An analysis of the Mexican-American population in Walker County



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The purpose of this investigation was the identification of variables which might help explain differential assimilation rates among the Mexican Americans in Walker County, an isolated subculture. The data were collected from a random probability sample of sixty (60) Mexican Americans residing in Huntsville, Texas. These data were compared to the data of a previous study done by Teske and nelson (1974). The data were collected by two interviewers. One of the interviewers could speak both English and Spanish, while the other spoke only English. Teske and Nelson (1974) designed the three scales of measurement used in this study. The three scales were designed to measure various components of the assimilation process. This was done by using items abstracted from the interview schedules. Specifically, the scales were designed to measure interaction with the Mexican-American subculture, identification with the Mexican-American subculture and interaction with Anglos. These dependent variables had already been tested for validity by Teske and Nelson, they werenot re tested. These variables consisted of items included in the interview schedule. The items fell into one of three categories: (1) situational socialization factors representing a discontinuous status sequence, that is, socialization processes not part of the normative socialization patterns within the Mexican-American subculture; (2) post socialization factors; and (3 )alternate factors. Fourteen (14) variables were identified which were significantly correlated with scores on at least one of the three scales. The multiple iterative correlation technique was then introduced in order to determine the total variation in scores – on each of the three scales – explained by these variables. This procedure also provided a means of identifying the more salient variables explaining differential assimilation rates. In order to identify factors which might help to explain the apparent slow rate of assimilation, relevant literature was reviewed in order to identify characteristics peculiar to the Mexican-American subculture which might provide some insight into the problem. Analysis of the data aided in the explanation of this problem. Correlation between scores on the Mexican-American Interaction, Mexican-American Identity, and Anglo Interaction were noted. In brief, the following conclusions were reached. Concerning the question of observed slow rates of assimilation two conclusions are proffered. (1) The population of this community consists of a majority of first generation Mexican Americans, thus making the Mexican-American population fairly new. This in turn would cause less interaction with the Anglo way of life. (2) The socialization process of the Mexican-American subculture inculcates strong identification with that subculture.The findings also suggested that early socialization patterns incorporating a discontinuous status sequence and a lack of reinforcement as Mexican American increase the probability that the individual will assimilate into the broader American cultural system. This study found “Language� to be the primary variable contributing to assimilation.



Mexican Americans--Texas--Walker County., Acculturation.