Race Talk in a Mexican Cantina

Race Talk in a Mexican Cantina

Latinos in the United States

by Tatcho Mindiola

Published by: Michigan State University Press

Imprint: Michigan State University Press

182 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.70 in

  • ISBN: 9781611863994
  • Published: July 2021

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People avoid speaking about race in the presence of another racial group for fear of saying something wrong and creating friction. This was not the situation at JB’s, a small Mexican cantina located in one of Houston’s oldest Mexican barrios. Mexicans made up most of the regular patrons, but a small number of whites also visited the bar on a regular basis. This situation created the circumstances for race talk in which the Mexican patrons needled and criticized the white patrons because of their whiteness. The white patrons likewise criticized the Mexican patrons, but their remarks were not as strident in comparison to those they received. When Tatcho Mindiola visited the bar and heard the race talk, he realized that it was a unique situation. He thus became a regular patron, and over a three-year period kept notes on the racial exchanges he observed and heard, which form the basis of this insightful volume.