Loren K. Redwood



Strong-Arming Exploitable Labor: The State and Immigrant Workers in the Post-Katrina Gulf Coast

This article examines the shift in the poor and working-class demographic in the southern United States from a primarily African American workforce to one that now includes a substantial population of Latino and Latina immigrants. U.S. census figures for 2000 record the total population of Latino/as in the South as 95,928, with Latino making up 49% of the population and Latina 51%. Theories that address issues of immigration and migration, labor markets, and racialization are used to explain these trends and demographic shifts. The author briefly assesses shifts in the workforce in agricultural, poultry, and industrial labor from primarily African-American workers to immigrant labor in the southern states of Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Also examined are the rising racial tensions that have erupted between African-American communities and Latino communities in the Deep South. The discussion concludes with a brief appraisal of the growth in advocacy and resistance activities spurred by several factors that affect Latino communities in these areas, the foremost being the exploitive labor conditions experienced by Latino immigrants.

Hurricane Katrina, Latino and Latina immigrant workforce

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 35, No. 4 (2008): 33-51