““Becoming Mexican”” traces the establishment of segregated schools for children of Mexican descent in southern California in the 1910s and 1920s. The resulting substandard education led to poor test results. Based on these low scores, social scientists in the 1930s and 1940s concluded that Mexican students were inherently inferior, buttressing a biological definition of racial inferiority with far-reaching consequences.
Becoming Mexican: Segregated Schools and Social Scientists in Southern California, 1913––1946
David Torres-Rouff is an assistant professor of history at Colorado College. His research interests center on the connections between comparative racial and ethnic studies, public policy, and the urban environment. His forthcoming book, Before L.A.: Race, Space, and Municipal Power, 1781-1894, will be published by Yale University Press.
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David Torres-Rouff; Becoming Mexican: Segregated Schools and Social Scientists in Southern California, 1913––1946. Southern California Quarterly 19 March 2012; 94 (1): 91–127. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/scq.2012.94.1.91
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