As Latino and African Americans increasingly live side by side in large urban centers, as well as in suburban clusters, the idealized concept of a "Rainbow Coalition" would suggest that these two disenfranchised groups are natural political allies. Indeed, as the number of Latinos has increased dramatically over the last ten years, competition over power and resources between these two groups has led to surprisingly antagonistic and uncooperative interactions. Many African Americans now view Latinos, because of their growth in numbers, as a threat to their social, economic, and political gains.
Vaca debunks the myth of "The Great Union" and offers the hope he believes each community could learn from, in order to achieve a mutually agreed upon agenda. More than simply unveiling the problem, The Presumed Alliance offers optimistic solutions to the future relations between Latino and Black America.
January 2003 may have passed quietly for many, but it marked an inevitable change in American demographics-Hispanics surpassed African Americans as the nation's largest minority. In a riveting narrative, Vaca, an attorney with a Ph.D. in sociology, explores what has often been presumed: a black and Hispanic political alliance. Yet he argues that an alliance is not feasible, as the two ethnic groups compete for jobs, political clout, and educational opportunities. Vaca jumps into this fray without trepidation, though he is aware of the criticism he brings upon himself. His focal point is what he terms the "Hispanic tsunami," a powerful pattern of growth in the American Hispanic population. As examples, Vaca cites political conflict in New York, Houston, Compton (CA), and Miami. There is an excellent chapter on a 1946 California court case involving Hispanics' access to education, challenging the position that Brown v. Board of Education (1954) was the pivotal event in the Civil Rights Movement. Vaca's well-researched book is essential reading for anyone desiring an understanding of the future of ethnographic conflict in the United States. Recommended for all academic and public libraries.-Boyd Childress, Auburn Univ. Lib., AL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.