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Mexican Inclusion

The Origins of Anti-Discrimination Policy in Texas and the Southwest

Matthew Gritter

Publication Year: 2012

Immigration across the US-Mexican border may currently be a hot topic, but it is hardly a new one. Labor issues and civil rights have been interwoven with the history of the region since at least the time of the Mexican-American War, and the twentieth century witnessed recurrent political battles surrounding the status and rights of Mexican immigrants. In Mexican Inclusion: The Origins of Anti-Discrimination Policy in Texas and the Southwest, political scientist Matthew Gritter traces the process by which people of Mexican origin were incorporated in the United States’ first civil rights agency, the World War II–era President’s Committee on Fair Employment Practices (FEPC). ?Incorporating the analytic lenses of transnationalism, institutional development, and identity formation, Gritter explores the activities and impact of the FEPC. He argues that transnational and international networks related to the US’s Good Neighbor Policy created an impetus for the federal government to combat discrimination against people of Mexican origin. The inclusion of Mexican American civil rights leaders as FEPC staff members combined with an increase in state capacity to afford the agency increased institutional effectiveness. The FEPC provided an opportunity for small-scale state building and policy innovation.?Gritter compares the outcomes of the agency’s anti-discrimination efforts with class-based labor organizing. Grounded in pragmatic appeals to citizenship, Mexican American civil rights leaders utilized leverage provided by the Good Neighbor Policy to create their own distinct place in an emerging civil rights bureaucracy.? Students and scholars of Mexican American issues, civil rights, and government policy will appreciate Mexican Inclusion for its fresh synthesis of analytic and historical processes. Likewise, those focused on immigration and borderlands studies will gain new insights from its inclusive context.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press


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pp. c-ii

Title Page

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pp. iii-iv


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pp. v-vi

List of Tables

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-xii

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Chapter 1. Introduction

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pp. 1-20

How and when to protect groups from discrimination is an enduring puzzle in American politics. Designing policies and navigating the political landscapes of institutions have arisen as concerns throughout American political history. Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, Latinos have become the largest community of color and minority group in the United States, constituting 15.8...

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Chapter 2. Transnational Networks and the Fair Employment Practices

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pp. 21-41

The impetus for American policy development and delivery includes both internal and external factors. Civil rights policy development in its initial stages was often characterized by a combination of global influences and involvement from social movements. The United States’ interest in maintaining and improving relations with Mexico helped lead to the FEPC making enhanced...

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Chapter 3. Identifying and Exploring: Discovering People of Mexican

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pp. 42-61

To provide services for the community of people of Mexican origin, the FEPC had to discover who the community was, learn who its leaders were, and explore the specific job discrimination members of the community experienced. In 1941 people of Mexican origin were virtually unknown; indeed, even in 1954, when Carlos Cadena was arguing Hernandez v. Texas before the Supreme Court, he...

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Chapter 4. State Building on the Ground: The Institutional

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pp. 62-79

The period characterized as the first FEPC, 1941 to 1943, showed both the opportunities and constraints of the agency. The experience of the first FEPC allowed the agency to engage in some small-scale social learning regarding people of Mexican origin, building understanding of the particular needs the community faced. Through that social learning, the idea of federal intervention...

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Chapter 5. Good Neighbors and Good Citizens: People of Mexican

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pp. 80-102

Previous chapters have explored how community involvement and transnational and international pressures influenced the direction of the FEPC. But how did the FEPC influence people of Mexican origin, in particular the small group of civil rights leaders such as Carlos Castañeda who became so involved with the agency? How would the tactics of a group virtually shut of out of the...

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Chapter 6. Laboratories of Democracy? People of Mexican Origin

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pp. 103-119

The development of fair employment policy in the United States began during the Second World War when Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802, creating the United States’ first federal antidiscrimination agency, the Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC). The temporary wartime FEPC, in existence from 1941 to 1946, focused on employment discrimination, leading...

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Chapter 7. Conclusion

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pp. 120-132

The Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC) provided people of Mexican origin with their first opportunity for small-scale state building in an expanding federal government. World War II provided the justification for a significant increase in the United States’ state capacity, including the first antidiscrimination agency. Incorporating people of Mexican origin into the FEPC provided a framework for...


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pp. 133-150


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pp. 151-156


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pp. 157-164

Back Cover

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pp. bc-bc

E-ISBN-13: 9781603448130
E-ISBN-10: 1603448136
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603447980
Print-ISBN-10: 1603447989

Page Count: 176
Illustrations: Bib. Index.
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 811405335
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Mexican Inclusion

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Mexican Americans -- Employment -- Southwestern States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Mexican Americans -- Civil rights -- Southwestern States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Discrimination in employment -- Southwestern States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Mexican Americans -- Southwestern States -- Ethnic identity -- History -- 20th century.
  • United States. Committee on Fair Employment Practice -- History.
  • Mexico -- Foreign relations -- United States.
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- Mexico.
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