The Trouble With Unity Summary

Words: 1279
Pages: 6

Mia Carranco
AES Exam #3
Question One
In her book “The Trouble with Unity,” Cristina Beltran outlines Latinidad as both a social and political category. She describes Latinidad as unifying different national origin groups under the assumption of political and cultural sameness. She points out that this construction involves complex elements of race, class, gender, sexuality, immigration status, national origin, language, etc. She emphasizes the way in which a sense of interconnection is prioritized over these diverse and complex experiences. When electoral politics and representation are placed in a dominant position to recognizing complexities, differences within the group become threatening to the maintenance of political cohesion.
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She outlines Judith Butler’s theory on the category of “women” as a potential parallel for her own reconception of Latino. Butler proposes, “reconceiving the category of women as ‘permanently open, permanently contested, permanently contingent, in order to foreclose in advance future claims for inclusion’” (9). Beltran uses Butler’s concept of womanhood to help contextualize her own approach to Latino identity. Beltran claims that in “embracing multiplicity and letting sleeping giants lie, we will be better able to both observe and appreciate the political possibilities of these diverse subjects, communities, and populations. In other words, rather than attempting to uncover the unitary core that legitimates Latinidad (language, mestizaje , racism, etc.), this book takes a more post-structural approach, recognizing Latino identity as always historically and discursively constructed” (9). So, she doesn’t support Latinidad as a concrete and fixed identity around which to organize. Beltran presents a form of Latino identity that allows for the heterogeneity inherent to the group participating in its construction and refuses to reduce that identity down to a voting block or “sleeping giant” on the assumption that the political goals of every Latinx person are …show more content…
Within that mirroring structure, deviance from the heteropatriarchal system is tantamount to threatening the validity of Chicano advancement. Similar to Beltran’s critique of homogeneity within civic Latinidad, Rodriquez takes issue with the way men in the Chicano movement persist in applying nuclear family structure to other political structures. Rodriguez claims this accomplishes a few things for these men: it naturalizes their position as heads of household and of political movements and it reinforces gender and sexuality norms that white heteropatriarchal American consider respectable. The latter ensures that their movement does not transgress into a realm of radicalism that risks their success. Rodriquez uses this text to interrogate the organization of the Chicano movement as a mirror to a heteropatriarchal family norm, as well as reappraising the archive of Chicanx culture and looking for “queer possibilities” within those sites of cultural