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Focus on Guiterrez's Memoir as Immigration Continues to Make Headlines

Matthew Schantz17 June 2013

To Sin Against Hope, the political memoir of former Arizona Senate Leader Alfredo Gutierrez, continues to garner positive press even as  immigration remains a contentious topic in the news.

An extended excerpt of Gutierrez's new book is now available on Alternet. The passage clearly demonstrates Guiterrez's blend of personal history and racial scholarship. Illustrating how his father's deportation fit in with the general xenophobia towards Mexican immigrants, Gutierrez writes:

My father’s deportation story was not particularly unusual in Arizona’s mining towns at that time. It was just part of the landscape, one of the sacrifices Mexicans risked in order to work in the mines, join the union, get steady pay and a company doctor, raise the kids, maybe send them to college and get them out from underground. My father was deported in 1932. It was at the height of anti-immigrant hysteria that had been growing for two decades. Madison Grant’s highly influential book, The Passing of the Great Race, had been published in 1916. Grant described the United States as the highest accomplishment of the Nordic race of northern and western Europe, a place where Democracy flourished because it had been founded by this Nordic white race. The greatest danger America faced was the immigration of non-Nordic people. They would pollute the purity of America and debase the values, morals, and intelligence of the American people. Mexicans fit Grant’s definition of a “population of race bastards” as an example of a people whose inferior Indian blood would dominate whatever good white blood there may have been in a mestizo.

The mestizo, in his view, was a moral cripple incapable of democratic government.

Arizona political blogger David Safier commends the book for being accessible even to those unversed in Chicano history and recommends that his readers "read the whole thing."

In anticipation of its forthcoming release in Spanish, To Sin Against Hope is also getting attention in the Spanish-speaking community. Telemundo recently published an overview of Gutierrez's book.

Visit Alternet to read the full excerpt.

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