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Becoming Mexipino

Multiethnic Identities and Communities in San Diego

Rudy P. Guevarra Jr.

Publication Year: 2012

Becoming Mexipino is 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.

Published by: Rutgers University Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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p. vii

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pp. ix-xii

I can honestly say this project began the day I was born. As a child, I never fully understood what my experience as a Mexipino meant, other than being instilled with a sense of pride for both my cultures. I grew up eating both Mexican and Filipino food and observed the interactions of my relatives at...

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Introduction: Mexicans, Filipinos, and the Mexipino Experience

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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...

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1. Immigration to a Rising Metropolis

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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...

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2. The Devil Comes to San Diego: Race and Spatial Politics

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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...

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3. Survival and Belonging: Civil Rights, Social Organizations, and Youth Cultures

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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...

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4. Race and Labor Activism in San Diego

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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...

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5. Filipino-Mexican Couples and the Forging of a Mexipino Identity

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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...

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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...


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pp. 171-225


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pp. 227-239

About the Author

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p. 241

E-ISBN-13: 9780813553269
E-ISBN-10: 0813553261
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813552835
Print-ISBN-10: 0813552834

Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 21 photographs, 3 maps, 5 tables
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 787844020
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Becoming Mexipino

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Mexipinos ; -- Mexipino Americans.
  • Community life -- California -- San Diego .
  • San Diego (Calif.) -- Ethnic relations.
  • Mexican Americans -- California -- San Diego -- Social conditions.
  • Filipino Americans -- California -- San Diego -- Social conditions.
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