Mestizo in America: generations of Mexican ethnicity in the suburban Southwest

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University of Arizona Press, Aug 10, 2006 - History - 175 pages
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How much does ethnicity matter to Mexican Americans today, when many marry outside their culture and some canat even stomach menudo? This book addresses that question through a unique blend of quantitative data and firsthand interviews with third-plus-generation Mexican Americans. Latinos are being woven into the fabric of American life, to be sure, but in a way quite distinct from ethnic groups that have come from other parts of the world. By focusing on individualsa feelings regarding acculturation, work experience, and ethnic identityaand incorporating Mexican-Anglo intermarriage statisticsaThomas Macias compares the successes and hardships of Mexican immigrants with those of previous European arrivals. He describes how continual immigration, the growth of the Latino population, and the Chicano Movement have been important factors in shaping the experience of Mexican Americans, and he argues that Mexican American identity is often not merely an aethnic optiona but a necessary response to stereotyping and interactions with Anglo society. Talking with fifty third-plus generation Mexican Americans from Phoenix and San Josearepresentative of the seven million nationally with at least one immigrant grandparentahe shows how people utilize such cultural resources as religion, spoken Spanish, and cross-national encounters to reinforce Mexican ethnicity in their daily lives. He then demonstrates that, although social integration for Mexican Americans shares many elements with that of European Americans, forces related to ethnic concentration, social inequality, and identity politics combine to make ethnicity for Mexican Americans more fixed across generations. Enhancing research alreadyavailable on first- and second-generation Mexican Americans, Maciasas study also complements research done on other third-plus-generation ethnic groups and provides the empirical data needed to understand the commonalities and differences between them. His work plumbs the changing meaning of mestizaje in the Americas over five centuries and has much to teach us about the long-term assimilation and prospects of Mexican-origin people in the United States.

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Contents

Imagining Mexican American Culture
25
Work Organizations and the Legacy of Chicanismo
44
The Social Contours of American Mestizaje
67
Copyright

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