Vanderbilt Law Review


Richard Delgado

First Page



Richard Delgado enlists his alter ego, Rodrigo, to analyze Latino legal history and civil rights. Encountering "the Professor" after testifying at a hearing on an immigration bill, Rodrigo excitedly tells his old friend and mentor about a new body of writing he has come across. Postcolonial theory, which deals with issues such as cultural survival, resistance, and collaboration, can help move American civil rights scholarship beyond its current impasse. Over dinner, Rodrigo demonstrates how insights from these writers can enrich U.S. civil rights theory and practice. He also posits a new theory of Latinos' sociolegal construction, based on a triple taboo, that can enable Latino people and litigators to understand and change their condition. Rodrigo shows how dominant society has invested Latinos with a complex stereotype consisting of filth, hypersexuality, and jabber so that Anglos will unconsciously devalue the group and their rights. To progress, therefore, Latino people must understand and contest this social construction, much as their forebears have done through corridos, actos, cantares, and other forms of insurrectionary folk literature and actions.