Friday, August 07, 2009

Dramatic declines in whiteness among Mexican Americans

American-born Mex-Ams N = 843

Mexican immigrants, N = 466

You can see in the two GSS graphs that the percent of Mexican Americans who say they are white has fallen precipitously over the past four decades. This is true of those born here and for immigrants. In the 70s, 100% of respondents said they were white; by this decade, only 43% of U.S.-born and a third of Mexican immigrants did.

Steve Sailer has written about how recent immigrants from Mexico are more Amerindian and less white. I'm sure this explains much of what we see in these graphs. But since Mexicans have large amounts of both European and Native American ancestry, I wonder how much of the change in racial identity we see is cultural.

Many of the students I see every day could easily describe themselves as white or "other" depending on their preference. All the Mex-Ams I knew in the seventies when I was a kid looked like Mexicans to me, but they saw themselves as white racially. If my suspicion is correct that more Mex-Ams are now rejecting a white identity, that is BAD news for people like me who worry about assimilation. This is on top of Steve's point about the changing biological composition of Mexican Americans.


Anonymous said...

I was born in Washington state but I lived in the Rio Grande Valley on the Mexican border when I was in kindergarten through 3rd grade. There were only two anglos in my class in public school. We considered the kids who did not speak English as "Mexicans" and the rest of us were just Americans. I was in 8th grade and 13 before I ever heard the word "Hispanic". There was a Time magazine article about Hispanics. I thought it was totally weird. I never thought of Hispanics as being of a different race. My grandmother's family was from Mexico, but they are obviously white, light hair and eyes etc. Also in Texas, many people with Spanish last names really are white. They live, look and act very middle class American. Similarly, some Hispanics don't have Spanish last names. My friend married a Hispanic with a German last name.

Here is a fun one for you a distant cousin married a white guy who got a special Hispanic diversity admission to a Michigan law school because he grew up with a Hispanic step father. Well his step father had a Spanish last name.

Maybe some identify as Hispanic because they figure, as he did, they need all the help they can get. I knew some kids from my high school with Spanish last names who did that. They knew they were white, but hey what the heck. Free money or preferred admission, nice if you can get it.

Think of Obama, white family, white upbringing, never even been to "the hood" but technically black enough for all kinds of goodies and special deals all without the "legacy of slavery and oppression" ever touching him.

ironrailsironweights said...

It could well be that until just a few decades ago there really wasn't a concept of "other" in American racial classification. You were either white or black, with Asians and American Indians being minor exceptions. Being closer to white than to black, most Mexicans would quite naturally gravitate toward the former. The point is, if they'd been offered a viable "other" option, they probably would've chosen it.


cromapolo said...

My cultural upbringing is Spanish-speaking Western.
Physiologically, I'm Mediterranean-type Caucasian. Even if I do have American Indian in me, the cultural traits are negligible; and there are some American whites who have American Indian genes.
Yet, I'm encouraged to pigeon-hole myself in a category along with other cultures I feel no relation with.

An example of how this stupidity in its extreme:
I know a girl from Spain living here in the U.S. She has gray eyes and brown hair. When she tells people she's from Spain, she has had people tell her "Oh my God! You're Spanish?! But you look white!"

Yes, Sailer does have a point that more American Indian-type Mexicans are arriving. But regarding the "whitish" Hispanics, I feel that not seeing themselves as white severs any sympathy towards white, and they develop the same attitude as blacks: they feel they need to get back to the white man.
This stupid Hispanic category needs to end.

SFG said...

I said I was Hispanic to get into college (it's technically true given my ancestry...) but I'm white. Very white.

Anonymous said...

Immigration and sexual "battery", a hysterical case:

Oh that is funny if you know the "areas" of magnificent Swipple-tude involved. Rich white swpl women getting their asses fondled while jogging by a little 5'2 inch little brown Mexican, proud as hell of doing it to them.

This is not a sign of him "identifying" with white culture, but bringing Oaxaca up here. Why do I think as his numbers of amigos become ascendent here, our culture will resemble Tijuana more than Acapulco is going to resemble Portland?

Steve Sailer said...

None of the 14 racial categories used in the 2000 Census are a good fit for Latin Americans of primarily Amerindian descent: there is no "mestizo" category, and the Native American/American Indian category is fairly clearly reserved for tribes north of the Rio Grande. It's weird that we have a Guamanian/Chamorro racial category, but Latin American Indians don't seem to exist.

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Anonymous said...

" If my suspicion is correct that more Mex-Ams are now rejecting a white identity, that is BAD news for people like me who worry about assimilation."

Assimilate into what? Forget it. The establishment wants you to give up identity so do it.

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