Mexican Americans: The Ambivalent Minority

Peter Skerry, Author
Peter Skerry, Author Free Press $29.95 (463p) ISBN 978-0-02-929132-0
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
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. (May)