People of Mexican descent and Anglo Americans have lived together in the U.S. Southwest for over a hundred years, yet relations between them remain strained, as shown by recent controversies over social services for undocumented aliens in California. In this study, covering the Spanish colonial period to the present day, Martha Menchaca delves deeply into interethnic relations in Santa Paula, California, to document how the residential, social, and school segregation of Mexican-origin people became institutionalized in a representative California town.
Menchaca lived in Santa Paula during the 1980s, and interviews with residents add a vivid human dimension to her book. She argues that social segregation in Santa Paula has evolved into a system of social apartness—that is, a cultural system controlled by Anglo Americans that designates the proper times and places where Mexican-origin people can socially interact with Anglos.
This first historical ethnographic case study of a Mexican-origin community will be important reading across a spectrum of disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, race and ethnicity, Latino studies, and American culture.
Martha Menchaca is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin.
[Menchaca's] work buttresses the argument that race is alive and well and that twenty-five years of affirmative action policies have not eliminated the legacy of segregation... [This book] provides an excellent view of social relations in one place across time. Compelling and thought-provoking, the study argues for sustaining public policies that challenge racist discrimination.
~Journal of American History
Chapter One. Political Relations and Land Tenure Cycles in Santa Paula: Chumash Indians, Mexicans, and Anglo Americans
Chapter Two. White Racism, Religious Segregation, and Violence against Mexicans, 1913 to 1930
Chapter Three. School Segregation: The Social Reproduction of Inequality, 1870 to 1934
Chapter Four. Mexican Resistance to the Peonage System: Movements to Unionize Farm Labor
Chapter Five. Movements to Desegregate the Mexican Community, the 1940s and 1950s
Chapter Six. The Segmentation of the Farm Labor Market, 1965 to 1976
Chapter Seven. Interethnic City Council Politics: The Case of the Housing Cooperative Movement
Chapter Eight. Modern Racism: Social Apartness and the Evolution of a Segregated Society
Chapter Nine. The Impact of Anglo American Racism on Mexican-Origin Intragroup Relations
Chapter Ten. Historical Reconstruction
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