Monday, October 23, 2006
Recovering History, Constructing Race: The Indian, Black, and White Roots of Mexican Americans (2006) by Martha Menchaca
This volume is an examination of the history of Mexicans in the territory of the present-day United States, emphasizing the role of legal systems in restricting racial groups and establishing a second-class political, economic, and social level for the Mexican American minority population. Using the theoretical framework developed by Michael Omi and Howard Winant in Racial Formation in the United States, Menchaca (anthropology, Univ. of Texas, Austin) suggests that the dominant white populations in colonial Spanish America, independent Mexico, and the United States have used the rule of law to discriminate against those descended from African and Indian populations. One significant contribution of the book is an attempt to examine the mostly forgotten role of Mexicans of African descent in the Mexican American population of the United States. The author's focus on this population is important if overemphasized. This volume will be of interest to academic libraries and public libraries with Latino collections.