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Mexicans in California

Mexicans in California: Transformations and Challenges

Denise Segura
Dolores Trevizo
Juan Vicente Palerm
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    Mexicans in California
    Book Description:

    Numbering over a third of California's population and thirteen percent of the U.S. population, people of Mexican ancestry represent a hugely complex group with a long history in the country. Contributors address a broad range of issues regarding California's ethnic Mexican population, including their concentration among the working poor and as day laborers; their participation in various sectors of the educational system; social problems such as domestic violence; their contributions to the arts, especially music; media stereotyping; and political alliances and alignments._x000B__x000B_Contributors are Brenda D. Arellano, Leo R. Chavez, Yvette G. Flores, Ramón A. Gutierrez, Aída Hurtado, Olga Najera-Ramírez, Chon A. Noriega, Manuel Pastor Jr., Armida Ornelas, Russell W. Rumberger, Daniel G. Solórzano, Enriqueta Valdez Curiel, and Abel Valenzuela Jr.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09142-1
    Subjects: Sociology, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    This book is about the present, past, and future of California’s ethnic Mexican population, and by implication, the fate of our republic. Of the 36.5 million people living in California today, approximately eleven million are of Mexican ancestry, representing by far the largest single national group in the state and largest component of the state’s thirteen million Latinos. With ethnic Mexicans representing close to one-third of the state’s population, and Latinos accounting for 35.2 percent of its total, California naturally has become the epicenter for one of the most factious debates of the moment, the regulation of immigration and its...


    • 1. Poverty, Work, and Public Policy: Latino Futures in California’s New Economy
      (pp. 15-35)
      Manuel Pastor JR.

      As recession gave way to a strong expansion in the mid-1990s, many felt California had entered an era of a “new economy.” Employment gains over the decade were impressive, with roughly 2.2 million jobs added over the 1991–2000 period. Unemployment rates declined sharply, with the state rate in 2000 dipping below 5 percent even as unemployment in the San Francisco and San Jose areas fell to around 3 percent.¹ When an economic downturn began in early 2001, many felt that it was but a temporary blip in a healthy trend of long-term growth and suggested that California’s fundamental strengths...

    • 2. Working Day Labor: Informal and Contingent Employment
      (pp. 36-58)

      A review of all articles related to day labor¹ appearing in theLos Angeles Timesbetween 1986 and 2006 overwhelmingly portrays this type of employment as unstable, illegal, underpaid, and fraught with employer abuses (Reyes, 1991; Mozingo, 1997; Rosenblatt, 1997; Aubry, 1993). Light and Roach (1996) present day laborers as part of the informal employment growth of Los Angeles, with street-corner labor markets as a form of marginal self-employment. Parker (1994: 63) describes day labor as bottom rung for wage earners in pay, with no benefits and inadequate to provide workers with enough income to afford housing, thereby concluding that...


    • 3. Understanding and Addressing the California Latino Achievement Gap in Early Elementary School
      (pp. 61-76)

      One of the most pressing problems in California is improving student academic performance. This is especially true for the state’s Latino students, who now represent the largest ethnic group in the state,¹ but who generally have much lower achievement levels than white or Asian students.² If California is going to maintain its economic competitiveness in the global economy in the twenty-first century, it is going to have to effectively educate its increasingly diverse student population, and particularly its rapidly increasing population of Latino students.

      Historically, policy makers have attempted to improve academic achievement for all students irrespective of their ethnicity...

    • 4. Reaffirming Affirmative Action: An Equal Opportunity Analysis of Advanced Placement Courses and University Admissions
      (pp. 77-93)

      On December 1, 2003, Clark Kerr, the former president of the University of California, passed away. One of the legacies he left was the 1960 California Master Plan for Higher Education. The Master Plan set up California’s three-tiered system of higher education that included the University of California admitting the top 12.5 percent of California high school graduates, the California State University system admitting the top 33 percent, and the California Community College system admitting anyone over the age of eighteen, or high school graduates. Despite this legacy of equal opportunity in higher education, in 2002 Clark Kerr expressed sadness...

    • 5. Chicano Struggles for Racial Justice: The Movement’s Contribution to Social Theory
      (pp. 94-110)

      Forty years after the beginnings of the Chicano movement in the late 1960s, it is not unusual to hear this question asked: What were the movement’s lasting results? One can easily point to greater access to employment, to education, to housing, and to health care in answer. There have been advances in political representation and public visibility, albeit largely spurred by demographic growth. One legacy of the Chicano movement that rarely gets mentioned is its contribution to social theory, which is the topic of this essay.

      Since the late eighteenth century, when thinkers first began elaborating complex theories about the...

    • 6. “Lifting As We Climb”: Educated Chicanas’ Social Identities and Commitment to Social Action
      (pp. 111-130)

      A recurrent debate in the social sciences is whether the increased social and educational mobility experienced by Chicanos/as, however limited, results in cultural and structural assimilation. In the 1970–80s, as the affirmative action movement transpired, a presumed tenet of the initiative was that, if given opportunities to obtain educational degrees, individuals from economically depressed and ethnic communities would return to their constituencies and labor on behalf of those left behind (Lawrence III and Matsuda, 1997). A classic contribution confirming this view is Bowen’s and Bok’sThe Shape of the River(1998), which demonstrates systematically that affirmative action recipients from...


    • 7. The Quebec Metaphor, Invasion, and Reconquest in Public Discourse on Mexican Immigration
      (pp. 133-154)

      Harvard professor Samuel P. Huntington caused quite a stir when he raised the alarm about Mexican immigration in a 2004 article inForeign Policy: “In this new era, the single most immediate and most serious challenge to America’s traditional identity comes from the immense and continuing immigration from Latin America, especially from Mexico, and the fertility rates of those immigrants compared to black and white American natives” (Huntington, 2004).

      Huntington’s statement is all the more remarkable given the historical context in which it was made. At the time, the United States was waging war in Iraq, deeply involved in the...

    • 8. Prime-Time Protest: Latinos and Network Television
      (pp. 155-167)

      Despite the well-documented growth of the Latino community as a political and market force within California and nationally, Latinos entered the twenty-first century with a lower level of media access and representation than when protests first raised the issue in the 1960s. After all, since 1970, Latinos have grown by roughly two and a half times relative to the national population, but they still receive the same small percentage of the jobs and on-screen representation (Noriega, 2002, 2003). In effect, employment opportunity for the Latino community hasdecreasedin the entertainment industry to nearly one-third the level of the 1970s....

    • 9. The Politics of Passion: Poetics and Performance of La Canción Ranchera
      (pp. 168-180)

      The Mexicanrancherais an expressive musical form intimately associated with Mexican cultural identity.¹ As an anthropologist concerned with the ways in which Mexican culture is constructed and perceived, I am intrigued by therancheraas a critical site for exploring issues ofmexicanidad(Mexican identity). Despite the widespread popularity of therancheraon both sides of the United States–Mexico border, the scholarship on the ranchera, particularly that available in the English language, is limited in scope and depth.² Of particular concern in this scholarship is the stereotyped gender representation of Mexicans. On the one hand, the serious lack...


    • 10. Conflict Resolution and Intimate Partner Violence among Mexicans on Both Sides of the Border
      (pp. 183-216)

      By most accounts, intimate partner violence (IPV) has reached epidemic proportions in both the United States and Mexico (Ramos Lira et al., 2003, ENVIM, 2003, INEGI, 2004; Flores-Ortiz et al., 2003; Herrerias et al., 2003; Gobierno de México, 1999; Ramirez Rodriguez and Patiño Guerra, 1997). Moreover, most experts agree that IPV is a complex problem caused by a combination of factors, including individual psychological characteristics, family of origin legacies, relational problems and dysfunctions in couples, as well as ecological influences, particularly poverty, underemployment, and discrimination, which may cause alienation, despair, and rage among marginalized groups (Almeida et al., 1994; Flores-Ortiz,...

  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 217-242)
  10. Contributors
    (pp. 243-246)
  11. Index
    (pp. 247-255)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 256-256)