Busting the Bandito Boyz: Militarism, Masculinity, and the Hunting of Undocumented Persons in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

Robert F. Castro


“Bandito heroes flourish in many cultures because they symbolize a virtually universal belief: that at times it’s necessary to break the law in order to obtain justice,” writes historian Paul Vanderwood (1992, p. xix). The idea of justice does seem to animate many of the stories associated with the borderlands’ most famous outlaws. For example, retaliatory justice appears to be at the heart of the literal violence that Joaquin Murrieta inflicted on California Anglos during the nineteenth century. Joaquin Murrieta became famous for his lightning-fast robberies and bloody assaults in California during the 1850s Gold Rush. Reportedly, Murrieta was set on his fiery path as the result of racially-tinged violence aimed at him years earlier by white residents (Irwin, 2007).


Justice, immigrants, terrorists, masculinities

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