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Grandmothers on Guard

Grandmothers on Guard

Gender, Aging, and the Minutemen at the US-Mexico Border

by Jennifer Johnson

Published by: University of Texas Press

224 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 0.00 mm

  • ISBN: 9781477322758
  • Published: May 2021

£36.00

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For about a decade, one of the most influential forces in US anti-immigrant politics was the Minuteman Project. The armed volunteers made headlines patrolling the southern border. What drove their ethno-nationalist politics?

Jennifer L. Johnson spent hundreds of hours observing and interviewing Minutemen, hoping to answer that question. She reached surprising conclusions. While the public face of border politics is hypermasculine—men in uniforms, fatigues, and suits—older women were central to the Minutemen. Women mobilized support and took part in border missions. These women compel us to look beyond ideological commitments and material benefits in seeking to understand the appeal of right-wing politics. Johnson argues that the women of the Minutemen were motivated in part by the gendered experience of aging in America. In a society that makes old women irrelevant, aging white women found their place through anti-immigrant activism, which wedded native politics to their concern for the safety of their families. Grandmothers on Guard emphasizes another side of nationalism: the yearning for inclusion. The nation the Minutemen imagined was not only a space of exclusion but also one in which these women could belong.