The power of racial scripts: What the history of Mexican immigration to the United States teaches us about relational notions of race

  • Molina N
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Abstract

This article examines Mexican immigration to the United States after the passage of the 1924 Immigration Act to better understand the construction of racial categories. Unlike traditional studies of Mexican immigrants in the United States, this article focuses on how discourses about other racialized groups, principally Indians, African Americans, and Asians, were crucial in informing people what Mexican meant at this time. The post-1924 Immigration Act period is significant in cementing negative cultural constructions of Mexicans that last into the present day and thus is a key place to look to understand these racial constructions. The article draws on immigration hearings, debates, correspondence, and newspaper articles on Mexican immigration demonstrating how immigration discourse was central in cuing people what Mexican meant at this time.

Author-supplied keywords

  • 1924 Immigration Act
  • Chicano/a history
  • Mexican immigration
  • ethnic studies
  • racial formation

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Authors

  • Natalia Molina

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