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xi Note on Terminology Social identity labels can be both elucidating and confusing. At the level of academic discourse, scholars often strive for simplicity and clarity. For example, “Mexicans,” “Mexican immigrants,” and “Mexican Americans ” may be used to reference three distinct groups of people. However, beyond the pages of academe, the world and words are messier. “Mexican ” may be a label of racial, ethnic, or national identification. And “Mexican” is not alone. Consider how “American” may refer not just to a U.S. citizen or someone from the Americas if we are to think hemispherically . Rather, in popular discourse “American” can be used to reference white U.S. citizens exclusively or non-Latinos more generally. Often this is not purposeful, for the unstated, normalized category of white occupies central positioning in the term “American.” This is not happenstance or inconsequential. In many ways, this slippage between national and ethnoracial categories is the central thread of this book. In the following pages, I strive for simplicity and clarity, marking the distinction between Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and Anglo-Americans. At points, I deploy “Chicana/o,” “Latina/o,” and “Mexican American” to signal their historical and political differences, but at other times I use Chicana/o transhistorically as has become common in the field of Chicana/o studies. Readers will notice other moments in the text when there is slippage between “Mexican” and “Mexican American” as well as between “American” and “Anglo-American.” These are not moments of laziness or inadvertent mistakes. They are purposeful acts of signification , for the dynamic tension and play between ethnoracial and national categories is the very heart of the matter. ...


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