Professor lectures on Latinos in U.S. society

by Breeanne Clowdus | 5/6/94 5:00am

Arturo Madrid, a humanities professor at Trinity University and lifelong activist for Latino causes, spoke last night about the ways in which Latinos are challenged in American Society today.

His talk, titled "An American Metamorphosis:Chicanos/Latinos," was part of the "Voices of Diversity" series and attracted the largest turn out thus far in the series.

History Professor Marysa Navarro introduced Madrid to an audience of about 50 people.

The two professors were colleagues when Madrid was a Dartmouth professor between 1965 and 1970 and have remained good friends since then.

Madrid explained that during the latter half of the 20th century, Latinos have been "demonized by American society as scabs and barbarians." Because of this fear-inducing demonization, he said, there has existed a "constant subversion of community to participate and become part of American Society."

Madrid also addressed the issue of Latino diversity. "We share as many differences as similarities. When we talk about the Mexican community, this does not mean it is homogenous. However, all of us [Latinos] experience the feeling of otherness in American Society," Madrid said.

The three challenges Madrid sees for Latinos in American society are funding the education of non-white peoples; the ardent resistance from American Society to provide health care for poor immigrant Latinos; and the poor treatment of Latinos in the employment sector, he said.

"Latinos tend to not to be unemployed, but underemployed, working multiple low-paying jobs with no benefits," Madrid said. This underemployment is not the fault of the Latino, Madrid explained, but a symptom of the rapidly evolving job market.

Despite the underemployment, "more businesses were started by Hispanics during the 1980s than any other group in American Society," he said.

Madrid is a New Mexico native and an important proponent of the effort to recognize the importance of Latino Americans.