An Interview with Richard Rodriguez
Raised in Sacramento, California, the son of immigrants from Mexico, essayist and journalist Richard Rodriguez has always grappled fearlessly with the intricacies of cultural identity—the clash and meld of race, religion, class, and language. He is the author of three critically acclaimed books: Hunger of Memory; Days of Obligation: and Brown: The Last Discovery of America. He was an award-winning essayist for PBS’s The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and is a contributing writer and editor for New America Media and contributing editor of Harper’s. He spoke with associate editor Julie Polter in April, at Calvin College’s Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Julie Polter: You asked about our work on immigration. There are people in the white evangelical world who have been convinced of the need for immigration reform. Obviously many of the Latino evangelical and Pentecostal churches were there already.
Richard Rodriguez: People like Samuel Rodriguez [president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference].
Polter: Yes, he’s been very vocal.
Rodriguez: And really challenging to the church it seems, he threatened schism with the white and black evangelicals over this issue. I find that really quite interesting.