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The Latina/o Midwest Reader$
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Omar Valerio-Jiménez, Santiago R. Vaquera-Vásquez, and Claire F. Fox

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041211

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041211.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

Not Just Laborers

Not Just Laborers

Latina/o Claims of Belonging in the U.S. Heartland

(p.102) Not Just Laborers
The Latina/o Midwest Reader

Marta María Maldonado

University of Illinois Press

This essay focuses on Latina/o claims to belonging in the community and the nation while working and living in Perry, Iowa. Attracted to jobs in the meatpacking industry, Latinas/os made connections to Perry and developed a sense of belonging despite feeling initially unwelcomed by the town’s residents. Among the challenges confronted by Latina/o residents were the policing of their use of Spanish, negative perceptions of a local Spanish-language radio station, and the racialization of Latinas/os as criminals and foreigners. By confronting these challenges and claiming a place in the community, Latinas/os demonstrated the changing nature of the rural heartland. The town’s Latinas/os characterized themselves as integral to the social, economic, and political fabric of their community and the nation.

Keywords:   Iowa, meatpacking, new gateways, ethnography, racialized language, sonic landscape, contested heartland, oral interviews, nationhood, rural Midwest

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