The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 354
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The premises that drove the study of Tejano history during this early
stage persisted into the 198os as more historians-some of whom
attended graduate schools outside of Texas-joined the ranks of the
early writers. Scholars now studiously debated the many parameters of
Tejano history. They pondered such questions as "what is the Tejano
community," who merited the label of "Tejano" and thus qualified as a
prospect for study, and what kind of experience constituted
Tejanismo?" Newer propositions, or revisions of old understandings,
therefore, now built upon old knowledge. Historians saw increased
diversity among the subjects, characterizing Texas Mexicans as a people
with many dimensions. They understood that no specific experience,
working background, or cultural traits could describe the entire ethnic
group. Rather, a number of that community could be either immigrant
or native born, rural resident or barrio dweller, school dropout or col-
lege graduate, monolingual or bilingual, or Protestant or Catholic.
Not every Mexican American belonged to the proletariat, for instance.
An influential middle class (mainly during the twentieth century) func-
tioned in numerous capacities in just about every urban colonia and rural
region. From this stratum came those who represented Mexican
American interests before white society, provided goods and services
needed in segregated neighborhoods, and gave intellectual guidance to
largely undereducated Tejanos. There existed ideological splits within
colonias as well. Such cleavages were attributed to the presence of the
aforementioned class differences, place of birth (Mexico or the United
States), generational allegiances, educational attainment and assimila-
tion, and an array of other variables.'8
Perhaps reflecting society's conservatism, the influence of other disci-
plines, a reconsideration that Tejano history should be inclusive of other
visions, or even a neo-revisionism, works during the last decade of the
twentieth century placed at least some responsibility on the people
themselves for problems that historically have afflicted Texas Mexicans.
Land loss in the period following the war for independence (1836) and
the war with Mexico (1846-1848) was once blamed squarely on a cabal
of greedy Anglo land thieves, who in collusion with law officials took
17 On this debate in Chicano history, see Rochin and Valds (eds.), Voices of a New Chzcana/o
18 Selected examples include Mario T. Garcia, Desert Immigrants. The Mexicans of El Paso,
1880-192o (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989); Richard A. Garcia, "The Making of the
Mexican American Mind, San Antonio, Texas, 1929-1941: A Social and Intellectual History of
an Ethnic Community" (Ph.D. diss., University of California at Irvine, 1980); Manuel Pefia, The
Texas-Mexzcan Conjunto: A History of a Working Class Muszc (Austin. University of Texas Press,
1985); Guadalupe San Miguel Jr., "The Struggle Against Separate and Unequal Schools: Middle
Class Mexican Americans and the Desegregation Campaign in Texas, 1929-1957," Hzstory of
Education Quarterly, 23 (Fall, 1983), 343-359.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/422/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.