Accepted paper:

Identity choices among second generation indigenous Mexican migrants in California


Adriana Cruz-Manjarrez (Universidad de Colima)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the social perceptions of ethnic and racial identity of second-generation indigenous Mexican migrants in California.

Paper long abstract:

Everyday throughout Los Angeles, second-generation Yalálag Zapotecs negotiate and reframe their sense of identification as American, Mexican, Oaxaqueños, and Yalaltecos. They grow up listening to their parents that they are Americans citizens of Mexican descent because they are born in the United States and have U.S. passports. Instead of learning the language of their parents—the Zapotec, they are raised speaking Spanish and English. And, because they look physically like the Indios Oaxaqueños (Oaxacan Indians) and maintain certain identifying cultural practices of the Yalálag Zapotec people, mestizo Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans discriminate against them. In this paper, I explore how second-generation Yalalag Zapotecs and the 1.5 generation (those born in Oaxaca, Mexico, but raised in Los Angeles, California) handle these definitions on their multiple identities and what it means for them to be a Zapotec born in the United States. To approach to these questions, I focus on the perceptions, beliefs, every day practices, and experiences that inform their sense of identity in terms of nationality, indigenous ethnicity, assimilation into Mexican and American identities, and the socially constructed notions of racial identification.

panel MMM07
Migration and indigenous peoples