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Mexican Americans are Americansmarker of Mexicanmarker descent. They account over 12.5% of the country's population: 30.7 million Americans listed their ancestry as Mexican as of 2006, forming about 64% of all Hispanics and Latinos in the United States. The United States, six of whose states historically were part of Mexico, is home to the second largest Mexican community in the world. Most Mexican Americans are descended from both Europeans, especially Spaniards, and the Indigenous peoples of Mexico. Mexican American settlement concentrations are in metropolitan and rural areas across the United States, usually in the Southwest. However, many cities in the South and the Northeast have seen substantial increases in the Mexican foreign-born and Mexican American population.

Mexican American communities

Large Mexican-American population by size and percentage in the cities of:
  • San Antonio, Texasmarker - over half of the city's population.
  • Los Angeles, Californiamarker - home to over 1 million of Mexican ancestry, another 2 million throughout Los Angeles County. Largest Mexican populated city in the United States.
  • San Jose, Californiamarker - Nearly one quarter of the cities population is Mexican-American or of hispanic origin, San Jose has the largest Mexican-American population within the Bay Area of Northern California.
  • Santa Ana, Californiamarker - about two-thirds are Mexican or Hispanic, largest Mexican-American community in California.
  • San Diego, Californiamarker - lowest percentage though for a border city.
  • El Paso, Texasmarker - largest Mexican-American community bordering a state of Mexico.
  • Chicago, Illinoismarker - largest Mexican community outside a border state and second largest in the USA.
  • Houston, Texasmarker - third largest Mexican community in the United States.
  • Phoenix, Arizonamarker - fourth largest Mexican-American population.
  • Dallas, Texasmarker - fifth largest Mexican-American population and over one million Mexicans in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex (3rd largest foreign born Mexican population in the US per MSA).
  • San Francisco Bay Areamarker - also with over one million Hispanics, many of whom are Mexican Americans, both U.S. born and foreign-born.


New York Citymarker perhaps home to 99,000 Mexicans (whether immigrants and American-born) and are the third largest Hispanic national group in the city . The number of Mexicans residing in New York City is thought to be over 200,000, the total for the entire New York city metropolitan area could be upwards to 350,000 (in Long Islandmarker and the Hudson Valley of New York, and New Jerseymarker).

Western United States

Other cities and regions with large Mexican-American populations are:

Arizona





California











Colorado









New Mexico







Texas









Elsewhere









Mexican Americans form the largest ancestral group in El Paso, Texasmarker (city and county), where the population is more than 80 percent Mexican American, and Mexican.

Los Angeles city and county was reputed as the largest Mexican city outside of Mexico. The Mexican community of Los Angeles increased with the entire city's population over the last 120 years (1890 to 2009). In the 1900 census, about 319 Mexicans out of 110,000 total residents was reported in the city limits, but expanded greatly to 350,000 out of L.A. city's 1.5 million residents by the 1940 census. Due to massive deportation of Mexican immigrants and assimilation of many second-generation children of Mexican parentage, the growth rate has eventually slowed in the mid 20th century. But growth rates regenerated from a larger Mexican immigration wave since 1970 that added one million more by the year 2000, thus Los Angeles become a "majority" Hispanic city (over 50% of the population).

While there is a significant Central American community within Los Angeles, and less so in Los Angeles County as a whole. The combined proportion of Mexican Nationals, and Mexican Americans to all other Hispanic/Latino Nationalities in both Los Angeles, and Los Angeles County have seen the Mexican American population increase dramatically, to nearly 40 to 49% of the population in 1995 and 2000 census reports.

Imperial County, Californiamarker is about three-fourths Latino, the majority being of Mexican descent. Other counties of Southern California like Orangemarker, Riversidemarker, San Bernardinomarker, San Diegomarker, Venturamarker and Santa Barbaramarker have high percentages of both Mexican-Americans and other Latino ethnic groups. Although the San Francisco Bay Areamarker has a high percentage of both Mexican-Americans and other Latino ethnic groups, the city of San Josemarker has the highest percentage of Mexican-American's within the Bay Area. Most commonly you will see that the Mexican-American culture is very strong within San Josemarker due to the high percentage of Mexican-Americans and other Latino ethnic groups.

Growing population

In the 2000s and 2000's, the Midwestern United States became a major destination for Mexican immigrants. But Mexican-Americans were already present in the Midwest's industrial cities and urban areas. Another destination was the Northeastern United States, in places such as the Monongahela Valley, Pennsylvaniamarker; Mahoning Valley, Ohiomarker; New Haven, Connecticutmarker along with other Latin American nationalities; Washington, D.C.marker with Northern Virginia included; and the Delaware Valley.

Communities that consist mostly of recent-arrived immigrants from Mexico, are also present in other parts of the rural Southeastern United States, in states such as Georgiamarker, Marylandmarker, Tennesseemarker, Alabamamarker and Arkansasmarker. A growing Mexican-American population is also present in urban areas such as Orlando, Floridamarker with the Central Floridamarker region included; the Atlantamarker metro area; Charlotte, North Carolinamarker- with a majority Hispanic enclave of Eastland; New Orleansmarker which increased after Hurricane Katrina in Sep. 2005; the Hampton Roadsmarker, Virginiamarker area; and the Philadelphia metropolitan area, which according to several sources has had one of the largest proportional increases in Mexican immigrants in the nation.

Mexican-Americans are numerous in Florida (esp. Miamimarker and Tampamarker); Siler City, North Carolinamarker; Raleigh, North Carolinamarker; Ridgeland, South Carolinamarker; Dalton, Georgiamarker; Fayetteville, Arkansasmarker; Rogers, Arkansasmarker; Springdale, Arkansasmarker; East St. Louis, Illinoismarker- primarily in Fairmont City, Illinoismarker; East Chicago, Indianamarker; Gary, Indianamarker; Goshen, Indianamarker; Cedar Rapids, Iowamarker; Dodge City, Kansasmarker; Garden City, Kansasmarker; Lexington, Nebraskamarker; Detroitmarker; Saint Paul, Minnesotamarker; Cleveland, Ohiomarker; Cleveland, Tennesseemarker; Philadelphiamarker and its' metro area; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker; Syracuse, New Yorkmarker; Jackson, Mississippimarker; Milwaukee, Wisconsinmarker and Louisville, Kentuckymarker.



US communities with high percentages of Mexican ancestry

The top 25 US communities with various mexican populations are:

  1. San Elizario, Texasmarker in El Paso 99.00%
  2. Tornillo, Texasmarker 87.20% singular, 98.50% in addition to.
  3. Lopezville, Texasmarker 87.48% singular, 95.00% in addition to.
  4. Progreso, Texasmarker 87.54% singular, 92.50% in addition to.
  5. Cameron Park, Texasmarker 90.79%
  6. Presidio, Texasmarker 89.92%
  7. Alton, Texasmarker 89.62%
  8. Hidalgo, Texasmarker 89.43%
  9. Cactus, Texasmarker 89.40%
  10. Penitas, Texasmarker 89.37%
  11. Palmview, Texasmarker 89.16%
  12. Roma, Texasmarker 88.76%
  13. Fort Hancock, Texasmarker 88.21%
  14. Calexico, Californiamarker 87.72%


  1. Somerton, Arizonamarker 87.42%
  2. Coachella, Californiamarker 79.59% singular, 87.00% in addition to.
  3. San Benito, Texasmarker 87.00%
  4. Huron, Californiamarker 86.92%
  5. Parlier, Californiamarker 86.42%
  6. Lost Hills, Californiamarker 86.27%
  7. Mecca, Californiamarker 20.49% singular, 85.50% in addition to.
  8. Heidelberg, Texasmarker 85.31%
  9. San Juan, Texasmarker 84.00% singular, 99.00% in addition to.
  10. Granger, Washingtonmarker 83.94%
  11. La Joya, Texasmarker 83.92%
  12. San Joaquin, Californiamarker 54.00% singular, 83.85% in addition to.
  13. East Los Angeles, Californiamarker 40.92% singular, 82.50% in addition to.


U.S. communities with the highest proportion of residents born in Mexico

Top 25 U.S. communities with the highest proportion of residents born in Mexico are:

  1. Mattawa, WAmarker 67.8%
  2. Lost Hills, CA 65.3%
  3. Pajaro, CAmarker 64.6%
  4. Kettleman City, CAmarker 61.8%
  5. Santa Cruz, TXmarker 61.0%
  6. Cantua Creek, CAmarker 60.2%
  7. Muniz, TXmarker 59.6%
  8. Salem, NMmarker 59.3%
  9. London, CAmarker 58.7%


  1. Lakeview Estates, GAmarker 55.5%
  2. Cactus, TX 55.2%
  3. Desert Shores, CAmarker 54.4%
  4. Mecca, CA 54.2%
  5. Alto Bonito, TXmarker 54.1%
  6. San Joaquin, CA 53.9%
  7. Planada, CAmarker 53.1%
  8. Citrus City, TXmarker 52.3%


  1. Royal City, WAmarker 52.0%
  2. Westley, CAmarker 51.8%
  3. Gadsden, AZmarker 50.9%
  4. Las Lomas, TXmarker 50.9%
  5. Richgrove, CAmarker 50.1%
  6. Chualar, CAmarker 50.1%
  7. Huron, CA 50.1%
  8. Calexico, CA 49.8%


History of Mexican Americans

Mexican American history is wide-ranging, spanning more than four hundred years and varying from region to region within the United States. In 1900, there were slightly more than 500,000 Hispanics living in New Mexicomarker, Californiamarker and Texasmarker. Most were Mexican Americans of Mexican, Spanish, and other hispanicized European settlers who arrived in the Southwest during Spanish colonial times. Approximately ten percent of the current Mexican American population can trace their lineage back to these early colonial settlers.

As early as 1813 the Tejanos who colonized Texasmarker in the Spanish Colonial Period established a government in Texas that looked forward to independence from Mexico. As revealed by the writings of colonial Tejano Texians such as Antonio Menchaca, the Texas Revolution was initially a colonial Tejano cause. By 1831, Anglo settlers outnumbered Tejanos ten to one in Texas. The Mexican government became concerned by their increasing numbers and restricted the number of new Anglo settlers allowed to enter Texas. The Mexican government also banned slavery within the state, which angered slave owners. The Anglos along with many of the Tejanos rebelled against the centralized authority of Mexico Citymarker and the Santa Anna regime, while others remained loyal to Mexico, and still others were neutral.

Author John P. Schmal wrote of the effect Texas independence had on the Tejano community:

"A native of San Antonio, Juan Seguín is probably the most famous Tejano to be involved in the War of Texas Independence.
His story is complex because he joined the Anglo rebels and helped defeat the Mexican forces of Santa Anna.
But later on, as Mayor of San Antonio, he and other Tejanos felt the hostile encroachments of the growing Anglo power against them.
After receiving a series of death threats, Seguín relocated his family in Mexico, where he was coerced into military service and fought against the US in 1846-1848 Mexican-American War.


Although the events of 1836 led to independence for the people of Texas, the Hispanic population of the state was very quickly disenfranchised to the extent that their political representation in the Texas State Legislature disappeared entirely for several decades."

Californios were Spanish speaking residents of modern day California who were either of Mexican or European descent and Native Americans who became integrated into the society before the California Gold Rush. Relations between Californios and Anglo settlers were relatively good until military officer John C. Fremont arrived in California with a force of 60 men on an exploratory expedition in 1846. Fremont made an agreement with Comandante Castro that he would only stay in the San Joaquin Valleymarker for the winter, then move north to Oregonmarker. However, Fremont remained in the Santa Clara Valley then headed towards Montereymarker. When Castro demanded that Fremont leave California, Fremont rode to Gavilan Peakmarker, raised a US flag and vowed to fight to the last man to defend it. After three days of tension, Fremont retreated to Oregon without a shot being fired. With relations between Californios and Anglos quickly souring, Fremont rode back into California and encouraged a group of American settlers to seize a group of Castro's soldiers and their horses. Another group, seized the Presidio of Sonomamarker and captured Mariano Vallejo. William B. Ide was chosen Commander in Chief and on July 5, he proclaimed the creation of the Bear Flag Republicmarker. On July 9, US forces reached Sonoma and lowered the Bear Flag Republic's flag then replaced it with a US flag. Californios organized an army to defend themselves from invading American forces after the Mexican army retreated from California. The Californios defeated an American force in Los Angelesmarker on September 30, 1846, but were defeated after the Americans reinforced their forces in Southern California. The arrival of tens of thousands of people during the California Gold Rush meant the end of the Californio's ranching lifestyle. Many Anglo 49ers turned to farming and moved, often illegally, onto the land granted to Californios by the old Mexican government.

The United States first came into conflict with Mexico in the 1830s, as the westward spread of Anglo settlements and of slavery brought significant numbers of new settlers into the region known as Tejas (modern-day Texas), then part of Mexico. The Mexican-American War, followed by the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848 and the Gadsden Purchase in 1853, extended U.S. control over a wide range of territory once held by Mexico, including the present day borders of Texas and the states of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and California.

Although the treaty promised that the landowners in this newly acquired territory would enjoy full enjoyment and protection of their property as if they were citizens of the United States, many former citizens of Mexico lost their land in lawsuits before state and federal courts or as a result of legislation passed after the treaty. Even those statutes intended to protect the owners of property at the time of the extension of the United States' borders, such as the 1851 California Land Act, had the effect of dispossessing Californio owners ruined by the cost of maintaining litigation over land titles for years.

While Mexican Americans were once concentrated in the states that formerly belonged to Mexico—for a short period of less than 22 years (previously belonging to Spain) principally, Californiamarker, Arizonamarker, New Mexicomarker, Coloradomarker and Texasmarker—they began creating communities in St. Louismarker, Chicagomarker, Detroitmarker, Clevelandmarker, Pittsburghmarker, and other steel producing regions when they obtained employment during World War I. More recently, Mexican illegal immigrants have increasingly become a large part of the workforce in industries such as meat packing throughout the Midwest, in agriculture in the southeastern United States, and in the construction, landscaping, restaurant, hotel and other service industries throughout the country.

Mexican-American workers formed unions of their own and joined integrated unions. The most significant union struggle involving Mexican-Americans was the United Farm Workers' long strike and boycott aimed at grape growers in the San Joaquin and Coachella Valleys in the late 1960s. Its struggle propelled César Chávez and Dolores Huerta into national prominencechanging from a workers' rights organization that helped workers get unemployment insurance to that of a union of farmworkers almost overnight.

Mexican American identity has also changed markedly throughout these years. Over the past hundred years Mexican Americans have campaigned for voting rights, stood against educational and employment discrimination and stood for economic and social advancement. At the same time many Mexican Americans have struggled with defining and maintaining their community's identity. In the 1960s and 1970s, some Latino and Hispanic student groups flirted with nationalism and differences over the proper name for members of the community—Chicano/Chicana, Latino/Latina, Mexican Americans, or Hispanics became tied up with deeper disagreements over whether to integrate into or remain separate from mainstream American society, as well as divisions between those Mexican Americans whose families had lived in the United States for two or more generations and more recent immigrants. During this time rights groups such as the National Mexican-American Anti-Defamation Committee were founded.

Race and ethnicity

Admixture Graph, Bertoni et al. 2003.
Per the 2000 U.S. Census, a plurality of 47.3% of Mexican Americans self identify as White, closely followed by Mexican Americans who self identify as "Some other race", usually Mestizo (European/Indian) with 45.5%. Respondents who claim two or more races accounted for 5.1%, Blacks for 0.7%, and all other races for 1.4%. Mexican Americans are predominantly of European and Indian descent.Before the United States' borders expanded westward in the 19th century, New World regions colonized by the Spanish Empire since the 16th century held to a complex caste system (casta) that classified persons by their fractional racial makeup and geographic origin.

As the United States' borders expanded, the United States Census Bureau changed its racial classification methods for Mexican Americans under United States jurisdiction. The Bureau's classification system has evolved significantly from its inception:

  • From 1790 to 1850, there was no distinct racial classification of Mexican Americans in the U.S. census. The only racial categories recognized by the Census Bureau were White and Black. The Census Bureau estimates that during this period the number of persons that could not be categorized as white or black did not exceed 0.25% of the total population based on 1860 census data.


  • From 1850 through 1920 the Census Bureau expanded its racial categories to include all different races including Mestizos, Mulattos, Amerindians and Asians, and classified Mexicans and Mexican Americans as "White" All Mexicans were legally (though not always socially) considered "White" either because they were, or if not fully, because of treaty obligations to Spaniards and Mexicans that conferred citizenship status at a time when white-ness was a prerequisite for U.S. citizenship.


  • The 1930 U.S. census form asked for "color or race." The 1930 census calculators received these instructions: “write ‘W’ for White; ’Mex’ for Mexican.”


  • In the 1940 census, Mexican Americans were re-classified as White, due to widespread protests by the Mexican American community and the World War II-era Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration's policies of promoting national, "patriotic" unity by reorganizing racial categories to make all ethnic groups "white" and or "Americans" if not white. Instructions for enumerators were "Mexicans - Report 'White' (W) for Mexicans unless they are definitely of indigenous or other non-white race." During the same census, however, the bureau began to track the White population of Spanish mother tongue. This practice continued through the 1960 census. The 1960 census also used the title "Spanish-surnamed American" in their reporting data of Mexican Americans, which included Cuban Americans, Puerto Ricans and others under the same category.


  • From 1970 to 1980, there was a dramatic population increase of Other Race in the census, reflecting the addition of a question on Hispanic origin to the 100-percent questionnaire, an increased propensity for Hispanics not to identify themselves as White, and a change in editing procedures to accept reports of "Other race" for respondents who wrote in Hispanic entries such as Mexican, Cuban, or Puerto Rican. In 1970, such responses in the Other race category were reclassified and tabulated as White. During this census, the bureau attempted to identify all Hispanics by use of the following criteria in sampled sets:
* Spanish speakers and persons belonging to a household where the head of household was a Spanish speaker
* Persons with Spanish heritage by birth location or surname
* Persons who self-identified Spanish origin or descent


  • From 1980 on, the Census Bureau has collected data on Hispanic origin on a 100-percent basis. The bureau has noted an increasing number of respondents who mark themselves as Hispanic origin but not of the White race.
For certain purposes, respondents who wrote in "Chicano" or "Mexican" (or indeed, almost all Hispanic origin groups) in the "Some other race" category were automatically re-classified into the "White race" group.

Politics and debate of racial classification

Throughout U.S. history, Mexican Americans have been legally "White", but not always socially classified as such, depending on the individual's degrees of percieved ancestry. Census criteria and legal constructions generally classify them as "White"; or "Indigenous" although in the 2000 census, over 40% were reported as "other race"."

In times and places where Mexicans were allotted white status, they were permitted to intermarry with what today are termed "non-Hispanic whites".Mexican Americans could vote and hold elected office in places such as Texasmarker, especially San Antoniomarker. They ran the state politics and constituted most of the elite of New Mexicomarker since colonial times. However, property requirements and English literacy requirements were imposed in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas in order to prevent Mexican Americans from voting. Some eligible voters were intimidated with the threat of violence if they attempted to exercise their right to vote.

They were also allowed to serve in all-white units during World War II. However, many Mexican American war veterans were discriminated against and even denied medical services by the United States Department of Veterans Affairsmarker when they arrived home.

In the past, Mexicans were legally considered "White" because either they were, or if not fully, because of early treaty obligations to Spaniards and Mexicans that conferred citizenship status at a time when white-ness was a prerequisite for U.S. citizenship. Although Mexican Americans were legally classified as "White" in terms of official federal policy, many organizations, businesses, and homeowners associations and local legal systems had official policies to exclude Mexican Americans. Throughout the southwest discrimination in wages were institutionalized in "white wages" versus lower "Mexican wages" for the same job classifications.

Mexican Americans classified as "White", following anti-miscegenation laws in most western states until the 1960s could not legally marry African or Asian Americans (See Perez v. Sharp). However, there's a documented trend of intermarriage rates in the Mexican American community with Indian Americans from India or Pakistanmarker (see Punjabi Mexican American for information about the subject).

Economic and social issues

Illegal immigration issues

Since the 1960's, illegal Mexican immigrants have met a significant portion of the demand for cheap labor in the United States. Fear of deportation makes them highly vulnerable to exploitation by employers. Many employers, however, have developed a "don't ask, don't tell" attitude, indicating a greater comfort with or casual approach toward hiring illegal Mexican nationals known as Wetbacks. In May 2006, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, Mexicans and other nationalities, walked out of their jobs across the country in protest to proposed changes in immigration laws (also in hopes for amnesty to become naturalized citizens like similar the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which granted citizenship to Mexican nationals living and working illegally in the US). Their boycott had no effect on the US cities and industries where they worked.

In the United States, in states where Mexican Americans make up a large percentage of the population, such as Californiamarker and Texasmarker, illegal as well as legal immigrants from Mexico and Central America in addition to Mexican Americans combined often make up a large majority of workers in many blue-collar occupations: the majority of the employed men are restaurant workers, janitors, truck drivers, gardeners, construction laborers, material moving workers, or perform other types of manual or other blue collar labor (Source, U.S. Census Bureau, American community survey data.). Many women also work in low wage service and retail occupations. In many of these places with large Latino populations, many types of blue-collar workers are often assumed to be Mexican American or Mexican or other Latino immigrants (Although a large minority are actually not. -Source, U.S. Census Bureau, American community survey data.) because of their frequent dominance in those occupations and stereotyping. Occasionally, tensions have risen between Mexican immigrants and other ethnic groups because of increasing concerns over the availability of working-class jobs to Americans and immigrants from other ethnic groups. However, tensions have also risen among Hispanic American laborers who have been displaced because of both cheap Mexican labor and ethnic profiling. African American workers in lower-wage jobs have been displaced by undocumented Mexican laborers and their neighborhoods have been transformed from majority black to majority Latino, which has caused some racial tensions between African Americans and Mexicans in the Southwest US. Even legal immigrants to the United States, both from Mexico and elsewhere, have spoken out against illegal immigration. However, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in June 2007, 63% of Americans would support an immigration policy that would put illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship if they "pass background checks, pay fines and have jobs, learn English", while 30% would oppose such a plan. The survey also found that if this program was instead labeled "amnesty", 54% would support it, while 39% would oppose.

Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, has said that the growth of the working-age population is a large factor in keeping the economy growing and that immigration can be used to grow that population. According to Greenspan, by 2030, the growth of the US workforce will slow from 1 percent to 1/2 percent, while the percentage of the population over 65 years will rise from 13 percent to perhaps 20 percent. Greenspan has also stated that the current immigration problem could be solved with a "stroke of the pen", referring to the 2007 immigration reform bill which would have strengthened border security, created a guest worker program, and put illegal immigrants currently residing in the US on a path to citizenship if they met certain conditions.

Discrimination and stereotypes

Throughout U.S. history, Mexican Americans have and continue to endure various types of negative stereotypes which have long circulated in media and popular culture. Mexican Americans have also faced discrimination based on ethnicity, race, culture, poverty, and use of the Spanish language.

Mexican Americans have found themselves targeted by hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan It is estimated that at least 597 Mexicans and Mexican Americans were lynched between 1848 and 1928 in the Southwest. Mexican Americans were lynched at a rate of 27.4 per 100,000 of population between 1880 and 1930. This statistic is second only to that of the African American community during that period, which suffered an average of 37.1 per 100,000 of population. Between 1848 to 1879, Mexicans were lynched at an unprecedented rate of 473 per 100,000 of population. More problematic still is the fact that, despite the recent flourishing of academic literature on lynching, scholars also persistently overlook anti-Mexican violence.

Since the majority of illegal immigrants in the U.S. have traditionally been from Latin America, the Mexican American community has been the subject of widespread immigration raids. During The Great Depression, the United States government sponsored a Mexican Repatriation program which was intended to encourage people to voluntarily move to Mexico, but thousands were deported against their will. More than 500,000 individuals were deported, approximately 60 percent of which were actually United States citizens. In the post-war McCarthy era, the Justice Department launched Operation Wetback.



In the 1940s, imagery in newspapers and crime novels portrayed Mexican American Zoot suiters as disloyal foreigners or murderers attacking White police officers and servicemen. Anti-zoot suiter sentiment sparked a series of attacks on young Mexican American males in Los Angeles which became known as the Zoot Suit Riots. The worst of the rioting occurred on June 9, during which 5,000 servicemen and civilians gathered in downtown Los Angeles and attacked Mexican-American zoot suiters and non-zoot suiters alike. The rioting eventually spread to the predominantly African American neighborhood of Wattsmarker.

During World War II, more than 300,000 Mexican Americans served in the US armed forces. Mexican Americans were generally integrated into regular military units, however, many Mexican American war veterans were discriminated against and even denied medical services by the United States Department of Veterans Affairsmarker when they arrived home. In 1948, war veteran Dr Hector P. Garcia founded the American GI Forum to address the concerns of Mexican American veterans who were being discriminated against. The AGIF's first campaign was on the behalf of Felix Longoria, a Mexican American private who was killed in the Philippinesmarker while in the line of duty. Upon the return of his body to his hometown of Three Rivers, Texasmarker, he was denied funeral services because of his race.

Mexican American school children, especially those of mestizo descent, were subject to racial segregation in the public school system. They were forced to attend "Mexican schools" throughout the Southwestern United States. In 1947, the Mendez v. Westminster ruling declared that segregating children of "Mexican and Latin descent" in Orange Countymarker and the state of Californiamarker was unconstitutional. This ruling helped lay the foundation for the landmark Brown v Board of Education case which ended racial segregation in the public school system.

Mexican Americans were not selected as jurors in court cases which involved a Mexican American defendant in many counties in the Southwestern United States. In 1954, Pete Hernandez, an agricultural worker, was indicted of murder by an all-white jury in Jackson County, Texasmarker. Hernandez believed that the jury could not be impartial unless members of other races were allowed on the jury-selecting committees, seeing that a Mexican American had not been on a jury for more than 25 years in that particular county. Hernandez and his lawyers decided to take the case to the Supreme Court. The Hernandez v. Texas Supreme Court ruling declared that Mexican Americans and other racial groups in the United States were entitled to equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

In the 1948 case of Perez v. Sharp, Andrea Perez—a Mexican-American woman listed as White—and Sylvester Davis—an African American man—the Supreme Court of California recognized that interracial bans on marriage violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the Federal Constitution.

In many areas across the Southwest, Mexican Americans lived in separate residential areas, due to laws and real estate company policies. This group of laws and policies, known as redlining, lasted until the 1950s, and fall under the concept of official segregation. In many other instances, it was more of a general social understanding among whites that Mexicans should be excluded. For instance, signs with the phrase "No Dogs or Mexicans" were posted in small businesses and public pools throughout the Southwest well into the 60's.

In modern times, organizations such as neo-Nazis, white supremacist groups, American nationalist and nativist groups have been known and continue to intimidate, harass and advocate the use of violence towards Mexican Americans and other ethnic Latinos in the population. Other organizations seeking to apprehend immigrants that have crossed into the United States illegally have also been accused of discrimination. It has recently been reported that members of Neo-Nazi organizations have indeed participated in demonstrations by the Minuteman Project and other anti-illegal-immigration organizations. In 2006, it was revealed that Laine Lawless, former Minuteman Project member and founder of Border Guardians (believed to be a nativist anti-immigration organization), sent emails to leaders of the National Socialist Movement (a neo-Nazi organization) in which she encouraged violence against "illegal immigrants" and Spanish speaking individuals.

In 2006, Time magazine reported that the number of hate groups in the United States increased by 33 percent since 2000, primarily due to anti-illegal immigrant and anti-Mexican sentiment.

According to the annual Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBImarker) Hate Crimes Statistics Report, in 2007, Hispanics comprised 61.7 percent of victims of crimes motivated by a bias toward the victims’ ethnicity or national origin. Since 2003 the number of both victims of anti-Hispanic crimes and incidents increased by nearly 40 percent. In 2004, the comparable figure was 51.5 percent. In California, the state with the largest Mexican American population, the number of hate crimes committed against Latinos has almost doubled.

Also, there's a stereotype that if a person is with a hispanic background, they're considered mexican. This a sterotype that other hispanic/latino groups go though in parts of the United States mostly in areas that lack other hispanic groups or non at all.

Social status and assimilation



Barrow (2005) finds increases in average personal and household incomes for Mexican Americans in the 21st century. U.S. born Mexican Americans earn more and are represented more in the middle and upper-class segments more than most recently arriving Mexican immigrants. It should be noted, however, that Mexican Americans are not well represented in the professions.

Most immigrants from Mexico, as elswehere, come from the lower classes and from families generationally employed in lower skilled jobs. They also are most likely from rural areas. Thus, many new Mexican immigrants are not skilled in white collar professions. Recently, some professionals from Mexico have been migrating, but to make the transition from one country to another involves re-training and re-adjusting to conform to US laws —i.e. professional licensing is required.

According to James P. Smith of the Research and Development Corporation, the children and grandchildren of Latino immigrants tend to lessen educational and income gaps with native whites. Immigrant Latino men make about half of what native whites do, while second generation US-born Latinos make about 78 percent of the salaries of their native white counterparts.



Huntington (2005) argues that the sheer number, concentration, linguistic homogeneity, and other characteristics of Latin American immigrants will erode the dominance of English as a nationally unifying language, weaken the country's dominant cultural values, and promote ethnic allegiances over a primary identification as an American. Testing these hypotheses with data from the U.S. Census and national and Los Angeles opinion surveys, Citrin et al. (2007) show that Hispanics (in general but not Mexicans specifically) acquire English and lose Spanish rapidly beginning with the second generation, and appear to be no more or less religious or committed to the work ethic than native-born non-Mexican American whites.

South et al. (2005) examine Hispanic spatial assimilation and inter-neighborhood geographic mobility. Their longitudinal analysis of seven hundred Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban immigrants followed from 1990 to 1995 finds broad support for hypotheses derived from the classical account of assimilation into American society. High income, English-language use, and embeddedness in American social contexts increased Latin American immigrants' geographic mobility into multi-ethnic neighborhoods. US citizenship and years spent in the United States were positively associated with geographic mobility into different neighborhoods, and coethnic contact was inversely associated with this form of mobility, but these associations operated largely through other predictors. Prior experiences of ethnic discrimination increased and residence in public housing decreased the likelihood that Latino immigrants would move from their original neighborhoods, while residing in metropolitan areas with large Latino populations led to geographic moves into "less Anglo" census tracts.

However, Mexican and Hispanic communities are said to became more culturally separate than ever by an increase of "enclavism" in the late 20th century, a new form of self-segregation among non-Anglo groups, especially in urban centers and older suburbs. It's been said that Mexican American and Anglo American communities throughout the history of the Southwestern states were like "separate worlds" as the U.S. and Mexico are separate countries, especially before the 1960s when residential segregation and discrimination became illegal.

Segregation Issues

In 2000, over nine million Mexicans Americans lived in areas considered highly segregated socially.

Segregated Neighborhoods

Map of Los Angeles County showing percentage of population self-identified as Mexican in ancestry or national origin by census tracts.
Heaviest concentrations are in East L.A, Echo Lake/Silver Lake, South Central, San Fernando and San Pedro/Wilmington.


Neighborhoods with a high percentage of individuals who claim Latino ancestry are commonly referred to as “barrios” or “colonias.” When translated from Spanish to English, barrio signifies “district” or “quarter” while colonia is the corresponding Mexican Spanish word.

A barrio has been defined as “a place where Latino immigrants can express communal culture and language within the larger American culture." In other words, the barrio is a sort of sanctuary for Spanish-speaking immigrants who may not yet be fully adjusted to the United States. In the barrio, they can converse in their native language, allowing one to communicate, find a job, and seek help with less pressure of speaking a second language. It is a place where Latino culture thrives and a source of comfort to a recent immigrant, as it would offer him or her a place to work and live while perfecting fluency of the English language.

However, some argue that the barrio also represents the inequality faced by many Mexican Americans in the United States. Barrios usually offer a lower quality of education, provide poorer jobs than other neighborhoods, and generally receive less government attention than wealthier neighborhoods.

Housing Market Practices

Studies have shown that the segregation among Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants seems to be declining. One study found that Mexican American applicants were offered the same housing terms and conditions as Anglo Americans. They were asked to provide the same information (regarding employment, income, credit checks, etc) and asked to meet the same general qualifications of their Anglo peers.

However, in this same study, it was found that Mexican Americans were more likely than Anglo Americans to be asked to pay a security deposit or application fee. Another interesting aspect of this study is that the Mexican American applicants were more likely to be placed onto a waiting list than the Anglo Americans applicants.

Latino Segregation versus Black Segregation

Historically, Blacks have faced much harsher treatment concerning segregation than any other racial, ethnic, or ancestral group. When comparing the segregation of Mexican Americans to that of Black Americans, there are two important facts that one must understand.

First, “Latino segregation is less severe and fundamentally different than Black residential segregation." Studies have shown that the separation of Latinos is more likely to be due to factors such as lower socioeconomic status and immigration while the segregation of African Americans is more likely to be due to larger issues such as racism. While the segregation of both African Americans and Latinos can be explained by the fact that they are largely confined to blue-collar occupations and are therefore unable to accumulate enough wealth enabling a home outside of the ghetto/barrio, African Americans more often face segregation regardless of socioeconomic status. The segregation of Mexican Americans is less severe and can be seen as an intermediary phenomenon that may slowly become less and less apparent. While Asians and Amerindians may find themselves less segregated as they move up the socioeconomic ladder, many African Americans often continue to be spatially separated from Whites regardless of their socioeconomic status.

Secondly, like the segregation towards African Americans, segregation toward darker Latinos is much more severe than it is for others with lighter skin. For instance a white Hispanic, would have an easier job finding residence within a "white" neighborhood than a more Amerindian one.

Segregated Schools

During certain periods, Mexican American children sometimes were forced to register at “Mexican schools”, where classroom conditions were poor, the school year was shorter, and the quality of education was substandard.Ferg-Cadima, James A. Black, White and Brown:. Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. 28 Apr. 2008 /www.maldef.org/publications/pdf/LatinoDesegregationPaper2004.pdf>

Various reasons for the inferiority of the education given to Mexican American students have been listed by James A. Ferg-Cadima including: inadequate resources, poor equipment, unfit building construction, shortened school year (see below), failure to prevent drop out, limited access to high school, a watered down curriculum, poor instruction, disproportionate suspension, expulsion, harassment and non-enforced attendance rules.

In 1923, the Texas Education Survey Commission found that the school year for some non-white groups was 1.6 months shorter than the average school year. This may be connected to the fact that minority labor was needed during this time. As the agricultural field required the cheap labor provided by exploited minorities, it has been suggested that the minority school year was shortened to allow for these students to work instead of receive the extra 1.6 months of education.

Some have interpreted the shortened school year as a “means of social control." In other words, policies were implemented to ensure that Mexican Americans would maintain the unskilled labor force required for a healthy economy. A lesser education would serve to confine Mexican Americans to the bottom rung of the social ladder. By limiting the number of days that Mexican Americans could attend school and allotting time for these same students to work, in mainly agricultural and seasonal jobs, the prospects for higher education and upward mobility were slim.

Immigration and Segregation

When an immigrant enters the United States, it is likely that he or she will seek shelter and occupation within an “immigration hub .”

Immigration hubs are popular destinations for Latino immigrants. They are increasing in size and continue to be highly segregated. The largest immigration hubs include Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. The highly segregated areas of these cities have historically served the purpose of allowing immigrants to become comfortable in the United States, accumulate wealth, and eventually leave.White, Michael J., Catherine Bueker, and Jennifer E. Glick. The Impact of Immigration on Residential Segregation Revisited. /www.brown.edu/Departments/Sociology/faculty/mwhite/documents/impact_of_immigration_on_residential_segregation_revisited.pdf> The historical view of immigration hubs sees these cities as temporary starting points for immigrants. They are not expected to live their entire lives within the United States inside segregated areas. Rather, they are expected to accumulate enough wealth to start a life within the larger society.

This model of immigration and residential segregation, explained above, is the model which has historically been accurate in describing the experiences of Latino immigrants. However, the patterns of immigration seen today no longer follows this model. This old model is termed the standard spatial assimilation model. More contemporary models are the polarization model and the diffusion model .

The spatial assimilation model posits that as immigrants would live within this country’s borders, they would simultaneously become more comfortable in their new surroundings, their socioeconomic status would rise, and their ability to speak English would increase. The combination of these changes would allow for the immigrant to move out of the barrio and into the dominant society. This type of assimilation reflects the experiences of immigrants of the early twentieth century. Recent, more contemporary, models of residential segregation are the polarization model and the diffusion model are described below.

Polarization model suggests that the immigration of non-Black minorities into the United States further separates Blacks and Whites, as though the new immigrants are a buffer between them. This creates a hierarchy in which Blacks are at the bottom, Whites are at the top, and other groups fill the middle. In other words, the polarization model posits that Asians and Amerindians are less segregated than their African American peers because White American society would rather live closer to Asians or Amerindians than Blacks.

The diffusion model has also been suggested as a way of describing the immigrant’s experience within the United States. This model is rooted in the belief that as time passes, more and more immigrants enter the country. This model suggests that as the United States becomes more populated with a more diverse set of peoples, stereotypes and discriminatory practices will decrease, as awareness and acceptness increase. The diffusion model predicts that new immigrants will break down old patterns of discrimination and prejudice, as one becomes more and more comfortable with the more diverse neighborhoods that are created through the influx of immigrants. Applying this model to the experiences of Mexican Americans forces one to see Mexican American immigrants as positive additions to the “American melting pot,” in which as more additions are made to the pot, the more equal and accepting society will become.

Overcrowding

The issue of overcrowding is closely related to the issue of segregation and immigration. As immigrants enter the country, they are likely to settle in areas where their friends, family, or simply other who share their culture, have settled. It is not uncommon for many members of families, extended families, or friends, to live in what is considered "overcrowded" conditions.

A large aspect of the segregation of Latinos within the United States is overcrowding. Rates of overcrowding among Latinos, especially in American suburbs, are high. The U.S. Census Bureau considers a residence to be overcrowded if there is more than one person per roomRoth, Benjamin J. The Latino Community in Suburban Chicago: an Anaylsis of Overcrowding. Latinos United. /www.latinopolicyforum.org/drupal55/files/Overcrowding_Report.pdf>

There are various explanations for overcrowding. One widely held belief about overcrowding is based on a stereotype of living in close proximity simply to cultural preference. To expand on that point, it is widely believed that immigrant Hispanic families live in dense households because of their desire to remain in close proximity with extended family. However, this view does not paint the entire picture. Some families may live under one roof by choice and it is possible that Hispanic people may have different cultural standards than other population groups, thus allowing them to be more comfortable living with extended family underneath the same roof. However, one cannot reduce all problems of Hispanic overcrowding to cultural preference, as this offers an incomplete understanding of the issue at hand.

Hispanic people may live in overcrowded conditions out of economic necessity and simply because they choose to live differently than others. Lack of affordable housing and a poor selection of well-paying occupations may combine to create the necessity of many living close together. Because one certain family may find very few opportunities for sufficient housing or find themselves without adequate funds for a house of their own, they may be forced to live in crowded conditions.

The Chicano Movement and the Chicano Moratorium



In the heady days of the late 1960s, when the student movement was active around the globe, the Chicano movement conducted actions such as the mass walkouts by high school students in Denver and East Los Angeles in 1968 and the Chicano Moratorium in Los Angeles in 1970. The movement was particularly strong at the college level, where activists formed MEChA, an organization that seeks to promote Chicano unity and empowerment through education and political action. The Chicano Moratorium, formally known as the National Chicano Moratorium Committee, was a movement of Chicano anti-war activists that built a broad-based but fragile coalition of Mexican-American groups to organize opposition to the Vietnam War. The committee was led by activists from local colleges and members of the "Brown Berets," a group with roots in the high school student movement that staged walkouts in 1968, known as the East L.A. walkouts, also called "blowouts." The best known historical fact of the Moratorium was the death of Ruben Salazar, known for his reporting on civil rights and police brutality. The official story is that Salazar was killed by a tear gas canister fired by a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department into the Silver Dollar Café at the conclusion of the August 29 rally, leading some to claim that he had been targeted. While an inquest found that his death was a homicide, the deputy sheriff who fired the shell was not prosecuted.

Mexican-Americans in Pro sports

Baseball

American Football

Basketball

Boxing

Martial Arts

Professional Wrestling

Ice hockey Skateboarding

See also



Notes

  1. name="US Census Bureau, Mexican">
  2. http://historiamexicana.colmex.mx/pdf/13/art_13_1938_16335.pdf
  3. Latinos and the Changing Face of America - Population Reference Bureau
  4. American Experience | Remember the Alamo | Timeline | PBS
  5. (DV) Felux: Remember the Alamo?
  6. http://books.google.com/books?id=ENPUSvf4Z3EC&pg=PA41&dq=%22tejano+community%27s%22+%22texas+independence%22&sig=sgeYJ9hGcg2Fg2WPZc4AoeTREZE#PPA21,M1
  7. http://bexargenealogy.com/Tejanos.html
  8. The Hispanic Experience - Tejanos in the Texas Revolution
  9. American Experience | The Gold Rush | People & Events | PBS
  10. World Book Encyclopedia | Atlas | Homework Help
  11. Bertoni et al., Admixture in Hispanics: Distribution of Ancestral Population Contributions in the United States, Human Biology - Volume 75, Number 1, February 2003, pp. 1-11
  12. Surveillance Epidemology and End Results. Race and Nationality Descriptions from the 2000 US Census and Bureau of Vital Statistics. 2007. May 21, 2007.
  13. History of Voting Rights in America » Cobb-LaMarche 2004 - Ballot Recount
  14. press3b
  15. RACE - History - Post-War Economic Boom and Racial Discrimination
  16. JS Online: Filmmaker explores practice of redlining in documentary
  17. Summary of Findings: Mixed Views on Immigration Bill
  18. FRB: Testimony, Greenspan-Aging population-February 27, 2003
  19. Immigration curbs hurting U.S., Greenspan says - USATODAY.com
  20. Flores Niemann Yolanda, et al. ‘’Black-Brown Relations and Stereotypes’’ (2003); Charles Ramírez Berg, ’’Latino Images in Film: Stereotypes, Subversion, & Resistance’’ (2002); Chad Richardson, ‘’Batos, Bolillos, Pochos, and Pelados: Class & Culture on the South Texas Border’’ (1999)
  21. Life on the Texas-Mexico Border: Myth and reality as represented in Mainstream and Independent Western Cinema
  22. Steven H. Wilson | Brown over "Other White": Mexican Americans' Legal Arguments and Litigation Strategy in School Desegregation Lawsuits | Law and History Review, 21.1 | The History Cooperative
  23. Journal of San Diego History
  24. The lynching of persons of Mexican origin or descent in
  25. 1930s Mexican Deportation: Educator brings attention to historic period and its affect on her family
  26. Counseling Kevin: The Economy
  27. Moore, J. W., & Cuéllar, A. B. (1970) Mexican Americans. Ethnic groups in American life series. Englewood, Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. pp. 78-79. ISBN 0135794900
  28. LatinoLA - Latino Hollywood - On Screen and Behind the Scenes
  29. TSHA Online - Texas State Historical Association
  30. hhttp://www.oyez.org/cases/1950-1959/1953/1953_406/
  31. http://books.google.com/books?id=CzarnBhJiZUC&pg=PA53&lpg=PA53&dq=history+residential+discrimination+%22mexican+americans%22&source=web&ots=E5sWzrye-1&sig=ASrRu7iGdrLIFEc6cNirTozixiU#PPA53,M1
  32. Neo-Nazi Immigration Demo: More Fed Provocateuring?
  33. 4 Are Held in Attack on Mexican Immigrants - New York Times
  34. Vigilantes Gather in Arizona
  35. SPLCenter.org: Immigration protesters joined by neo-Nazis in California
  36. SPLCenter.org: Open Season
  37. SPLCenter.org: Going Lawless
  38. How Immigration is Rousing the Zealots - TIME
  39. http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2007/index.html
  40. Democracy Now! | FBI Statistics Show Anti-Latino Hate Crimes on the Rise
  41. http://ccsre.stanford.edu/reports/exec_summary5.pdf
  42. Southern California Quarterly "Cinco de Mayo's First Seventy-Five Years in Alta California: From Spontaneous Behavior to Sedimented Memory, 1862 to 1937" Spring 2007 (see American observation of Cinco de Mayo started in California) accessed Oct 30, 2007
  43. Assimilation of immigrants is not a problem in the U.S. | Deseret News (Salt Lake City) | Find Articles at BNET.com
  44. South, Scott J.; Crowder, Kyle; and Chavez, Erick. "Geographic Mobility and Spatial Assimilation among U.S. Latino Immigrants." International Migration Review 2005 39(3): 577-607. Issn: 0197-9183
  45. Martin, Michael E. Residential Segregation Patterns of Latinos in the United States, 1990-2000. New York: Routledge, 2007.
  46. James, Franklin J., and Eileen A. Tynan. Minorities in the Sunbelt. New Jersey: The State University of New Jersey, 1984.
  47. Martin, Michael E. Residential Segregation Patterns of Latinos in the United States, 1990-2000. New York: Routledge, 2007.


References

  • Barrow, Lisa and Rouse, Cecilia Elena. "Do Returns to Schooling Differ by Race and Ethnicity?" American Economic Review 2005 95(2): 83-87. Issn: 0002-8282 Fulltext: in Ingenta and Ebsco
  • Jack Citrin, Amy Lerman, Michael Murakami and Kathryn Pearson, "Testing Huntington: Is Hispanic Immigration a Threat to American Identity?" Perspectives on Politics, Volume 5, Issue 01, February 2007, pp 31–48
  • De La Garza, Rodolfo O., Martha Menchaca, Louis DeSipio. Barrio Ballots: Latino Politics in the 1990 Elections (1994)
  • De la Garza, Rodolfo O. Awash in the Mainstream: Latino Politics in the 1996 Elections (1999) * De la Garza, Rodolfo O., and Louis Desipio. Ethnic Ironies: Latino Politics in the 1992 Elections (1996)
  • De la Garza, Rodolfo O. Et al. Latino Voices: Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban Perspectives on American Politics (1992)
  • Arnoldo De León, Mexican Americans in Texas: A Brief History, 2nd ed. (1999)
  • Erlinda Gonzales-Berry, David R. Maciel, editors, The Contested Homeland: A Chicano History of New Mexico 2000, ISBN 0-8263-2199-
  • Nancie L. González; The Spanish-Americans of New Mexico: A Heritage of Pride (1969)
  • Hero, Rodney E. Latinos and the U.S. Political System: Two-Tiered Pluralism. (1992)
  • Garcia, F. Chris. Latinos and the Political System. (1988)
  • Samuel P. Huntington. Who Are We: The Challenges to America's National Identity (2005)
  • Kenski, Kate and Tisinger, Russell. "Hispanic Voters in the 2000 and 2004 Presidential General Elections." Presidential Studies Quarterly 2006 36(2): 189-202. Issn: 0360-4918 Fulltext: in Swetswise and Ingenta
  • David Montejano, Anglos and Mexicans in the Making of Texas, 1836-1986 (1987)
  • Pachon, Harry and Louis Desipio. New Americans by Choice: Political Perspectives of Latino Immigrants. (1994)
  • Rosales, Francisco A., Chicano!: The history of the Mexican American civil rights movement. (1997). ISBN 1-55885-201-8
  • Smith, Robert Courtney. Mexican New York: Transnational Lives of New Immigrants (2005), links with old village, based on interviews
  • South, Scott J.; Crowder, Kyle; and Chavez, Erick. "Geographic Mobility and Spatial Assimilation among U.S. Latino Immigrants." International Migration Review 2005 39(3): 577-607. Issn: 0197-9183
  • Suárez-Orozco, Marcelo M. And Mariela M. Páez. Latinos: Remaking America. (2002)
  • Villarreal, Roberto E., and Norma G. Hernandez. Latinos and Political Coalitions: Political Empowerment for the 1990s (1991)


Further reading

  • William A. Nericcio (2007). "Tex(t)-Mex: Seductive Hallucination of the 'Mexican' in America"; utpress book; book galleryblog
  • John R. Chavez (1984). "The Lost Land: A Chicano Image of the American Southwest", New Mexico University Publications.


External links




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