Five Generations of a Mexican American Family in Los Angeles
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007 - 183 pages
Despite their citizenship and English monolingualism, Mexican Americans have long been known to remain largely working class, which, academically, has meant that they tend to be mostly high school graduates, with low rates of college attendance and completion. Attempting to understand this phenomenon, Five Generations of a Mexican American Family in Los Angeles chronicles the home, work and school lives of the author's multigenerational family throughout the twentieth century. Using oral histories of 33 members across five generations, the Fuentes story illuminates the interaction between race, ethnicity and class at home, in the labor market and in schools, which circumscribe the opportunity and resources (or lack thereof) for academic success. Generally, findings show that these factors work together to reproduce the family's social standing over generations. Equally important, the analysis reveals how the persistence and strength of the Fuentes' heritage cultural values (buena educación and familism) have insulated them from the continued threat of racial discrimination and economic hardship in American life. The Fuentes story provides the reader with a keen view of the process by which Fuentes' moved from immigrants to ethnic Americans, and shows how they have gracefully survived the harsh and unpredictable nature of being of a racial minority and the working class.
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An Overview across Generations
The Original Fuentes Home
LaterGeneration Fuentes Homes
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academic activities Angeles asked attended became better brother Chicanos child claimed complete culture daughter described despite effect encouraged English ethnic example expected experience experienced fact family's father Florencia fourth-generation Francis friends Fuentes family Fuentes members Fuentes parents Gerald given grade graduate groups hard high school immigrants important individuals involvement kids labor market language Latino learned literacy lives Lydia major Manuela married Mexican American minority mother moved never Noemi noted older participants percent performance play practice race racial raised recalled remember respect responsibility result role Samuel saving second-generation siblings Simon sister skilled social Spanish speak stay story success talk teachers tended things third third-generation tion told tracks understand Valley wanted workers working-class younger