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Generations of Exclusion: Mexican Americans, Assimilation, and Race Hardcover – February 1, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0871548481 ISBN-10: 0871548488 Edition: 1st

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Generations of Exclusion: Mexican Americans, Assimilation, and Race + Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s (Critical Social Thought)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 383 pages
  • Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation; 1 edition (February 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871548488
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871548481
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,555,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
UCLA sociologists Edward E. Telles and Vilma Ortiz write:

"Despite sixty years of political and legal battles to improve the education of Mexican Americans, they continue to have the lowest average education levels and the highest high school dropout rates among major ethnic and racial groups in the United States. ... However, leading analysts, apparently believing in the universality of assimilation, argue that this is the result of a large first and second generation population still adjusting to American society. ... These and other scholars predict that Mexican Americans will have the same levels of education and socioeconomic status as the dominant non-Hispanic white population by the fourth generation."

Mexican Americans are new to the East, but they've been in the Southwestern U.S. since before there was a U.S. The 1920 Census found one million Hispanics in the U.S. -- that's an ample sample from which to draw conclusions.

While social scientists in the mid-20th Century paid intense interest to European ethnic newcomers and African Americans, Latinos were largely overlooked. Telles and Ortiz note that Mexican Americans "were well off the radar screen of the largely Eastern and Midwestern-based social sciences. At best, they were viewed as some inexplicable frontier anomaly."

Telles (of UCLA Chicano Studies Dept.) and Ortiz conclusively debunk the conventional wisdom that Mexican Americans close the gap by the third or fourth generation.

During the Great Society, UCLA organized the first major survey, the Mexican American Study Project. In 1965, UCLA academics interviewed 1576 individuals of Mexican descent in the two largest Mexican American metropolises of the time, Los Angeles County and San Antonio.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By S. Barton on April 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Telles and Ortiz provide us with a remarkable combination of theory tested against data in a book that is carefully and clearly written. They look at theoretical perspectives on Mexican immigration to America, ranging from the optimists who see Mexican-Americans as just the latest ethnic group to arrive and assimilate into American society to the pessimists who see Mexican-Americans as a racialized group that is treated as non-white and whose members largely remain at the bottom of the economic ladder. They provide a useful review the history of Mexican-Americans, demonstrating both the past injustices and racial segregation imposed on them and the changes that have taken place in recent decades, noting that continuous immigration from Mexico results in a very different situation from previous more time-limited immigration from European countries such as Italy. Then they carefully examine the results of two surveys, an original survey of Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles and San Antonio done in 1965 and a follow-up survey with original survey respondents and a sample of their children done in the late 1990s. The description of the work involved in finding the original respondents is fascinating in itself.

Their unique data set enables them to portray a complex reality, which combines substantial assimilation on some dimensions, especially language and politics, with a mixed picture of major initial economic and educational progress in the first two or three generations followed by relative stagnation in the area of education and the accompanying harmful effects of limited education on upward economic mobility in subsequent generations.
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