Humanity and Society
From the Talented Tenth to Tio Tacos, the language of race and upward mobility has always been complicated, particularly for Black and Brown communities in the United States. As I began to read Román’s engaging book about how race and upward mobility are depicted in novels, plays, films, and TV sitcoms (hereinafter “cultural texts”), the theme song from The Jeffersons kept ringing in my head as well as George Lopez’s observation of how Mexican Americans respond to successful family members. This may have been her intent as she begins her book by comparing George Jefferson and George Lopez. The comparison immediately strikes a chord of familiarity that comes with being a first-generation woman of color who grew up in the 70s and 80s. Many of the texts Román uses are recognizable such as Hunger for Memory, Blackish, and The Living Is Easy. From these touchstone texts, and the language of analysis she develops in moving through them, she invites our imagination onto a cultural scavenger hunt for a particular language of racial mobility.
Martinez-Cola, Marisela E. 2018. “Book Review: Race and Upward Mobility: Seeking, gatekeeping, and other class strategies in postwar America.” Humanity and Society 42(2):264-266.