Abstract

In the days and weeks following the September 11 terrorist attacks, reports emerged of hate crimes, discrimination, and profiling directed at Arab Americans, Arabs, and Muslims in the United States. Although aware that the primary targets of the public and private response against terrorism were those of Arab or Muslim appearance, I realized that the backlash within the United States also affected Latinas/os and certain other subordinated groups. This Article grew out of my concern that while Latinas/os at first might be deemed "safe" by the American public, their negative societal construction made their targeting inevitable as the fervent, amorphous war on terrorism took shape. Below I detail perceptions of Latinas/os in society's imagination that might be relied upon to justify their inclusion in the war on terrorism. After reviewing the potential negative consequences for Latinas/os of government and private action against terrorism, I assess the opportunities for positive transformation of our societal values in the quest to define nationhood after September 11.

Comments

Excerpted in The Latino/a Condition: A Critical Reader, Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, eds. 2d ed. 2010