The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983 Page: 578
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
janos were as assertive as political -activists in the following century,
and that these people were ambitious, proud, and confident. The very
point of their culture's survival is proof of their determination.
All aspects of the Tejano's life-style are investigated-politics, urban
and rural work patterns, religion, and folklore, with a closing chapter
on culture and community. By using census records, travel journals,
newspapers, general directories, etc., supplemented with abundant sec-
ondary sources, the author fashions an extraordinary social history
that never fails to place Tejanos in the context of North American
The negative connotations associated with stereotyped Tejanos de-
veloped, in part, because their condescending contemporaries failed to
understand preindustrial work rhythms. While Tejanos were seen as
unambitious, "their work habits were not injurious to the economy;
indeed, southern and western Texas equalled or surpassed in prosper-
ity other Texas regions where workers toiled under the intoxication of
the Protestant ethic" (p. 77). The enduring presence of a Tejano
rancher class is offered as evidence disproving the shibboleth that Te-
janos were a cowering, unmotivated people.
The author then postulates that advancement should not be mea-
sured strictly in terms of economics. Rather, one should note the com-
munity's ability to survive through whatever means available and in
the context of its time. Also, one should note the community's sense of
optimism as it looks to the future. De Leon concludes with a tribute to
a heritage that still enriches as well as challenges the curious to further
Unlike most tomes dealing with some aspect of the Chicano or
Mexican-American community, this book does not bother with the
usual excuses and apologies. Rather, it takes a positive approach with
a message that, yes, there was oppression, bigotry, etc., but what is note-
worthy is the persevering strength the Tejano community drew from
its own pride. Thus, through the years of acculturation, Tejanos not
only maintained an identity but also forced the dominant society itself
to become acculturated. Nor is this a novel phenomenon, for numerous
immigrant groups have retained a cultural continuity. And at the very
base of this all is the premise that nineteenth-century Tejanos wanted
what other human beings have always wanted--"nothing more, noth-
ing less" (p. 204).
De Leon cautions that further research needs to be done. Indeed,
this book should stimulate emulation throughout the field of ethnic
studies, for it is a model of scholarship. It is not the definitive study,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983, periodical, 1982/1983; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101209/m1/636/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.