In this paper we present two case studies based on an analysis of interviews conducted during their participation in two distinct field placement experiences. The case studies illustrate how personal beliefs about instruction, contrasting field placements, and opportunities for reflection on those experiences influenced the thinking of the two elementary education students. The case studies highlight the difficulties pre-service teachers face in recognizing biases and misconceptions they have about children with whom they do not share a culture. In addition, the studies provide direction for thinking more clearly about the opportunities that can be fostered by community field placements. These community field placements could help pre-service teachers and other educators to confront and adjust assumptions regarding (a) learning and knowledge in non-school contexts, and (b) the abilities of children from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Finally, the studies challenge and modify assumptions regarding appropriate classroom roles for teachers and students.
Northwest Ohio is one of several areas in the Great Lakes region specializing in a variety of cash crops that historically require great influxes of migratory labor for brief periods of cultivation and harvesting. Bad economic conditions of migrant tomato pickers in northwest Ohio gave rise to their unionization between 1967-69. Baldemar Velasquez and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) made strong efforts at organizing them and succeeded in negotiating 21 contracts in 1968 and an additional 11 contracts in 1969. After the emergence of FLOC in 1967, the union had to press the case for free access to migrant camps, and had to go on strike before winning recognition and entering negotiations. Paradoxically, the successful organizing efforts produced collective bargaining agreements that the union eventually abandoned because they failed to remedy the low wages, irregular employment, and adverse working and living conditions. The theoretical frames of reference developed by Taylor and Craypo are used to explain and understand the union’s organizing success and failed collective bargaining. The paper documents the major events surrounding the unionizing activities and also interprets this paradoxical outcome in farm labor relations.
Wisconsin is one of several states in the Great Lakes region specializing in a variety of cash crops that historically require great influxes of migratory labor for brief periods of cultivation, harvesting, and processing. Successful organizing of migrant pickle workers by Jesus Salas in 1967 led to the certification of his union, Obreros Unidos (United Workers), as the workers’ exclusive bargaining representative. Despite the successful organizing efforts, however, the result of the collective bargaining efforts was the elimination of bargaining unit employee jobs by mechanical harvesting before even signing the contract. The theoretical frame of reference developed by Craypo is used to explain the union’s organizing success and failed collective bargaining. The model initially shows the established sources of the union’s bargaining strength, but because of the changing bargaining environment, they were not maintained long enough to successfully negotiate a single contract. The shirking of farmworker collective bargaining occurred through changes in the company’s organizational structure, technology, and the policy of the state’s legal apparatus. All combined to erode the union’s bargaining power and caused the union’s eventual demise. The analysis also shows that agricultural production via contract farming is a significant determinant of migrant field labor collective bargaining structures and outcomes.
This paper examines how the changing economy of the Midwest region has affected and is expected to affect Latinos' health based on a review of the literature on the region's "deindustrialization" process, the participation of Latinos in the region's economy, and the effect of worker displacement, unemployment and poverty on health status. Due to lack of information specific to Latinos, the assessment on the effect of worker displacement on Latino health status is made by extrapolating from studies performed on other non-Latino populations which share, at least, some of the Latino socioeconomic experiences and characteristics. Based on the available evidence, the most plausible scenario is that the structural changes in the Midwest economy are contributing to a deterioration of Latinos' health status. The implications for policy-making and implementation are discussed. About the author: Dr. Roberto E. Torres is King/Chavez/Parks Visiting Lecturer at the Eastern Michigan University Health Administration Program and Research Associate with the Julian Samora Research Institute at Michigan State University. Dr. Torres holds a Ph.D. in SocioTechnological Planning with a specialization in health-care planning and administration.
The need for understanding and building upon diversity in education has received national attention. This concern is largely in response to the increasing number of children from linguistically and culturally different backgrounds, many of them are at risk of school failure. The urgency of this situation emerged a decade ago, spurred by the 40 and 50 percent dropout rates among Mexican American and Puerto Rican students, respectively. In contrast, demographic reports indicate that the racial/ethnic composition of teachers is increasingly White. This striking imbalance between the student and teacher populations appears to ensure that in the near future, all teachers will be instructing students whose cultural backgrounds are different from their own. Multicultural education was defined in 1979 as “education involving two or more ethnic groups and designed to help participants clarify their own ethnic identity and appreciate that of others, reduce prejudice and stereotyping, and promote cultural pluralism and equal participation.” No matter how well intended, brief and decontextualized experiences with diversity may only serve to affirm pre-conceived negative images of children from diverse backgrounds, rather than call such portrayals into question. Research suggests that merely reading articles about diversity or responding to hypothetical scenarios has limited impact on students’ beliefs and actions. For teachers’ education, the use of electronic communications to gain global resources for understanding self and others is timely and accessible, and opens new possibilities for integrating multicultural education into existing teacher education programs.
I attempt a rhetorical reading of print on three walls or surfaces within a Latino community that is mostly Mexican in origin and located in a medium-sized Midwestern city. Th e three surfaces are the bedroom walls of a teenaged child whose parents are Mexicano, the Spanish print on downtown storefronts, and gang graffiti on buildings close to a new strip mall. I read these surfaces in order to highlight the socioeconomic and ethnic tensions of the city. In a larger sense, however, my reading also argues that communities, particularly in modern urban settings, are woven with each other's ways of being, and this means that traditional notions of cultural and ethnic identity are questionable. Another argument of the paper concerns the rhetorical nature of social science texts, particularly ethnographic texts; hence, knowledge-making is also story-making.
This paper explores the complex processes and discourses in the construction of identity among Mexican Americans in St. Paul, Minnesota during the post-war period of 1945-1960. The construction of ethnicity within a group arises out a complex interaction between external and internal influences. It results of the tension between social and political contexts, arising from the desire of the group to maintain cultural traditions within a society that requires a certain degree of conformity from immigrants. The pressure to conform to post-war Minnesota society significantly affected Mexican-Americans in St. Paul who did not desire to surrender their cultural traditions and values and constantly sought to define their distinctiveness. The formation of ethnic identity was a process of interaction between the White communities’ definition of the Mexican American community and how they envisioned Mexican Americans would conform to American political, social, and economic institutions, as well as, Mexican American own construction of ethnicity. According to the author, the annual Independence Day celebrations played a crucial role in the construction of the Mexican American identity. It is an event that was assimilationist but also resistant to assimilation, reactive to larger social trends but also assertive and formative. The celebrations reflect the incredibly complex processes involved in “becoming Mexican American.”
This essay presents an overview of various issues concerning the high rate of poverty among urban Hispanics (Latinos) in the United States. The major contemporary theories and hypotheses relating to poverty among ethnic or racial minorities are briefly outlined with a view toward assessing how well they appear to help explain the impoverishment of urban Latinos. None of the explanations covered appears to fully explain the problem by itself, although two or three appear to account well for a substantial part of it. In part, this is likely to result from the fact that the Hispanic population of the United States consists of several subgroups with vastly different experiences in this country. Indeed, the initial and major arguments of the paper consist of emphasizing the importance of separating the Latino subgroups for individual treatment when analyzing their respective economic circumstances. In particular, it is shown that differences in the subgroups’ timing and patterns of settlement can affect their relative well-being. The focus of the essay is on the two largest of the Latino subgroups, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans, who together are shown to account for over 4 out of 5 of the known Hispanic poor.
This paper examines the current health status of the Latino population in the Midwest region based on the available data. There is a critical lack of data on health status and health-related issues of Latinos in the Midwest. Statistics indicate that heart disease and cancer are the two leading causes of death in this population. There are also indications that diabetes, cirrhosis, mental illnesses, hypertension, arthritis, substance abuse, AIDS, homicide and infectious diseases represent serious threats to the health of Latinos. Maternal and child health seems to be poor in many respects. Improvements on the Latino health status will require not just health programs tailored to their particular needs but, even more important, an active participation in the labor force within the Midwest economy.
In this working paper Dr. Ruiz analyzes previously published selections of poetry written by Chicano and Puerto Rican poets from Detroit in the 1980s. The two major themes expressed and analyzed in this selection reflect two central concerns of the Latino community of this city. The first theme is that of retaining pride in their cultural heritage in spite of the pressures exerted by the dominant, hegemonic culture and society. The second theme deals with the social conditions and problems endured by Detroit’s predominantly working class Latinos in their struggle for existence.
This paper examines the large scale trends in America's agriculture leading to larger and fewer farms and changes in the farm population and hired worker patterns. The author draws out several important implications for Latino farm laborers, especially seasonal and migrant farm workers. The overall implication of these changes is that they will lead to a greater regulation of farm labor which, in turn, could lead to fewer employment possibilities for domestic Latino farm workers and greater utilization of imported farm labor. Also laid out are several issues for research related to these trends and their implications. Dr. Rochín examines the large scale trends in America's agriculture leading to larger and fewer farms as well as changes in the farming population and hired worker patterns. Rochín then draws out several important implications for Latino farm laborers, with an emphasis on seasonal and migrant farm workers. The author argues that these changes will lead to a greater structuration and regulation of farm labor which, in turn, could lead to fewer employment possibilities for domestic Latino farm workers and a greater utilization of imported farm labor. Several research issues related to these trends and their implications are also explored.
In 1980, a million Hispanics resided in five Midwestern states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The Midwest, however, is not a region of the country generally associated with a Hispanic population. Few studies on the economic performance of Hispanics in the Midwest are available. This study examines how Midwest Hispanics have fared in the labor market during the changing economic conditions of the last decade. Using 1970 Census data, the 1976 Survey of Income and Education, and the MArch 1981 Current Population Survey, the employment status of Midwest Hispanics during the last decade is examined. Favorable employment conditions characterized the beginning of the decade; the national employment rate in April 1970 was 4.3 percent. The Midwest reported in 1970 a higher median income for Hispanics than any other region. The Hispanic population was expected to increase dramatically due to favorable economic conditions. The seventies, however, materialized as a decade of economic contraction. By 1980, unemployment rates in the region approached historic levels. With the exception of Illinois, the projected increase in the Midwest Hispanic population in 1980 did not occur. During the economic downturn, Hispanics experiences higher rates of unemployment than whites. Hispanics continues to be especially vulnerable to a decline in industrial jobs; over half of the males and two-fifths of the females attributed their employment in 1980 to manufacturing. Although Hispanics will benefit from efforts to revitalize basic industries such as steel, auto, and rubber, revitalization of industrial America will not by itself guarantee jobs for Hispanics. Many of the new industrial jobs will require advanced skills and training. Unless revitalization involves addressing the low educational attainment of Hispanics, these industrial Jobs will be beyond the grasp of Hispanic workers. Finally, discrimination against Hispanic workers continued in both the best and worst of economic times. Hispanic males earned in 1969 about one-fifth less than whites, and the gap continued throughout the decade. A prior study in 1970 showed the earnings gap remained, even after controlling for human capital characteristics. A cursory analysis of males' earnings in 1980 showed a higher rate of return for schooling for whites than Hispanics. These findings suggest the need for strong anti-discrimination efforts by the government in favorable as well as unfavorable employment conditions.
This paper examines 1980 patterns of spatial isolation and interaction between persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican and Cuban descent in selected U.S. metropolitan areas. Each group experiences low to moderate levels of isolation from the rest of the metropolitan population. In addition, contact between these groups is relatively low. The effects of socioeconomic status, size and growth of group population, level of suburbanization, racial composition of group, supply and demand for housing and discriminatory practices in the housing market on residential segregation were explored using regression analysis. Results suggest that overall the model is a good predictor of spatial isolation experienced by these groups. However, the model is not very strong in predicting variations in the degree of interaction between these groups except in the Puerto Rican specifications. These findings underscore the need for further scrutiny of existing theoretical assumptions as adequate explanations for prevailing patterns of interaction between Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Cubans.