Brown: the Last Discovery of America

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Brown: The Last Discovery of America completes Richard Rodriguez's three-volume work in which he explains and explores the ethnic and racial future of America. In this particular book, the author defines the color brown not as the representation of the Hispanic race but as the color of the future. Black, white, yellow, the author explains, are incorrect racial categories for it is not how nature works. Nature yearns for combination of all different colors, and brown is the final result. In the chapter "Hispanics," as seen through imagery, personification, and humor, Richard Rodriguez upsets the reader to show that racial categorization is unfit and that racial barriers are meant to be broken.

Rodriguez begins the chapter by presenting the word "Hispanics." He defines it as "1. Spanish, adjective…5. Seen running from the scene of the crime… ‘most fertile'…magical realism" (103). These definitions progress from the generally accepted to the disturbingly stereotypical. Since there are many different meanings, the frustrated author poses the question, "Do Hispanics exist?" (104).

Next, he attempts to answer this question by searching for the existence of Hispanics throughout history. The author first encounters the Latin Lover, a male "specialized in the inarticulate – ‘dark' – passions" (107). However, the Hollywood actors who portray this fantasy are non-Hispanics. Abandoning the Latin Lover, Rodriguez move on to the Chicanos, who reject the term Hispanic and instead align themselves with "Latino." However, the Latinos, though they prefer not to be called Hispanics, nevertheless call non-Hispanics Anglos. Rodriguez questions their credibility as Hispanics because "Hispanics who call Anglos Anglo are themselves Anglo" (110). In other words, by using the Anglo language, the Hispanics themselves are also Anglos.

Because there are no "true" Hispanics, the author concludes that racial categorization, not only of Hispanics, is unfit. Americans,...
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