Replenished Ethnicity: Mexican Americans, Immigration, and Identity

Replenished Ethnicity: Mexican Americans, Immigration, and Identity

Replenished Ethnicity: Mexican Americans, Immigration, and Identity

Replenished Ethnicity: Mexican Americans, Immigration, and Identity

Synopsis

Unlike the wave of immigration that came through Ellis Island and then subsided, immigration to the United States from Mexico has been virtually uninterrupted for one hundred years. In this vividly detailed book, Tomás R. Jiménez takes us into the lives of later-generation descendents of Mexican immigrants, asking for the first time how this constant influx of immigrants from their ethnic homeland has shaped their assimilation. His nuanced investigation of this complex and little-studied phenomenon finds that continuous immigration has resulted in a vibrant ethnicity that later-generation Mexican Americans describe as both costly and beneficial. Replenished Ethnicity sheds new light on America's largest ethnic group, making it must reading for anyone interested in how immigration is changing the United States.

Excerpt

My experiences as a fourth grader in Santa Clara, California, mark my own introduction to the topic of this book. I sat at a table with my best friend, Tony, and another good friend, Celena. One fall morning, a new student, Isidro, joined us. He had dark skin, straight brown hair, brown eyes, and a slight frame. Isidro was painfully shy and spoke just enough English to tell us that he was from Mexico, but he did not say much more than that. Our teacher might have thought that Isidro would be particularly comfortable at our table, since Tony, Celena, and I all came from Mexican ancestry. Tony’s father was a Mexican immigrant from Acapulco, Celena’s great-grandparents came from central Mexico, and my father came to the United States from the Mexican state of Jalisco at a very young age. I recall the three of us—Mexican Americans—staring at one another, not knowing quite how to respond to Isidro. Sure, we were of Mexican descent, but we were born in the United States, came from middle-class homes, and spoke English as our native and only language, all of which made it difficult for us to relate to him. We nonetheless did . . .

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