A groundbreaking corrective work, “Latina/o Social Ethics” strives to create a liberative ethical approach to the Hispanic experience by using its own tools and materials. First explaining why Eurocentric ethical paradigms are inadequate in their attempts to liberate oppressed communities, Miguel De La Torre looks with Hispanic eyes at three major ethicists of the twentieth century—Walter Rauschenbusch, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Stanley Hauerwas—and how ethics is presented in U.S. culture wars, from the Religious Right to the Religious Left. He deconstructs these ethical paradigms and demonstrates why all are detrimental to and irreconcilable with the Hispanic social location.
With a clean slate, then, De La Torre moves to constructing a new Hispanic-centered ethical paradigm that is rooted in the Latino community way of being. Reviewing the field of Hispanic ethical thought, De La Torre pays special attention to specific concepts ripe with potential that have been developed over the past generation. In the final chapter, De La Torre offers his own constructive paradigm—an ethics para joder, which is rooted in the Latina/o experience, and by which, he argues, the Hispanic community can survive within U.S. culture.
“Academics unfamiliar with some of the concepts and methodologies of Latina/o theologians will find this short introduction a useful starting point. This provocative book would also be a welcome addition to the classroom, either in part or in its entirety.”
—Kevin N. York-Simmons, Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics
“Latina/o Social Ethics heralds a pioneering voice of Latino scholarship. But what gives this text staying power is how De La Torre takes on that which is domineeringly familiar and sets it straight so that, it too, is given an offer and a way to do real communal ethics that matters. Out of his particularity, he offers us robust thought and practice on speaking appropriately and doing the right thing. Any thinking person will be persuaded by his argument and his passion.”
—Dwight N. Hopkins, author of “Being Human: Race, Culture, and Religion”
“As one of the many scholars criticized in this book, I can attest to its uncompromising and sometimes scathing attack on Euroamerican Christian ethics at both a scholarly and popular level. Undoubtedly this will leave many white scholars (and readers) squirming if not outraged. But “Latina/o Social Ethics” also demands an end to white inattention to the creative Latino/a scholarship being done in Christian ethics, and introduces the reader to thinkers and concepts that all of us should know. One may disagree with De La Torre in various ways but still affirm that this book breaks new ground in our field and will become a major contribution.”
—Dr. David P. Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, Mercer University
“Arguing persuasively that ‘Christian ethics [in the USA] is the ethics of empire,’ De La Torre calls for a new Latino/a ‘ethics of disruption,’ of ‘social disorder’ – ‘a vulgar, earthy way of doing ethics.’ He prefaces this constructive task with a biting attack on the most prominent Protestant ethicists of the past century who, even if they criticized power, remained beneficiaries of imperial rule, voices that muffled the needed critique of global capitalism. De La Torre’s voice is that of “the trickster,” unveiling and subverting the panoply and play of power.”
—John Raines, Professor of Religion, Temple University