¿Por que no hablas? Language as a discriminating factor in Mexican-American identity formation
Mentor:David Iyam, Associate Professor Department of Anthropology , Whittier College
Second generation Mexican-Americans face a particular type of discrimination from their community. Because they are twice removed from their immigrant relatives it is common that they do not speak Spanish and are characterized as being less Mexican; and because they speak English and look Hispanic they are not American enough to fit into the country in which they were born. They find themselves in a liminal state facing discrimination from two groups they could identify with culturally. To delve deeper into the character of discrimination I ask; does speaking Spanish play an influential role in defining identity for second generation Mexican-Americans ages of 18-25? Using the sociological approach of examining views of the individual self, the group self, and the social context of the self, I will interview individuals that fall into this in-between category. The objective is to determine if, in fact, language has some influence in a quicker push to become further ‘American-ized’ or ‘Mexican-ized’ because of discrimination from the non-Latino and Latino community.