Becoming Pedro: “Playing Mexican” at South of the Border

Cecilia Márquez

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In this article I examine the history of the popular “Mexican”-themed South Carolina rest stop, “South of the Border,” in the 1950s and 1960s. By turning to the cultural history of this understudied attraction, I demonstrate that, prior to large-scale migration to the “Nuevo South,” white southerners were developing and transforming racial scripts about Mexicanness. While at the rest stop, white southerners and visitors donned “Mexican” costumes and affected mock accents in order to “play Mexican”—an activity that mitigated anxieties produced by the postwar transformations of the region and helped solidify whiteness during the demise of Jim Crow. The racial formations produced at South of the Border show that white southerners were not simply consuming national ideas about race—they were also generating new racial ideologies that were regionally specific.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)461-481
    Number of pages21
    JournalLatino Studies
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


    • Latino/a stereotypes
    • North Carolina
    • Racial formations
    • South
    • Tourism
    • Twentieth Century

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cultural Studies
    • History
    • Sociology and Political Science


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