Becoming Neighbors in a Mexican American Community
Power, Conflict, and Solidarity
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: University of Texas Press
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List of Illustrations
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From conception to completion, this book has benefited from the help and support of many people. Without their assistance and encouragement, I could not have written it. First of all, I am deeply indebted to all of the residents of La Puente and the surrounding communities who opened their doors and shared their stories and knowledge with me. Also, individuals...
Chapter 1. Introducing Becoming Neighbors
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Migrating from Cuernavaca, Mexico, to escape an abusive husband and with hopes of ‘‘earning enough money to eat,’’ thirty-six-year-old Sara Valdez arrived in 1989 in La Puente, a city in Los Angeles County, California.1 After acquiring a job in a neighborhood restaurant, she encouraged other family members to join her. She now lives with her two teenage children...
Chapter 2. Theorizing about Mexican American–Mexican Immigrant Relations in "Occupied Mexico"
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The views of La Puente residents Silvia Bravo and Denise Villarreal represent two of the most popular perspectives on race/ethnic relations, the assimilationist and the power-conflict perspective. While each perspective has numerous variations, they nonetheless represent two distinct approaches that are used by members of the academic community and by the general...
Chapter 3. "Where the Past Meets the Future": Centering La Puente
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Television commercials endorsing California’s Proposition 187, dubbed the ‘‘SaveOur State’’ (SOS) initiative, played frequently during the fall of 1994— the period in which I began to systematically interview La Puente residents and to attend community events. During this period California was experiencing the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression, and...
Chapter 4. "This Is Who I Am": Negotiating Racial/Ethnic Constructions
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The history of colonization and the enduring patterns of exploitation, racism, and discrimination outlined in the previous chapters have set the landscape for contemporary race/ethnic relations. Within the United States, this history has resulted in various paradigms of race/ethnicity. Two, in particular, have been detrimental to the Mexican-origin community. The first...
Chapter 5. "Between a Rock and a Hard Place, with No Easy Answers": Structuring Conflict
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Sixty-two-year-old Silvia Bravo smiles warmly as she invites me into her home. She escorts me to her kitchen table and offers me a drink. As she walks toward the refrigerator, she gestures to the neatly arranged papers at one end of the table and says she is coordinating a large donation project at the church. I soon learn that she is very involved in the local Catholic church...
Chapter 6. "We Can’t Forget Our Roots": Building Solidarity
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Sitting behind her desk, forty-six-year-old Denise Villarreal unwraps her sandwich and motions to me to begin the interview. She is a gregarious woman, and her jovial demeanor creates an inviting atmosphere. Between phone calls, knocks on her office door, and her lunch, she reclines in her chair and talks about her life and her experiences as a La Puente resident...
Chapter 7. Constructing Puentes: Mexican American and Mexican Immigrant Mobilization
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To casual observers, the participants in this demonstration are united. They share a common concern for bilingual education and similar racial/ethnic and class positions as working-class and Spanish-speaking or bilingual Latinas/os from the La Puente area. It is this combination of cultural commonalities and connections based on shared social locations and experiences...
Chapter 8. Revisiting and Envisioning the Processes of BECOMING NEIGHBORS
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The telephone rings late Monday evening on July 22, 2002. The familiar voice on the other end of the receiver updates me on the intricacies occurring in La Puente schools—a knife was found on a playground, elementary schoolchildren are being expelled, parents are organizing, there is dissatisfaction with a principal. Amidst the update on these dynamics in the local...
Appendix. The Politics of Research
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Feminists, scholars of color, and progressives have extensively critiqued the assumptions underlying traditional social science methodological approaches that assert that scholars should maintain distance and a ‘‘valuefree’’ stance from their research topics and the people being studied (hooks 1989; Collins 1990; Frankenberg 1993). Such critics have argued that research...
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Page Count: 284
Illustrations: 6 photos, 8 tables
Publication Year: 2004