Skerry compares the fortunes and outlook of Mexican Americans in San Antonio and Los Angeles. In Texas he finds a previously subjugated community emerging into the political mainstream; in California, despite greater material success, Mexican politicians obsessed with racial injustice. Skerry argues that Mexican American should seek to join the American mainstream and use their political influence to foster integration rather than raise a continual clamour about racial injustice. The latter course, which is becoming the norm of ethnic politics in the USA, will lead to increased ghettoization, a retardation of economic improvement in Mexican communities, and ultimately the undermining of the fabric of US society.
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Skerry (of the UCLA Center for American Politics and Public Policy) doesn't think that Mexican-Americans are ambivalent about being North Americans. Rather, the ``ambivalence'' of the subtitle reflects his skepticism as to whether Mexican-Americans are a minority requiring special consideration due to a history of exclusion, or whether their patterns of mobility and assimilation more closely mirror those of European immigrants. The author finds Mexican-Americans all but forced into playing the race game by the structure of contemporary politics, though more than 50% identified themselves in the 1990 Census as ``white.'' (His dismissal of race as a factor sometimes seems disingenuous, for example when he completely ignores cultural differences in identifying race--in Mexico, largely defined by lifestyle; in the US, by ancestry--and when he barely acknowledges the possibly different experiences of light-skinned Mexican- Americans and those of clearly Indian appearance.) But Skerry's comparative analysis of Mexican-American politics in San Antonio and Los Angeles is a provocative and enlightening study of the impact of local political structures on how groups can be empowered politically or how legalistic quick fixes (e.g., the Voting Rights Act) may merely satisfy ``an impatient society more concerned that the disadvantaged be formally represented than that their actual influence or power be enhanced.'' Going beyond the particular Mexican-American issues under discussion and his probably controversial critique of racial politics, Skerry brilliantly illuminates structural changes in American politics, with pertinent discussion of issue-oriented politics; community organizing; the decline of local parties; and consideration of relationships among the people, their leaders, and the government itself. With its pertinent analysis, this could be a contemporary political-science classic. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Mexican Americans are torn between defining themselves as an aspiring immigrant ethnic group or as a racially oppressed minority. This outspoken, revealing and sure-to-be-controversial study argues that the American political system is seducing Mexican Americans into the divisive, counterproductive stance of a racial minority group. Affirmative action, charges Skerry, has set up a direct political competition between blacks and Mexican Americans, whose political leaders, he claims, are wedded to a short-sighted politics fixed on resentment and race consciousness. A director of the UCLA Center for American Politics and Public Policy, Skerry draws on extensive fieldwork and interviews with politicians and community leaders. He contrasts the relative political success of Mexican Americans in San Antonio, Tex., where they have easy access to an array of elective offices, with Los Angeles's Mexican-American community embroiled in angry protest and racially based claims.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Free Pr, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110029291321
Book Description Free Pr. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0029291321 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.0007654
Book Description Free Pr, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0029291321