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Mestizo in America: Generations of Mexican Ethnicity in the Suburban Southwest (review)
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2??8Book Reviews363 about die controversial audior's own role in history: will Ben Barnes be remembered primarily as the promising young phenomenon who became a protégé ofJohnson and Connally, or will he be recognized as a force in his own right in the events and transformations he chronicles? That answer will await a work ofgreater depth and broader perspective. AustinJames E. Cousar Mestizo inAmerica: Generations ofMexicanEthnicity in tL·Suburban Southwest. ByThomas Macias. (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2006. Pp. 194. Tables, graphs, appendices, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0816525048. $45.00, cloth. ISBN 0816525056. $19.95, paper.) Mestizo in America examines die social integration ofthe U.S. Mexican community from 1965 to the present. While its sources are both qualitative and quantitative , its richest source for quantitative data is the Current Population Survey (CPS) from igg4 to 2002. In addition, the author interviewed more than fifty residents of Mexican origin from Phoenix, Arizona, and San Jose, California, who are at least third generation to add a substantial base ofqualitative sources with which to document his study. Notwithstanding the regional specificity of the qualitative data, the discussion based on both sets ofdata clearly has implications for the Mexican-origin community across the country but especially the five southwestern states where 77 percent of U.S. Mexicans reside today. Chapter four is the author's more strictly sociological chapter. Texas is included in its discussion. The book contains six short chapters plus three appendices. Most ofthe tables are found in chapter four, the quantitative chapter, which is also the lengthiest one of the six. Macias, who has dropped the accent from his last name, is especially interested in how the third-plus generations of Mexicans in the United States experience social integration. He contrasts their experience with that of the first and second generations of Mexican Americans as well as with that of various European American groups and other U.S. ethnic and racial minority groups where appropriate. He observes diat the study of the U.S. Mexican community is concentrated primarily on that of the first and second generations, to die exclusion of die third-plus generations. Macias presents regional differences and similarities in the respective experiences of each generation's social integration focusing on sociological measures such as rates of intermarriage, educational attainment, occupational status, household income, ethnic residential concentration (suburban or urban), Spanish-language use and retention, relative (regional) distance from the U.S.-Mexico border, and so fordi. Macias argues diat his emphasis on the diird-plus generations of Mexican Americans is not misplaced. While Mexican Americans comprise nearly two-thirds of U.S. Latinos, and Latinos are already the country's single largest and fastest growing ethnic minority group, Macias adds that third-plus-generation Mexican Americans (as of March 2002) numbered more than all otiier non-Mexican U.S. Latinos together, 6.9 million versus 6.6 million. Stated differendy, of the more 364Southwestern Historical QuarterlyJanuary dian 9.1 million third-plus-generation Latinos in 2002, nearly 7 million were Mexican Americans, and they may have called themselves variously by any number of self-referents, among them Hispanic, Latina/o, Mexican, Mexican American, and Chicana/o. The continued legacy of the Chicanismo ethos is alive and well among thirdplus -generation Mexicans in the United States, Macias notes, making it acceptable to claim one's ethnicity and still consider oneselfthoroughly American, a trait shared by many other groups since die ethnic-identity social movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Continued Mexican immigration combines to make social integration for U.S. Mexicans distinct and affords reinforcement for the third-plus generations to acquire "a positive sense of Mexican etiinicity through both the consumption of edinic culture and participation in die edinic community" (p. 93). In 2002, 72 percent of all U.S. Mexicans were either first or second generation, and first-generation Mexicans comprised fully 41 percent of die total of more than 25 million counted. Macias concludes that "Mexican etiinicity, and by extension mestizaje [mixing ofraces] , is still a highly contested area ofself- and group identitywidiin die United States" (p. 115). The audior believes the day mestizaje will be accepted in the U.S. approaches. Accepting...