Friday, February 16, 2007

Latinos/Occupational segregation

Zavella, Patricia. 2000. “Latinos in the USA: changing socio-economic patterns”. Social & Cultural Geography. 1:155-167.

Zavella (2000) aims to describe how Latinos and Latinas experience poverty and socio-economic inequality because of historic and geographical experiences, despite the traditional focus on the black-white paradigm. Zavella does not herself do any data collection or analysis, but does a critique on past literature and on how scholars need to move beyond the white-black racialized experience as a means to understand how occupational segregation is generationally maintained for Latinos. Describing who Latinos are is difficult because the category can include people from Guatemala, El Salvador, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, etc. (156).

The main issue is how the cycle of low-wage jobs or “brown-collar jobs” precludes Latinos from moving out of bad hours, bad work conditions, bad pay—even US laws of equal employment do not make Latinos economically mobile (158). Once Latinos are in the low-wage jobs, they become segregated into “racial-ethnic enclaves”, where Spanish is spoken, they only meet other Latinos and social networks are never formed, which are necessary for mobility. Zavella’s connected between occupational segregation and Latinos even contrasts the expected mobility of future generations because the racial-ethnic enclaves. While Blacks have similar experiences as Latinos, Zavella explains that the focus should not remain on Blacks, but also on how Latinos experience structural forces that create poverty. For example, on a geographic note, the deindustrialization, white flight, and residential segregation in Midwest and East Coast cities also affect Latino groups.

Future research:

1-I would suggest studying each Latino group on an individual basis with actual data collection or census data, because to combine Latino groups and say they experience segregation and jobs in the same way is probably a mistake.

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