Mexican-American political leadership in Houston, Texas



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The realization that politics is an important means of achieving the goals of the Mexican-American in this country has led to the rapid and dramatic emergence of political organizations and political leadership since World War II. The major focus of this study is the analysis of Mexican-American group activity and its political leadership within our political system. Ethnic politics does not exist unless the ethnic group is conscious of itself competing for certain scarce values in the political system. The major role of leadership becomes the advancement of group interests. Within a general framework of majority-minority relations, three variables were presented as relevant to inter- group power relations--social actions, group beliefs, and the power relations between the majority and minority groups. Utilizing this model of ethnic polities, the researcher sought to find patterns of Mexican-American political leadership in Houston, Texas. The approach to leadership centered on the power and policy context of leadership behavior. The data was collected by a questionnaire constructed by utilizing previous social science research with emphasis on possible indicators of ethnic leadership. The respondents were selected on the basis of their leadership positions in Mexican-American organizations and/or their reputational status in the Mexican-American community. The choice of respondents is not a complete list of all the Mexican-American leaders in this community, as this study attempted to attain a representative sample of reported Mexican-American leaders and activists. This study examined five aspects of Mexican-American leadership and its politics: (1) Mexican-American goals or interests, and strategy; (2) functions of Mexican-American leadership; (3) the mobilization of the Mexican-American for group action; (4) leaders' perceptions of community ethnic relations; and (5) the perceptions and attitudes of Mexican-American leaders with regard to political organizational activity, ideological positions, and attitude toward change. Essentially an exploratory study, the primary emphasis was to examine the meaning and scope of Mexican-American political leadership in the hope of gaining some understanding of Mexican-American politics.



Mexican Americans, Leadership, Politics