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Laura E. Gómez, professor of law and Interim Dean of the Division of Social Sciences at UCLA gives the second of two keynotes at ASU's Speaking the Unspeakable Conference (Feb. 17-18, 2017).
In “On the Continuing Relevance of History: Manifest Destiny, Racism and Nation-Building in the Present,” Gómez posits that more than ever, all Americans should be aware of the long and rich history of Mexican Americans, and especially of the complex position of the original Mexican Americans who negotiated their place in both the regional and national racial landscapes of the late 19th century. Anyone who hopes to understand the dramatic and unstoppable demographic shift that is changing the U.S. from a majority-white to a majority-minority nation, where whites will become a minority compared to Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and those who claim a multi-racial identity must grapple with this racial history in order to make sense of the present and future racial order. This history—detailed in the new edition of Manifest Destinies: the Making of the Mexican American Race, to be released in 2017—must be the starting point for thinking about social policies that will move us forward as a nation in ways that allow for the full incorporation of Latinos. Rather than repeat the mistakes of the past, we must understand how we got here in order to move forward in a way that seeks to perfect our national promise of equality and civic incorporation of all Americans. Gómez's comments will explore contemporary racial politics that have played out in the past decade—from the pro-immigrant rallies of 2006 that blocked immigration legislation, to enforcement of local and state anti-immigrant laws like Arizona’s SB1070, and in some senses culminating in one of the most divisive presidential elections in American history, in which Mexican Americans played a leading role. What lessons do these events hold for how race and racism have changed and where Latinos fit in the new racial order?
Attendance at the conference and keynotes is free of charge and open to the public, but registration is required. The conference is supported by ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences humanities and social sciences divisions, along with the college's Department of English, School of Transborder Studies, School of Social Transformation, Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, and School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies with its program in American Studies.
Download flyer: speaking-conf-keynote-17-gomez.pdf