In chapter 10 of Harvest of Empire, Juan González explores changing roles of Latinos in US politics. He contextualizes his discussion of contemporary and recent involvement with attention to nineteenth-century Anglo-American opposition, which was sometimes violent, to Latino political participation. In his historical overview of twentieth-century developments, González provides reasons for expanding Latino participation. He explains trends in distinct phases, including coalition building with African Americans and other minorities. He terms these phases the Integration Period (post-World War Two through the early 1960s), the Radical Nationalist period (1960s–1970s), the Voting Rights period (spanning 1975–1985), the Rainbow Period that lasted through the mid 1990s, and the Third Force period at the millennium’s end.
Chapter 11 is devoted to immigration policy, especially in the late twentieth century. He addresses the increase in Latino activism around immigration policy issues, showing how this surge responded to repressive federal policies and widely promoted misconceptions about immigrants. He attends to the negative effects on families and communities that result from practices such as ICE sweeps and deportations. González also offers factual information about Latino immigrant demographics, showing how positive contributions vastly outdistance the negative stereotypes.
Chapter 12 includes language, especially the importance of Spanish, and cultural representation in the arts and media. Addressing the longtime multilingual heritage of the United States, he critiques recent English-only policies and explores the positive effects of Spanish-English bilingual education. The author addresses mainstream representations of Latinos as well as highlights the contributions of Latino writers and performers.