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Durable EthnicityMexican Americans and the Ethnic Core$
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Edward Telles and Christina A. Sue

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190221492

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190221492.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Durable Ethnicity

Edward Telles

Christina A. Sue

Oxford University Press

Mexican Americans are unique in the panoply of American ethnoracial groups in that they are the descendants of the largest and longest lasting immigration stream in U.S. history. Today, there are approximately 24 million U.S.-born Mexican Americans, many of whom are multiple generations removed from their immigrant ancestors. Contrary to traditional assimilation theories, which predict that ethnicity and ethnic distinctions will disappear by the third generation, Mexican Americans exhibit a persistent and durable ethnicity with regard to their ethnic identity, culture, and networks. However, there is much heterogeneity within the population which ranges on a continuum from symbolic ethnicity to consequential ethnicity. We argue that one of the reasons for the group-level durability and the within-group variation is due to the existence of a strong ethnic core, the importance of which has been overlooked in previous assimilation theories.

Keywords:   Mexican Americans, American immigration, Mexican citizens, immigration policies, mass deportations, immigrants, assimilation theories, ethnicity, ethnic distinctions, ethnic identity

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