Welcoming the Stranger: White Ethnics, Latinos, and Negotiating Church and Community in Chicago Suburbia
MetadataShow full item record
This image depicts an Italian American Catholic religious street procession in a historically white ethnic Chicago area neighborhood that has transitioned into a Mexican-majority community in the last 20 years. In the background fly two flags- one Mexican, one American-reminding the observer of local neighborhood demographics and of America's immigrant origins. My research explores interethnic relations in a new immigrant destination, and in this case a suburb. It applies theories of group position and racial and ethnic relations to explain the nature of white/Latino relationships at the beginning of the 21st century. The picture captures the ways in which white ethnics maintain a strong presence in local social life and organizations despite being a numerical minority. White ethnics are overrepresented in positions of political power and civic jobs and Latinos' access to these positions are mediated by social and cultural capital. Despite this, community leaders acknowledge changing demographics and work to integrate Latinos into community life without alienating white ethnic residents. The results of this study call scholars to expand beyond traditional theories of racial and ethnic relations based on the historical experiences of Black, Asian, and European Americans to that of social boundaries, context, and sociological forces.