Newspaper discourses of Latino labor and Latino rights in the new U.S. South Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Paulin, Lisa M.
    • Affiliation: Hussman School of Journalism and Media
  • The Latino population is growing faster in the southeastern United States than anywhere else in the country and impacting communities on numerous fronts. This study sheds light on the complexity of how Latinos are represented in North Carolina's news media and ultimately deals with questions of belonging and of rights. The results show how societal forces work to marginalize groups, yet at the same time, that the marginalized have opportunities to counter the hegemonic discourses and practices. Specifically, this project examined newspaper coverage of Latinos in the Raleigh News & Observer, the Winston-Salem Journal, La Conexión, and Qué Pasa. I used content analysis to examine five issues, then selected two, the changes to driver's license rules and the Mt. Olive boycott, for in-depth study using Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). The content analysis found that coverage of the Mt. Olive boycott and changes to policies for issuing driver's licenses were the least covered issues despite being the most important regarding immigrant Latino rights. Additionally, the content analysis raised questions about what constitutes a "Latino" issue. The CDA of the driver's license changes revealed two overarching discourses that operated within a post-9/11 sociopolitical context: "us" vs. "them" and criminality. Constructing Latinos as "them" and attaching criminality justified taking away their access to resources, namely a driver's license. In the CDA of the Mt. Olive boycott, the Anglo and Latino newspapers used different discourses to talk about labor and economic justice for farmworkers. Anglo newspapers relied on the South's antiunion script to construct Mt. Olive as an innocent victim of a politically-motivated, northern labor union. In contrast, the Latino newspapers gave the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) a voice which they used to assert their struggle as a just and noble one - an example of the powerless fighting for what they rightly deserved. I conclude by mapping the issues onto a cultural citizenship continuum and propose that future research may define Latino issues based on this framework. In addition, I suggest that Latino newspapers find examples in which they have successfully articulated alternative discourses and model future struggles on these examples.
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  • In Copyright
  • Vargas, Lucila
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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