Between the binaries: Women of Mexican descent and skin color in south Texas
Merging Mexican American history, Chicana feminisms, and qualitative research methods, this thesis explores skin color as a critical aspect of racialization for women of Mexican descent living in South Texas. Although skin color has long been a topic of discussion among racialized groups in the United States, limited studies examine skin color and the Mexican American experience. Quantitative studies have shown that people of Mexican descent with darker skin living in the United States are disadvantaged when it comes to structural opportunities such as educational attainment, occupation, income, and housing. While this information is useful for understanding the relationships between skin color and structural opportunities on a statistical level, quantitative research truncates the meaning that individuals assign to skin color.
To gain a deeper understanding of skin color and its value, in the context of individual experience as it relates to the larger social system of racialization, I collected data through semi-structured, one-on-one interviews with four women of Mexican descent living in San Antonio. My findings evidence the notion that personal and social identities emerge as the racialized body struggles to belong.