Social Attitudes

Attitudes and the Mexican Immigrant

Emory S. Bogardus
Professor of Sociology, University of Southern California

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A NEW and fertile field in which to study attitudes is found in Mexican immigration to the United States. The attitudes of the Mexican immigrant will be considered (I) on his arrival, and (a) after he has lived long enough in the United States to feel the impact of new and different culture stimuli as expressed through Americans. In addition, (3) the attitudes of Americans who contact the Mexican immigrant will also be considered. For obvious reasons, these attitudes do not undergo the changes that are sometimes found in the history of the attitudes of the Mexican, who migrates from one culture milieu to another quite different.

In order to understand the attitudes of Mexican immigrants it will be necessary to refer often to Mexican culture traits. In fact, the entire treatment of the attitudes of Mexican immigrants on their arrival will be made in the light of the culture organization in which their attitudes have evidently been learned. The changes in the Mexican's attitudes and the development of new attitudes will be considered in the light, first, of the culture trait conflicts which the Mexican experiences, and second, with reference to the attitudes of Americans toward Mexicans. This study of Mexican immigration may be expected to contribute something to the sociology of attitudes.

The attitudes, subjective as they may be, even of "stolid Mexicans," are expressed in ovcrt behavior that may be studied. The Mexican reacts, as does anyone else, to the same fundamental range of objective social values. In these reactions and activities, attitudes are clearly potent factors. The behavior expressions of Mexicans run the universal human

( 292) gamut; [1] they turn out to be not "foreigners" but human beings. By studying the Mexican immigrant's outbursts of feelings, his characteristic remonstrances, his jubilant acceptances over a period of time, and other recurring behavior emergencies, it may be possible to fathom the depths of his attitudinal life, and in so doing gain a new understanding of attitudes themselves. Attitudes are viewed herein as possessing behavior pattern bases.[2] Emphasis will be placed on the acquired types of behavior patterns; and hence on attitudes as acquired, learned, habitual, and subject in varying degrees under different experience conditions to modification and change, even to mutation.[3]


The discussion of attitudes of Mexican immigrants shifts according to the type of Mexican which is being considered. Culture trait criteria make possible a classification of Mexicans in the United States.

(a) There are Mexicans here who are Hispanic. They belong to aristocratic Spanish-speaking families. They are sometimes called conquistadores. They bring and are accorded status. Some of them are political refugees, wealthy, educated, and sometimes sophisticated. Some are in the United States because of revolutions in Mexico and of the labor administrations, whose reactions against Spanish domination are pronounced.

(b) There are other Mexicans whose families have been within the present limits of the United States for decades prior

(293) to the acquisition of the Southwest from Mexico. Most of them are culturally Indian, primitive, not far advanced. They form population regions to which some Mexican immigrants migrate, or drift, and stagnate. They are citizens of the United States by birth, but Mexican and Indian by culture. They are often but erroneously confused with recent immigrants. In Texas, for example, they are known as Texanos, or descendants of the original Texas Mexicans.[4]

(c) There are Mexicans in the cities of the Southwest who represent the new ruling social order in Mexico. They are the product of decades or centuries of acculturation. They do not rely for status on Spanish ancestry, but tend to repudiate Spanish influence as a forced imposition. They cannot be called Indian, because of the cultural advances which they have made, although they may have Indian blood in their veins. They are high-grade, proud citizens of the new Mexico, and in the main are in the professions. They are important persons from the standpoint of effecting inter-racial adjustments. They can serve in a liaison capacity between the unskilled Mexican laborer and American leaders in industry, agriculture, and the like. They have achieved a distinct Mexican consciousness somewhat in the same way that citizens of the United States, although German, Italian, or Norwegian in racial origin, have achieved an American consciousness.

(d) The typical Mexican unskilled laborer has come in recent years, particularly since 1919. With the passing of the Quota law in 1921, European immigration was definitely cut down. The Quota did not apply, however, to Mexicans, and American employers in the Southwest began to solicit cheap labor from Mexico. In fact, it has been alleged that Mexicans were not included in the Quota at the special behest of American employers. At any rate, there have been large influxes of Mexican laborers since 1922. In 1924, the Japanese were excluded, and the three per cent restriction of Europeans was cut to two. The natural result was to increase the

(294) demand for unskilled Mexican labor. Hence, since 1924, Mexican laborers have immigrated in considerable numbers, ranging around 60,000 annually, by legal means and several thousand more by illegal means.[5] While many are transient, coming into Texas, for instance, to work in the cotton fields and returning to Mexico when the season is over, the total number of Mexican laborers, including the members of their families, is perhaps close to the two million mark.[6] Within the last half dozen years, Mexican laborers have penetrated into South Dakota, Michigan, Pennsylvania.[7]

In general, these Mexican laborers are unskilled, and socially of low-grade. They are low-cultured members of the main Mexican peoples, that is, of the mestizo classes. They are sometimes called peons, because they have been oppressed laborers. Their attitudes will now be considered ad seriatim, beginning with attitudes toward labor. It is this fourth class of Mexicans which will be referred to in this chapter, unless otherwise indicated.


(a) Regarding Labor. Reports from the United States arouse the wage attitudes of many Mexicans and they are stimulated thereby to migrate. Returning Mexicans, letters, and money orders from Mexicans in the United States, and the activities of the representatives of American employers have furnished the stimuli. The Mexican responds, sometimes expecting to find the United States flowing with gold, which he may acquire quickly and carry back to Mexico.

He does not come expecting to change his labor attitudes. He brings attitudes of working a few days at a time and then of resting a few days. He brings siesta attitudes. He does

(295) not expect to be rushed, to be speeded up, to work regular hours, or to be driven at machinery tasks. In consequence he does not do well in the United States, judged by standards here, except under constant supervision. If his patterns of work are pretty well established on arrival, he rarely escapes from the need of being supervised.

The Mexican peon does not save. At home he has not had enough income to meet the necessities of life; he has had nothing to save. Neither by experience nor by education has he ever been encouraged to develop attitudes of saving. His higher wages in this country, thus, are viewed as so much money to be spent. He has some of the attitudes of the "newlyrich." Not having had money to spend freely, he is minus adequate spending attitudes.

He arrives in the United States where labor is speeded up, regular, highly organized, relentless. Instead of informal siestas taken at any time, and in place of a two or three days' rest period weekly, there may be seven-day labor. Spending in a large way is encouraged by omnipresent advertising, by widespread example, and by Americans who make a specialty of appealing to Mexicans, particularly on pay day. These appeals are not all made with the idea of benefiting the Mexican primarily. Sometimes they are designed to get the Mexican's wage money away from him by giving him as little of value in return as possible.

On arrival, therefore, the Mexican's attitudes are foreign to the situations which he must meet here. He is schooled under opposite conditions. He is rarely forewarned of the needed changes in attitudes. He steps naively into a working-spending type of social order that he does not understand, and for which he has had little preparation, either in practice or in theory.

The attitudes of American employers toward him are likewise strange. The employer views him as an efficient cheap laborer. His labor is considered by many employers as a commodity to be bought, like other commodities, at the lowest price. Toward him as an unskilled laborer, the employer's attitudes are on the whole favorable-by force of circumstances. The employer cannot get native Americans to do the necessary unskilled labor, cannot get European labor, cannot get Japanese

(296) or Chinese, and does not find Negro labor, Porto Rican labor, or Filipino labor as satisfactory.[8]

The employers' attitudes are favorable to the Mexican because of the latter's docility. They understand him to the extent of organizing him in groups under foremen or bosses, and of treating him in a way to keep him satisfied. They state that they favor him because when he asks for higher wages they can secure other Mexican laborers from across the border to displace him; and because they can play Mexicans against Mexicans.

They favor Mexicans, for these unskilled laborers are not only unorganized but do not organize well into unions. The Mexican thus is at a great disadvantage, which causes the unscrupulous type of employer to view him with greedy eyes. The Mexican's very lack of acquaintance with American ways and the marked differences between his labor attitudes and ours puts him at the mercy or at the greed of his employers in this country.

The employer has learned that it is better to reward the faithful Mexican with a gift than to raise his wages. The first leads to a second gift to be sure, but to do this is cheaper than to raise wages, which raise must be followed sooner or later with other wage advancements. Thus, the employer finds the Mexican easy to handle, and in certain cases, to manipulate. Paternalistic attitudes are greatly appreciated by the Mexican peon. They make him a desirable workingman, keep him contented, and "cheap." In case the Mexican does not react well, there are always possible newcomers just at hand.

The employer favors Mexicans because from his viewpoint they make good migratory workers. They respond well to moving about. Having few possessions they can move easily. Moreover, they are easily satisfied with temporary quarters or even more permanent ones of the simplest and most inexpensive character. Migratory conditions in the United States are better than revolutionary conditions in Mexico. "Beeg money"

(297) for a few days at a time is better than "leetle money" or no money all of the time. Besides, migratory conditions do give variety to life, appeal to the sense of adventure, and make life more interesting than a dull monotonous round. Poverty within sight of American bright lights, within the sound of the radio, the phonograph and jazz, and coupled with the automobile, is rated higher than poverty amidst the primitive conditions of rural Mexico. Hence, the Mexican fits into the American employer's program and responds to it in a way that is pleasing to all who are dependent on migratory labor.

Certain Mexicans' attitudes concerning labor, however, are subject to change. Like other human beings some Mexicans grow restless even under better conditions than they have known in their home country. They have the window shopper's psychology, and after being a time in the United States, sometimes only a few months, they begin to wonder why they are not paid "more wages." Word to this effect passes from man to man, even though no one speaks English. The more enterprising are the leaders in this upward-climbing psychology. Sometimes the Mexican is told that he is being imposed upon and he is quick to feel affronted and "to soldier" on the job. A few disconcerting words about too low pay easily undermine his ambition as a worker. The employer enters the prompt rejoinder that as soon as the Mexican has lived in this country a short time, he becomes just like other American laborers, namely, he wants "as much pay for as little work as possible." Many employers' attitudes toward the Mexican are those of a superior toward an inferior, of a superior who tolerates an inferior's foibles because there are no other persons around to play the needed inferior's rôle.

The employer as a class does not favor the training or education of the Mexican laborer. In the first place he says that such training would raise the Mexican out of the class of labor where he is needed. Second, such education makes the Mexican dissatisfied, restless, desirous of more wages, subject to unionization, and hence "undesirable." It is also contended that the Mexican is not capable of being trained, his intelligence is of a low order, and that to spend much money on him is an economic waste. All these contentions are vigorously challenged by the better educated Mexicans and by many

(298) Americans. Yet, it cannot be denied that there is truth in the employers' assertions, and that their attitudes have weight with employers' publics and with a portion of the public at large.

The general public that does not know very much about Mexican immigrants, holds the attitude that the Mexican laborer in this country is not only of low grade, but that he is destined to remain such. He is viewed pretty much from the economic point of view, namely, as one whose labor is a commodity to be bought and sold. There are few attitudes which would change the quality of the Mexican's labor or would improve the quality of his personality.

(b) Regarding Property. The Mexican immigrant comes from a land where individual property rights are not developed to ,the degree that they are in the United States. He is hacienda-minded. He has lived on large estates, which he has never thought of owning or whose owner he has never had a chance to envy. The economic system has been highly paternalistic; the Mexican immigrant has been a child-supposed to have his immediate needs met fairly well-and nothing more. He has not been encouraged to aspire to be a property-owner. He has enjoyed a semi-communism and has not developed the private property concept. Vocational training has not been his. His economic environment has indirectly taught him to be satisfied with whatever he received for his physical needs, and to take no thought of the morrow. He has developed few property attitudes in the United States' sense.

What he has found lying around on the hacienda he has picked up, examined if it perchance aroused his curiosity, used if he felt so inclined, and laid down again-pretty much as an American child would do about his own home. Instead of a highly developed Anglo-Saxon sense of right and wrong,[9] he has a Latin sense of the attractive and unattractive. Instead of complex civil, and ethical formal codes, he possesses an elementary sense of what appeals to his feelings.

On arrival across the border, the Mexican meets our elaborate system of private property without understanding it. He may continue to pick up and walk off with what he finds lying about. He may not be careful to return what he takes. Such

(299) plenty, such surplus is a big temptation. But what he "picks up" or "takes" is "stealing" in the United States. He may become "guilty," therefore, of "taking everything he can lay his hands on." He may be credited with greater unreliability, dishonesty, and crime than he deserves. The representative of a simple culture heritage blindly runs amuck in the realm of a different and vastly more complicated culture heritage.

Property values do not have strong meanings to him unless they are connected with personalities. If a Mexican likes you, he will not touch the most insignificant piece of your property. He is as reliable as anyone else. His sense of personality values is strong. Property takes on meaning to him as it becomes personalized. Property by itself is impersonal to him. It is for use. If not being used, then why should he not use it? If people have more than they can use, why should they keep everybody else from using the surplus?

The Mexican immigrant is often overcome by his large (to him) daily wage. So much money he has not received before. Its possession tends to overcome him. Not being taught to save, and not being able to resist luring American sellers of cheap goods, and of bad liquors, he goes on one or another kind of a "spree." His custom of taking "a few days off" frequently takes on a new importance. He has "beeg money" to spend. His gambling propensity is stimulated beyond all bounds. He continues to let manana (tomorrow) take care of itself.[10]

On the other hand, the Mexican immigrant under property stimuli shows strong tendencies toward becoming a home owner. Where real estate promoters have offered the Mexican a fair chance to move out of the industrial centers of Los Angeles, for example, into a suburban area, and where paying on a home is substituted for paying rent the response has been remarkable. Many thousands of Mexicans have been involved in this migration.[11] This large scale demonstration of how Mexicans may respond not only to a real estate offer but to

(300) keeping up and completing the payments on property, gives the lie to the belief of many Americans that the Mexican is hopelessly shiftless and without a sense of property values.

In this property-developing sense the Mexican has excellent support from his wife. If he deserts an overburdening economic situation, she is likely to remain "on the job." Her response to the possession of a plot of ground on which flowers may be grown is noteworthy.

Moreover, the Mexican as soon as he reaches a certain culture level in the United States grows uneasy and wants to move out of the Mexican area into a better American neighborhood. The instances are many where Mexicans have attempted to buy or lease property in American neighborhoods at higher figures than they have previously paid. The fact that they have sometimes been prevented from "moving up the scale of property values" is testimony to the anomalies of Americans. They criticize him for having little or no sense of property values, and yet hinder him when he demonstrates a discrimination between property values, choosing the higher for the lower. Given a fair chance, the Mexican responds to property in the same variety of ways that other peoples have done.

(c) Regarding Behavior Problems. Since standards and customs in Mexico are different from those in the United States, the Mexican immigrant to this country experiences numerous behavior problems. Since "right" and "wrong" do not have the meaning for the uneducated Mexican that they have for Americans, the Mexican immigrant figures more largely in American crime statistics than would otherwise be the case. With property rights playing a lesser rôle in the Mexican immigrant's mind than in the American's, it is not surprising that the Mexican figures prominently in crimes against property. The Mexican's reputation for "taking things," partly supported by statistics, arises out of differences in culture, in ethical concepts, in property concepts, and also, of course, in the personality reactions.

Americans achieving the complete confidence even of relatively uneducated Mexicans report them to be as reliable as other races. Personal relations bulk large in the Mexican's attitudes. Where personal distances decrease, the Mexican's

(301) record for thieving likewise decreases. Where impersonal conditions obtain, there thieving mounts up.

Petty thieving, bootlegging, narcotic offenses, personal violence, and sex violations are the offenses in which the lower social grades of Mexican immigrants rank highest. Bootlegging and narcotic offenses have roots that are both Mexican and American. Many Mexican immigrants possess liquor- and narcotic-consuming attitudes on arrival.[12] Marihuana has powerful habit-forming properties. The use of both liquor and narcotics among Mexican immigrants is furthered by exploiters (American as well as Mexican) in the United States."[13]

Personal violence methods are also brought in part from Mexico. Stabbing frays are characteristic of personal violence. Liquor is a leading accomplice. Assault with a deadly weapon ranks high; offenses of this character reveal the essentially primitive attitudes of the Mexican. Sex offenses are due to undeveloped sex standards. At one extreme, for instance, there is the explanation: "Invariably he [the Mexican immigrant], is totally ignorant of our laws regarding marriage, believing that common law marriages consummated in California are legal. He honestly believes he can legally live with a fourteen-, fifteen-, or sixteen-year-old girl providing he cares for her as his wife, and supports her." [14]

An important factor in the Mexican's high place in the criminal statistics [15] is the large amount of unemployment and poverty among his people. It is the old story of idle hands getting into mischief, and worse. His offenses are those of idle hours and simple-mindedness. "Seldom does one find a Mexican charged with forgery, obtaining money by false pretenses

(302) or embezzlement, all of which demands careful planning as well as great forethought before execution." [16]

Mexican boys arrested for and convicted of delinquency also rank far beyond their population-rate. Moreover, they often present knotty behavior problems. Probation officers are handicapped, however, when the boy must be released into a social environment that is filled with many disorganizing elements and with few organizing factors, especially for the older boys and the younger men.

In the larger American cities there are vicious Mexican areas of vice and crime. American neighbors protest vigorously against the menace to property and sometimes to life, which these areas represent. Without standard agencies of control in operation these low-grade Mexicans do infinite harm to the reputation of high-class Mexicans both in this country and in Mexico.

The Mexican's proclivities toward gambling originate in Mexico, and are carried forward in the United States. "Taking a chance," becomes established in behavior patterns, and assumes the proportions of a serious vice and social evil. A lottery-mindedness developed in Mexico persists doggedly and crops out in the idle hours of Mexican immigrants.

(d) Regarding Poverty. Many Mexican laborers in their own country know nothing but poverty. They are steeped in it. Their attitudes are well established, and their adjustments have been made. Poverty is normal.

Three dollars (six pesos) a day is a gold mine to a person receiving the equivalent of fifty or seventy-five cents a day in Mexico. Letters or verbal reports passed from relative to relative, from other relatives in the United States, tell of the great wealth here. The reports that everybody in the United States has a Ford, a phonograph, and perhaps a radio are stimulating. Mexicans in the United States send money orders back to Mexico, and their relatives there either are lifted out of poverty or attain unheard-of status by spending liberally or even by gambling recklessly. Agents of large-scale employers have gone into Mexico and made glowing statements. Some agents are credited with painting word pictures of "the golden

(303) streets of Los Angeles." At any rate, six or seven pesos a day sounds "like a million dollars."

High wages but not the high cost of living are emphasized. It is in this sense that inflated promises are made. Demands for labor at high wages, but not its seasonal, irregular, and migratory character, are repeated. Distorted attitudes are developed.

Although economic and social standards are much higher in the United States than in Mexico, the question is being raised today whether the Mexican laborer is as much better off in this country as might be expected. On the one hand are higher wages and economic stability; on the other, the exploitation of the Mexican's ignorance and of his amenable nature, the omnipresent stimuli to spend money for the cheap, the gaudy, the valueless. Long periods of no work lead back to poverty, and in the United States to poverty plus disappointment, disillusionment, and personal disorganization.

Although the poverty of the unskilled Mexican is high in Mexico, he has not been accustomed to ask for public aid. Widespread public charity is unknown, and he has become adjusted. He moves to the United States, receives big wages for short periods of time, and falls back into poverty. Not being trained to save, and to protect himself against salesmen, he is somewhat helpless.

Then, there looms up the gigantic and beneficent American public relief and private relief systems. He may turn to them as the easiest way to eke out an existence. This approach attitude may set him somewhat apart from those for whom these relief and aid systems are designed in the United States. In consequence he has sometimes been unintentionally pauperized in the United States. In the past, he has occasionally been encouraged to look for more charity as a result of ill-advised charity methods. Christmas baskets for a couple of days in the year and poverty for three hundred and sixty-three days is short-sighted. It promotes the giver's self-satisfaction on the basis of hi,,.; generosity, Shifts the responsibility, and leaves the major problem of poverty unsolved. The manner of giving gifts without investigation, but in a free-will fashion, encourages the Mexican (and others) to prey upon such an ill-advised procedure. Mexicans have even learned to complain,

(304) if they have not received what they have been led to expect. It has also been claimed, although proof is hard to obtain, that charity even scientifically administered encourages Mexicans to continue bringing abnormal families into the world, knowing that the children will be cared for by charity if need be. Likewise, it is claimed, husbands have felt free to desert their families.

The Mexican's poverty rate in the large cities in the United States is abnormally high. In Los Angeles County, for instance, it runs from 22 to 24 per cent of all cases and of money expended, as compared with a population percentage of 6 to 8 per cent, perhaps. As a result many Americans have developed prejudiced attitudes against Mexicans, and some have criticized American employers of labor because the latter employ Mexicans for short periods of time and then "dump them on the public." One observer asks: "If industry must have these people, must have so many of them, and must have them green, why can't industry pay them enough to live on and to tide them over the hard periods?" [17] Equally indignant are the attitudes expressed against that type of employer who boasts that "we want three times as many Mexicans to come in as we need, so that we can get them cheap. If any of them go on a strike, there will always be plenty to take their places." Such attitudes are held accountable for a part of the large sums expended through public and private charity upon Mexicans.

After living in the United States a number of years many Mexicans are still unable to extricate themselves from poverty. The charity rate remains high even when Mexicans have been here ten years or longer. The opportunities of economic advancement for the Mexican are few. One of the Mexican's greatest handicaps in the United States is the belief that "the Mexican is not a skilled laborer," and that he cannot become such. He has few opportunities and little encouragement. Incentives are missing. Even if he overcomes all these obstacles and becomes trained, he cannot find many Americans who will employ him. One Mexican, for instance, who was a tile worker in Mexico is a ditch digger here, and another, who was a

( 305) teacher in Mexico, is wheeling concrete here.[18] The Mexican finds doors to economic advance closed to him. If he has initiative, he grows discouraged, and falls back. If he has no initiative, he receives little stimulation to become ambitious.

Improved attitudes among Americans are developing. Not charity but a chance, for the Mexican, for instance, is the slogan of the Goodwill Industries. Work is given the handicapped and those out of employment, training is afforded the untrained, a stimulating atmosphere is created for all. Social workers' attitudes involve personal rehabilitation for the defeated, but the giving of groceries and the paying of rent for the needy Mexican family is still the highest ideal of many members of the American public and even of some county supervisors.

Ordinarily the Mexican does not come within the scope of compensation and sickness insurance laws, and thus is unable to utilize these safeguards against poverty. Sometimes he is "bluffed out" and often he does not know that he is entitled to compensation or how to go about obtaining it. Many of his employers have no attitudes of responsibility for helping the Mexican to protect himself.

The turnover problem furthers poverty. One railroad reports a turnover of three hundred per cent a year. There is a vicious circle involved in this connection, for most employers as a result of a large turnover naturally do not wish to expend money on social welfare work. When the persons so helped are likely to be leaving an employer shortly and later to be employed by someone else, the employer can hardly be expected to assume responsibility. Thus, the Mexican laborer becomes the victim of irresponsibility.

A widespread handling of the whole problem is needed. A proper distribution and control of Mexican labor is a minimum requirement. By helping the Mexican to secure work the year round and by training him to work regularly and well, he may be assisted as a class out of the poverty pit and enabled to establish himself economically. Otherwise, he remains victimized to such an extent that he cannot acquire an upward economic motion.

(e) Regarding Health. The average Mexican immigrant

( 306) has not been accustomed to sanitation and hygiene. He is uninstructed and ignorant. Survival of the physically fittest has been the rule. High mortality rates have prevailed. No particular health attitudes have been cultivated.

Climatic conditions, inadequate food, and a dull social routine have combined sometimes to produce a "lazy Mexican." Tuberculosis makes deadly inroads. Undernourishment is extensive. A doctor is not known. Superstitious attitudes are common.

If they have an ache in their upper regions, they tie an old rag around their waist, so that the pain won't go farther down their bodies. If the pain is in the abdominal region or in the legs they think that a rag around the waist will prevent the pain going above it. Usually if they are ailing, they bind up their heads for some reason. [19]

The Mexican women bring with them what might be called a washing-clothes attitude. They spend much time in washing clothes, often some time nearly every day. The members of the family, however, do not give attention to keeping their bodies clean. No personal hygiene attitudes have been developed.

In the United States the Mexican responds well to health centers. These are able to accomplish much. The Mexican, however, continues to fear hospitals. Some of his number may have been sent to a county hospital and have been neglected. A doctor is also shunned, for either he is expensive or else he is likely to send the Mexican to the much-feared hospital.

In Huerfano County, Colorado, the school nurse (Miss Nelson) found the maintenance of superstitious beliefs, as illustrated by the father who protested against having his sick daughter's heavily matted and uncombed hair cut because "if you cut off her hair she will lose all her strength and surely die." [20] Another father objected to having antitoxin given his child ill with diphtheria, because the antitoxin would kill the child. These attitudes, however, are common to the uneducated classes everywhere; the Mexican through his attitudes

(307) regarding disease is identified with the rest of mankind at a certain cultural level.

Many Americans possess antipathetic attitudes toward the Mexican immigrant because of current stereotypes. They always think of Mexicans as "dirty greasers," as persons "unclean," as carriers of dread diseases. They recoil. They object to the presence of Mexican children at the schools where their children attend-for fear that the latter will catch "some terrible disease." [21] Once these attitudes develop, they are difficult to overcome; they persist in the form of relatively permanent race antipathy. As the Mexican becomes trained in hygiene and sanitation through the health centers that are being established for his benefit, through the activities of public health and school nurses, and of Americanization and visiting teachers, and through the improvement of housing conditions and the overcoming of congested living conditions, he will be able to cancel to a substantial degree the antipathetic attitudes now expressed toward him.

At present the unhealthful and unsanitary conditions under which Mexicans live in the United States are due in part to careless and socially irresponsible attitudes of Americans. Tuberculosis-infected areas (slums), where Mexicans, for instance, may live, are allowed to continue because in their dilapidated condition they are income-producing properties. Being in transitional areas (in transition from residence to industrial or business property), it does not "pay" the individual owners to put them into satisfactory residential shape. Thus, Mexicans become the victims of American greediness. Moreover, many Americans employ Mexicans under unsanitary living conditions. They justify these conditions with the alibi that their employees are "only Mexicans." They do not feel full responsibility for the health and welfare of temporary workers, forgetting that the sum of the temporary periods of work constitute the Mexican's regular or permanent work-year. The Mexican falls between the irresponsibility of a series of temporary employers. The public at large assumes no direct responsibility. An irresponsible public opinion is partly ac-

(308) -countable for the Mexican's condition. He cannot lift himself wholly by his own bootstraps.

(f) Regarding the Family. In Mexico, the youth of the lower classes have grown up, as elsewhere, without training regarding matters of sex. Not much sex privacy is maintained. Not much sex control is developed. The living together of man and woman without a formal marriage ceremony has been widespread. The religious ceremony has been too expensive, and so it has not been observed. It has not been considered necessary. The Mexican immigrant to this country, therefore, has brought with him no particular attitudes toward marriage. Horrifying as it has been to Americans often to learn that unmarried Mexicans live together as husband and wife, moreover, without feeling any sense of guilt or wrong-doing, it is nevertheless a natural social phenomenon in view of the antecedent social conditions and heritage. Many Mexicans, possessing definite religious attitudes, do show remorse and do observe a marriage ceremony when it is economically feasible.

A large family of children is viewed carelessly by the father. If the struggle to feed all the hungry mouths becomes too great, the father may desert. His attitude of partial irresponsibility is representative of an elemental, undeveloped culture. Never having experienced Anglo-Saxon attitudes of moral responsibility, his possible desertion is not as significant to him as it is to those whose standards are highly refined.

The Mexican woman of the lower classes views numerous offspring either as a "brood" to be "raised," or as special gifts from God. Her attitudes may at times run to fatalism. One more or one less child does not make a great deal of difference to her; a high infant mortality is not especially disturbing to her. The death of a baby is viewed nonchalantly as "God's will" and in the light of the belief that there "will be another one along soon." The motherly impulses are strong, however, though undeveloped. Attention to parental duty is regular. The daughters are carefully guarded. In Mexico the girls are not allowed to go out in the evenings without chaperonage by an older sister, the mother herself, or some other person. In the United States, the girls becoming acquainted with the freedom which girls and boys possess, demand it for themselves.

(309) The mothers become frantic. This "terrible freedom" is the bane of their lives. Social distance between mother and daughter grows apace. The mother redoubles her watchfulness; the daughter redoubles her desire for freedom. Moreover, the daughter not being accustomed to freedom is likely to go to an extreme, once she breaks through the bonds with which her mother protects her. Frequently, she runs away to be married, still in her middle teens, untrained, without much knowledge of the man who is to free her from her "bondage." Sometimes she oversteps sex norms, in order that her parents will be forced to give their consent to her marriage.

The parents are usually quick to "forgive," with the usual result that they take the daughter back, together with the son-in-law. Adjustments at the cost of great upsets are effected. Enlarged families to the point of overcongestion several times may result.

They watch them day and night, and if their daughters go to a party, they must be chaperoned. No running around alone like American girls . . . . She [girl] is never let out of her [mother's] sight, not even in the yard or house. But one day-oh, yes, this girl had it all planned out-she was in her mother's bedroom and waved out the window to her friend who was standing in his yard, down the road. He hastened up to the girl's home, put his arm out, and she rushed out the door, put her arm in his, and away they went-in his car that was drawn up at the roadside. They were married at S-. Her people didn't much like it, but there they are. I think it's real nice of the M family. They've given up their front bedroom and their very best things to the bride and groom-their victrola and their best furniture. Sweet little girl she is and she speaks English very well. Her mother stopped her coming to school last year, because she was afraid she would run off.[22]

While the average Mexican immigrant's family contains four or five children, the birth rate is much higher than this statement indicates, for the infant mortality rate is excessive. Early marriage--in the teens particularly for the girls-is the rule. But changes in attitudes are occurring. The attitudes of Mexican women who are in Americanization classes are being modified. They are beginning to express protests against

(310) early marriages, high birth rates, and high mortality rates. A Mexican woman, while expressing surprise that her Americanization teacher is not married, advises her not to be in a hurry in getting married, and added: "Much work, too much children."

Even the attitudes of Mexican men are manifesting change. One Mexican says: "Some day she [his daughter] getta married. I getta married too young. My wife too young. I am glad she [the daughter] wait a while. It is too hard when you are too young." Another Mexican states: "No, we have no children. Too much work. One baby, then another baby. Too many. They get sick. Too bad. We don't want too many children."

As the Mexican immigrant comes into contact with American ways and culture traits under conditions that are pleasing and favorable to him, his attitudes respond. Marriage is delayed, the birth-rate begins to decline, and the divorce rate, supplanting desertion, increases. American family life has its strengths and its weaknesses, both of which may be adopted by the Mexicans.

In the United States, the Mexican immigrant family is characterized by increasing social distance between children and parents. "This terrible freedom" in the United States creates distance within homes. A Mexican mother says

It is because they run around so much and are so free, that our Mexican girls do not know how to act . . . . This terrible freedom in this United States. The Mexican girls seeing American girls with freedom, they want it too, so they do what they like. They do not mind their parents; this terrible freedom. But what can we Mexican mothers do? It is the custom, but we cannot change it, but it is bad. I do not have to worry, because I have no daughters, but the poor seńoras with many girls, they worry.[23]

Where there is too sudden change involving a conflict of widely different culture traits, there is an ensuing conflict of attitudes, even between the members of the same household. Family disorganization follows at this point. Serious personality disturbances are also involved. Mexican girls in the

( 311) United States are in an especially difficult situation. They tend to ostracize themselves from their parents, but in so doing they are not fully accepted in the American's world. They develop marginal personalities, with all the "spiritual instability, intensified self-consciousness, restlessness" pertaining thereto.[24] These marginal young women are especially deserving of being understood and assisted in their personality adjustment problems.

Mexican boys are also "tempted" by this "terrible freedom" in the United States, but they have known some freedom in Mexico. Their parents do not have the same attitudes of watchful care over them as they do over the girls in the family. They "break away," and in so doing often "break the law of the land," and experience a wide range of personality problems.

The Mexican family in Mexico has a relatively stable location, but in southwestern United States, migratory labor conditions affect family life greatly. In the spring the family packs up in an old Ford and starts out, going ten to fifty or more miles to work in the beet fields, then travels in another direction in order to work in the valencias ; then they migrate to the grapes; then again, this time to secure work in picking nuts. The whole family is employed. The living conditions are often unsanitary and disgraceful. Sometimes a migratory school or temporary schooling is afforded the children. But the lower-level parents view their children's labor as an economic asset (as is the case the world around among uneducated people). Normal family attitudes cannot be developed or maintained under migratory labor conditions. No other racial group in the United States has similar domestic life problems to solve. Criticized on every hand for not developing normal American family attitudes, they are, however, encouraged to labor under conditions inimical to such attitudes.

Third generation Mexicans are growing up in the United States. Whereas many of the first generation speak English with difficulty, and the second generation are handicapped in so doing for the first five grades, the third generation are refusing to speak Spanish. The last-mentioned know but little

( 312) Spanish.[25] This means that the attitudes of the third generation Mexicans are becoming those of native born American children, and that these attitudes are determined more by American culture traits and values than by Mexican. The indirect rôle of language and means of communication is significant in changing human attitudes.

Among Mexicans the family and the Church have been the chief agents of social control. The Church which is losing its control in Mexico only partly regains it in the United States. The family more or less inefficient in Mexico temporarily builds up control in the United States because of the strange environment. The members of the family are thrown back upon each other for support. But after a time, strangeness wears off, acquaintance develops, and then family control disintegrates.

Housing conditions among Mexican immigrants, good in comparison with conditions in Mexico, are often deplorable when compared with standard housing in the United States. Under the stimulus of visiting teachers and others conditions improve. An American worker in what was once an unkempt Mexican camp reports: "When the Mexicans first located there, they were pretty dirty. But they are a lot better now. Their houses are kept better and their yards are more attractive. They are much cleaner. Of course, their ways of doing things are different from ours. They scrub their houses up differently than we do. But we expect that."[26] This report indicates the nature of the changes in attitudes that occur. A better feeling toward the United States tends to result as housing conditions improve. To the extent that housing, home, and working conditions are pleasing, to that degree is there likely to be a change in attitudes regarding citizenship and naturalization. Where laboring and living conditions are stimulating, personal attitudes tend to become constructively organized.

(g) Regarding Religion. The Mexican is religious in a semi-mystical sense. He responds to Catholic expressions of religion with their emphases ors awe, music, and ritual. The strong feeling elements in his nature react to religion under

(313) definite leadership. He is easily impressed by tokens of the supernatural. The other-worldly phases of religion appeal to him particularly.

Suddenly across the still morning air, over the fields of corn and maguey, came floating like silvery music, the sound of the church bells. Soon men and women began to pass, walking quickly with bare feet through the mud, to their priestless churches.

The current of the religious life of Juan Garcia has its source far back in the rugged mountains of his nation's history. Obstructions may stop it for a moment, but it cannot be restrained.

He hears the church bells ringing in his heart. His soul goes marching on . [27]

Like other migrants, the Mexican tends to leave a part of his religion behind. Migratory labor conditions, busy seasons, no churches conveniently near, tend to bring about religious changes. The observation is frequently made that the Mexican immigrant is "nominally religious," that he "keeps up" on occasion "the old forms," and that religion as a practical matter of ethics and of rationalized living does not operate strongly. He seeks forgiveness for becoming intoxicated, for example, or for unseemly conduct during intoxication, but is likely to repeat the intoxication and to seek forgiveness frequently. In these regards, the Mexicans fundamentally are not especially different from other people. The spiritual life is likely to become a struggle; it is a moving forward, a slipping back, and a repetition of formulae. The faithfulness of Mexicans in the United States at early mass, particularly on certain occasions and seasons of the year, is noteworthy. His religious attitudes, strong and weak, identify him with a large portion of mankind.

Protestant religious organizations have organized definite programs for Mexican immigrants."[28] Catholics have resented this development, accusing Protestants of proselyzing. But the rejoinder has been made that there are large numbers of Mexi-

(314) -cans who are not Catholics, whom the Catholic Church does not touch as far as their daily lives are concerned, and that this is the field of Protestants. Even after all the best work of both Catholic and Protestant Christians for Mexican immigrants is given full consideration, the shortcomings of religions administrations are clearly apparent to the unbiased observer. The Mexican, as a class, probably is more religious than Americans, in the sense that religion means more to him. But as among other people, there are large numbers of Mexican immigrants whose religious attitudes are undeveloped and primitive, meaningful only in personal crises.

(h) Regarding Recreation. The Mexican immigrant brings few recreational attitudes. In Mexico, recreation in a strict sense is not developed for the uneducated classes. Amusements, siestas, talking prevails. The bull-fight, cock-fighting, gambling, boxing, are centers of leisure-time attention. Music comes the nearest to furnishing real recreation.

In the "lottery mind" is found a term that throws light on the Mexican immigrant's attitudes. "This wailing for the lucky turn of the wheel is his curse. It deadens initiative, lessens the productive power of the individual, and lifting him out of the workaday present, sets him down in an illusive future built of the stuff of which dreams are made." [29] Thus the Mexican immigrant's amusements instead of being a helpful complement to his working hours are harmful.

In the United States, the Mexican's attitudes have undergone few changes. Wholesale recreation for him is missing. At noon Mexican immigrants take a siesta, which as one student of American life has suggested would be a good example for Americans living at a high-strung pace to follow. The main amusements are talking, "siestaing," going to melodramatic motion pictures, playing pool, dancing, attending boxing bouts, gambling, and so forth. Bull-fighting does not cross the border, but some attention to cock-fighting is continued. Baseball is gaining leeway, likewise handball, but as in the case of other team-work games, the Mexican cannot achieve much as long as he must live under migratory conditions of labor.

The Mexican loves his mandolin or guitar, and many hours are spent with these instruments. The Mexican's love of music

(315) receives little encouragement, except in the case of the children through the public schools. Where there is a stable Mexican community, American playgrounds are being introduced with splendid responses. Careful supervision is required; older Mexican boys are likely to make trouble, although their "gangster" propensities are similar to those of other races. The participation of Mexican boys and girls together in American games on the playgrounds is apparently bringing about improved adjustments between the sexes.

Settlement houses, the Y.M.C.A., and like organizations are furthering wholesome recreation attitudes among Mexican young people. The responses on the whole are splendid. The young of any race take easily on new recreational attitudes. A group of Mexican children or young people at play on school playgrounds, in a Settlement club-room, or on a Y.M.C.A. handball court is not distinguishable from Americans, except by superficial marks, such as color.

(1) Regarding Citizenship. Mexicans come to the United States, possessing a high degree of loyalty to Mexico. Even though they are fleeing revolutionary conditions and have known dire poverty, their loyalty to Mexico is strong. Their attitudes may be accounted for in part on the basis of feelings and emotions stirred frequently to a high pitch by revolutionary conflicts. Their attention has been centered often on their country and its fate has frequently been at stake. Mexico has passed through many crises, each of which has served to build up powerful attitudes of loyalty and patriotism. Beneath all the strife and the various revolutions there has been a national loyalty to Mexico which has been deeply grounded in deep-set feelings. If you ask a Mexican why he is so strongly patriotic, he may shrug his shoulders, and tell you that he just feels that way. He has not rationalized; he loves his country without having analyzed the reasons why-but in this he is not peculiar. Patriotic attitudes after all are largely powerful sentiments.

On arrival in the United States the Mexican 1_R surprised both favorably and unfavorably, but sometimes more unfavorably than otherwise. The United States has been pictured too splendidly. It does not turn out to be the Paradise which the Mexican has depicted. Wages are high, but living conditions

(316) are also unexpectedly high. After the thrill of spending is over, and the glamor of a new country is gone, loyalty to the home country remains strong.

The new immigrant is likely to be greeted with jeers from his fellow-countryman, when he raises the question of becoming a citizen. The Mexicans who have been in the United States any length of time are not becoming naturalized. In a California Mexican community of 45,000 not over 150 Mexicans are naturalized. In 1927, only 112 Mexicans in the whole United States became naturalized and in 1926 only 78.

This reaction against naturalization is to be accounted for in several ways. In general, the Mexican immigrant does not change his attitudes regarding citizenship because as he says citizenship in the United States does not mean anything to him -for even though he becomes a citizen he is still treated as a Mexican and a foreigner. Americans do not distinguish between naturalized and unnaturalized Mexicans. They continue to treat the naturalized Mexican in the same way as they do unnaturalized Mexicans.

Citizenship to the Mexican may be no gain but rather a loss. As a Mexican citizen, the immigrant is able to go to the Mexican consul in an American city and secure aid, but as an American citizen he can no longer call upon the Mexican consul. Instead he must appeal to the American courts. But these are likely to be both strange and expensive. In these he is often at great disadvantage and not at home. He cannot easily secure redress for grievances against other Americans. Some Mexicans, in fact, have tried the experiment of becoming American citizens with unfavorable results. The word spreads, and hence Mexican immigrants maintain their loyalty to Mexico, for the naturalized Mexican is not generally treated as a citizen, but as an inferior and a foreigner.

Hence, the charge that the Mexican immigrant is unappreciative of his advantages in this country is to be discounted. He is appreciative of advantages but reacts against being treated as an inferior-particularly after he has attained his citizenship in our democracy. It is often said that if he lives in the United States and enjoys economic opportunities, health advantages, public relief protection, and that if his children are to be trained in the free public schools, he should assume some

(317) of the responsibilities of government. The reply is made, however, that thousands of Americans have lived many years in Mexico and have profited greatly thereby but have never become citizens or assumed civic responsibilities there. Hence the count is even. Neither group changes its national loyalty attitudes. One comes here to get more wages, and return. The other goes there to get increased wealth, and to return. Each is highly loyal to his own country, and nothing of sufficient moment happens to change the attitudes of either.

It is not an easy thing to forswear one's loyalty to one's home country. In discussing the question, a Mexican raises the question whether an immigrant can ever forswear a genuine loyalty to the country in which he was born, and whose life and name hold for him precious memories. Naturalization to him means a formal or hypocritical swearing away of loyalty to home country. As a dutiful son cannot forswear his loyalty to the parents who gave him birth, but can add another loyalty to his parental loyalty, namely, to his wife and to his children, so an immigrant, points out this Mexican, can add another loyalty to his loyalty for his native land, namely, for his adopted land.

Two Mexicans who had been in the United States long enough to grow dissatisfied with the Mexican district of one of our cities desired to live in a better neighborhood and to secure better environment for their children. They bought two lots in a middle-class American district, paying $500 down to the real estate agent who arranged the deal. Promptly the agent was threatened by letters and personal calls from people in the neighborhood, protesting against the proposed sale of the lots to Mexicans. The pressure became so great that the agent was obliged to cancel the agreement and return the $500. In the light of these facts, it is not difficult to imagine the reactions of these particular Mexicans and of their friends when it is suggested to them that they become naturalized citizens. Another Mexican in business in a given city wishing to secure a better environment for his family rented a house in an American district. He started to move, using his Buick in the undertaking. Despite his evident progress in adopting American culture, he was threatened and forced to give up his plans. Can anything be said to him about becoming an American citizen? Experi-

(318) -ences like these spread rapidly and widely, and even become exaggerated. The Mexican wishing to move out of a Mexican district and learning how Mexicans are criticized by Americans for developing "little Mexicos," seeks to improve his living conditions and to get out from a "little Mexico" into "big America" only to find himself repulsed. He cannot understand an inconsistency which blames him for being clannish, and which at the same time prevents him from moving out of this clannishness. He is likely to feel that Americans are hypocrites, and to prefer a little less profession of goodness and a little more exhibition of genuine fraternalism. Hence, any tendencies that he may develop with reference to becoming an American citizen are nipped in the bud. The Mexican immigrant's failure to change his citizenship attitudes are due in part to conditions in this country and to the attitudes of Americans in their dealings with him.

The few Mexicans who have become citizens and who "are glad of it," report fairly uniform experiences. Put briefly, each states that he has "a number of fine American friends." It is in and through these American friendships that have come the powerful stimuli which have brought about a change in national loyalty on the part of Mexicans. Personal friendships work the miracle of changing the center of national loyalty.

Mexican youth, or second generation Mexicans, are finding themselves in a quandary. Their fathers and mothers are not only not becoming American citizens but are protesting against becoming such, although they, the children, as native-born individuals are being trained in the public schools and in American environments. Some of them are suffering from conflicting attitudes. In their homes, loyalty to Mexico supersedes loyalty to the United States. They hear their fathers laugh at a Mexican who becomes an American citizen.[30] They are stimulated to contradict themselves, to play dual rôles, to be hypocrites-at home to act as loyal Mexicans, and at school and elsewhere as loyal Americans. While this problem is not peculiar to Mexican youth, it assumes special characteristics in their cases.

In the next place, the American-born Mexicans often find themselves treated as foreigners, and they are perplexed. They

(319) cannot understand those attitudes which fail to recognize them as fellow-citizens, and which blindly views them as foreigners. They begin to wonder if American citizenship is not superficial. Here and there they are beginning to inquire if it is possible for them to give up their American citizenship and become Mexican citizens while still living in the United States, the land of their birth. They are going to Mexican consuls asking for advice. The chief reason for their change in attitudes is found apparently in race antipathy shown them by Americans. In seeking entrance into the skilled trades, for example, they meet with rebuffs. Sometimes classed as mulattoes they grow resentful, discouraged, and when denied opportunities, bolshevistic. Their color, a superficial matter in a sense, is counted against them. Although Caucasian and Indian they are treated as "colored." Even when ambitious they can make little headway occupationally outside of unskilled labor.

Even before they reach voting age, their attitudes oftentimes have become turned against Americans. A lady who was passing a ranch, saw a Mexican boy picking up nuts. She recognized him as one who was well educated for his age, and said to him: "What are you doing here?" "Picking nuts," was the reply. Then she said: "You do not need to do this. There are other things for you to do. You have a good education. You speak English well." "Yes," was the reply, "but I am a `dirty greaser' as they say." He had felt the withering sting of antipathy.

In the development of these second-generation attitudes the American's thoughtless failure to discriminate between worthwhile and lazy youth, between American-born citizens and foreigners, between human beings as developing personalities and racial made automatons, creates many problems.

(j) Concerning Education. The unskilled Mexican laborer is usually uneducated and untrained. He is influenced by many superstitions. He is a man of feelings. He shifts between Indian stoicism and Latin inflammability. He lacks the selfcontrol that may come from rationalized thinking.

In the United States the unmarried Mexican laborer has little educational opportunity. He moves about industrially, loafs between seasonal jobs, reads little, and gets his informal

(320) education from talking with other Mexicans like himself. His attitudes in an educational way do not change much.

The married Mexican laborer, developing some degree of location stability, is told that by learning English he can earn more wages. He hears of classes in English, held under public school or social settlement auspices, and may enroll. While the total number of Mexicans who have been members of classes in English is considerable, yet the total percentage is probably small. In these classes the Mexican learns the rudiments of the English language. He improves his ability to talk English and learns to read it somewhat. He takes a more prominent group role. But most important of all by far, he comes in social contact with kindly, patient, sympathetic American teachers. These experiences give him a new slant on Americans. To him who has known only the harsh foreman or boss, a new interpretation of American life is made possible. He responds well. His attitudes toward American life are modified.

He is urged to follow a class in beginning English with one in more advanced English, but the stimuli to this end for him lack strength, and he "weakens." He is told of the advantages of a class in citizenship, but for reasons already cited and because of many discouraging factors, he does not enroll. His systematic education in this country stops early. His attitudes do not get far beyond those of the uneducated person.[31]

The Mexican's children are afforded the advantages of the American free compulsory school system. The Mexican's reactions may be against education for his children, as in the case of other illiterate parents. But once he catches the vision of educational values, he encourages his children to go to school. Even with this encouragement the Mexican child is still greatly handicapped when compared with the average American child in the public schools. He is over-aged, and in vocabulary, arithmetic, and memorization tests does about three-fourths as well as American children. In penmanship he shows equal capacity and in manual work does about ass well, but on the whole manifests far less initiative for a variety of reasons. He grows discouraged and drops out of school.[32]


The Mexican child feels the effect of segregation. There is, of course, considerable natural segregation due to the fact that Mexicans live in colonies. Because of low economic status, they congregate in the less desirable sections of a city, "beyond the railroad tracks," and elsewhere where average Americans do not live. Natural barriers set them off from the rest of the urban population, and the public school becomes distinctly a Mexican school. Some complaint comes from numerous sources that the educational facilities afforded Mexican children are inferior to those afforded American children, even in the same community. The buildings are often old and dilapidated. When new buildings are constructed it often happens that the Mexican districts are the last to be favored. However, the teachers in the Mexican schools are in general sympathetic, patient, and encouraging. Often they are highly sacrificial and work overtime without extra pay in behalf of their friends, the Mexican children.

In many communities the question of definitely segregating Mexican children in schools of their own has been urged by Americans. Fear that American children will "catch diseases" from Mexican children who come from unhygienic conditions at home is often expressed. Mexican parents, on the other hand, have remonstrated against deliberate segregation, because of the unfavorable reflections which such action seems to cast upon their race.

In the non-segregation American schools, the Mexican children are often at a disadvantage. They arrive at school age with little or no knowledge of English, and hence do poorly until they learn English. They thus fall behind, and become discouraged before they have a chance to show what they can do. They are made to feel inferior, until they actually become inferior. They do not show up well in classes beside American children who have better home conditions, and more parental help and stimulation. Sooner or later they cease to try and drop out of school. Their attitudes are results of conditions which normally lead to mental conflicts and inferiority complexes.

In the segregated schools Mexican children experience no such invidious comparisons. They compete against other Mexican children with far better results. Even Mexican

(322) parents who have been opposed to segregation have been converted to its merits. For the first five grades, segregation is advocated by many students of the problem on the ground that the children make better progress and have a chance in that time-period to learn the English language and thus to compete with American children of similar grade levels. They acquire a confidence in their own abilities, which helps them to go ahead creditably with American children after the fifth grade, until other difficulties arise.

In regard to segregation the Mexicans are like the rest of the human race. They do not like to be segregated when segregation means a lower status; they prefer it when it means a higher status. They object to having their children put in segregated schools because they feel that such a procedure lowers the status of their children directly, and of themselves indirectly. They become reconciled to such a procedure when they see that their children in the long run get farther and thereby gain additional status.

On the whole the second generation Mexican is just beginning to realize the significance of some of the difficulties that he faces. He is no longer satisfied with his parental culture; he feels himself to be a part of the United States and would like to be accepted as such. But because of his color, for example, he is somewhat innocently classified as a Mexican, an outsider, a foreigner. He grows discouraged and falls back upon native parentage for status, but at the same time continues to speak the English language and in other ways enters into the new culture about him. He is in a most unsatisfactory condition-to him and to us. The greatest need is for the development of understanding and of helpful attitudes by Americans toward these young people who are trying to cross the chasm between cultures, but whose personalities thereby are in great danger of becoming disorganized. To be American-born of Mexican parents and to be versed in American culture, but at the same time to be viewed as a foreigner and sometimes unjustly to be called "just a dirty greaser," creates a conflict of attitudes in the minds of a second generation Mexican that almost always amounts to personality disorganization.


(k) Concerning International Problems. In Mexico, superiority attitudes exist toward the United States. The more intelligent Mexican is proud of his heritage. He feels that his country has been unjustly treated by the United States. He resents American dominance and interference in Mexico. He fears the giant power to the north. The "gringos" are looked down upon.

In the United States the Mexican immigrant has entered in such relatively large numbers that a movement gained large proportions in 1927 and 1928, looking toward the restriction of immigration from Mexico and the placing of Mexicans on the two per cent quota. This issue divided Americans into three classes, according to three sets of attitudes.

One group of attitudes is possessed by those Americans who are jealous of American labor standards and who claim that these are being lowered by an influx of "cheap labor," and also by those Americans who point out that the large Mexican immigration subjects the Mexicans to undue exploitation, unemployment, poverty, criminality, and the like, and that a preventive is needed, such as putting Mexican immigration on the two per cent quota. A second set of attitudes is voiced by large-scale employers of labor, who claim that without the Mexican, unskilled labor needs cannot be met, such as the labor needs of the large farm-ranches, of railroad maintenance, of private and public construction work. The attitudes of employers are revealed in the current reactions to a bill reintroduced in the California legislature in the spring of 1929. This bill provides that no alien may be employed on public construction work of any character. "Some big public jobs will be crippled to such an extent that they will become almost impossible to complete, while others will not be undertaken at all, if the bill to prohibit the employment of aliens by contractors is made into law." [33] While this particular bill was defeated (April 24, 1929), it doubtless will come up again, for it is sponsored by organized labor, whose attitudes in this connection are persistent. Organized labor wishes to put up an immigration wall, similar to a tariff wall, which will keep out cheap labor and keep wages high, the same as capital wishes

(324) to keep out goods manufactured cheaply in order to keep profits high.[34]

In the third place there are those internationally-minded Americans who object to putting the Mexicans on the Quota, because such restriction will create ill-will in Mexico. President Coolidge and Secretary Kellogg in 1928 so contended, supported, of course, by employers of labor. Most of the opponents to putting the Mexicans on the Quota have advocated immigration adjustments by a Commission composed jointly of Americans and Mexicans, who may work out a procedure mutually agreeable to American labor needs, to the prevention of exploitation of Mexicans, and of their falling back upon public charity, and to safeguarding the status of Mexico.[35]

Preceding 1928, a general attitude of the United States was that immigration legislation is purely a domestic affair. It was this principle which earned for the United States the disappointment of Japan in connection with the exclusion of the Japanese from the Quota. In 1928, however, a general change in national policy was inaugurated. The President asked that the Mexicans not be put on the Quota because such procedure would create antagonism toward the United States in Mexico. In other words, immigration legislation is no longer purely a domestic affair but takes into account the feelings of the foreign country concerned. The importance of this change in national policy cannot be overemphasized.

Another important point at which Mexican immigrant attitudes involve international meanings relates to conditions along the border and particularly in a strip of territory lying south of the border. All Mexicans came through this territory, which at certain points is discreditable to both Mexico and to the Americans who dominate and profit from the maintenance of saloons, gambling stands, vice dives. American money helps to keep these saloons and dives in operation. These places profit greatly from American visitors, many of whom disgrace their country irretrievably. Many Mexicans are ashamed of

(325) the border towns and blame the Americans. "Most immigrants come through these border towns and sometimes unfortunately get their first impressions of Americans there." [36]

This and other problems need to be handled by a joint American and Mexican Commission.[37] Wherever two countries are vitally concerned, broad-minded representatives of both countries, working together, can achieve more constructive results than two groups of self-sufficient nationals working separately, with suspicions rolling high. By joint commission action, migration can be viewed as an organic human process and not in separate compartments cut off from each other by political boundaries.


Attitudes cannot be understood apart from the culture-trait environment in which they thrive.

Each migrant from one region where certain culture complexes thrive to another region characterized by other culture complexes inevitably experiences a series of conflicts in attitudes amounting at times to personality disorganization.

Constructive changes in attitudes occur under conditions where (1) living and (2) working conditions are improving and where (3) human contacts are friendly, sincere, and stimulating.

Disorganizing changes in attitudes occur when any one or any combination of the three-fold determining factors (living, working, and friendship) is not operating.

A study of the attitudes of Mexican immigrants in a variety of phases not only tends to identify them with immigrants from all other races but with mankind itself.

Uniquenesses in the attitude reactions of Mexican immigrants may be accounted for either in terms of special phases of antecedent personality organization or of distinguishing current experiences, or of both.



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Taylor, Paul S., "Mexican Labor in the United States: Valley of the South Platte, Colorado," University of California Publications in Economics, Vol. VI, No. 2, 1929.

Taylor, Paul S., "Mexican Labor in the United States: Migration Statistics," University of California Publications in Economics, Vol. VI, No. 3, 1929.

Thompson, Wallace, The Mexican Mind, Boston, 1922.

Thomson, Charles A., "Restriction of Mexican Immigration," Journal o f Applied Sociology, 1927, Vol. XI, pp. 574-78.

Thomson, Charles A., "Mexicans-an Interpretation," National Conference of Social Work, 1928, pp. 499-503

Walker, Helen W., "Mexican Immigrants as Laborers," Sociology and Social Research, 1928, Vol. XIII, pp. 55-62.

Walker, Helen W., "Mexican Immigration and American Citizenship," Sociology and Social Research, 1929, Vol. XIII, pp. 465-71.

Yoder, Dale, "The Mexican Revolution," Journal of Applied Sociology, 1927, Vol. XI, pp. 351-64.


  1. As stated by Clark Wissler, Man and Culture, 1923, Chap. V.
  2. A behavior pattern is thought of as a neuro-muscular mechanism in this chapter, that is, as consisting of sense organs either internal or external, or both, of afferent, central, and efferent neurons connected by synapse substances, of end-organs such as glands and muscles, of recurrent neural currents repeatedly following the same pathway wherever a given stimulus "sets off' the sense organs.
  3. For underlying principles see Thomas and Znaniecki, The Polish Peasant in Europe and America, 1927, Vol. 1, pp. 22 ff.; also Thomas and Thomas, The Child in America, 1928, pp. 557 ff. Recent works in social psychology give helpful statements concerning the rôle of attitudes and their accompanying behavior patterns. See Kimball Young, Source Book for Social Psychology, 1927, Part IV; L. L. Bernard, An Introduction to Social Psychology, 1926, pp. 425 ff. Also see Ellsworth Faris, "Attitudes and Behavior," American Journal of Sociology, 1928, Vol. XXXIV, pp. 271-80.
  4. See Max S. Handman, "Mexican Immigrants in Texas,'' Southwestern Political and Social Science Quarterly, 1926, Vol. VII, pp. 33 ff ; also L. C. Harby, "Mexican Texan Types and Contrasts," Harpers, 1890, Vol. LXXXI, pp. 229-46; and G. Bromley Oxnam, "Mexicans in Los Angeles from the Standpoint of the Religious Forces of the City;" Annals American Academy, 1921, Vol. XCIII, pp. 130-33.
  5. By coming across the border where there are no immigration stations or officials. The long border of 1,800 miles between Mexico and the United States is especially difficult to guard.
  6. The Census figures of 1920, even if they had been accurate, are quite out of date. Estimates of Mexicans in the United States vary from one million to three or four million.
  7. Induced to come by the labor agents of large-scale employers. For example in an article on "Mexican journeys to Bethlehem," Literary Digest, 1923, Vol. LXXVII, pp. 103-04, an account is given of the contract of a Bethlehem, Pa., steel company with the Mexican consul at San Antonio, Texas, for several thousand Mexicans to work in the steel mills.
  8. American young men refuse to do the necessary unskilled labor. European immigration has been cut down by the two per cent quota, and Japanese and Chinese labor has been excluded by law. Negroes on the whole are not !as satisfactory as the Mexicans; they will not do the unskilled work that Mexicans perform for as low a wage. Porto Rican labor is of too low a type. Filipinos are too high-spirited.
  9. Not biologically inherited, of course, but passed down through the social heritage.
  10. Cf. R. N. McLean, That Mexican, 1928, Chap. II.
  11. The percentage of home-ownership (including homes one-half paid for or more) among Mexicans in Maravilla Park (Mexican population estimated conservatively at 20,000) is placed at 60 per cent, by the Los Angeles County Health Department, 1925.
  12. "No country is more afflicted with the narcotic menace than Mexico. Marihuana, 'The Curse of Mexico,' is not only baffling Mexico, but is gaining a strong footing in this country, which cannot be longer ignored. Mexico and Mexicans living in the States join in the Pacific coast suppression of the narcotic menace." (From Statement by Narcotic Research Association of California, 1929.)
  13. Occasionally the Mexican will transgress the law in an endeavor to obtain a little ready cash by engaging in the traffic in narcotics. "Sometime he becomes an addict himself, a study of the cases (criminal) revealing five per cent are narcotic users (chiefly users of marihuana)." Carl May, Los Angeles County Employee, March 1929, p. 13.
  14. Carl May, Los Angeles County Employee, March, 1929, p. 13.
  15. From one and one-half to three times as high as his population percentages.
  16. Carl May, ibid.
  17. Quoted by E. S. Bogardus, "The Mexican Immigrant," Journal of Applied Sociology, 1927, Vol. XI, p. 480.
  18. As reported to the writer by Dr. Vernon M. McCombs, Los Angeles.
  19. Bogardus, op. cit., p. 474.
  20. R. N. McLean and Charles A. Thomson, Spanish and Mexican in Colorado, Board of National Missions, Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A., New York, 1924, p. 11
  21. An epidemic such as the pneumonia plague which broke out in a Mexican district in Los Angeles in the winter of 1925-26, produces lasting anti-Mexican reactions.
  22. Bogardus, op. cit., p. 484.
  23. E. S. Bogardus, "Second Generation Mexicans," Sociology and Social Research, 1929, Vol. XIII, p. 280. Quoted from interview secured by Helen W. Walker.
  24. Robert E. Park, "Human Migration and the Marginal Man," American Journal of Sociology, 1928, Vol. XXXIII, p. 893.
  25. Cf. E. S. Bogardus, "Second Generation Mexicans," Sociology and Social Research, 1929, Vol. XIII, p. 283.
  26. E. S. Bogardus, "The Mexican Immigrant" Journal of Applied Sociology, 1927, Vol. XI, p. 486.
  27. R. N. McLean, That Mexican, 1928, p. 74.
  28. A careful account of such activities in one region is given by R. N. McLean and Charles A. Thomson, Spanish and Mexican in Colorado, Part VI, Board of National Missions, Presbyterian Church in U. S. A., New York, 1924.
  29. R. N. McLean, That Mexican, 1928, pp. 33, 34.
  30. For reasons cited in foregoing paragraphs.
  31. Numerous exceptions, of course, might be cited.
  32. Cf. Merton E. Hill, The Development of an Americanization Program (Ontario, California, 1928), pp. 54 ff., 77, 106.
  33. Quoted from Arthur Bent of Bent Bros., contractors, Los Angeles Times, April 30, 1929.
  34. Labor claims that by keeping out immigrants it will be able to keep wages high and the laboring man will be able to buy more goods of the manufacturers. Capital claims that by keeping tariffs up it will be able to pay higher wages.
  35. See E. S. Bogardus, "The Mexican Immigrant and the Quota," Sociology and Social Research, 1928, Vol. XII, pp. 371-78.
  36. George L. Cady, Report of Commission on International and Interracial Factors in the Problems of Mexicans in the United States, Philadelphia, Home Missions Council, 1928, p. 37.
  37. Such a suggestion emanates from both Americans and Mexicans. For a careful statement from a Mexican, see El Universal Grafico, Feb. 19, 1929, which publishes a recommendation by Seńor Mendosa.

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