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Walls and Mirrors: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the Politics of Ethnicity

5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520202191
ISBN-10: 0520202198
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A highly readable book based on sound research and full of questions about, and insights into, the nuances of ethnicity in American politics and society."--"SAGE Race Relations Abstracts

About the Author

David G. Gutiérrez is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 321 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (March 27, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520202198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520202191
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book truly marks a turning point in Chicano history by interrogating the similarities and differences between Mexican nationals and Mexican Americans in the U.S. The metaphor of Walls and Mirrors sums up the relationship between immigrants and longtime U.S. residents: they shared cultural, labor/class, and daily social ties, but political and civic goals divided them.
This book, then, is a political history that examines the importance of both legal and cultural citizenship in Texas and California communities. It looks at the impact of the Cold War, agribusiness labor needs, and civil rights struggles on debates over immigration at both the local and national level.
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By A Customer on November 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
David Gutierrez' book is one of the most informative, thorough books available on the Chicano experince in the US Southwest. This book is not just for activists or chicano studies scholars. If you have ever wondered why immigration policy exists in its present form, or why racial tensions still persist within the southwest, read this book. It is very densly packed with valuable infomation and excellent sources, and it presents such information in a fairly unbiased manner. This is an impressive work of research that should be in the library of every house in America.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Writing in the mid 1990’s, historian David G. Gutierrez published Walls and Mir-rors: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the Politics of Ethnicity in 1995. Educated at the University of California Santa Barbara and Stanford University, Gutierrez studied under Albert Camarillo, his graduate advisor at Stanford as well as Richard White and Ramon Gutierrez (amongst others).

At the same time as the book was being written a backlash in California against immigrants erupted with the reelection campaign of governor Pete Wilson and Proposi-tion 187 which would prohibit “illegal aliens” from using heath care, education and other social services provided by the state of California. The proposition passed in November of 1994 but was later found unconstitutional by a federal court. It was in this environment that Gutierrez began to look at Mexican Americans and their complicated relation-ship with Mexicans. As his research would show, the former had always been deeply divided over the immigration issue. As the author notes, the debate has historically fall-en along polar positions, with one group viewing Mexican immigrants as a threat because they increased economic competition and helped to reinforce the negative stereo-types held by white Americans. At the other end of the spectrum there is the group which has more sympathy for Mexican immigrants based on ties of culture and kinship, believing that these ties are much more important than any differences which might lie between the two groups.

It is this argument which makes Walls and Mirrors stand out from the previous works analyzed. First of all his focus is on the tensions which exist not only between Mexican Americans and white Americans, but those between Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants recently arrived.
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Format: Paperback
David Gutiérrez has written a unique and fantastic book on the Chicano experience in America. Fantastic read, and as a U-M Wolverine who has heard David Gutiérrez speak in person, I can say it is worthy of the praise it has received. The man knows his material!
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