Dos Mundos

Dos Mundos: Rural Mexican Americans, Another America

Richard Baker
Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 304
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt46nz7c
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  • Book Info
    Dos Mundos
    Book Description:

    Mexican Americans make up the largest minority in Idaho, yet they seemingly live in a different world from the dominant Anglo population, and because of pervasive stereotypes and exclusive policies, their participation in the community's social, economic, and political life is continually impeded.This unique ethnographic study of a small Idaho community with a large Hispanic population examines many dimensions of the impact race relations have on everyday life for rural Mexican Americans.

    eISBN: 978-0-87421-337-9
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. [Illustration]
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-x)
  5. Chapter 1 OVERVIEW OF FIELD RESEARCH AND THEORETICAL MODELS
    (pp. 1-22)

    I undertook this research project because Mexican Americans are the largest minority in the state of Idaho, yet no major studies of Mexican Americans in Idaho exist. Also, a number of racial conflicts developed in 1989 and 1991, heightening the need for such a study.

    The Boise newspaper,The Idaho Statesman, and the Idaho Commission on Mexican American Affairs reported on racial incidents which occurred in several Idaho communities. The most publicized conflict occurred when the U.S. Attorney for Idaho reported the involvement of a “Mexican American Mafia” in drug trafficking in Idaho. Idaho Mexican American leaders sharply rebuked this...

  6. Chapter 2 THE ANGLO COMMUNITY OF MIDDLEWEST
    (pp. 23-56)

    Middlewest has two distinct communities, one Mexican American and one Anglo. The two communities share considerable social interaction but everyone recognizes their fundamental separation. The social interaction between the two communities has negative as well as positive connotations. The reason for researching the Anglo community is that, as the dominant group, its behavior is more likely to influence the behavior of the Mexican American minority.

    Anglo pioneers settled Middlewest shortly after the Civil War. However, the town did not begin to flower until about 1900. Most of the Anglos interviewed have local family histories going back only two or three...

  7. Chapter 3 MEXICAN AMERICAN CULTURE AND DAILY LIFE
    (pp. 57-92)

    The Mexican Americans of Middlewest and Farm County have a rich and multifaceted culture. A few unpublished reports have examined certain aspects of their role in the early settlement of the state, but there is no written history of Mexican Americans in Idaho.

    In the nineteenth century, a few Mexican Americans worked in Idaho as miners, cowboys, and as railroad workers. However, Laurie Mercier and Carole Simon-Smolinski (1990) estimate that at the beginning of the twentieth century fewer than 100 Mexican Americans lived in Idaho. They consider the arrival of Mexican Americans to be associated with the development of agriculture...

  8. Chapter 4 MEXICAN AMERICAN LEADERS DEFEND THEIR CULTURE AND PEOPLE
    (pp. 93-118)

    From the previous chapter we saw that the Mexican Americans of Middlewest have their own culture. Most Mexican Americans work for Anglo owners and managers of businesses, factories, and government departments. Mexican American children attend schools controlled by Anglo teachers and administrators. During their leisure time, Mexican Americans interact mostly with one another. My field research interviews and observations indicate that Mexican Americans generally face institutionalized racism when they leave their own culture to interact with the dominant Anglo society.

    Most Mexican American leaders operate biculturally—they are comfortable interacting within both the Anglo and the Mexican American cultures. Their...

  9. Chapter 5 THE ANGLO WORKING CLASS AND ANGLO FARMERS
    (pp. 119-142)

    During the fourth phase of my field research, I interviewed thirty-five Anglo working-class residents of Middlewest. Most worked in factories or in unskilled occupations; however, I attempted to obtain interviews from as many different working-class occupations as possible. Most of the subjects interviewed worked in food processing plants, trailer factories, wood-products mills, and other small construction-related businesses. Additional interviews involved subjects from the following occupations: firefighter, gravedigger, mailman, grocery clerk, dairy worker, and sales clerk. The working-class women represented the following occupations: secretary, bookkeeper, beautician, real estate sales, sales clerk, and factory worker.

    The Anglo male working-class subjects can be...

  10. Chapter 6 PERMANENT WORKING CLASS MEXICAN AMERICANS
    (pp. 143-160)

    This chapter will examine the three types of working-class Mexican Americans who live permanently in Middlewest: seasonal workers, factory workers, and the working poor.

    The family histories of permanent Mexican Americans in Middlewest show that most families first came to Idaho as migrant workers. Only three generations of Mexican Americans have lived in Idaho. I asked local Mexican Americans how and why they exited the migrant stream. Most migrant parents responded that a life of migration had a negative effect on their children’s education. They recognized that their children missed significant periods of school at both the beginning and the...

  11. Chapter 7 MEXICAN AMERICAN MIGRANT WORKERS
    (pp. 161-192)

    Research and publications concerning Mexican Americans in Idaho are nearly nonexistent. The research amounts to an M.A. thesis (Reilly 1976) on Mexican American dropouts in one school in addition to a few state and federal reports on the housing conditions of Mexican American migrant workers. Historians, including Ourada (1979) and Gamboa (1990), have also examined the circumstances of Mexican American migrant workers in Idaho, but this was not the primary focus of their research.

    The Idaho Ethnic Heritage Project (Mercier and Simon-Smolinski 1990) and the Idaho Human Rights Commission (Mabbutt 1990) produced reports on Mexican Americans in Idaho. The authors...

  12. Chapter 8 INSTITUTIONALIZED RACISM AS PART OF THE EXPLOITIVE MODEL
    (pp. 193-234)

    This chapter will focus on the social institutions of Middlewest and how they function to exclude Mexican Americans from full participation in local society, thereby maintaining them in a colonial status. More than a decade ago sociologists developed the concept ofinstitutionalized racism—a situation where a social institution operates, intentionally or unintentionally, to deny opportunities to minority groups. Such a situation assists in the maintaining of minorities in a subordinate position (Feagin 1989).

    The radical exploitive theorists contend that the structure of the economy in a society is crucial in determining the social status of a person in the...

  13. Chapter 9 THE EDUCATION INSTITUTION
    (pp. 235-262)

    When contemplating field research one never knows which social relationships will be the most important for the study. In this study, research on the schools produced my greatest insight into Mexican American–Anglo relations in Middlewest. Both the quantity and quality of data collected on the schools was the result of my greater opportunity to observe the social interactions between Mexican Americans and Anglos functioning within this social institution. More educational data was recorded because Mexican American teachers and students function inside the school and they observed first-hand certain derogatory attitudes and behavior of Anglo students and Anglo teachers toward...

  14. Chapter 10 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
    (pp. 263-272)

    America’s race problem is a stubborn and constant factor in American history. Thomas Jefferson, while owning 200 slaves, spoke eloquently in behalf of creating a society based on liberty and equality (Onuf 1992). This incongruity was well characterized in the classical sociological work of Myrdal inAn American Dilemma(1975), in which he contrasted the treatment of America’s African American population with the ideals and rhetoric of our democratic values. The history (Grebler, Moore, Gúzman 1970; Barrera 1979) of Mexican Americans in the Southwest reveals a saga of mistreatment and the denial of their civil rights.

    The paradox of America...

  15. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 273-282)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 283-294)