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Challenge And Mexican Americans
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September 11, 2010, 05:18 PM
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Inductivist notes a striking change from General Social Survey data:
To some extent, this reflects a real change: recent Mexican immigrants tend to be more Indian (darker and relatively shorter) than Mexican immigrants of generations past, who tended to come from northern Mexico. But, mostly, it reflects a change in incentives and prestige in American society.

In turn, I think this partly explains the remarkable lack of high individual accomplishment by Mexican Americans over the last couple of decades. Consider the country club sports, tennis and golf, in which three Mexican-American all-time greats emerged in the 1940s through 1970s, Pancho Gonzales, Lee Trevino, and Nancy Lopez, but none since then despite vast increases in numbers.

It would appear that contrary to contemporary thinking, Mexican-Americans performed better relative to their numbers when they felt challenged to prove themselves than in recent decades when society has bent over backwards to make all young minorities feel "comfortable" about themselves. In general, and in particular for Mexican Americans, a lack of challenge leads to complacency.