chapter  1
Mexican migration and the social space of postmodernism
ByRoger Rouse
Pages 16

In a hidden sweatshop in downtown Los Angeles, Asian and Latino migrants produce automobile parts for a factory in Detroit. As the parts leave the production line, they are stamped ‘Made in Brazil’.1 In a small village in the heart of Mexico, a young woman at her father’s wake wears a black T-shirt sent to her by a brother in the United States. The shirt bears a legend that some of the mourners understand but she does not. It reads, ‘Let’s Have Fun Tonight!’ And on the Tijuana-San Diego border, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, a writer originally from Mexico City, reflects on the time he has spent in what he calls ‘the gap between two worlds’:

Today, eight years after my departure, when they ask me for my nationality or ethnic identity, I cannot answer with a single word, for my ‘identity’ now possesses multiple repertoires: I am Mexican but I am also Chicano and Latin American. On the border they call me ‘chilango’ or ‘mexiquillo’; in the capital, ‘pocho’ or ‘norteño’, and in Spain ‘sudaca’. . . . My companion Emily is Anglo-Italian but she speaks Spanish with an Argentinian accent. Together we wander through the ruined Babel that is our American postmodernity.2