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Becoming Mexipino

Becoming Mexipino: Multiethnic Identities and Communities in San Diego

Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Becoming Mexipino
    Book Description:

    Becoming Mexipinois a social-historical interpretation of two ethnic groups, one Mexican, the other Filipino, whose paths led both groups to San Diego, California. Rudy Guevarra traces the earliest interactions of both groups with Spanish colonialism to illustrate how these historical ties and cultural bonds laid the foundation for what would become close interethnic relationships and communities in twentieth-century San Diego as well as in other locales throughout California and the Pacific West Coast.Through racially restrictive covenants and other forms of discrimination, both groups, regardless of their differences, were confined to segregated living spaces along with African Americans, other Asian groups, and a few European immigrant clusters. Within these urban multiracial spaces, Mexicans and Filipinos coalesced to build a world of their own through family and kin networks, shared cultural practices, social organizations, and music and other forms of entertainment. They occupied the same living spaces, attended the same Catholic churches, and worked together creating labor cultures that reinforced their ties, often fostering marriages. Mexipino children, living simultaneously in two cultures, have forged a new identity for themselves. Their lives are the lens through which these two communities are examined, revealing the ways in which Mexicans and Filipinos interacted over generations to produce this distinct and instructive multiethnic experience. Using archival sources, oral histories, newspapers, and personal collections and photographs, Guevarra defines the niche that this particular group carved out for itself.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-5326-9
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    (pp. 1-12)

    On March 15, 2008, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Marquez squared off for the WBC Super Featherweight Championship of the world. The fight was held at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight between Filipino boxer Pacquiao and Mexican boxer Marquez symbolized many things. First, two men—one representing the Philippines and the other Mexico—were competing in a title fight that would garner them and their respective home countries worldwide attention. Their hopes and dreams of economic success were made possible in the United States, where they competed for the title, its cash prize, and...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Immigration to a Rising Metropolis
    (pp. 13-40)

    When Jesus “Chuey” Garcia came to the United States in 1927 from Guanajuato, Mexico, he ended up working as a cook for twenty-five cents an hour at an El Paso restaurant. From there, he migrated to San Diego, where he worked picking tomatoes and celery for fifteen cents an hour. He also worked various other unskilled jobs, such as digging ditches. He was disillusioned. “Why did I come? My hands looked like the bottom feet of a horse.” Ultimately, Jesus Garcia ended up going back to his trade as a cook, and by 1956 he worked his way into owning...

  6. CHAPTER 2 The Devil Comes to San Diego: RACE AND SPATIAL POLITICS
    (pp. 41-69)

    In 1928, Filipino writer (and later World War II veteran) Manuel Buaken came to the United States to seek an education and make a place for himself in his newly adopted country. Upon his arrival, he obtained a job working at a Los Angeles restaurant. However, when he sought housing, he faced a humiliating experience. When inquiring about renting a place to live, an older woman rudely turned him away by replying, “Only whites in this neighborhood.” He tried six other places, only to be turned away from all of them. Manuel described his experience: “I spent the entire day...

    (pp. 70-91)

    In San Diego during the twentieth century, racial segregation and the specter of discrimination facilitated the need for Mexicans and Filipinos to turn inward and build their own social worlds within larger multiracial spaces. Within these spaces Mexicans and Filipinos organized themselves into ethnic-based social organizations. These organizations were vital for the survival of both Mexican and Filipino communities in San Diego. They had numerous functions. First, they provided an avenue for residents to come together and participate in social functions and events and be recognized for their achievements, whereas in mainstream society they were often marginalized. It was because...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Race and Labor Activism in San Diego
    (pp. 92-129)

    In 1936, Mexican and Filipino celery workers in Chula Vista, the southern area of San Diego County, struck against the Chula Vista Vegetable Exchange. Although functioning as separate ethnic unions, the Mexican Union of Laborers, the Filipino Labor Union, and the Field Workers of San Diego County united against the celery growers to demand a wage increase to thirty cents an hour and the guarantee of a four-hour shift minimum if employers requested them to work for the day. Representing the Filipino and Mexican labor unions were Chris Mensalvas and Joe Espinosa.¹ City newspapers reported that alien Mexicans who were...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Filipino-Mexican Couples and the Forging of a Mexipino Identity
    (pp. 130-161)

    When Felipa Castro met Ciriaco “Pablo” Poscablo in San Diego, little did she know the impact their marriage would have on their family for generations to come. Born and raised in Baja California, Mexico, Felipa migrated with her family to Tijuana, then made her way north to the Otay Mesa area in the South Bay region of San Diego County during the early 1930s. Her future husband, Ciriaco, arrived in San Diego in 1924 from his hometown of Calasiao, in the province of Pangasinan, Philippines, via the U.S. Navy. Their courtship was brief, and they filed for a marriage license...

  10. Epilogue
    (pp. 162-170)

    Since 1965, the Filipino and Mexican communities have undergone a series of demographic, geographic, and economic changes. The 1965 Immigration Act, for example, abolished all national origins quotas, allowing for increased immigration of both Filipinos and Mexicans.¹ As a result, Filipino and Mexican communities have mushroomed all over San Diego. Filipinos in San Diego currently number 135,272, while Mexicans number 805,326. The size of their populations has also changed dramatically across the United States. At over 2.3 million, Filipinos are now the nation’s second-largest Asian group, while the United States’ proximity to Mexico ensures that Mexicans still comprise the largest...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 171-226)
  12. Index
    (pp. 227-240)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 241-242)