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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Lowriding: The Fusion Of Cultural Symbols And The Diffusion Of Cultural Myths
Program #

Social Issues
Linda Fregoso
Luis Plascencia
Sep 8, 1980

Lowriding: The Fusion of Cultural Symbols and the Diffusion of Cultural Myths

Luis Plascencia discusses the history of lowriding and its appeal for Chicanos. Plascencia, a professor at the University of Texas, explains that lowriders originated in the late 1930s in Sacramento and spread to the rest of Southern California and eventually the Southwest. Plascencia argues that because of its long history, lowriding is more than a fad. Rather, it is a social phenomenon that has appealed to several generations of Chicanos.

While many people associate lowriders with pachucos, zootsuiters and cholos, each group is different, and Plascencia discusses some of the differences between them. Plascencia then talks about the recent efforts of low-riders to rehabilitate their image by holding fundraisers, participating in parades and organizing social events. In fact, Plascencia says that while most people associate lowriders with gangs, most low rider clubs are more oriented towards social activities.

Plascencia then describes some of the ways lowriders modify their cars. Because some modifications (such as the hydraulic lifts) can be very expensive, lowriders often slowly modify their cars. Plascencia explains that lowriders might appeal to Chicanos because they create boundaries between them and non-Chicanos. However, he notes that some car clubs include non-Mexicans. He also discusses women’s participation in car clubs.

Finally, Plascencia discusses the role of advertisers and magazines in the growing popularity of lowriding. He examines how companies like Lowrider magazine and Schlitz Brewing have worked to popularize lowriding as a way to increase revenues


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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