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Sounds of BelongingU.S. Spanish-language Radio and Public Advocacy$
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Dolores Ines Casillas

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780814770658

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814770658.001.0001

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Acoustic Allies

Acoustic Allies

Early Latin-Themed and Spanish-Language Radio Broadcasts, 1920s–1940s

(p.21) 1 Acoustic Allies
Sounds of Belonging

Dolores Inés Casillas

NYU Press

This chapter critiques U.S. on-air programs intended to “charm and culturally enlighten” Latino-Americans. These programs posed as romanticized “borderless” sites where cultural groups traversed geographical and cultural boundaries. They produced a cultured and sophisticated image of Latin America and peddled themes of hemispheric unity. However, a clear disjuncture existed between the friendly on-air imaginings of Latin Americans and the actual legal and social controversies that plagued Mexicans. U.S. on-air programs seldom discussed the political and social struggles occurring with Mexicans in the United States, particularly the national news reporting Mexicans as the primary cause of immigration problems. Hence, American listeners developed “imaginary friendships” with Mexicans while Mexican communities living were being depicted as unruly neighbors.

Keywords:   U.S. on-air programs, imaginary friendships, Latino-Americans, cultural groups, hemispheric unity, immigration problems

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