Latino Studies

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 461–481 | Cite as

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

  • Cecilia MárquezEmail author
Original Article


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.


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


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New York UniversityNYUSA

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