positing them as fully knowable, calculable sums: as dead subjects. He asserts that the refusal of critical race and ethnic studies scholars to read ethnic and racialized subjects in a Lacanian framework—as divided subjects, split in language—contributes to a racist discourse. Focusing on theoretical, historical, and literary work in Latino studies, he mines the implicit connection between Latino studies’ theory of the “border subject” and Lacan’s theory of the “barred subject” in language to argue that Latino studies is poised to craft a critical multiculturalist, anti-racist Lacanian account of subjectivity while adding historical texture and specificity to Lacanian theory.
To be Latino in the United States in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has meant to fierce identification with roots, with forbears, with the language, art and food your people came here with. America is a patchwork of Hispanic sensibilities-from Puerto Rican nationalists in New York to more newly arrived Mexicans in the Rio Grande valley-that has so far resisted homogenization while managing to absorb much of the mainstream culture.
Living in Spanglish delves deep into the individual's response to Latino stereotypes and suggests that their ability to hold on to their heritage, while at the same time working to create a culture that is entirely new, is a key component of America's future.
In this book, Morales pins down a hugely diverse community-of Dominicans, Mexicans, Colombians, Cubans, Salvadorans and Puerto Ricans--that he insists has more common interests to bring it together than traditions to divide it. He calls this sensibility Spanglish, one that is inherently multicultural, and proposes that Spanglish "describes a feeling, an attitude that is quintessentially American. It is a culture with one foot in the medieval and the other in the next century."
In Living in Spanglish , Ed Morales paints a portrait of America as it is now, both embracing and unsure how to face an onslaught of Latino influence. His book is the story of groups of Hispanic immigrants struggling to move beyond identity politics into a postmodern melting pot.