Carrie Gibson: ‘There is a profound shift among Hispanics in beliefs’


Carey Gibson has spent over 15 years as a historian focused on the Caribbean, particularly the Spanish-speaking islands of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. “I studied them for my doctoral thesis, focusing on the impact of the Haitian Revolution on these three islands,” he explains. “That’s why I’m deeply interested in the era of imperialism and revolution. but my book Answer This includes the 20th century and the present.

This is my second pillar of interest. I grew up in a city transformed by the arrival of Mexicans in the 1990s at the time of the North American Free Trade Agreement. I write in the book about his creative impact on my upbringing. If I speak Spanish it’s because I had the opportunity to learn the language with native speakers. It was my introduction to this history and to the various cultures of Latin America.

However, he is not Hispanic.
But I am the granddaughter of Italian grandparents and I am very interested in the difference between the treatment of Italians – who are more or less considered people white and is considered part of the culture of the United States – and given to Hispanics or Latinos, who often suffer from the opposite.

What are the reasons why mainstream historiography ignores the Hispanic heritage of North American identity?
Professional historiography as we understand it is a relatively recent development. In the United States, at the end of the 19th century, eminent professional historians gathered at New England universities such as Harvard or Yale. They were geographically distant from Hispanic centers, like Santa Fe (New Mexico) or San Antonio (Texas), and also in terms of mentality.

black legend?
It was the shadow of the dark legend that haunted Ivy League colleges. New England was central to the idea of ​​the United States and its Protestant destiny. From this perspective, it was easy to overlook the events and the Hispanic contribution to the formation of the United States.


Journalist by training, essayist and historian by profession, his interest in small islands pushed him to enter the Caribbean universe. The result was a book on Caribbean history that is now followed Answer,

What is the turn?
Herbert Bolton’s intervention in the 1920s was decisive in changing the narrative. Bolton was a professor at the University of Berkeley in California, and from there he realized that too long a story had been neglected by his colleagues for decades. He saw the impossibility of studying the history of the United States without knowing the Hispanic past. Their imprint is considered in a plethora of ongoing studies. Now the subject is more popular and known, but much more can be done.

Is the trend correct?
Things are changing, but not quickly. There’s a lot of public interest in this story, but at the same time, a lot of Hispanics are being treated badly. Hispanics or Latinos were also considered more recent immigrants, a stereotype far from reality. Anyway, in terms of practicing history, he’s grown a lot.

This is seen in universities.
Universities have departments or research centers for the study of the Latin world, including the United States. There are many studies of this history and the community present in subjects such as sociology, as well as history. But often there is still a long gap between past and present.

What role did and did the Catholic faith play in America’s Hispanic heritage?
In general, the Catholic faith gave impetus to the colonization of the Americas, didn’t it?

to clean.
In the context of historical background, for example, we attribute the existence of the California Mission to priestly orders. However, in American terms, in the past, the Catholicism of Spaniards was not as important as the faith of Italian, Irish or Polish immigrants.

Not to mention the hostility towards Catholics and immigrants.
There were movements in the 19th century that targeted Catholics and immigrants. And of course Spaniards and Hispanics were cut from the same cloth when it came to their religion.

Some continue to associate Catholicism with poverty and Protestantism with economic development in the United States. Isn’t American history a little more complicated?
Sure, but I think that association is quite outdated now. First, there is recent recognition that immigrants to Latin America work hard and hold difficult or low-paying jobs, contrary to the pervasive stereotype of laziness among all Hispanic Catholics. Second, with respect to belief in the Hispanic community, a large population of Hispanic Protestants, especially Evangelicals, is undergoing profound change.

Such churches can be found in many parts of the United States.
They represent many forms of Protestantism and often have signs in Spanish to attract people. There is a historical association with Catholicism and the Spanish-speaking world, but the reality is changing. I was born a Catholic and remember well that in the 1990s a mass in Spanish by newly arrived Mexicans. Now there are several Protestant churches with Hispanic congregations in the same town. But, on another level, yes, the idea of ​​a Protestant work ethic is not dying: it’s still part of the nation’s nation-building imagination in the United States.


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