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Switching of Ethnic Identification among New York City Latinos

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021689/00001

Material Information

Title: Switching of Ethnic Identification among New York City Latinos
Physical Description: 1 online resource (243 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Negron, Rosalyn
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: bilingualism, latinos, new, situational
Anthropology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Anthropology thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: As the nation's ethnic diversity continues to grow, issues like resource distribution, ethnic conflict, or social and political movements cannot be understood in terms of neatly packaged identities in competition. Today, an increasing number of people regularly switch from ethnicity to ethnicity in normal discourse, in an attempt to maximize their social, economic and political interests. While ethnic identification has long been understood by anthropologists to be a contextual phenomenon, less is known about how the process of ethnic identification switching works. The research examines this process ethnographically and linguistically (that is, how people negotiate between multiple ethnic identifications in everyday contexts) among Latinos in Queens, NY. The 18 months of research proceeded in two phases: an ethnographic phase and a survey phase. This dissertation presents the results of the ethnographic phase, particularly the cases of two Latino men from Queens. In the ethnographic phase I accompanied eleven men and women, one week each, in a variety of daily routines and observed and recorded their verbal interactions. During my time with them I also collected life history interviews and social network assessment questionnaires. Using digital recorders, each participant independently collected an additional week?s worth of their verbal interactions. Basing the analysis on transcribed interviews and naturally-occurring conversations, this research shows that there is no one-to-one relationship between biographical ethnicity and the use of ethnic markers. Flexible identification spanned multiple levels of inclusiveness (e.g., Latino, Ecuadorian, serrano, Quechua). Repertoires also crossed seemingly distinct boundaries (e.g., American, Ecuadorian, Colombian). Ethnic markers, particularly language-related ones, were manipulated in a number of creative ways by members and non-members alike, pushing the limits of what constitutes ethnic group membership and challenging notions of ethnic authenticity. People tended to switch ethnic identifications by changing to or emphasizing a certain language or dialect (including accents), or simply by keeping quiet and letting others? assumptions take the lead. The reasons for switching ranged from the relatively minor (getting free drinks), to the quotidian (connecting with friends or landing better dates), to the vital (avoiding problems with immigration, making a sale, or in a job interview). When unpacked, these subtle and routine acts of flexibility reveal that ethnicity cannot be said to be who a person is, but rather a way of seeing and doing. The implications of this for the measurement and reporting of ethnicity (e.g., in the Census), and for understanding the Latino pan-ethnicity are discussed.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Rosalyn Negron.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Bernard, H. Russell.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021689:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021689/00001

Material Information

Title: Switching of Ethnic Identification among New York City Latinos
Physical Description: 1 online resource (243 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Negron, Rosalyn
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: bilingualism, latinos, new, situational
Anthropology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Anthropology thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: As the nation's ethnic diversity continues to grow, issues like resource distribution, ethnic conflict, or social and political movements cannot be understood in terms of neatly packaged identities in competition. Today, an increasing number of people regularly switch from ethnicity to ethnicity in normal discourse, in an attempt to maximize their social, economic and political interests. While ethnic identification has long been understood by anthropologists to be a contextual phenomenon, less is known about how the process of ethnic identification switching works. The research examines this process ethnographically and linguistically (that is, how people negotiate between multiple ethnic identifications in everyday contexts) among Latinos in Queens, NY. The 18 months of research proceeded in two phases: an ethnographic phase and a survey phase. This dissertation presents the results of the ethnographic phase, particularly the cases of two Latino men from Queens. In the ethnographic phase I accompanied eleven men and women, one week each, in a variety of daily routines and observed and recorded their verbal interactions. During my time with them I also collected life history interviews and social network assessment questionnaires. Using digital recorders, each participant independently collected an additional week?s worth of their verbal interactions. Basing the analysis on transcribed interviews and naturally-occurring conversations, this research shows that there is no one-to-one relationship between biographical ethnicity and the use of ethnic markers. Flexible identification spanned multiple levels of inclusiveness (e.g., Latino, Ecuadorian, serrano, Quechua). Repertoires also crossed seemingly distinct boundaries (e.g., American, Ecuadorian, Colombian). Ethnic markers, particularly language-related ones, were manipulated in a number of creative ways by members and non-members alike, pushing the limits of what constitutes ethnic group membership and challenging notions of ethnic authenticity. People tended to switch ethnic identifications by changing to or emphasizing a certain language or dialect (including accents), or simply by keeping quiet and letting others? assumptions take the lead. The reasons for switching ranged from the relatively minor (getting free drinks), to the quotidian (connecting with friends or landing better dates), to the vital (avoiding problems with immigration, making a sale, or in a job interview). When unpacked, these subtle and routine acts of flexibility reveal that ethnicity cannot be said to be who a person is, but rather a way of seeing and doing. The implications of this for the measurement and reporting of ethnicity (e.g., in the Census), and for understanding the Latino pan-ethnicity are discussed.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Rosalyn Negron.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Bernard, H. Russell.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021689:00001


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SWITCHING OF ETHNIC IDENTIFICATION
AMONG NEW YORK CITY LATINOS




















By

ROSALYN NEGRON


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2007

































O 2007 Rosalyn Negr6n





























To Al
with whom all things are kept in perspective









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I was sixteen when I decided that to become an anthropologist made perfect sense.

Teenage aspirations born of lucid, idealistic dreams and a save-the-world complex are often

solitary musings. At least they were for me. Having reached this point in my development as an

anthropologist, the dreams are no less lucid or idealistic. But they are now grounded in

appreciation for all those who have, in one way or another, seen to it that I get to this point.

I acknowledge with deepest respect the 263 Latino men and women who opened doors

and windows into their lives. I especially give thanks to the eleven who allowed me to stick

around for days at a time. My experiences with these men and women have made me richer in

knowledge and perspective; and resulted in some valued friendships. They are living

affirmations that anthropology is truly one of the most fulfilling career paths to choose. Thank

you to the National Science Foundation, Cultural Anthropology Section for providing the

funding used to compensate participants for their time and to pay for research assistance. My

heartfelt appreciation to Karen Jones and staff in the Department of Anthropology at the

University of Florida for ensuring that the funds were allocated appropriately.

At the University of Florida a number of professors have been guiding examples of

professionalism and scholarship. Dr. H. Russell Bernard's commitment to my success as a

scholar has had profound effects on my life. His hands-on mentorship style is a model I hope to

follow with the same sense of purpose. It was during conversations with Dr. Chris McCarty that

the idea for this research was initially born. I am grateful that he chose to take me on as a

Research Assistant at the UF Survey Research Center. Not only did it help support my studies

(and later my research), but while there, and under Dr. McCarty's guidance, I honed many of the

analytical and methodological techniques put to use in the dissertation research. Dr. Gerald

Murray is another professor who participated in my academic progress early on. I admire and









am sincerely grateful for his insistence on high standards of scholarship and on consistent, well-

reasoned arguments. His thoughts on career paths after the Ph.D. have also been very helpful. I

am genuinely thankful to Dr. Diana Boxer for her willingness to participate in my doctoral

committee a bit "late in the game." Her thoughts on my dissertation topic some four years ago

were hopeful and encouraging signs that I was on the right track. I am grateful to Dr. Jessi Elana

Aaron for reading and commenting on an earlier draft of this dissertation. Finally, the late Dr.

Peter Rossi of the University of Massachusetts generously gave his time to answer my questions

about the factorial survey method he developed. I am fortunate to have learned from him before

his passing.

The SOR' s (Students of Russ), a group of young scholars of extraordinary intelligence,

sense of humor, and ambition, made me feel at home at UF. SOR meetings with Amber Wutich,

Eli Sugita, Fatma Soud, Stacey Giroux, David Kennedy, Lance Gravlee and Mark House were

instrumental for my development as a thinker and a researcher.

In New York City a number of people were very helpful in recruiting research participants.

Con much cariffo le doy gracias a miembros de mi famnilia en Washington Heights quienes me

ayudarond~~~~dddd~~~~ddd encontrar participants Dominicanos y M~exicanos; especificamente: Lucinda Mata,

FineQ2ta Mta y Felix Mat. Juan Ferreira of the Hostos Community College was amazing. He

encouraged close to 30 fellow students to take my survey. Many thanks due to Zoe Sullivan in

Jackson Heights, and Catholic Charities of Astoria, Queens for promoting my research to their

constituents.

I have benefited immensely from the hard work and intelligence of Nathaniel

Murray and Sanja Martin. Nathaniel was set with the task of reviewing hours and hours (and

hours) of bilingual audio files, looking for small nuggets of linguistic gold. From the beginning,

he approached the task with interest and insight and for this I am even more thankful. Sanja









Martin transcribed audio Hiles for me. She also went through many hours of recording. Some of

these were difficult to decipher and I am grateful for her diligence and patience.

In recent months the warmth and consideration extended to me by members of the

Department of Anthropology at UMass Boston, have been very gratifying. I would especially

like to thank Dr. Tim Sieber for seeing to it that I settled comfortably into my new academic

home in Boston and arranging for a computer replacement so that I could continue my

dissertation writing. Thank you to Eric Berry of the Psychology Department at UMB, for

providing the replacement.

I have been immeasurably blessed by the love and support of my close family and friends.

Anubhav Khanna helped me through reading and writing all-nighters at UF. Thank you to Ali

Rhoden who was there in the beginning and from whom I have learned much, but especially for

our son. Norma Rhoden' s many acts of generosity, encouragement and support made all the

difference throughout both my undergraduate and graduate years. While we lived in Astoria,

Gary White colored my hermetical hours of writing with his wit and kindness. I am also grateful

for his willingness to watch my son in the nights when I just needed to take a break and get out

into the city.

To Pablo Goldbarg, my muse and greatest Einding in New York, I am utterly beholden.

Translator, transcriber, sounding board, planner, and counselor; he has been many things for me.

But the qualities that have most impacted my life are his constant humor, his unerring respect,

his stunning imagination, and engaging mind. Besos grandes a la familiar Goldbarg for their

extraordinary warmth, for celebrating my successes and for their words of encouragement.

Without the support of my sister, Wilneida Negr6n, I would not have finished this

dissertation. Thank you Wilnie, for all you did so that I could collect my data and write: for

taking care of Al, cooking for me, looking out for me, driving me around, assisting me with









some of the data, and proofreading an earlier draft of this dissertation. What would I do without

you? She, along with my parents and brother, William, Sr., Oneida, and William Negr6n Jr.,

have instilled in me the fighting spirit that was necessary to finish my graduate work.

Unsurpassed hard-workers and devoted parents, brother, and sister; their love and many

sacrifices have been my saving grace.

Finally, I could fill pages with expressions of the infinite love and admiration I have for

my son Al, who has transformed me unlike anyone. Al was born when I was a junior in college,

and so has endured much as I worked to fulfill my goals. His compassion, understanding,

patience, and wisdom are beyond his eight years. I am privileged to share my life with him.

Baby, I love you as big as God.












TABLE OF CONTENTS


page

ACKNOWLEDGMENT S .............. ............. iv...__......


LI ST OF FIGURE S .............. .................... xi


AB STRAC T ................ .............. xii


CHAPTER


1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............1.......... ......


1.0 A Rubric for Ethnic Choice ........._.._.. ...._... ...............1..
1.1 Research Question and Objectives .............. ...............5.....
1.2 Conclusion ........._.._.. ...._... ...............6....


2 ETHNICITY, IDENTIFICATION, AND SWITCHING ................ ................. ..........7

2.0 Introduction............... ..............
2. 1 Ethnicity ............... .... ...............7.................
2.2 Ethnicity and Cognition ................. ........... ...............9......
2.2.1 Classification and Categorization............... .............
2.2.2 Prototypes, Schemas and Cultural Models ................. ...............11.............
2.2.3 Cognitive Structures and Behavior............... ...............12
2.3 Social Networks and Ethnic Identification ................. ........._.__......13__._...
2.4 Switching between Multiple Ethnic Identifications .............. ...............16....
2.5 Some Reasons Why People Switch ........._._.. ....__. ...............18.
2.6 Conclusion ........._.___..... .__. ...............20....


3 LANGUAGE AND ETHNIC IDENTIFICATION ....._.__._ ..... ... .__. ... .._._...........2


3.0 Introduction.......................... ...........2
3.1 Language and Ethnic Identification ........._._........... .. ...............21._....
3.2 Approaches to the Study of Language and Identification ........._._..... .... .._._. ...........24
3.2.1 Cultural Models in Language (Holland and Quinn, eds. 1987; Wimmer 2004) ....24
3.2.2 Language and Social Networks ....._.._._ ......_.. ....._.. ...........2
3.2.3 Speech Accommodation ............._. ...._... ...............31..
3.2.4 Code Choice .............. ... ...............32..
3.3 Analyzing Language and Interaction ............... ...............36.._._._...
3.3.1 Discourse Analysis ................ ......... .. .. ................3
3.3.2 Ethnography of Speaking and Interactional Sociolinguistics............... ............3
3.3.3 Conversation Analysis............... ...............39
3.4 Conclusion ....___ ................ ......._.. .........4


4 RESEARCH METHODS .............. ...............42....












4.0 Introduction............... ..............4
4.1 Entering the Field .............. ... ...............43...
4. 1.1 Field Site 1: Astoria, Queens .............. ............ ...............43 .
4. 1.2 Field Site 2: Corona / Jackson Heights, Queens............... ...............47.
4.2 Continuous Monitoring (CM) Observation Phase ................. ............ .............. ...48
4.2.1 Recruiting and Selecting Participants for Continuous Monitoring ........................49
4.2.2 Continuous Monitoring Schedules and Pre-CM Data ................. .....................53
4.2.3 Observations ................. ...............56..............
4.3 Survey Phase............... ...............61.
4.3.1 Survey Protocol .............. ...............61....
4.3.2 Sampling .................. ...............62..............
4.3.3 Administering the Surveys .............. ...............64....
4.3.4 Visualization Interviews ................. ...............66....__ .....
4.3 .5 Vi gnette Survey s .............. ...............66....
4.4 Conclusion ....___ ................ .........__..........6


5 LATINO ETHNICITY IN NEW YORK .............. ...............70....


5.0 Introduction: Latino Bonds & Divides .............. ...............70....
5.1 Latino Immigration to New York ................. ...............73..............
5.1.1 Puerto Ricans ................. ...............74........... ..
5.1.2 Dominicans ................. ...............79........... ...
5.1.3 Mexicans............... ...............84
5.1.4 Ecuadorians .............. ...............87....
5.1.5 Colombians ................. ...............90.__ ....
5.1.6 Other Latinos................ ........__ ...............94
5.2 Ethnic, Regional and Linguistic Categories .............. ...............95....
5.2. 1 Roberto's Ethnic and Regional Identifications ................. .......... ...............96
5.2.2 Roberto's Linguistic Repertoire (Gumperz 1964):. ........_. ...._.._.....99
5.2.3 Abel's Ethnic and Regional Identifications ....._____ ...... .. ............... .104
5.2.4 Abel's Linguistic Repertoire .............. ...............107....
5.3 Conclusion .........._..._._ ...............109......._.....


6 ROBERTO ............. ...... .__ ...............112..


6.0 Introduction. ............... .... .._ ...............112...
6. 1 A Brief History of Roberto ................. ...............113........ ...
6.2 Linguistic Data and Analysis ......__................. .......... ........ .......11
6.2. 1 Why Don't You Come in on this Man? .........__. ........ ... ..........__. ...1
6.2.2 Lo devolvieron al loco ('They sent the dude back').............___ ........._ ......134
6.3 Discussion ............. ...... ._ ...............145..
6.4 Conclusion ............ _...... ._ ...............147...


7 ABEL ................. ...............149................


7.0 Introduction............... .. ............14
7.1 A Brief History of Abel .............. ...............150....












7.2 Linguistic Data and Analysis............... .......... .. .. ........15
7.2. 1 Todos Menos Ecuatorianos (Everyone but Ecuadorians) .................. ...............155
7.2.2 Quiero que esten feliz (I want them to be happy) .............. ....................16
7.2.3 Somos de Ecuador (We are from Ecuador) ................. .............................175
7.3 Discussion ................. ...............18. 1......... ...
7.4 Conclusion ................ ...............182................


8 CONCLUSION............... ...............18


8.0 Introduction............... .............18
8.1 Findings ................ .. ...... ..............18
8.2 Implications and Applications ................ ...............193...............
8.3 Directions for Future Research ................. ...............196........... ...


APPENDIX


A PHASE 1 LIFE HISTORY INTERVIEW ................. ...............199..............


B PHASE 1 SOCIAL NETWORK QUESTIONNAIRE ................. ................. ..........202


C PHASE 2 SOCIAL NETWORK QUESTIONNAIRE (ALTER QUESTIONS)................_.204

D PHASE 2 SOCIAL NETWORK VISUALIZATION INTERVIEW INSTRUCTIONS .....208


E TRANSCRIPTION CONVENTIONS ................. ...............211................

LIST OF REFERENCES ................. ...............212................


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................. ...............230......... ......











LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

1 Roberto' sPersonal Network ................. ...............116........... ...

2 Abel' sPersonal Network ................. ...............154........... ...









Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

SWITCHING OF ETHNIC IDENTIFICATION AMONG
NEW YORK CITY LATINTOS

By

Rosalyn NegrC~n
December 2007

Chair: H. Russell Bernard
Major: Anthropology

As the nation's ethnic diversity continues to grow, issues like resource distribution, ethnic

conflict, or social and political movements cannot be understood in terms of neatly packaged

identities in competition. Today, an increasing number of people regularly switch from

ethnicity to ethnicity in normal discourse, in an attempt to maximize their social, economic and

political interests. While ethnic identification has long been understood by anthropologists to be

a contextual phenomenon, less is known about how the process of ethnic identification switching

works. The research examines this process ethnographically and linguistically that is, how

people negotiate between multiple ethnic identifications in everyday contexts among Latinos in

Queens, NY.

The 18 months of research proceeded in two phases: an ethnographic phase and a survey

phase. This dissertation presents the results of the ethnographic phase, particularly the cases of

two Latino men from Queens. In the ethnographic phase I accompanied eleven men and women,

one week each, in a variety of daily routines and observed and recorded their verbal interactions.

During my time with them I also collected life history interviews and social network assessment

questionnaires. Using digital recorders, each participant independently collected an additional

week' s worth of their verbal interactions.









Basing the analysis on transcribed interviews and naturally-occurring conversations, this

research shows that there is no one-to-one relationship between biographical ethnicity and the

use of ethnic markers. Flexible identification spanned multiple levels of inclusiveness (e.g.

Latino, Ecuadorian, serrano, Quechua). Repertoires also crossed seemingly distinct boundaries

(e.g. American, Ecuadorian, Colombian). Ethnic markers, particularly language-related ones,

were manipulated in a number of creative ways by members and non-members alike, pushing the

limits of what constitutes ethnic group membership and challenging notions of ethnic

authenticity. People tended to switch ethnic identifications by changing to or emphasizing a

certain language or dialect (including accents), or simply by keeping quiet and letting others'

assumptions take the lead. The reasons for switching ranged from the relatively minor (getting

free drinks), to the quotidian (connecting with friends or landing better dates), to the vital

(avoiding problems with immigration, making a sale, or in a job interview). When unpacked,

these subtle and routine acts of flexibility reveal that ethnicity cannot be said to be who a person

is, but rather a way of seeing and doing. The implications of this for the measurement and

reporting of ethnicity (e.g. in the Census), and for understanding the Latino pan-ethnicity are

discussed.









CHAPTER 1
INTTRODUCTION

1.0 A Rubric for Ethnic Choice

The topics that I have explored in my dissertation research have from the idea' s inception

represented parallels in my own experience as a Latina who had come to the US at a young age.

I did not necessarily set out to explore these parallels, as in a personal quest, but was certainly

informed by my experiences and those of my family. I was born in Puerto Rico to a Puerto

Rican father and a Dominican mother. My own mother has admitted to identifying as Puerto

Rican for various reasons that lie somewhere between shame and convenience. Ethnicity for me

has always been a matter of context and flexibility: Puerto Rican, Dominican, both of these,

Latina, American, none of these.

Quite often I am asked to explain my ethnicity and appearance to others. Colombian,

Egyptian, Pakistani, Venezuelan, Brazilian, Moroccan; I have been different things to different

people. Undoubtedly, this quality, to be for others what they want to see in me, has helped me in

my research. My ethnicity is not easily identifiable by my appearance alone. When I speak

English my Spanish accent is barely detectable and when I speak Spanish my Puerto Rican

accent is lost in the phonological mix that it has become, with the adoption of non-Puerto Rican

elements of stress and intonation. Only the keenest ears can hear me transform /r/ into /1/ or

delete intervocalic and syllable final /s/ as is characteristic of the Puerto Rican dialect. I have

acquired aspects of my speech, my style, my behavior, and even my perceptions from my many

encounters, purposely sought or otherwise, with diversity.

A recent encounter provided the opportunity to apply to myself the very questions I'm

asking about others' use of ethnic identity in everyday contexts. I was invited to Shabbat service

at the Lubavitch temple on Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, where

the Lubavitch Chasidic movement has its headquarters. I had little idea of what the evening









would be like. The two Jewish companions who invited me explained the evening in Spanish. I

was to visit "como turista," "un temple ortodoxo," a place where one of them had spent a week

of contemplative study. I did not know that by "ortodoxo" they meant Chasidic. I was prepared

for sitting alone in the women's gallery. Yet I was surprised at my reaction upon exiting the

subway stop at Eastern Parkway that the temple was Lubavitch.

I felt like the fact that I was not Jewish would matter more in this particular, conservative,

context. I knew that it had to do with my perception of the seemingly impenetrable boundaries

that surrounds the Chasidic community in New York City. I became self-conscious of my status

as an outsider and it did not help that I had come conspicuously dressed for an evening out after

the service. I was certain there would be no hope of me blending in. How curious, I thought to

myself, that I earnestly sought for my ethnicity to be as undetectable as possible. But in my

status as an outsider I wavered between pride and insecurity. I prided myself in the idea that

somehow I would be one of the few Puerto Ricans who had come to worship among the regulars,

that somehow I was making a statement about inclusiveness, cultural open-mindedness, and

spiritual universality. My insecurity came from fear of not being able to respectfully perform the

steps of worship without being completely humiliated in essence, that I would be excluded.

Certainly I could not just blend in.

As soon as I entered the women' s area I was approached by one of the worshipers about

the bag that I was carrying. "You cannot carry here," she said. Confused, I asked her what I was

to do with the bag. I felt at that moment that there was no clearer sign of my outsider status than

my total confusion about the protocol. This was the kind of encounter that I wanted to avoid but

feared would be unavoidable. We went back and forth briefly about what I was to do with this

bag and my embarrassment was apparent to another woman who had entered the area. "What is

the matter?" asked the older woman. I explained that I had just learned that I could not carry a










bag but that I had no other place to put it. She immediately asked the dreaded question, "Are

you Jewish?" After a brief pause, like that before a reluctant confession by someone caught in

the act, I said that I was not. She then replied, "Then what is the problem?" At this revelation

the younger woman who I encountered originally replied with some amazement, "You are not

Jewish? But you look so Jewish!"

This encounter left me with several thoughts to mull over as I waited for the service to

begin and well after it ended. What did it mean that as a non-Jew, the rules did not apply to me?

Had I known the rules, would my non-Jewishness have been detected? What did my affiliation

with the Jewish friends who accompanied me count for? How might have my interaction with

the women been different if I spoke Hebrew or Yiddish? After deeper reflection, this experience

helped organize my thinking about situational selection of ethnicity. In particular, it recalled and

highlighted factors that form a rubric, if you will, for ethnic choice: image, context, knowledge,

and performance.

Successful performance of a Jewish identity, (in my case passing (see Chapter 2) as

Jewish), like in the successful performance of any identity, is linked to self-image (perception of

ourselves) and outward image (the perception of others). In the social context of the Lubavitch

temple, the cues presented by my physical appearance were translated in a way that led at least

one woman to assume I was Jewish. Had I been in a mosque, my physical cues would have

likely been interpreted differently. Context can determine how cues are read. Therefore the

range of possible interpretations available for manipulation is extensive. Particularly for

someone who can proj ect an ambiguous or universal image, as is my case .1 A successful

performance would have been further assisted by my knowledge of behavioral rules. Within the


SThis is why increased ethnic diversity, inter-marriage, and multi-racial people mean that flexible ethnic self-
presentation will become more common and more important to understand. It also points to the fact that some
people and groups are still limited in their ethnic options (Waters, 1990).









context of this short-term encounter, knowledge of rules combined with my outward image

would have afforded me entrance as an insider. As I will show, this sort of entrance, albeit

temporary, has a number of advantages and tangible social and economic consequences. Long-

term encounters and relationships are based on deeper knowledge of socio-cultural norms and

models (whether ethnic based, work based, religion based, or language based). This knowledge

can be collected through prolonged participation in particular social networks. And while it

affords them an important advantage, people born to an ethnic group or having familial roots to

that group (biographical ethnicity) do not have a monopoly on that knowledge.

However sensitive the issue may be about who indeed can claim to be Jew, Puerto Rican,

Navaj o or American, had my intention been to completely assimilate myself into the scene, and

had I been prepared with all the behavioral markers, I would have accomplished at least initial

acceptance. I became keenly aware of the fact that the criteria for inclusion in this particular

context did not require that I be born Jewish. Apparently, my physical appearance, my image,

raised no flags. I had, unknowingly passed that test. My behavior was the give away--what

with carrying the bag on Shabbat, not speaking Hebrew or Yiddish, not knowing the liturgy, and

the general social awkwardness that all these insecurities created. In a personal way the scene

raised questions that I will attempt to tackle in this dissertation: Can anyone claim ethnic

authenticity? Should researchers focus on observable markers or self-reports of some internal

state to predict behavior? How key is language to the expression of ethnic identification?

The questions are many and as I will show through case studies of two ethnically flexible

Latino men, situational ethnicity is a fruitful theoretical departure for students of ethnicity. With

a few notable exceptions (c.f. Bucholtz and Hall 2005; Brubaker 2004; Bailey 2000; Okamura

1981; Nagata 1974), the now pro forma acknowledgements of ethnicity as situational,

contextual, fluid, and flexible, give limited consideration to what this mutability implies. First, if









ethnicity is a contingent phenomenon then it cannot be said to dwell at the core of a person or

who a person is. Essentialist or primordialist approaches (Shils 1957; Geertz 1963) to ethnicity

have been outmoded in preference of constructivism. There is a second implication of flexible

ethnicity: ethnicity is contingent because it entails a system of categories, schemas, and models

that are not necessarily deeply embedded in the self (or even constructed) but accessed or

activated situationally. A third implication of flexible ethnicity is that with so many choices

available, which to choose, where and when is likely governed by predictable rules. More

research should attend to the careful consideration of these rules. One crucial reason for a focus

on the rules that govern ethnic self-presentation (Goffman 1959) is that they will illuminate what

is captured by ethnic categories. For example the rules for ethnic self-identification using labels

on a census form are different from rules for using language to self-identify to a group of

intimate childhood friends. Knowledge of how people arrive at a particular ethnic choice is

critical for understanding that choice and what is captured by that choice. It further brings

attention to which ethnic choice can best predict a person's behavior.

1.1 Research Question and Objectives

The guiding research question in this research is: under what conditions do Latinos in

Queens, NY switch their ethnic self-identification? This involves the following specific

obj ective s:

1) to document the incidence of multiple ethnic identifications among research
participants. To accomplish this, I collected life history interviews that focused
on the ethnic background of informants and their experiences with ethnicity (see
Appendix A).

2) to determine the contexts under which people use ethnic identifications. This
involved collecting data on characteristics of the communities and social networks
of participants (see Appendix B). It also involved prolonged shadowing
observations of the participants in their day-to-day activities.

3) to determine the resources acquired by using various ethnic identifications. In
addition to the prolonged direct observations of verbal and nonverbal behavior, I









conducted brief and informal follow-up interviews to confirm observations about
the benefits received from an invocation.

4) to determine behaviors involved in switching. Along with direct observations,
this involved the linguistic analysis of participants' verbal interactions.

5) to identify some basic rules for invoking one ethnic identification over another.
This will be based on the careful comparison of two case studies of Latino men who
switch frequently.

1.2 Conclusion

The ethnicity literature provides numerous examples of people invoking (or hiding) their

ethnicity to strengthen or weaken their ties to kin, community and the state and thereby to

improve access to economic and political resources (Barth 1969; Horowitz 1975, 1985; Kelly &

Nagel 2002; Patterson 1975). Less is know about how people go about doing this in their daily

lives. Beyond the potential for this work to make such contributions, I was delighted to find that

the research participants thought this to be highly relevant for them. Several opined that the

everyday experiences of urban Latinos were under-represented, and were excited about

contributing to work that would do just that. With several issues related to Latinos playing

prominently in the national stage (e.g. immigration legislation and bilingualism), my research

documents intimately how these themes play out in people's everyday lives.









CHAPTER 2
ETHNICITY, IDENTIFICATION, AND SWITCHING

2.0 Introduction

For this research I stood humbly on the shoulders of giants in the fields of ethnicity studies,

sociolinguistics, and cognitive anthropology. In this chapter I will cover some foundational

research on ethnicity and identity, and specify the operationalizations of key variables in this

study. A basic premise of this research is that ethnicity is a process with cognitive, linguistic and

behavioral dimensions. To this effect I will present three areas compatible to such an approach.

These are 1) categories, cultural models and schemas; and 2) social networks as sites for cultural

knowledge acquisition and activation. A third area is the study of language itself; this will be

covered in chapter three as it pertains to ethnicity. Finally, I will discuss some particulars of

switching: why it's done and how it's done.

2.1 Ethnicity

In the most minimalist sense, ethnicity arises out of the cognitive, human tendency to

categorize in order to simplify our environment. Thus, it tends to be conceptualized in terms of

categories or groups. The earliest classifiable ethnic differences likely arose between human

populations separated by space. Each developing cultural patterns uniquely suited to their

environment. With the emergence of ethnic difference so far in the human past, a key

component of myriad definitions of ethnicity is the notion of origin, or common descent

(whether real or imagined) (c.f. Weber (1922 [1968]); Horowitz 1985; Levine 1999). Thus, early

theorizing on ethnicity was of a primordialist slant, where ethnic groups were characterized as

"natural and eternal historical entities, with hermatically impermeable social boundaries (Gil-



2 Perhaps this categorization was an extension of an even earlier parsing method: kin vs. non-kin. Ethnicity has been
conceptualized as an extension of the obligations and benefits associated with one's own kin group. When ethnic
group leaders appeal to their fellow members for support, their rhetoric is often intertwined with the rhetoric of
kinship and familial obligation (Horowitz 1985, Fenton 1999).









White, 2001: 516)," and for which people develop deep-seated sentiments (Shils 1957; Geertz

1963). The intellectual companion to this view is the (now widely recognized as fallacious)

belief that ethnic groups (and races) have essences.

Countering essentialist / primordialist thinking, the field is now dominated by

constructivism; a diffuse theoretical approach that posits groups and categories like race,

ethnicity, and gender as socially constructed, conditional, and contextual. However, scholars in

recent years (Levine 1999; Gil-White 2001; Brubaker 2004) have raised concerns that the

pendulum has swung too far. For example, Gil-White (2001) argues that while true that

"ethnies" do not have essences, research data consistently show that people tend to process

ethnic groups as if there were something "natural" or "essential" about them (see also Caulkins

2001). He writes:

These days 'good' anthropologists do not essentialize groups, and
therefore no self-proclaimed essentialists are found in anthropology
journals. But ordinary folk are not good anthropologists or sophis-
ticated constructivist scholars. Quite to the contrary, they are naive
essentialists... (2001: 516).

Gil-White goes on to layout a sophisticated cognitive scientific explanation for why

humans are essentializers who tend to interpret ethnic groups as "species". In his own critique of

the state of constructivism within anthropology, Levine notes, "The news is full of ethnic

cleansing and genocide while the anthropologists stress that ethnicity is 'invented' and set out to

'decentre' the notion (1999: 165)." Additionally, Brubaker suggests that constructivism has

become so banal as to yield little of the theoretical friction from which new questions and

directions emerge. Brubaker calls for constructivist scholars to go beyond "simply asserting that

ethnicity, race, and nationhood are constructed... [and] help specify how they are constructed

(2004: 18)." Their work suggests that what is missing is an approach that makes explicit the

implicit cognitive leanings in the scholarly use of concepts like categorization, classification,









essentialism, construction, subjectivity, et al. to understand ethnicity (see Brubaker 2004). In its

oft used conceptualization as solely a social construction, ethnicity is imbued with an

indeterminacy that makes it incompatible with empirical inquiry. A key appeal of cognitive

approaches to ethnicity is the methodological possibilities that such a shift offers.

2.2 Ethnicity and Cognition

2.2.1 Classification and Categorization

In the 1950s, Manchester School anthropologists working in Africa, notably Mitchell

(1956) and Epstein (1958), described the classifications that urban Africans used to make sense

of the extreme ethnic diversity of their surrounds as a "cognitive map" (Levine 1999).

However, the most influential, early cognitive turn in ethnicity studies was proposed by Frederik

Barth (1969) in his introduction to "Ethnic Groups and Boundaries". Barth argued that because

ethnic distinctions persist even in the face of group boundary change, what defines the ethnic

group is cognitive self-ascription and ascription. The cultural activities often used to tell groups

apart, (the "cultural stuff" as Barth called it) distract the analysis of how groups maintain

cohesiveness and establish social networks and institutions through social interactions (Hechter

1974; Alba 1990). While cultural characteristics provide the basis for group solidarity and

relationship and boundary maintenance (Hechter 1974), they may change in form and relevance

through time and space; what is important is how they function to shape patterns of social

interaction.

Barth' s work, like Mitchell and Epstein' s before it, centers classification and

categorization as definitive elements of conceptualizations of ethnicity. Since then, it has been

included as a key theme in several overviews of the field (Cohen 1978; Horowitz 1985; Eriksen

1993; Banks 1996; Jenkins 1997; Cornell and Hartmann 1998; Fenton 1999). The

appropriateness of cognitive approaches to ethnicity is clearer yet when we consider, as Lakoff










suggests, that categorization is basic to "our thought, perception, action, and speech (1987: 5)".

But framing ethnicity as a cognitive classificatory system, still begs the question of what is

particularly "ethnic" about it. What classificatory criteria can be termed "ethnic"? Here I will

borrow Levine's definition: "ethnicity is that method of classifying people (both self and other)

that uses origin (socially constructed) as its primary reference (1999: 168)." I further elaborate

that the basis for inferring (or presuming) and communicating origin, among the participants in

this study, is both physical appearance (e.g. somatic, ornamental) and behavior (e.g. language,

discourse, socializing). Following Brubaker (2004), I treat ethnicity, race, and nationality as one

domain rather than three, and use the terms interchangeably throughout the thesis.

Definitional clarification must also be made of identity. Using the above conceptualization

as a platform, in its most basic sense, ethnic identity refers to the self-a~scription or self-

cla~ssification part of ethnicity. It does not preclude that people can classify themselves (and

others) in multiple ways. And it does not assume that there is such a thing as a core self-

classification or ethnic identity. Brubaker argues that identity, has been employed to describe

how individual and collective action is driven by both instrumental "structurally determined

interests" and non-instrumental "particularistic, understandings of self" (2004: 44). Rather than

use the ambiguous identity term to do this conceptual and explanatory heavy-lifting, he offers

identification (active, processual) and self-understanding dispositionall) as alternativeS4. Many

of the behaviors discussed in this study are best described as ethnic identification. As the data

will show, in identifying or categorizing oneself to others, a person can act independently of non-

instrumental self-understanding.



3 In this dissertation I will use "ethnic identification" instead of "ethnic identity". I make exceptions when
discussing or citing work done by others, to not alter the original meaning intended by their use of "identity".

4 Along with identification Brubaker also suggested categorization and with self-understanding he suggested self-
location.









2.2.2 Prototypes, Schemas and Cultural Models

Building on theory and methods in cognitive psychology and linguistics, cognitive

anthropology has developed a number of conceptual tools relevant to ethnicity. In this research I

apply schema theory and cultural models. Starting with what were fundamentally questions

about categorization, pioneering efforts in cognitive anthropology sought to understand how

people labeled different parts of their world (Goodenough 1956; Tyler 1969; Quinn and Holland

1987). In the course of the field's development, it was noted that some category items were

more representative of that category than others (Loundsbury 1964; Berlin and Kay 1969; Rosch

1977; Kay and McDaniel 1978 D'Andrade 1995; Quinn and Holland 1987). These stereotypic

members, or prototypes, were found among kinship terms (Lounsbury 1964), color categories

(Berlin and Kay 1969), and furniture types (Rosch 1975). The idea has been extended to

prototypical event sequences and categories of people like bachelor and lie (Fillmore 1975;

Coleman and Kay 1981; Sweetser 1987).

An important implication of prototype theory is that prototypes can serve as schemas, or

schematic mental representations, for categories of things (Quinn and Holland, 1987). Schemas

represent and process information and have been defined as significant to how humans perceive

and interpret experiences (Casson 1983; Quinn and Holland 1987; D'Andrade 1995; Brubaker

2004). Along with related concepts like cultural models (D'Andrade, 1987), stereotypes, and

scripts, a schema functions like "a kind of mental recognition 'device' which creates a complex

interpretation from minimal inputs (D'Andrade 1995: 136)."

Two characteristics of schemas are particularly applicable to this research. First, schemas

range from the universally shared to the idiosyncratic (Casson 1983). Schemas that are

"intersubj ectively," though not necessarily universally, shared, have been described as cultural

models (D'Andrade 1987). Examples of cultural domains analyzed from a cultural models










perspective are parenting (Lamm and Keller, 2007), business success (Caulkins, 1998), marriage

(Quinn 1996), and anger (Lakoff and Koivecses (1987). I argue that categories like Puerto Rican,

Mexican or Latino, can be further understood as intersubj ectively shared schemas used to

interpret the behavior of others and to frame one's own behavior. The second pertinent

characteristic of schemas is that they are organized hierarchically, so that top levels represent

core concepts and lower levels have missing pieces that can be filled in by environmental /

situational cues or "default values" (Minsky, 1975; Casson 1983; D'Andrade 1995). Ethnicity is

one example of such environmental or situational cues, and can be "slotted" into schematic

templates to "generate ethnic variants or subtypes of the schemas (Brubaker, 2004: 77)." As I

will discuss in Chapter 3, other such "contextualization cues" (Gumperz 2001) include code- and

dialect-switching.

2.2.3 Cognitive Structures and Behavior

This study is primarily concerned with how cognitive str-uctures related to ethnicity

motivate and guide behavior. Such a proj ect must contend with the fact that much of the

knowledge represented and processed by such structures (e.g. schemas) is implicit'.

Furthermore, schemas process knowledge outside of conscious awareness (D'Andrade 1995).

To be sure, behavior can be inconsistent with related knowledge str-uctures constr-ucted from

what people say (Wimmer 2004; see Bernard, et. al. 1984 for a related discussion).

What then is the relationship between cognitive str-uctures and behavior? Quinn and

Holland (1987) acknowledge that cultural models cannot be assumed to always translate into

behavior. Neither does all behavior stem from such cultural conceptualizations. However, they

do insist that in enabling actors to make interpretations and inferences about experiences



SQuinn and Holland (1987) point out that most cultural knowledge falls somewhere in between inaccessibility and
accessibility.










(particularly when these call for action), schemas and models can be goal-defining ibidd.; see

also Quinn 1996; D'Andrade 1992; Lutz 1987; White 1987). They write:

[Cultural models] are used to perform a variety of cognitive tasks.
Sometimes these cultural models serve to set goals for action, some-
times to plan the attainment of said goals, sometimes to direct the
actualization of these goals, sometimes to make sense of the actions
and fathom the goals of others, and sometimes to produce verbal-
izations that play various parts in all these proj ects... ibidd.: 6).

Thus, a final key point: the researchers stress the importance of talk itself, as action. A

basic tenet of sociolinguistics, this notion will be explored in Chapter 3.

2.3 Social Networks and Ethnic Identification

The above discussion on ethnicity and cognition recalls one of Marvin Harris' (1968) early

critiques of cognitive anthropology. Cultural knowledge alone can not account for cultural

differences, Harris argued. Emphasizing cognitive structure without accounting for

environmental structure and infra-structure misses the mark (ibid.). But how to link the two? As

a starting point, Brubaker's (2004) comments, on the relationship between wider structuree and

the activation of schemas, are helpful:

Schemas must be activated by some stimulus or cue. Activation
depends on proximate, situationally specific cues and triggers,
not directly on large-scale structural or cultural contexts, though
structural and cultural changes can affect the distribution of such
proximate cues and thereby the probabilities of activation of sche-
mas ibidd.: 76).

Thus, one way to link structuree and infra-structure to the activation of schemas is by way

of some mediating condition. Social networks provide such a medium. Network theory is

considered an important approach for studying the link between individual action and

overarching economic and social processes (Goss and Lindquist 1995).

In this research I take the position that patterns of ethnic identification are best understood

by taking the following network-relevant issues into account: 1) reiterating Harris' (1968) point









above: the link between broader structural conditions and patterns of ethnic identification. 2) the

role of social interaction for shaping ethnic self-understanding; 3) the role of social context (e.g.

social networks) in determining which of various social identifications and related behavior is

appropriate in a given situation; 4) the link between multiple spheres of interactions and the

development of multiple ethnic identifications; and 5) the normative pressure exerted by social

networks and network components, which limit or determine the development of ethnic

identification and ethnic-self understanding.

The importance of social networks for ethnic identification cannot be overstated. As sites

of socialization, through interactions with network members people learn network-normative

behavior and the cultural knowledge that guides such behavior. It is within their immediate

social networks that people first come to think of themselves as part of "us" and distinct from

"them". But social networks can correspond with multiple social locations. Work networks,

family networks, recreational networks, neighborhood networks; each of these associated with

particular social identifications. Similarly, our network can reflect multiple ethnic group ties.

Interaction in different areas of our social networks often requires the use of distinct frames of

reference and behaviors. Thus, not only are social networks vital for attaining cultural

knowledge but also "crucial environments for the activation of schemata, logics, and frames

(DiMaggio 1997: 283)."

Because this dissertation addresses the use of multiple ethnic identifications, I'd like to

discus more in-depth how social networks can help us understand the development of these.

Changes in ethnic self-understanding and the use of multiple ethnic identifications are tied to

structurally determined patterns of interaction. For example, it is easy to see how an ethnically-

mixed person can invoke multiple ethnic identifications. Depending on the influence of

immediate kin, they can adopt either their mother' s or their father' s ethnic affiliations or develop









a third, multi-ethnic (or multi-racial) self-understanding out of the unique experiences and

relationships that arise from straddling two worlds (Spickard & Fong 1995; Stephan & Stephan

1989). The 2000 Census indicates that claims of multiple identities will continue to rise. Forty-

two percent of all multiple-race responses were given by young people younger than 18 years,

even though they made up only 26% of the US population. This may foretell higher rates of

multiple-race reporting in future censuses (Morning 2003). Important infra-structural and

structural conditions (spurred by immigration and inter-ethnic unions) are translating themselves

into individual behavior, by way of changing patterns of social interaction.

For people with a single biographical ethnicity, development of more than one ethnic

identification is similarly tied to structurally-determined social relations. Multiple ethnic

identifications can arise through linguistic or religious conversion (Horowitz 1975). The

adoption of a new language or religion affects a person's social network. With the development

of new relationships comes pressure to conform to norms and aims defined by the new group

(Cohen 1974). Over time people in such situations may develop a sense of belonging to the new

group, while still possessing the cultural knowledge that linked them to another.

More commonly, multiple ethnic identifications emerge because group member-ship exists

at multiple levels of inclusiveness (ibid.). For example, people can identify in terms of their

national, racial, or regional aff61iations. Each of these levels has corresponding behavioral

markers. The ethnic categories invoked by people tend to be more specific, or less inclusive, as

they come into daily contact with members of their own ethnic group (Cornell 1988; Kaufert

1977; Nagel 1994). For example, a Cuban woman can use the more inclusive category of Latina

when interacting with members of non-Spanish speaking ethnic groups, as Cuban to another

Latina, or may use the more specific category of Marielito when addressing other Cubans (Nagel

1994).










Finally, people who travel frequently across national borders (e.g. transnational migrants)

may also Eind that they must ethnically categorized themselves in multiple ways. With changes

in social context there are changes in how a person is perceived by others. Much to the chagrin

of many immigrants who have lived for a long time in the US, they are categorized and treated as

Americans when they return to their country of origin even if they do not identify themselves

as American when they live in this country. Consider terms like pocho (what Mexican nationals

call Mexican-Americans and Chicanos to the north) and nuyorican (a Puerto Rican born and

raised in New York). These have been used for decades to describe persons who identify

themselves bi-ethnically.

2.4 Switching between Multiple Ethnic Identifications

We can now turn to a discussion of the central concern of this research: ethnic

identification switching. The concept of ethnic identification switching, or situational ethnicity

(Paden 1967; see Okamura 1981) traces to the work of Max Gluckman and his students in urban

Africa. Evans-Pritchard (1937) had observed that among the Zande of Sudan beliefs in witchcraft

were invoked according to what was situationally convenient. Building on this observation,

Gluckman (1958 [1940]) described what he called situational selection, in which people claimed

membership in a group depending on the situation. Cohen (1974) noted that situational ethnicity

can be observed in Africa when two or more people from different ethnic groups want to signify

the differences between them, especially when the groups represent different socioeconomic

scales.

Ethnic identification switching is the use of different ethnic identifications across social

contexts. As discussed above, basic to this process is the notion that people have access to


6 In the literature, the term most often used to describe this process is situational ethnicity (Paden 1967; Cohen 1974,
Nagata 1974, see Okamura 1981). "Ethnic identity switching" is also used (c.f. Eschbach & Gomez 1998). For
consistency henceforth I will refer to this process as ethnic identification switching or El switching.









multiple ethnic identifications. By "access" I refer to cultural knowledge (of markers and

behavioral rules), shemas and models associated with an ethnic identification. Thus, El switching

should not be understood as some sort of mysterious intra-psychic transformation. At times it is

an automatic shift between multiple, situationally appropriate frames of reference. Other times,

it is the willful manipulation of categories and markers. As discussed above, people acquire the

cultural knowledge that makes El switching possible through their participation in social

networks. I argue that the more diverse a network is the more opportunities (and needs) there are

for learning diverse ethnic markers, models, etc. Therefore, while a single ethnic identification

can be dominant as a reflection of network composition, it does not preclude the development of

other identifications.

I'd like to the make distinctions between various types of switching. I should add that the

boundaries between each of these types are by no means unyielding. They may best be

understood as gradations of ethnic self-presentation.

1) Passing or Crossing (Sweetland 2002; Bucholtz 1999; Lo 1999; Cutler 1999;
Rampton 1995)

Refers to the act of presenting oneself according to the behavioral and/or appearance-
related norms and expectations of an ethnicity other than one's biographical ethnicity. When I
originally developed the idea for this research I did not expect that the most conspicuous
switches I would witness would be passing. Both of the focal participants of this research (see
Chapters 6 and 7) reported and were observed doing this sort of switch. Roberto, whose primary
identification is Venezuelan, has passed himself off as Puerto Rican and convincingly used both
Puerto Rican accent and lexicon to defend this claim. Abel, an immigrant from Ecuador, used
similar strategies to present himself as Colombian, particularly when trying to make the sale.
Passing was done by other participants in the study as well. Adalberto, who identifies as
Mexican-American, told of an oft-repeated scenario he encounters in gay clubs. When talking to
potential Latino partners he avoided identifying as Mexican, opting instead for passing as Puerto
Rican. He explained his perception that in the gay community Mexican identity has an
undesirable, repressed, generally un-cool connotation. This contrasted with Puerto Rican men
who were celebrated for their fun-loving openness and unabashed sexuality. I should add that I
never witnessed the women in this study making these bold sorts of switches and most did not


SThis dominant identification is likely the one to which people attach the most affective value. Or in other words, it
may be another way to conceptualize "self-understanding" or "self-location."










report doing so. There was the exception of Lisa, who dislikes when strangers ask about her
ethnicity. Lisa' s parents are from El Salvador and she can pass for Southeast Asian. She reports
teasing curious strangers with this ambiguity by claiming to be Asian ("just to mess with them").
However, unlike the examples from the men, Lisa did not expect to be taken seriously.

2) Accommodation (Giles, et. al. 1987)

This act is usually manifested discursively (although here I extend the term to include
kinesics and ornamental acts of self-presentation), and involves strategies that invoke ethnic
identifications in order to achieve social approval, distinctiveness, or communicative efficiency.
In this research I link it to ethnically-germane contexts, but the concept has been applied to other
areas (Coles 1992; Aronsson, et. al. 1987). When accommodating, speakers may converge to the
speech of others, diverge or maintain neutrality in their speech. This often occurs in contexts
where passing would be impossible or inappropriate, but where ethnicity is prized as a way to
achieve the acceptance of others. Achieving acceptance by one group at times happens vis-a-vis
differentiation from another group. Situationally adopting mannerisms or styles of dress are
some non-linguistic means of realizing this type of switch. A central motivation for
accommodation as I'm developing it here is to signal familiarity with the norms and expectations
of a particular ethnicity without the heavy commitment or potentially humiliation associated with
other types of switching. In this way, people can (at least indirectly and temporarily) identify
with an ethnic category.

3) Differentiated Identifieation (Bailey 2000; Eschbach and Gomez 1998; Waters 1990;
Nagata 1974)

Refers to the contextual act of shifting between multiple biographical ethnicities or
different categorical levels of inclusiveness. The key difference between differentiated forms of
identification and other types of switching is that the identifications used correspond more
directly with ethnic self-understandings (usually the sorts preceded by "I am _"). In others
words, such switching is rarely called into question (by both self and others), because they are
deeply grounded in personal experience. Examples of this sort of switching are easily found
among ethnically-mixed people who choose to cultivate all aspects of their ethnic heritage. As
such, multiple ethnic markers and models are readily available to them for presentation and/or
activation.

2.5 Some Reasons Why People Switch

While El switching is a multi-layered process that can depend on cognitive, interactional,

socio-structural factors, what people get out of switching fall under four main categories (Nagata

1974): 1) for expediency of an exchange (i.e. to achieve immediate advantage); 2) as a

consideration of social status (this refers to the comparative reference group principle, which

stems out of a desire for positive association, particularly when questions of socio-economic

status arise); 3) to express social distance; and 4) to express solidarity. In this study, participants










reported or were observed using ethnic flexibility to defend citizenship claims, make "the sale,"

acquire special privileges, to strengthen social bonds, avoid rejection or threat, and in job

interviews.

1) Expediency and social status considerations

In a city like New York, ethnic networks and the trust-based transactions based on those
networks are crucial to the economic advancement of ethnic groups. To the extent that people
invoke an ethnic identification to create and maintain bonds with others who share a similar
identification, they capitalize on the business partnerships or job opportunities that materialize
from these interactions (Bonacich 1973; Hannerz 1974; Ooka & Wellman 2006; Patterson 1975;
Sanders & Nee 1987). For some Latinos, economic advancement means invoking a more
inclusive, pan-ethnic identification (i.e. "I am Latino," rather than "I am Dominican") (Padilla
1984).
Economic advantages occur at the intersection between state policies and personal goals.
A number of state regulations exist that confer economic resources on the basis of ethnic
affiliation (Nagel 1994, Fenton 1999). In the US this includes affirmative action legislation and
policies regulating the distribution of aid and incentives to Native American tribal members.
With the ongoing immigration debate, the ability to claim American identification is at a
premium. In this research, some participants reported using American citizenship claims when
applying for work or when entering the country from a trip abroad. Therefore, the American
identification marker par excellence is the American passport. For example, one participant
reported identifying himself as Dominican in most situations except in an international airport.
While he considered his nationality to be "100% Dominican," he acknowledged that his "legal
nationality" was American. As this and other participants' cases illustrate, the substantial
transnational movement of people is making international frontiers less significant. State tools
for marking citizens and controlling the flow of people through its borders, (e.g. the passport)
have become less a way to claim citizenship and more a marker of the flexible nature of
citizenship (Ong 1999).
More minor invocations take place in daily life. Multi-linguals may recall moments
where a language switch was used to smoothen a transaction at a restaurant, store, or when
traveling. El switching is not unlike this process (as I will later show they often go hand in
hand). Consider, for example, a Dominican-Puerto Rican participant who reported rarely using
the Dominican identification; except, she added, "To get free drinks at a cruise once because our
waitress was Dominican. I think it was like six drinks."

2) Expression of social distance

People can also use ethnic identification to create a distinction between them and others
perceived to be economically disadvantaged. Waters (1994) writes of a second-generation West
Indian teenager living in New York City who asked her mother to teach her a West Indian
accent. She planned to use the accent when she applied for a job or a place to live. The teen's
strategy was to emphasize aspects of herself that set her apart from African Americans, whom
she perceived to be less economically successful. It' s also not uncommon for people to invoke
an identity associated with the more visible ethnic groups in the broader social context (Alba
1990). For some Latinos in New York City this has meant identifying as Puerto Rican. There









are cases in which people choose to distance themselves from the ethnic group they were born
into. Adalberto's gay club example is one such case. Another Dominican participant indicated
that to avoid being "judged" he rarely used Dominican identification. He explained that as a
"Euro-Latino" who left the Dominican Republic with his family for political reasons, he did not
share the associations made of dark-skinned Dominicans who arrived for economic reasons.

3) Expression of solidarity

As a basis for forging bonds with others, invoking different ethnic identities is a way of
both strengthening and broadening ones social support network and improving social
relationships. Among ethnically-mixed Latinos (i.e. their parents belong to different ethnic
groups), Stephan & Stephan (1989) found that participants reported feeling one distinct ethnic
identity when with the closest members of their social network, while more than one identity was
salient in a number of other contexts. It has also been observed that a person will often adopt the
ethnic identity of a spouse or partner (Spickard & Fong 1995). Similarly, Kaufert (1977) found
that Ghanaian university students reported switching to a more inclusive ethnic identity that de-
emphasized their ethnic ties to a particular town or dialect in order to facilitate their adjustment
as newcomers to university life. Their more exclusive kin-based identity, on the other hand, was
most frequently invoked to mobilize the resources of their family to help them through their
studies.

2.6 Conclusion

I this chapter I overviewed the ethnicity and cognitive anthropological literature that has

guided my analysis and interpretation of the data presented in Chapters 6 and 7. Drawing on this

literature, as well as work in sociolinguistics, and my observations from the field, I define three

types of switching: 1) differentiated identification, 2) accommodation, and 3) passing or

crossing. Cognitive and social network perspectives undergird much of the discussion in this

chapter, and throughout the dissertation. To complete my theoretical framework, in Chapter 3 I

cover research from sociolinguistics.









CHAPTER 3
LANGUAGE AND ETHNIC IDENTIFICATION

3.0 Introduction

Language is both a marker of ethnic identification and a medium for its construction. It

reveals the categories, logics, schemas, and presuppositions that enable people to order and act

upon their social worlds. As such, language facilitates intra-group cohesion by reproducing and

reinforcing shared cultural models. The compatibility between language and a cognitive

approach to ethnicity goes beyond methodological considerations; they represent a unified

theoretical approach to the mental processes involved in ethnic identification.

Linguistic flexibility (multi-lingualism, multi-dialectism, multi-sociolectism) coupled with

an ethnically ambiguous physical appearance, offers speakers exceptional control over ethnic

self-presentation. As this dissertation will illustrate, some Latinos are in an especially

advantageous position to manipulate ethnic and linguistic categories, expectations, and

assumptions. The US Latino pan-ethnicity includes at least nineteen dialects (Lipski, 2004),

socio-historical roots in nearly every continent, and distinct immigration histories within the US.

This makes Latinos an ideal group for examining the salience and negotiation of multiple ethnic

identifications.

3.1 Language and Ethnic Identification

Besides a medium for cultural reproduction and individual actualization, language serves

as a tool for categorization of self and others (Fishman 1977; Giles & Johnson 1981; Giles &

Coupland 1991). In multi-ethnic settings language may be the least ambiguous criteria used to

categorize people into ethnic groups. Even among groups that speak the same language, lexical,

grammatical and phonological variations are important ways to distinguish between various

national or regional populations. Researchers assert that among all the criteria for membership

in an ethnic group, language is potentially the strongest cue to a person's ethnic identity









(Fishman 1977; Giles & Johnson 1981). This is because a person's accent, speech style, and

language choice is acquired, in contrast to inherited characteristics such as physical appearance.

Language markers are used by people as a cue to the strength of a person's ethnic identification.

Depending on what associations are made of a particular identification, this can lead to

inferences about someone's personality traits, or their suitability for a job (de la Zerda & Hopper

1979; Kalin & Rayko 1980 in Giles and Johnson 1981).

Ethno-linguistic identity theory (Giles and Johnson 1987) suggests that when ethnic group

identity is salient for individuals, they may attempt to make themselves favorably distinct on

dimensions such as language. Distinctiveness strategies include speech style accentuation, code-

switching, and the use of vernacular. Often these strategies are used to exclude out-group

members from within-group interactions (Drake 1980). Therefore, language is not just an

attribute of a person, group, or community but an important way that people identify themselves

and others (LePage & Tabouret-Keller 1985).

In fact, LePage and Tabouret-Keller (1985) see language as an act ofidentity and suggest

that linguistic behavior involves shifts of identity by the speaker. Through these identity shifts

during interactions, speakers affiliate with or disaffiliate from particular groups. LePage and

Tabouret-Keller were particularly interested in bilingual and multi-lingual (or bi-dilective)

interactions, and how acts of identity were accomplished through the choice of lexis, grammar,

pronunciation or code. However, as Sebba and Wooton (1998) point out, monolinguals can do

this as well, albeit through different communicative resources (e.g. style-shifting (Wolfram and

Schilling-Estes 1998; Bell 1997)). What is distinct about bilinguals is that they can invoke

ethnicity through a more varied range of linguistic strategies.

Flexibility over ethnic self-presentation has clear social, economic, and political

advantages. Fishman (1989: 37) writes that modern man is "a shrewd calculator of membership









benefits." Through variable ethnic identification a person can profit from the resources offered

in each of the various groups she may belong to. As a marker of ethnic identification, language

is one key tool for securing such resources. Just as ethnic groups vary in socio-economic status

relative to other groups, so do languages and dialects. Often the survival of a language and the

extent to which a group will identify themselves by a particular language will depend on its

economic viability (Kwan-Terry 2000; Giles and Coupland 1991; see also Bernard (1996) for a

related discussion about preserving vanishing languages).

But beyond the instrumental advantages, it is clear that language is notable for the way

that it helps shape individual self-understanding. One hypothesis predicts that the loss of

knowledge of a native language results in the loss of one' s original group identity (Pool 1979 in

Eastman 1981). Language is featured as a key variable in scales that measure acculturation or

the salience of particular ethnic identities (Phinney 1992; Cuellar, et. al. 1995). A way to

understand this is that loss of an ethnic group-related language leads to weakened ethnic

identification when language loss limits the extent to which one can forge relationships with

other members of that group. Zentella (1990a) addresses this issue in her study of Puerto Rican

return migrants. For these migrants, learning or maintaining Spanish is tied to the survival of

their Puerto Rican identity. The right of non-Spanish speaking Puerto Ricans to claim Puerto

Rican identity has been challenged and labeled pseudo-ethnicity/ (Seda Bonilla 1975). Rosario

(1983, cited in Zentella 1990a) writes: "el ser puertorriqefio envuelve el conservar vivo el idioma

corriente de nuestro pueblo" ('being Puerto Rican entails the live conservation of the common

language of our people').

Then there are those who argue that the relationship between language and identity is not

so clear cut. Researchers point out that linking social identity with behavior, (in this case

language), is complex and despite refined methods and theoretical developments, not a









straightforward endeavor (Milroy 1980, Fishman 1999). For instance, a person may have two or

three languages or dialects available but a multiplicity of social identities, therefore the

relationship between these is not one-to-one (Sebba and Wooton 1998). In some cases, what

language a person knows and uses and what ethnic identification they claim may be unrelated

(e.g. an immigrant may know American English quite well but not think of themselves as

American). Similarly, ethnic groups are not the only groups with distinct communicative styles

(e.g. Yorkshire). Yet another example of the complex relationship between language and self-

identification can be found among groups that maintained a distinct ethnic identity after language

loss (e.g. East Indians in the Caribbean) (LePage and Tabouret-Keller 1985).

Consequently, despite the fact that language is integral to group cohesion and inter-group

relations, there are a number of factors that complicate the study of language as a marker of

ethnic identification. How can researchers distinguish between EI-related language use and

language use with purely linguistic functions? How do researchers determine which of several

identities is invoked in communication? What evidence do researchers need to conclude that a

language marker used by one interlocutor is received and understood by another? In the next

sections I present some approaches that have been put to the task of answering these types of

questions.

3.2 Approaches to the Study of Language and Identification

3.2.1 Cultural Models in Language (Holland and Quinn, eds. 1987; Wimmer 2004)

Early research on cultural models used semantic analysis to understand how cultural

knowledge is organized. The listing, labeling, and sorting exercises employed to this theoretical

task were effective for describing relationships among words and sketching out maps of cultural

domains. However, they fell short of revealing the underlying cultural understandings that gave

these words meaning. For that, far richer linguistic data are needed. Quinn and Holland (1987:










16) list two data sources used by cognitive anthropologists: "systematic use of native-speaker' s

intuitions, and analysis of natural discourse."

An important concern in such research is discovering what is left unspoken when people

talk about things in the world, whether they are social categories and institutions like gender and

marriage, or natural processes like evaporation. Presupposed knowledge is revealed, for

example, in the information dropped out between propositions, a cognitive task supported by

proposition-schemas (Lakoff 1984). Image-schemas and metaphors ibidd.) enable speakers to

make multiple relations across physical and cultural domains. Thus, they present the researcher

with a way to construct cultural models by tracing these connections. The function of models,

schemas, and metaphors is not unlike that of contextualization cues developed in the field of

interactional sociolinguistics (discussed below). Both allow interactants to efficiently invoke

shared knowledge needed for interpretation. In my own work, the cultural models approach will

provide a framework for analyzing the way that language-related ethnic markers index

presupposed worlds during interaction.

I have also tried to understand how Latinos in New York City categorize their ethnic

landscape and how these categories are revealed in their talk. Recent work by Wimmer (2004) is

an elegant example of a cognitive approach working in tandem with other methods for a nuanced

view into ethnic categorization processes. Wimmer applied discourse and social network

analyses to data collected from three Swiss immigrant neighborhoods. Based on participants'

discourse, he identified a central cognitive scheme that distinguished between "order" (we) and

"disorder" (they). Thus, a key finding of the study was that participants did not primarily divide

themselves and others according to ethnic categories. One might predict that this descent-blind

distinction mirrored descent-blind group formation. However, results of the network analysis

yielded mixed results. On the one hand, the personal networks of participants were largely









ethnically homogenous: Italians related mostly with Italians, Turks with Turks, etc. Still,

exogamous relationships (particularly among the second generation) corresponded with the

central cognitive scheme found through the discourse analysis. The study might have benefited

from a consensus analysis (Romney, et. al. 1986) to determine whether the cognitive scheme was

most salient for those whose networks reflected descent-blind relations. But on the whole,

Wimmer' s work demonstrates how complex the link between thought, discourse, and behavior

can be. It' s precisely this sort of mixed-method approach that the task calls for, and which I

have tried to apply in this research.

3.2.2 Language and Social Networks

Wimmer' s study is, to my knowledge, unique in combining cognitive, discursive, and

social network analytic approaches to understand ethnicity and ethnic group formation. While a

number of studies have addressed social network issues in language use (Ghosh Johnson 2005;

Milroy and Milroy 2002; Bailey 2000; Kerswill and Williams 2000; Eckert 2000; Penny 2000;

Zentella 1997), little has been done on the relationship between network attributes and ethnic

identification switching. In Chapters 6 and 7 I explore the notion that ethnically heterogeneous

networks encourage linguistic and ethnic flexibility. Here, I will discuss some of the

foundational studies of language and social networks.

Early on, Bloomfield (1933) theorized on the relationship between language and networks

of interaction. He pointed out that linguistic diversity is related to the amount of verbal

communication between speakers. These communication networks mediate between language

and various environmental factors. In Bloomfield's view, political, economic or geographical

variables are not directly reflected in the speech. These variables affect language only to the

extent that they facilitate or constrain communication. Thus, early dialect studies demonstrated

that speech variation is a function of networks of relationships, rather than environmental factors.









Later applications of the network concept to language are characterized by an interest on

how networks mediate between social identities and language use. Two works in particular

stand out: Blom and Gumperz' s (1972) influential study of code-switching in Norway and

Milroy's (1980) cogent book on social networks and language variation in Belfast. Milroy was

among the first to systematically apply the network concept to the study of linguistic variation.

Gumperz (1982) noted that network structure is influenced by many factors unique to a

person (e.g. things like occupation and education). Because of this, networks cut across socio-

economic categories (Blom & Gumperz 1972). This means that speakers from similar social

backgrounds may show very different patterns of language use. Rather than use these social

categories (e.g. class, the limits of which are not always measurable), to predict language use, the

network approach takes both social and individualistic factors into account. Therefore,

networks can account for variability in individualistic linguistic behavior in communities (Milroy

1980).

In her work on urban kinship relations Bott (1957) identified two types of role systems, or

networks. These have been applied fruitfully in sociolinguistic research. The first type, closed,

or family role system, is associated with communal values and stress status distinctions. Closed

networks encourage propriety in speech and lead to restrictive use of codes among its members

(Gumperz 1972). Along the same lines, these closed networks (also referred to as "dense" in the

literature see below), tend to reinforce the use of a local language variety (Milroy and Milroy

1992; Laboy 2001). On the other hand, open, or person-role systems, emphasize individual

creativity and oblige members to use codes well suited for to the transmission of new

information, often with standardized features common in the wider society ibidd.; Gumperz

1972). In Hemnesberget, Norway Blom and Gumperz (1972) found three types of networks that

conformed to Bott's original formulation: local, kin-based networks; non-local networks of urban










migrants doing business in the local town; and those that occupy a middle ground and include

both local and non-local ties. The local-kin based networks were, in Bott' s term, closed

networks where local values and the local dialect prevailed. The non-local networks were open,

and characterized by the use of the standard, pan-Norwegian dialect and adherence to national /

regional values.

Milroy (1980; see also Milroy and Milroy 2002) adds another characteristic to the

networks identified by Bott and developed in linguistic research by Gumperz. According to

Milroy, closed networks tend to be multiplex, meaning that each individual in a network is likely

to be linked to others in more than one capacity. Open networks, on the other hand, tend to be

uniplex8. In addition to the multiplexity concept, Milroy used network density as another

measure of network activity. Density measures the extent to which members of a person' s

network are linked to each other. Milroy proposed that rather than use the terms open and

closed, we could speak of these networks in more systematic terms, as being more or less dense.

Because of the dominance of kin relations in closed networks they tend to be more dense than

open networks. Dense networks have the capacity to maintain normative consensus among its

members and language use is just one of the behaviors that these networks defined.





SAddressing linguistic change, Penny (2000) and Eckert (2000) have developed these ideas further. In an argument
reminiscent of Granovetter (1973), Penny (2000) states that linguistic change spreads across groups via weak ties.
The argument being that strong ties exert normative pressures. Eckert (2000) agrees, but adds that the identity of the
weak tie will determine their influence as agents of change.


SParallel concepts developed by sociologist Ron Burt (1992) are applicable here. Network redundancy, where a
person' s network members are all tied to each other, results in the sort of redundancy of shared ideas and values
described by Milroy and Gumperz. Social actors able to bridge (or fill in structural holes) between enclosed social
networks benefit from the kinds of new ideas from which creativity springs. In terms of language use, the structural
holes model may illuminate how innovative linguistic features emerge and spread across groups. In fact, according
Labov (2001) linguistic innovations spread when they are brought to influence leaders central to their network and
having weak ties to other networks.









In an intriguing twist to the work just outlined, Valentin-Mgrquez (2006) presents the

case of /s/ realized as a glottal stop in Puerto Rican Spanish. Valentin-Mgrquez notes that this

linguistic variable has become more common in recent years. Citing use of the glottal stop

among reggeaton musicians, he looks to the genre for insights about the linguistic feature's

emergence. According to Valentin-Mgrquez, reggaeton has mediated American cultural

practices adopted and adapted by adolescents on the island. Valentin-Mgrquez was able to show

statistically that young women were more likely to realize their /s/ using a glottal stop. This is

despite the fact that they were more likely to express negative attitudes towards reggeaton.

Valentin-Mgrquez turned to their social networks and found that they belonged to a local

evangelical church network. He went on to argue that use of the innovative feature was to gain

acceptance within adolescent social networks where reggaeton was common frame of reference.

In other words, because they could not relate via shared musical tastes, they adopted the glottal

stop to distinguish themselves from adults and align themselves with their peers (ibid.). So while

membership in the local church network exerted enough normative pressure to discourage the

young women from adopting reggeaton music and culture, the strong pull exerted by their peer

groups have encouraged their linguistic innovation. They seem to fall somewhere in between the

closed / open, conservative / creative distinction suggested by the literature on language use and

social networks. Might they be the structural hole-bridging innovators described above (f. n.

12)?

As would be expected, how language was used as an ethnic marker in my study

depended on whether participants interacted with close ties, weak ties, or strangers. Language

for signaling group membership with network members tended to: 1) be automatic or taken-for-

granted, 2) encourage in-group cohesion, and 3) happen less frequently with close network

members.









When invoking their ethnicity with strangers, participants aimed to create a favorable first

impression on them. In those cases where contact was temporary, some participants admitted to

invoking whichever identification would expedite their immediate goals (e.g. free drinks, make a

sale, fast service). If they could easily get away with it, people were more likely to pass or cross

in these sorts of transient encounters. Language use is the most effective way to manage first

impressions in ethnically relevant contexts. A well placed lexical item borrowed from a target

dialect, a switch to Spanish in an English dominant conversation, or an emphasized accent

efficiently aligns the necessary frames of reference. I should note that labels or pre-packaged

ethnic origin responses ("I'm Mexican," "I was born in D.R. but raised in the US," "My parents

are from El Salvador") are the most direct ways to signal ethnic affiliation but not always the

most practical. Unless another person asks the question, ("Where are you from?" or "What' s

your ethnic background?") to volunteer such information could disrupt conversational flow or

seem out of context. There are ways to get people to ask these questions (e.g. by asking them

first), but one would have to wait until the contextually appropriate turn. Labels and pre-

packaged responses are also potentially dissonant for the speaker, specifically if the speaker is

passing or can't back up a claim. This is why most of the participants in this study did not use

labels other than Latino/Hispanic and the nationality labels that pertained to them. The one

exception was Abel (see Chapter 7) who silently nodded when an interlocutor said, "You're

Colombian, right?," even though he has no ties to Colombia. It was common, however, for

several of these participants to code-switch, dialect-switch, and borrow the lexicon of countries

and cultures they could not otherwise claim on the basis of origin.

Often the possibility for the sort of ethnic flexibility Abel and others in this study displayed

stems from network membership. I have noted that through our participation in social networks

we learn the models of thought and behavior that allow us to be recognized as part of a set.










Thus, Ghosh-Johnson (2005) reports of Iris, a young Cuban and Mexican woman who aligned

herself with Puerto Ricans in her talk. Iris had mostly Puerto Rican friends and was considered

Puerto Rican by this friendship group. Similarly, Sweetland (2002) describes the case of

Delilah, a white woman who authentically used African American Vernacular English in her

daily interactions. Consider the following excerpt from an interview with one of Delilah' s black

friends:

In explaining why it didn't bother him that Delilah 'spoke Ebonics,'
Will noted that it only made sense: 'Well she basically black.' When
I pointed out that she was, by all other indications, white, he responded
with a list of reasons why Delilah wasn't 'really white': She listen
to the good shit [rap], act stupid and loud just like we do, she talk to
all black guys basically...but it' s not like she just doing it cause they
black and she's trying to be down or something like that. That's how
she is. She been like that...I mean she come up with blacks so that's
how she acts ibidd.: 525).

What is implied from these examples is that the ascription or acceptance of others as

belonging to a category serves a mutually reinforcing role with ethnic self-presentation.

3.2.3 Speech Accommodation

Giles first developed Speech Accommodation Theory (SAT) in his study of interpersonal

accent convergence during interviews. SAT addresses the motivations and constraints governing

speech shifts during social interactions. The theory also accounts for the social consequences of

these shifts. Giles and his colleagues (1987) describe speech accommodation as strategies that

achieve social approval, distinctiveness, or communicative efficiency. Drawing on social

psychological similarity-attraction research, speech accommodation theory states that a person

can induce another to evaluate him or her more favorably by reducing certain differences

between them. Giles, et. al. (1973) note that in exchange theory terms (see Homans 1961, Byrne

1969); an accommodation may involve certain costs for the speaker. These costs include

expanded effort and potential identity change. Therefore, such behavior may only be initiated if










possible rewards are available. Research does indicate that the more effort a speaker puts into

accommodating to a listener' s speech, the more favorably they are viewed (Giles, et. al. 1973;

Giles, et. al. 1987).

Bucholtz and Hall (2005) extend elements of SAT to their framework for the analysis of

identity in linguistic interaction. They use the term adequation to emphasize,

the fact that in order for groups or individuals to be positioned as alike,
they need not and in any case cannot be identical, but must merely
be understood as sufficiently similar for current interactional purposes
ibidd.: 599).

Like in speech accommodation, adequation is a process whereby interactants emphasize

similarities and de-emphasize differences to align themselves to others. But whereas Giles

(1973) suggested that these sorts of accommodations can (but do not have to) lead to identity

change (described above as a "cost"), Bucholtz & Hall highlight adequation as one of the tactics

of intersubj ective identity construction. The authors also offer distinction as a counterpart to

adequation.

3.2.4 Code Choice

Code-switching (CS) is the use of two or more linguistic varieties (i.e. distinct and

unrelated languages or two styles of the same language) in an interaction. Here, I discuss

dialect-switching as a case of CS. A switch can occur between turns, within turns, and intra-

sententially (Bailey 2000). Blom and Gumperz (1972) see switching as falling into at least one

of three overlapping categories: situational, metaphorical, and contextualization switching. In

situational switching, context (in which ethnicity can factor in) determines which code will be

used. For example, people look for a number of group membership indicators, including gender,

age and status, and social setting to assess the appropriateness of a code choice or code-switching

itself. Becker (1997) suggests that speakers don't CS unless they know the linguistic

background and social identities of interlocutors. This (and other types of switching) suggests









conscious action, but it should be noted that some switches occur below the level of awareness.

With metaphorical switching, the social setting remains outwardly unchanged, but the code-

choice may signal a change in topic or social role. Blom and Gumperz's example of situational

switching involved a government clerk and a local citizen attending to business matters in the

standard official language. Upon completion of the transaction they stepped aside for a private

chat using the more personal local dialect. Finally, unmarked, contextualization switches center

the act of switching itself as a conversational resource (Gumperz 2001; Bailey 2000; Li 1994;

Auer 1984). Thus, "individual switches serve instead as contextualization, or framing, cues to

mark off quotations, changes in topic, etc. from surrounding speech (Bailey 2000: 242)."

In terms of the identification or identity functions of CS, bilinguals can change the

directionality of CS (from English to Spanish or from Spanish to English; regional dialect to a

maj ority language). It is also common for bilinguals or multi-linguals to scatter words or phrases

in a second language throughout a mostly monolingual conversation. For example, Spanish-

speaking bilinguals may briefly switch to words and phrases like bueno, lo que sea, y todo, pos,

and'ale pues, to mark their Latino ethnicity (Jacobson 1982, Toribio 2002). A special case of CS

is language or code-crossing. This is characterized as the unexpected (and often viewed as

"illegitimate" or "inauthentic") switch to an out-group code (Rampton 2000; Rampton 1995).

One of the ways that code-crossing differs from established conceptualizations of CS, is that

crossing is said to require little competence (Rampton 1995; see also Sweetland 2002). Though

not phrased like this in the literature, one feature of crossing that seems amenable to schema or

cultural model analysis is described by Rampton (2000: 55) as follows:

When a relatively unexpected language code gets used, it usually
inserts images of a particular social type into the flow of interaction,
and it both instantiates and sparks off heightened displays of the
participants' orientations to one another, to the representations, and
to the relationship between them.









The identity functions of CS are among the most widely explored areas in bilingual studies

(Williams 2006; Bucholtz and Hall 2005; Greer 2005; Bailey 2001; Gafaranga 2001; Cutler

1999; Lo 1999; Sebba and Wooton 1998; Zentella 1997; Rampton 1995). The prevailing

conceptual orientation is that identity is constructed or co-constructed discursively, rather than a

pre-existing given of category or group membership (Bucholtz and Hall 2005). Within this

framework, code-choice is but one of several linguistic strategies that encode a relationship

between a social identity and aspects of the social context.

My own approach is kindred to the constructivist conviction that a person can identify

independently of category membership. However, I prefer to think of CS in the sense put forth

by Gumperz (2001; see also Levinson 2002): as cues that establish the context in which

messages are interpreted and understood (see section 3.5.2 below). Furthermore, I am

sympathetic to Conversation Analytic frameworks that examine the links among social

categories, linguistic strategies, and context made relevant by the participants themselves (c.f

Schlegoff 1997; Antaki and Widdicombe 1998; Gafaranga 2005; Cashman 2005). As De Fina,

et.al. (2006:5) put it:

The researcher's task is then to reconstruct the processes of
adscription and negotiation of identities as they are manifested
within the activity in which participants are engaged. These argu-
ments echo Schegloff s polemic stance against the imposition of
ad hoc interpretive categories by "politically informed" analysts.

Dialect switching was one form of CS commonly found among the participants in this

dissertation study. Who switched to which dialect and why, suggested patterns of dialect

classification and use consistent with that found by Zentella (1990b). Among Latinos in New

York, class, race and education affects the extent to which Spanish speaking groups assimilate

each other' s dialects (ibid.). Zentella investigated dialectical contact at the lexical level in the

various New York City Spanish varieties. Her findings point to a number of social barriers to the










adoption of lexical items from both Puerto Rican and Dominican Spanish. Zentella particularly

found widespread rej section of the Dominican lexicon by Colombians, Cubans, and Puerto

Ricans. In contrast, the Dominicans were the only group that adopted from all other groups

without exception. Zentella suggests that Colombians, Cubans and Puerto Ricans contribute to

Dominican linguistic insecurity by their widespread rejection of Dominican Spanish. I would

add that another dialect not adopted by the New Yorkers in my own study is Mexican Spanish.

With the exception of expression like "andale pues" or "orale" to caricature or mock Mexicans,

non-Mexican participants in this study did switch or accommodate to this variety of Spanish.

For Guitart (1982) speakers of radical dialects, (e.g. Caribbean Spanish), tend to imitate

conservative speakers, not vice versa. This suggests that radical dialects are reserved for

members of one' s own group and more conservative speech is used in business and other

contacts with out-group members where the economic stakes are higher. However, Zentella

(1990b) offers evidence to the contrary. She observed that some conservative speakers switched

their code because of their identification with a group of radical speakers. For example, some

Mexicans who married into Puerto Rican families (Zentella herself is part Mexican and part

Puerto Rican) or South American community workers in Dominican neighborhoods who

switched because of political ideology. Labov (1972) and Waters (1994) have shown the

tendency for non-black groups to adopt African American Venacular English (AAVE),

particularly those whose networks includes more Blacks. In general, dialect crossing may be

done in certain instances for very practical purposes. Some adopt the Puerto Rican dialect to

avoid persecution by immigrant authorities given that all Puerto Ricans are US citizens.

To be exact, this sort of dialect-adoption can best be described as accent-adoption.

Emphasizing or hiding an accent is a possible way to either invoke a positively evaluated

identification or de-emphasize a negatively evaluated one (Waters 1994; Giles and Coupland










1991). As Cutler (1999: 431) points out, scholars have "commented on the relative ease with

which outsiders can acquire phonological and lexical features of another dialect vs. the difficulty

of acquiring the grammar" (c.f. Labov 1972; Laboy and Harris 1986; Ash and Myhill 1986).

Blom and Gumperz (1972) distinguish between dialect switching (co-occurrence of lexical,

phonological, and morphological rules) and monolingual style-shifting, "which may take place at

the phonological level only (Milroy 1980: 34)." However, neither is a choice between discrete

entities (ibid.).

3.3 Analyzing Language and Interaction

Recognizing that a combination of approaches is a good way to proceed in sociolinguistic

research (Boxer 2002), three analytical approaches have guided my work with the linguistic data:

discourse analysis in general, and conversation analysis and interactional sociolinguistics in

particular. All are concerned with talk-in-(naturally occurring) interaction.

3.3.1 Discourse Analysis

Discourse analysis (DA) describes a broad range of methods and orientations used to study

language use, both in its spoken and written forms. In general, discourse is understood to be

anything beyond the sentence level. Some discourse analysts, particularly critical theorists,

examine the broad range of linguistic and nonlinguistic social practices and ideologies that

construct and sustain social inequality (Schiffrin, et. al. 2001). The analysis of spoken discourse

usually requires long stretches of, ideally, naturally-occurring talk. These are analyzed at

multiple levels and dimensions including sounds, gestures, syntax, lexicon, style, rhetoric and

meaning. To varying degrees depending on theoretical and disciplinary orientation, discourse

analysts also consider participant attributes as it pertains to a talk sequence.









3.3.2 Ethnography of Speaking and Interactional Sociolinguistics

As the name suggests, ethnography of speaking (ES) unites ethnography with linguistic

analysis (Hymes 1962). Hymes (1968) argued that speaking was an area of importance for the

anthropological study of behavior. He wrote that; "[t]he ethnography of speaking is concerned

with the situations and uses, the patterns and functions, of speaking as an activity in its own

right" ibidd.: 101). Discovering patterns and functions of speaking involves intensive speech

community research. Speech communities are those where its members share knowledge of the

communicative constraints and options governing a significant number of social situations

(Gumperz 1972). The researcher must collect information on local norms and values and the

local social system before analysis and interpretation of the speech event (the basic unit of

analysis of verbal interactions) can take place. In ES data is characteristically naturally

occurring speech.

One of the obj ectives of ES is to determine what members of speech communities know

about when, where and with whom to use linguistic features: i.e. communicative competence. In

some communities, competence is determined by how appropriately members alternate between

varieties within their linguistic repertoires. These are the totality of linguistic resources available

to members of particular speech communities (Gumperz 1972) and can include dialects,

languages and speech styles. The appropriateness of language choice is dependent on extra-

linguistic factors like setting, participant attributes (e.g. social identity of speakers), and

communicative intent. Thus, in ES research, context is of primary importance.

In fact, research shows that language use can vary according to the domain where a speech

event takes place (Fishman 1972). According to Fishman ibidd.) domains are "institutional

contexts and their congruent behavioral co-occurrences" (441). These include family, friendship,

religion, education, and employment (Greenfield 1968). Each of these domains is characterized










by specific role relationships (social statuses), locales and topics. Fishman argues that domains

allow us to understand that language choice is part of broader sociocultural norms and

expectations.

Grounded in earlier ES studies Gumperz went on to develop Interactional Sociolinguistics

(IS). Gumperz sees IS as bridging the gap between research on cultural and linguistic diversity

and constructivist approaches that focus on localized interaction (Gumperz 2001). Thus, a

fundamental concern of IS is shared and non-shared interpretations and the background

knowledge needed in the interpretative process. Like ES, IS takes non-linguistic factors like

setting and participant attributes into account. Both are regarded as micro-ethnographic in their

analysis of interaction. Gumperz (1972) suggested that the analysis of language use and speech

events involves the analysis of a significant and representative range of different contexts. Only

through systematic and painstaking fieldwork can regularity in the activities bound to ethnic

group identities be discovered.

Interactional Sociolinguistics departs from ES in its central concern on miscommunication

in ethnically diverse environments. Advancing this agenda, Gumperz introduced the concept of

contextualization cues. These, usually, prosodic triggers work with lexical material to establish

the context in which messages are interpreted and understood (Gumperz 2001, Levinson 2002).

Beyond lexical misunderstanding, cross-cultural miscommunication occurs when speakers do not

understand each others indirect allusions. Gumperz argues that such background knowledge is

learned through our direct contact with close network members (Gumperz 2001). The very same

indirect signaling mechanisms that helps us be understood by our network members, allows

others to assess our social identities. These signaling mechanisms include accents, intonation

and stress patterns. Code-switching is one important non-prosodic contextualization cue (ibid.).

Representing shifts in contextual presuppositions, code-switching as an interpretative tool makes









sense when speakers share the same or similar presuppositions. Therefore, like accents, code-

switching functions to signal shared cultural/ethnic models and frames.

3.3.3 Conversation Analysis

Conversation analysis (CA) of bilingual interactions is a more recent development (see

Auer 1998), following in the tradition first developed by Gumperz (1982). Gumperz described

bilingual conversations as consisting of socially ordered discourse strategies. But where

Gumperz and Scotton (1983) see these strategies as symbolic action (i.e. they index localized

norms and values), proponents of CA see language as practical social action or an activity in its

own right. The CA approach emphasizes interpretation based on participant actions that have

demonstrable effects, rather than on "context free symbolic" social categories external to the

interaction.

CA has its roots in the field of ethnomethodology. Developed by Harold Garfinkel in the

1960s, ethnomethodology is concerned with the techniques that people use to accomplish their

everyday tasks. Uncovering these techniques requires the fine description of interactions,

specifically in a conversational setting. Thus, CA is the hallmark method of ethnomethodology.

CA is carried out through the careful analysis of turn-taking between speakers (Sacks, et. al.

1974) and relies on what can be gleaned inductively from detailed transcripts of conversation. In

CA little attention is paid to variables like speakers' identities, relationships, and setting. Only

when speakers can be shown to invoke these categories in the course of the conversation are they

of interest to the conversation analyst (Li 2002).

How then do speakers invoke identities during a conversation? Antaki & Widdicombe

(1998: 5) stress that in talk-in-interaction, identities are rarely "named out loud" but inferred

from the acts which have been accomplished. This notion draws on Sacks, et. al.'s (1974: 225)

viewer 's maxim which states that identities and activities are co-selective. Therefore, any claim









that a particular identification is significantly present in talk must be supported by the work it has

accomplished in the same talk. One way this is done is through membership categorization

analysis (MCA) (Sacks 1992). MCA focuses on the membership categories, membership

categorization devices and category predicates that people use to describe themselves and others

and that are invoked to accomplish a number of things in the conversation.

CA is criticized for being theoretical and purely descriptive. Researchers who use CA are

also criticized for not explaining their interpretations in a systematic and explicit manner and

neglecting aspects of the wider social context (Li 2002). Those who defend CA argue that the

approach is not theoretical, but rather "has a different conception of how to theorize about

social life, and a different notion of the nature of evidence and how to validate hypotheses"

ibidd.: 171). Validating hypotheses with CA is similar to the grounded theory method. Analysis

begins without a priori theory, but the ultimate goal is to find patterns in the text (H.R. Bernard,

personal communication).

3.4 Conclusion

People use language varieties at their disposal to convey a number of ethnic affiliations.

This can be done through code choice (including dialects and distinct styles within one

language), accents and pronunciation, and discourse. Linguistic choices (and by extension ethnic

choices), are acquired and cultivated through participation in social networks. These networks

also serve to activate or trigger appropriate discursive strategies.

The burden on the researcher is to show whether a language resource is used to invoke an

ethnic identification and which of various identifications is marked by a linguistic strategy. This

study draws on several DA approaches concerned with talk-in-interaction. I'm interested in

developing the idea that ethnic identification is the activation of ethnically salient,

intersubj ectively shared models have been influenced by work on cultural models in language.









As I have discussed above, this cognitive orientation is concerned with how people come to learn

and share culture and how these shared presuppositions are employed in daily interaction.

Methodologically, it is challenging to pair categories of identification with speaker intentions.

The rigor offered by Conversation Analysis, its fine-tooth-comb techniques and commitment to

revealing patterns directly accessible in speech transcripts, will be employed here. Finally, the

linguistic data I collected for this proj ect was but one data element among several. The research

was intensely ethnographic and significant amounts of contextual information (interviews and

field notes) were collected. This study departs from Conversation Analytic methods by bringing

in the external, contextual data needed to make interpretations. Thus, I integrate theory and

methods from the Ethnography of Speaking and Interactional Sociolinguistic into my analysis.









CHAPTER 4
RESEARCH IVETHODS

4.0 Introduction

Discovering how and why New York City Latinos switch ethnic identifications posed a

number of methodological challenges. When I first considered taking on the research question, I

asked relatives, friends and co-workers to keep track of how often they switched their ethnic

identification in one week. I wanted a general idea of the likelihood of observing this behavior

in the Hield. I suggested that they be aware of instances when they used multiple ethnic labels or

languages, or even instances when they felt their behavior change depending on who they were

talking to. I asked them to be aware of this particularly when they interacted with people of

ethnicities different than their own.

As it turned out, the consensus of this tiny exploratory sample was that they rarely

switched. At least, they were rarely aware of it. The three possibilities I encountered at that point

were a) switching is not a common occurrence; and/or b) switching is difficult to detect in a short

span of time; and/or c) people switch a lot but don't know it. There was also the matter of

correctly interpreting people's intentions if and when I observed them invoke multiple

ethnicities. Nevertheless, I felt strongly that ethnic identification switching was a phenomenon

with plenty of theoretical, anecdotal, and personal precedence. The task was to design a research

protocol that would better my chances for observing and recognizing naturally-occurring

instances of identification switching while working within a limited time frame. I also needed to

incorporate methods that would yield data crucial to the accurate classification of identification

invocation behaviors to be more certain about the meaning and significance of ethnic markers

participants would use. Finally, recognizing that with ethnographic observations alone I would

not be able to account for most factors contextualizing a switch, a survey phase would allow me

to test the ethnic identification response in a range of scenarios.

42









The research was designed to collect data about the proximate and ultimate conditions that

contextualize a switch. Data on the ultimate conditions included participants' socio-

demographic circumstances, their physical environment (the community where they lived),

social environment (their social network), and their ethnic identification. Proximate conditions

would be those observable in the naturally-occurring social context, before, during, and after a

switch. The research design involved two main phases of data collection. The purpose of the

first phase was to gather in-depth ethnographic information from a small sample of participants.

To help correctly identify instances of ethnic identification invocation and switching, I

conducted life-history interviews, social network surveys, and continuous monitoring

observations with eleven Latino men and women. This phase produced data with high internal

validity and provided detailed information about the process of ethnic identification switching.

The knowledge gained from the first phase was applied to the design of social network and

vignette surveys administered in the second phase. These surveys were conducted on a large

sample of participants to achieve greater external validity. Each piece of the research design will

be discussed in turn, beginning with initial stages of the ethnographic phase.

4.1 Entering the Field

4.1.1 Field Site 1: Astoria, Queens

I first entered the field in February of 2005. To be exact, the field was a three- by-nine

block section of Astoria, Queens. Since the 1960s, Astoria has been the site of New York' s

largest Greek community (Williams & Mejia 2001). To this day, the neighborhood has

maintained a distinctly Greek feel, with its restaurants, cafes, Greek orthodox churches,

community organizations, and numerous Greek-owned businesses (e.g. butcher shops, bakeries,

and laundromats). In more recent years (and even since I entered the field in 2005), Astoria has

received a large number of immigrants from Russia, Mexico, Colombia, Bosnia, Brazil, and









Bangladesh, just to name a few key representative groups. In describing Astoria, one participant

said, "You know how they say New York is the melting pot of the world? Well, Astoria is the

melting pot of New York." This is the reason I chose Astoria.

The small section that I selected for the initial weeks of fieldwork is one of the busiest

neighborhoods in Astoria, particularly because of its dense concentration of small- to medium-

sized businesses. The borders of this dense commercial and residential area are four of the most

active streets in all of Queens. To the north and south are 30th Avenue (Grand Avenue) and

Broadway. To the east and west are Steinway Street and 31st Street. For nine blocks, starting at

Steinway Street and ending at 31st street, 30th Avenue is a one- stop center for shoppers and

urban anthropologists alike. A five minute walk down this quintessentially Queens avenue will

present observers with Thai, Italian, Colombian, Brazilian, Indian, Mexican and (of course),

Greek eateries, Latino-owned money wiring centers, international meat and fish shops, news

stands selling Bosnian and Croatian magazines and newspapers, supermarkets announcing Halal

selections, and real estate businesses whose outdoor signs display last names from all the maj or

ethnic groups in Astoria.

Broadway, to the south is similar to 30th Avenue; though when I first started fieldwork the

avenue was less densely packed with businesses. This has changed. That I have observed this

change in my two years so far in Queens, attests to Astoria's rapid growth and importance.

Recently, the neighborhood has experienced a frenzy of apartment seekers, mostly young

professionals, for whom Manhattan's consistently rising rent prices and living costs are not an

option. Astoria is a ten minute subway ride into midtown Manhattan. The N and W line runs

along 31s~t Street, the western-most boundary of my Astoria field site. This proximity, its

relatively low rent prices, and reputation as an up-and-coming, ethnically diverse community, is

changing Astoria's demographics in a very short time.









Another set of trains to and from Manhattan stop at Steinway Street. Named after Henry

Steinweg, of the Steinway piano-making family, Steinway Street attracts shoppers from other

parts of Queens. The stores found along this active corridor tend to be national retail stores,

restaurants, and banks like the G.A.P, Starbucks, and Bank of America. There are also several

large but locally-owned discount clothes, electronics, and pet stores. Because it was central and

well-known, I met most potential participants for screening interviews at Steinway Street.

I entered Astoria intending to unobtrusively observe and record life in a mixed New York

City immigrant neighborhood. I paid particular attention to interactions within and between

members of Astoria' s many ethnic groups. My goal was to familiarize myself with the area,

meet potential research participants or people who could help me find them, and get a sense of

the neighborhood's ethnic group relations. My first field notes document early impressions

about ethnicity in the everyday life of Astorians. The notes also detailed some methodological

issues I had not fully considered until actually beginning observations.

Today is the first day of me sitting down, like a tape recorder, video recorder to absorb and
capture the web of words, interactions, activities that surround me here, in a small park I(- 1theml
Park on 30th Street) in Astoria Queens. What am I thinking? First, about the process, about how
I will come to feel completely at ease 1 1 ithr holding a pen and paper takitt~~~~tttt~~~~ng notes fr~om hife 's
dictations. At once conspicuous and unseen. I'm also thinking about this observation process
itself: What am I waiting to hear and see? What am I missing while I write? What do I note and
what do I leave to dissipate into the air? I am sitting in a park, close to sundown, among small
children, adolescent, and old alike. Of course, as 11 ithr many descriptions of ethnically diverse
communities I am compelled to write down what I see and hear around me that can capture the
worlds, lives, spaces, thoughts, that come into contact in immigrant communities like Astoria.
Across from me I see a pizzeria and Janata~~~~JJJJ~~~~JJJ Grocery (a Halal meat shop and grocer, etc.).
I see Acapulco Cafd. Beyond, I see a supermarket, no doubt one of those where ethnic food
varieties are thoroughly offered and where a mix of people, Latino, Asian, European, shop.
Among the pedestrians are those that I can identify, and those that I cannot. The children in the
playground, probably junior high school students, speak in English, but among them is a mix of
Latinos and \Iouth Asians. I see M~uslim women 11 ithr thelir headdresses and young blacks, whites
and Latinos on their skateboards. The skateboard kids are interesting... they sport grungy,
skate boarder looks, unkempt hair and speak in unaccented English.
It seems true, at least on the surface, that ethnicity does not enter into the routine
movements of hfe, the lives that I see around me; as parents takettttt~~~~~~~tttttt their children to the park, as
couples walk together, as businessmen talk business. How then to get under the surface and
understand what role ethnicity has for structuring interactions.









Some dif~iculty also lies in the subject matter. I am not interviewing people involved in a certain
subculture that I can easily target and ask relevant questions to. I am not interviewing people
about an activity that is tangible and easy to remember or understand. I am not asking questions
about responses to an event that occurred in the community. Instead I must ask first about their
own perceptions of their ethnicity. \I methrling a h IiL h as I walk about Astoria I feel does not seem
to enter into surface parlance, but rather looms in the background or remains covered
underneath daily routine or daily understanding for those in the community. Ethnicity seems at
once all encompassing and irrelevant. This I must confirm. All encompassing in the sense that
in an immigrant community, 0 ithr multiple languages, cultures, national backgrounds blending,
merging, meeting, clashing it seeps into the very character of the community, it becomes what
the community attracts, it defines it. Yet it is perhaps wholly taken fort~~ttt~~~tt~~~tt granted and un-
contemplated.

From these initial unobtrusive observations I moved to conducting informal interviews

with community members. Whenever possible I spoke with people who sat in the neighborhood

parks or loitered on street corners. Usually, I staked out businesses that had steady customer

traffic and asked the owners if I could inconspicuously station myself in their stores. The most

memorable establishment, one that I would visit on repeated occasions, was the International

Meat Market on 30th Avenue. This was a successful Greek-owned (one of the owners was also

Venezuelan) meat shop that employed workers from Mexico and Argentina. The owners, two

men in their mid-30s, and the other butchers had learned key words and phrases (and in some

cases spoke fluently) in several languages, including Spanish, Italian, Croatian, and Greek.

Because of their clientele they truly lived up to the store's name. The shops consistent current of

customers and alluring mix of languages and nationalities made it an ideal place to observe

ethnic identification switching.

After Astoria, I eventually moved on to the slightly more daunting second field site:

Corona/Jackson Heights, Queens. I chose Astoria because of its ethnic diversity, but also

because Latinos were a vi sible part of the community. To assess whether the community where

a person lives affects the development of multiple ethnic identities and switching, I chose Corona

as a counterpoint to Astoria. It is also very diverse, but a place where Latinos are the

overwhelming maj ority. A place where anyone could forget they were still in New York.

46










4.1.2 Field Site 2: Corona / Jackson Heights, Queens

My observations in Corona / Jackson Heights (CJH) began in late May of 2005, after I had

already recruited some of the key informants who are the focus of this research. While my initial

observations in Astoria happened as I worked independently, I got to know CJH with research

participants as my guides. I had actually traveled to CJH on several occasions before May and

found it a challenging place to approach people in the streets or enter businesses to just sit and

watch. The traffic of pedestrians is denser along CJH' s main thoroughfares, like Roosevelt

Avenue and Junction Boulevard. Businesses along Roosevelt Avenue are cramped; many of

them (including retail stores) are situated in small windowless suites in second and third floors.

The number of undocumented immigrants in this area is high, and so there tends to be an air of

suspicion towards outsiders.

Most of my research was concentrated at the predominantly Latino intersections of

Corona Plaza and Jackson Heights between Northern Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue. These

two neighborhoods lie about 2 V/2 mileS east of Astoria in northwest Queens. At the northern

most border of the CJH field site is Northern Boulevard. This important, highly commercial

boulevard connects Flushing in the east, with Astoria and Long Island City (Astoria's sister

neighborhood, often called Astoria) along a 7 mile stretch of road. Running parallel to Northern

Boulevard, four long blocks to the south, is Roosevelt Avenue. Roosevelt Ave. connects

Flushing to Woodside, Queens, historically an Irish enclave southwest of LIC/Astoria.

Along Roosevelt Avenue runs the 7 train. Dubbed the "immigrant express," the 7 train

starts at Times Square in Manhattan, passes through LIC, Woodside, Jackson Heights, Corona,

eventually ending in Flushing, the site of a well-established Asian community. Thus, the train

travels though contiguous ethnic enclaves. Picture a train densely populated with women and

men from more than 50 countries, speaking as many languages, both the working-class and the










poor, with middle-class professionals, citizens, residents, and undocumented immigrants. At

Woodside, Irish constructions workers and Filipino nurses unload. First stop in Jackson Heights,

Punjabi business owners and Colombian high school student enter and leave the train. At the

next stop in Jackson Heights, Colombian, Ecuadorian, and Mexican salesmen, laborers, and

office workers j oin the mix. Once in Corona, Latino passengers from all of Latin American,

especially the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico, disembark to shop, work,

eat, or wait. By the time the 7 train makes its final stop in Flushing, most of the passengers are

Chinese and Korean.

The maj ority of my observations about this exceptional neighborhood were the backdrop

of interactions I observed and recorded during the continuous monitoring phase. I will now

discuss this next phase of my ethnographic work in Queens.

4.2 Continuous Monitoring (CM) Observation Phase

The eleven women and men who are the focus of this study were selected through short

screening interviews from a pool of potential participants who responded to online and

newspaper advertisements, flyers or word of mouth. The response to my recruitment efforts was

moderate, possibly because of the highly obtrusive nature of the research. Members of two

groups in particular were difficult to find: Puerto Ricans and Mexicans. This is ironic given that

Puerto Ricans and Mexicans represent two of the largest Latino groups in the city. However, it

is not difficult to pinpoint the difficulties with recruiting Mexican participants. The rate of

undocumented immigration among Mexican immigrants in New York is quite high and many are

suspicious of research or investigaciones (particularly those related to immigration). I did

interview one potential participant, an undocumented Mexican restaurant worker, who was open

to the research experience. In the end I could not work with him because his boss

(understandably) obj ected to my presence in her restaurant. One of the reasons for the low










response rate of Puerto Rican participants is that I limited the continuous monitoring phase to

specific neighborhoods in Queens. While there are thousands of Puerto Ricans in Queens they

are not concentrated in one area. Thus, I had no area to target with flyers and newspaper ads.

I looked for people who represented a range of backgrounds and experiences and whose

daily routines cut across at least three domains of social interaction (e.g. work, home, social

gatherings). Some of the eleven have been in the US for most of their lives and have developed

an awareness of their Latino identification as potentially politically and economically

advantageous. They view their identification as a commodity to be highlighted when applying

for work or developing new relationships. Then there are those--particularly the more recent

migrants--who have no choice but to acknowledge that they are different and have less

flexibility over their ethnic self-presentation. This is often the consequence of limited English

language skills or undocumented immigrant status.

4.2.1 Recruiting and Selecting Participants for Continuous Monitoring

Recruitment was carried out in four monthly cycles, starting in April and ending in July of

2005. Usually at the beginning of each month, I placed an ad in the employment and community

activities sections of Craigslist (http://newyork. craigslist. org), along with flyers posted along

busy streets in both Astoria and CJH. I also placed ads in the employment section of Spanish-

language newspapers, El Especialito, a free bi-weekly newspaper, and El Diario, the New York

metro area's largest Spanish language newspaper. Finally, I had contacts in community

organizations, most effectively Catholic Charities in Astoria and Forest Hills Community House

in Jackson Heights, who agreed to spread the word about my research. All ads indicated the

compensation for participation, which was $200.

The most effective recruitment tool was Craigslist. While I received responses from all the

recruitment channels I used, in the end, 9 out of the 11 CM participants learned about the study









through Craigslist. Of the two non-Craigslist participants, one called after being informed by an

ESOL program supervisor, the other after seeing a flyer. Craigslist was self-selective for a

certain type of participant. They tended to be women, in their early-20s to mid-30s, spoke

English, had access to computers and the internet, and were born in the US or had lived here

most of their lives. Initially I was concerned that Craigslist would also be self-selective for

unemployed people, given that I posted mostly in the employment section. However, many of

those who responded were looking to supplement their incomes (my ads offered monetary

compensation) and had at least a part-time job.

Contrary to my initial thinking, Spanish-language newspapers were highly ineffective as a

recruitment tool during the CM phase. The handful of people who responded to these ads really

were looking for steady work. Once I told them that I was not offering employment, most

quickly hung up. Others had daily routines that, because of their unemployment, would not have

offered me a range of interactions to observe. I imagine that the low response rate from these

newspapers was due to two factors: 1) a general unfamiliarity with research, particularly research

involving "life-documentation" among the mostly immigrant, Spanish-speaking readership; 2)

mistrust of researchers among undocumented Latino immigrant readers. This is confirmed by

the non-response from flyers I posted in the mostly Latino and Spanish-speaking Corona Plaza.

I received 46 email responses to my ads. Although I did not keep record of the phone calls,

I received about the same number of calls as emails. This initial screening gave me a first-hand

view into the process of ethnic identification switching. Several non-Latino men tried to make a

case to me for participating in the study. One said, "No I'm not Latino, but I have a lot of Latino

friends and know a lot about the culture." Another earnestly responded, "I'm not, but I can if

you want me to be." One Brazilian man, who I agreed to meet in person because of his

compelling story, also insisted on identifying as Latino. I'm familiar with the debate about









whether Brazilians should be classified as Latino or not. However, I made it clear to him that I

sought participants from the Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

His argument for classification as a Latino hinged on three factors: 1) fluency in Spanish; 2)

passage to the US from Brazil through the Mexican border; and 3) reliance on a social support

network of Latinos when he first arrived to the US Thus, he identified strongly with the Latino

immigration experience. He especially stressed his life-threatening Mexican border cross that, in

his view, was something of a Latino badge of courage.

Of the approximately 100 responses that I received about the study, I met with 23 people in

person and selected 11 out of those 23. Potential participants were narrowed down from the

initial pool based on their sincere interest in participating, availability, neighborhood of

residence, gender, age, nationality, and unique life circumstances. The research design required a

sample of 6 people from Astoria and 6 from CJH, equal parts men and women. I also sought a

mix of immigrants and US born participants. Early on, I filled my quota for women, US-born

Latinos, the working-class, and people in their 20s. At about the mid-mark of the CM phase

(June/July) it became increasingly difficult to aind people who were middle-aged or older, men,

foreign-born, professional, Puerto Rican, Mexican, or from Astoria.

The 23 people who cleared the initial email and phone screening were scheduled for face-

to-face screening interviews. The purpose of these short, informal meetings was to explain more

in-depth the purpose of my study and to learn about the daily routines of each participant. I

explained to all potential participants that participation involved me following them around for

one week, while I recorded their conversations. I also told them that for a second week they

would be required to record their conversations on their own. Finally, I explained that prior to

observations I would interview them about their life and experiences with ethnicity. While all

participants understood that the study was about everyday experiences with ethnicity, to avoid










further self-monitoring that might affect data, I did not tell them that the express focus of the

research was on El switching. El switching was raised as a topic, among many topics, during my

life-history interviews and informal conversations with them.

As I mentioned above, I sought participants whose daily routines were varied and cut

across multiple domains of interaction. Therefore, I asked each participant to take me through a

typical week. Those who were not selected reported having few daily interactions or activities

(usually because of unemployment) or had daily routines that would make it difficult to for me to

be present. The 11 men and women who were selected worked, and/or attended school,

maintained regular contact with family and friends, and had some unique life story highly

relevant to the topic on ethnic identification switching (e.g. maintained a transnational lifestyle

or had an ethnically diverse family history). Two participants in the Einal sample lived in

neighborhoods other than Astoria or CJH. Because of the difficulty in finding willing Latino

participants in Astoria, I had to substitute Astoria with neighborhoods having similar

demographic characteristics. They had to be neighborhoods with Latino representation but great

ethnic heterogeneity. Therefore, I accepted responses from potential participants who lived in

Elmhurst (the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in the country) and Woodside, both in

Queens.

In general, my screening was successful in identifying participants with whom I

experienced and documented a range of activities. However, one participant, Adalberto (see

below), had an inconsistent work schedule as a hairdresser and few interactions outside of work.

I had to end observations with him after two days.

The Einal CM sample was as follows'o


'O Real names have been replaced with pseudonyms. Roberto's real name (specifically its pronunciation in Spanish)
becomes important in Chapter 6's linguistic data. Therefore, I chose Roberto because it left the linguistic analysis
mntact.










Esperanza (Astoria): 26 year old Argentinean woman, biochemical engineering student.
Alfredo (Corona): 41 year old Dominican man, maintenance worker at a maj or Manhattan
university .
Mildred (Woodside): 36 year old Dominican woman, marketing executive for a small start up
company.
Adalberto (Astoria): 28 year old Mexican-American man, hairdresser originally from Texas.
Alma (Jackson Heights): 48 year old Colombian sales woman, trained in Colombia as an
industrial engineer.
Julia (Jackson Heights): 19-year old Colombian woman, fashion design student.
Roberto (Astoria): 36 year old Venezuelan man, life guard and entrepreneur.
Abel (Corona): 37 year old Ecuadorian satellite TV salesman.
Luis (Elmhurst): 40 year old Ecuadorian woman, children's tennis instructor and casino dealer.
Anthony (Corona): 29 year old Puerto Rican and Cuban man, under-employed physical trainer
and semi-pro wrestler.
Lisa (Astoria): 28 year old Salvadorian-American woman, yoga instructor.

4.2.2 Continuous Monitoring Schedules and Pre-CM Data

During the face-to-face screening interview with each of the Einal 11 participants I outlined

in detail what would be involved in participation. Each participant agreed to work with me for

two weeks. They understood that in the first week I would schedule 5-8 hour periods of daily

intensive observations. I assured them that together we would develop an observation schedule

that captured times when they were most likely to interact with others and that also did not

impose too many inconveniences on them. These scheduled observations were to take place in

every area of their life that they felt comfortable with me observing. These domains included

work, school, at-home interactions, church, shopping, and in recreational social gatherings.

Participants agreed to, and indeed, were curious about wearing a small digital recorder

throughout the two weeks. In the first week, audio recordings were supplemented by detailed

Hield notes taken throughout the monitoring. Using recorders I provided, each participant would

independently collect additional verbal interactions in the second week of their participation.

Each person was free to turn off the recorder whenever they wanted.









Participants also agreed to provide additional pre-CM information. These pre-CM data

helped me to properly classify and contextualize observed behavior. First I carried out life-

history interviews, and then I interviewed them about their social networks.

Life-history interviews (see Appendix A):

These 3 to 5 hour interviews, conducted in both English and Spanish, identified life

experiences that contributed to the formation of each participant' s ethnic identification. Starting

with childhood and ending in the present (at the time of the interview), participants were asked

questions ranging from early family relationships and traditions, experiences with racial and

ethnic discrimination, workplace diversity, pastimes, political and community participation,

romantic relationships, immigration stories, and language use. The interviews of eight out of the

eleven CM participants were conducted in one sitting. Because of scheduling difficulties, I

divided the other three respondents' interviews into parts. The longest interview went on for 4

hours and 50 minutes; the shortest for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Most interviews took 2 V/2 to 3

hours to complete.

One important purpose of these interviews was to create a tentative list of all the possible

ethnic identifications participants could invoke during the CM observations. Additionally, the

life history interview functioned as an ice-breaker; a bonding prelude to the potentially

compromising observations that would come. With the printed interview questions in hand as a

guide, I encouraged respondents to take the discussion where they wanted. In this way, they

opened up intimate details about their life that made the intensive observations seem less

intrusive. Naturally, some respondents opened up more than others. It was always the case that

those who shared the most private details in their life history interviews also placed fewer

boundaries to my observations.

Personal social network interviews (see Appendix B):










Using Egonet (McCarty 2003), I collected data on each participant' s network composition

(e.g. percentage of network that is of a particular ethnic background) and network structure (e.g.

the percentage of people in a participant' s network who know each other). Beside network data,

Egonet allowed me to collect socio-demographic information from each participant. These

included gender, age, income, education and occupation, as well information about the ethnic

background of parents and spouse / partner. The purpose of these data was to Birst, lay out their

social environment in a way that would help me recognize interlocutors during observations;

understand aspects of their social network that would affect their ethnic identification; and

provide visual data that I could refer back to when reviewing and coding CM notes.

The computer-assisted egocentric network questionnaire took 1 V/2 hour to complete and

was structured in four parts. The first part asked socio-demographic questions about each

participant, or ego. The second part was the name generator that elicited the names of 45 people

that the ego knew. A known person was defined as someone the ego recognized by face and by

name and who in turn recognized the ego by face and name. I further asked that they only list

people they had known for at least two years and who they could contact if they had to. In the

third section, participants had to indicate the age, gender, nationality, race, relationship and

closeness to each network member (alter) listed. Finally, participants had to rate the likelihood

that alters would talk to each other in their absence. The software enables this task by displaying

alter names in pairs, beginning with the first name on the 45 name list and going in the order that

the names were listed. This first name is paired with the second name on the list, then the third

name, etc. until each possible pair is presented once for evaluation. Participants had to evaluate

a total of 780 ties, indicating whether alter A and alter B were very likely; somewhat likely; or not

at all likely to talk in ego' s absence. For purposes of this research, a tie existed in cases were

alters were very likely to talk.










Egonet has a feature that will visualize the results of the network questionnaire. Alters are

displayed as nodes. Socio-demographic or attribute data for each alter are displayed using color,

size, or shape. Each alter attribute can be displayed one at a time or in combination, depending

on the needs of the researcher. For example, during network visualization interviews in this

research I first displayed the nationality of each alter using color (red = Puerto Rican, yellow =

Dominican, green = Colombian, etc.). Then I displayed gender using shape (circle = woman,

square = man). In this way I could view the gender and nationality of each alter simultaneously.

Finally, using size, I displayed the level of closeness the ego felt to each alter. The larger the

node the closer the ego felt to that alter. Egonet uses algorithms developed within the field of

social network analysis to calculate the relative distance and positioning of nodes based on the

presence or absence of ties. Ties are displayed using lines between nodes. The remarkable

thing about this feature is that it displays the nodes and ties in such a way that it reflects visually

the reported patterns of relationships in the participant's immediate social environment. Thus, a

tightly connected ball where all or most nodes are tied indicates a very dense social network.

Displays with three or four clusters, or components, suggests that the ego maintains several sub-

groups that have little or no contact with each other (e.g. a family group, work group, or school

group). Each participant' s visual can provide insights challenging to discover with standard

survey questions or even formal interviewing alone. When I used these visualizations to

interview the eleven CM participants, I was able to gather clues about their isolation or

gregariousness, friendship-making practices, daily routines, satisfaction with social life and

relationships, and sense of belonging to different ethnic groups.

4.2.3 Observations

Observations began on the day after each of the participants completed their life-history

and social network interviews. From the beginning, participants responded to this process with










fascination. It reminded Lisa of MTV' s "The Real World," a show in which young men and

women are selected to live out their lives for 3 months under the merciless gaze of video

cameras. Her "Real World" approach to the observations meant that I was best served to stay in

the background and keep up or lose her in a crowded street or store (which I did on occasion).

Anthony and Julia boasted to their friends and family that a researcher was "doing a

documentary" of their lives, and introduced me accordingly. Alma, Abel and Adalberto were

periodically reluctant and embarrassed to admit to others that they were research participants and

would actually integrate me more into their daily routines as a "friend" to lessen the awkward

distance between them and me. Regardless of the level of fascination or embarrassment felt by

each participant, the continuous monitoring of these busy urban men and women alternated

between the tediously rote and exhausting, to the deeply moving and exciting. True to life I

suppose.

Actually, the most uncomfortable aspect of the CM observations was the digital audio

recorders that they had to wear. I selected small (4" x 1 V/2"), high-end, lightweight recorders that

fit into cell phone cases. These cases were clipped on to their pant waists or pockets. Remote

control clip-on mics were attached to the recorders. Participants usually clipped the mics to their

shirt pockets, collars or lapels. The remote control feature on the microphones was invaluable to

the respondents. All became adept at pausing or stopping recordings on the fly; for example,

during trips to the bathroom, when requiring privacy, or during silent moments of inactivity.

However, a consequence of having these recorders on for hours at a time over a two week period

was that it remained on, unnoticed and forgotten, even during bathroom trips, idle points and

extremely frank conversations (e.g. with me as the subj ect matter).

In keeping with IRB requirements, I asked that participants tell interlocutors about the

recorder, before engaging in long conversations. Usually the mic was conspicuous enough that









interlocutors noticed it and asked about it. At times, I had to chime in from the sidelines if a

participant did not point out the recorder when they should have. Abel consistently neglected to

inform interlocutors about the recorder. In his case I asked him to wear a name label on which I

wrote: "Research participant. I am wearing a recorder".

My intention was to observe participants for seven straight days (5-8 hours each day) in

the first week and let them free with the recorders in the second week. It did not pan out this

way. This was especially because participants had at least one day in which it would be

impractical for me to be present: days that involved lots of resting at home, off-limit work areas,

or romantic dates. Instead, I asked that they let me observe for 6 days, at least 5 of them in

sequence, with the option to reserve one day of observation for a later date. For example, Julia

opted to reserve one of her days for me to attend the Puerto Rican Day with her. Roberto, who I

observed in late April / early May, suggested that we trade one of his idle days for an important

June street festival he was to due to work at. Mildred invited me to a friend's wedding dinner

several weeks before I was actually scheduled to begin her observations. This worked out Eine,

as it gave me more varied situations to observe.

Most of the eleven CM participants were incredibly open and cooperative with the

observations. Even while there were numerous impractical situations that I was not allowed

access to; after less than one week of being with each participant I was included in a host of truly

unique and intimate moments. This seems to be one of the key benefits of this particular

approach of CM versus more prolonged rapport-building ethnographic techniques. The

structured, short-term, and intensive nature of this method suspends many standard rules of trst-

and relationship- building. And of course, each of the CM participants bought into it the moment

they agreed to participate, so they were ready to shed some boundaries. Therefore, while

Mildred did not ask me to accompany her on a first date with a man she met online, Anthony









included me in his first face-to-face meeting with a woman he met online. Luis and Alfredo

rarely scheduled me to observe on days when they did seemingly boring and routine tasks like

laundry or food shopping. Esperanza, Julia and Lisa, however, allowed me to tag along when

they ran these errands. I witnessed family conflicts, business negotiations, dating service phone

interviews, undocumented immigrant labor recruitment, and other sensitive areas of interaction.

While I usually observed unobtrusively, as is common in CM; there was plenty of opportunity to

observe as a participant.

It was often appropriate, and encouraged, for me to engage in the interactions I was to

observe. "It' s time to put your notebook down," or "Are you going to write down all of this?"

were common appeals. However, continuous monitoring tends to involve a certain level of

detachment from the scene and the subjects under observation. I tried to keep a balance of both

engagement and detachment. This was not necessarily a methodological choice made in the

planning stages, but an adjustment to the actual observation circumstances I encountered. When

I was fully engaged as a participant, it became difficult to keep the desired detailed, itemized

notes about behavior. Yet, as a participant there was little obvious reactivity to my presence or

monitoring. On the other hand, monitoring and note-taking from a distance affected participants

differently depending on how many people were involved in an interaction. As expected, the

more people in an interaction the more easily I was ignored and the more natural the interactions.

If the participant was alone with me or talking with just one other person, three things sometimes

happened: 1) participants sought interactions with others so that I would "have something to

observe". The participant would call a friend and talk casually, or ask to hang out that day; 2)

participants and their sole interlocutors would talk less or limit the topics they talked about. This

tended to happen because of the discomfort felt by non-focal persons; 3) participants and their

interlocutors performed or exaggerated certain behaviors (i.e. "showed off") (c.f. Labov (1972)










and Observer's Paradox). This happened with only a few people. Some narrated their behaviors

or observations directly into the mic as in a documentary. Others made requests of friends or

family that began with words like, "Show her how you ",

A small notebook was ever present during the observations. When I first entered a scene,

I noted who was there, taking care to describe age, gender, general appearance, languages

spoken, and racial and ethnic identification. I also documented the setting, including time of

observation, addresses, landmarks, physical condition of the area, and sounds. Given that

participants carried recorders to capture their conversations, the purpose of the notes was to

contextualize these recordings. I did not spend too much time writing about what people said,

and focused the notes on what people did and how they did it. I also wrote down my own

thoughts, feelings and interpretations about the scenes. Finally, I noted all instances in which

participants invoked their ethnicity or switched languages or dialects. After the fact, I referred

back to participants with questions about these occurrences. My questions centered on their

intentions.

Because I understood that reactivity is an important concern in CM, the second week was

designed to capture naturally occurring conversations without my presence. Typically, I met

participants in the mornings before they started their day to download the previous day's

recordings onto my laptop. When needed, I also replaced batteries. Since the recorder had a

memory capacity of 8 hours and 56 minutes, it had sufficient space for a day of uninterrupted

recording or two days of recording with stopping and pausing. Based on recording times,

participants collected a total of 288 hours of recordings. This was about the same amount of

time I spent observing them in the first week (290 hours). Therefore in those two weeks with

each participant I collected a total of 578 hours of recording.









4.3 Survey Phase

The CM observation phase ended in mid-September of 2005. I immediately began

preparations for the survey phase of the research. The purpose of the surveys was to collect the

data needed to test a set of hypotheses developed in the initial stages of the proj ect. To test these

hypotheses I needed socio-demographic, social network, and vignette data on a large sample of

New York Latinos. As in the CM phase, I intended to collect data from Queens Latinos only;

specifically from Astoria and Corona/Jackson Heights. My original target was 100 participants

from each site. I knew soon after I began recruitment for the CM observations that it would be

too time consuming to limit my sampling frame to these two areas, particularly if I wanted a

good representation of Puerto Ricans and Mexicans. Furthermore, because this phase of the

research was carried out in collaboration with Christopher McCarty at the University of Florida

Survey Research Center, a number of changes had to be made to the original sampling design.

McCarty was conducting a multi-site study, with Jose Luis Molina at the University of

Barcelona, to develop a social network measure of acculturation among immigrants in Northeast

Spain and Miami"l. The research design of my own study called for the administration of social

network surveys to a large sample of Latinos (both immigrant and non-immigrant). We found a

way to meet the goals of both research proj ects.

4.3.1 Survey Protocol

As with the social network survey that I administered to the CM sample of eleven, the

survey for the acculturation study was to be administered using Egonet. In September, I received

a survey protocol that was being used for the study in Spain. My first task was to modify this

survey protocol for the New York City population. Mainly this involved changing response


'' This projected was funded by the National Science Foundation Award No. BCS-0417429.










categories to reflect the ethnic groups in NYC; changing ethnic group specific questions to apply

to the NYC groups I would administer the surveys to; changing skip conditions, and translating

survey questions. Each group would be given a tailored version of the survey with the option to

take the survey in either English or Spanish. A total of eight questionnaires were programmed:

English and Spanish versions for Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Colombians, and Mexicans. I

made these modifications directly into the Egonet questionnaire-builder interface. After some

testing and tweaking, the survey was ready for the field by the second week in October.

The computer-assisted questionnaire was organized in four parts: 1) ego questions; 2)

name generator; 3) alter questions; and 4) alter-pair questions. This structure was identical to the

one administered in the CM phase. The acculturation study required that participants take the

ARSMA-II acculturation scale, a set of questions related to health, and another aimed at

transnational practices. Besides the social network questions, my study required socio-

demographic and ethnic identification items. A vignette survey (see below) was also included,

though these surveys were administered on paper. Because of the added ego questions, the

social network survey in the second phase would take an average of 2 V/2 hours to complete. This

fact affected sampling considerably.

4.3.2 Sampling

McCarty and Molina' s study required social network surveys from 100 Puerto Ricans and

100 Dominicans. In order to meet the sampling needs of my research, we agreed to collect

further surveys from members of other Latino groups. We decided on Colombians and

Mexicans. After Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, these two groups have the largest populations

in New York City. I also felt that between these four groups a range of immigration and ethnic

histories would be represented. Quotas were set for 50 surveys from Colombians and 50 from

Mexicans. As I will discuss later, this goal was not met. In addition to these sampling










requirements, the acculturation study needed for at least 2/3 of the sample to be first generation

immigrant. Hypotheses testing in my study on ethnic identification switching, required a final

sample of 200 Latinos, 50 from each of the groups named above.

To better our chances of finding as many people as possible, recruitment was targeted over

a large area. Participation was open to Latinos in all five boroughs ofNYC. With a time-

consuming survey and limited resources, this was crucial. Again, I employed the ubiquitous

Craigslist once a month as well as El Especialito and El Diario to reach the target population.

Along with these, I posted flyers in Queens and benefited from word-of-mouth recruitment.

Unlike in phase one, all of these outlets yielded good responses. Craigslist, of course, was most

effective. However, because of the type of participant that Craigslist tended to yield (young,

second-generation, Puerto Rican and Dominican), I relied on this method less and less as the

months wore on.

Job listing features in Craigslist' s enables recruiters to specify job categories for each

listing. Choices include Healthcaree j ob s," "government j ob s," "entertainment j ob s,"

"maintenance jobs" among several others. These categories were very useful for meeting sample

quotas. For example, "admin/office j obs" and "tech-support j obs" reached younger Latinos with

more schooling and English-proficiency. "Retail/food jobs" yielded responses from participants

with lower educational attainment and was the most effective (for Craigslist) in finding first

generation Latinos who spoke more Spanish. El Especialito and El Diario were good for finding

first generation immigrants, mostly working class, who spoke little to no English.

An interesting, indirect, finding of the survey phase was related to sample recruitment.

Members of each of the Latino groups differed in how much they relied on word-of-mouth to

find me. Craigslist was very good for finding second-generation Puerto Ricans. And rarely did

a potential Puerto Rican participant call me because a friend or relative passed on the









information. Craigslist was also very good for finding second-generation Dominicans, but

Dominicans, much more than Puerto Ricans, tended to encourage friends and family to call me.

Most tellingly, half (19) of the final sample of 37 Colombians came to me through word-of-

mouth. My take is that Colombians and Dominicans, being more recent migrants, continue to

rely more heavily on networks of information; for finding work, money, housing, and other

resources. Colombian and Dominican communities also tend to be more tightly knight. The

Puerto Rican enclaves of the past; in East Harlem, the Lower East Side, and parts of the Bronx,

are not the same today. These communities are diminishing and Puerto Ricans dispersing

throughout the city and other parts of the northeast and southeast. The Dominican communities,

in Washington Heights and Corona, and the Colombian community in Jackson Heights continue

to have many of the characteristics of bounded ethnic enclaves. Finally, both word-of-mouth and

advertising were ineffective in recruiting Mexicans. Two factors may explain this: 1) poor

access to computers and the internet in this population; 2) mistrust of research related to

immigration due to high rates of undocumented immigration among New York City Mexicans.

A total of 252 participants took the survey: 100 Dominicans, 100 Puerto Ricans, 37 Colombians,

and 15 Mexicans.

4.3.3 Administering the Surveys

Equipped with four lap tops, a schedule book and a rolling suitcase, I traveled throughout

the city administering the surveys. When I received a call or email about the study I asked the

potential participant where he/she lived. My initial strategy was to make it as easy as possible

for the respondent so that they would, first, agree to take the survey and second, actually show

up. I needed further selling points because participants were turned off by how long the survey

took to complete and the compensation ($25) relative to time. I figured that the closer to their

home I could have them take the survey, the less likely they would deny me. For my own










security, I very rarely administered surveys in people's homes. Instead, I became intimately

acquainted with the New York City and Brooklyn Public Library system. Hostos Community

College in the Bronx and Catholic Charities in Queens also allowed me to set up my computers

on site. Occasionally, I administered surveys at Starbucks because they had electrical outlets for

computers.

Trying to accommodate each participant' s location preference was a bad idea. First of all,

the more obscure the neighborhood one person requested the less likely I could find other

participants who could also go to that location. It was not uncommon for a person to make an

appointment way up in North Bronx, 45 minutes from midtown Manhattan and one hour from

my home, and not keep the appointment. Without other participants at that same location as

back up, the trip back home was a sorry ride. Secondly, traveling to so many different parts of

the city with four computers, while instructive, physically drained me within three months.

I decided to rely on four or five maj or libraries in central locations; one in the Bronx,

three in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn. Eventually, I administered most surveys at two main

libraries in midtown Manhattan. When people called to schedule an appointment I gave them

these libraries as choices. People really did not have a problem traveling to take the survey.

Actually, they expected to go to the survey, rather than have the survey go to them. Another

benefit of limiting the survey schedule to a few libraries was that I could schedule many more

appointments in one day (since there was less time wasted traveling). That way, even with the

normal no-shows, I would usually have at least one person to interview. Using this method I

could interview up to 20 people in one day. On average I interviewed seven people a day.

While this helped me not fall behind with meeting project deadlines, there were clear

disadvantages to scheduling too many people in one day. Besides causing me to become

fatigued, one very important disadvantage was that I could not closely monitor participants as










they took the survey. Also, participants varied in their proficiency on the computer, with recent

migrants tending to have difficulties taking the survey. This meant that I had to enter their

responses for them. If more than one person needed this kind of help, a 2 '/ hour survey could

take four hours to complete. At the same time, the data quality was affected. Fortunately, part of

the survey involved interviewing the participants about their results using network visuals. Most

mistakes were caught at this stage and corrected.

4.3.4 Visualization Interviews

I will not spend too much time discussing the visualization interviews in phase two, as the

process was very similar to that in phase one. McCarty provided an interview protocol to use

with the visualizations. This same protocol was being used in Spain and Miami (see Appendices

C and D) and focused on the relationship between different social network factors, acculturation

and adjustment to life in the United States. Interviews, which were digitally recorded, ranged

from 5 minutes to one hour; but on average lasted 25 minutes. Not everyone was able to do

these visualization interviews. Several people, for example, whose survey took longer than 2 '/

hours felt strongly that they could not give any more time to the study. Others just simply ran

out of time and had pressing commitments after the survey. In the end, two hundred and seven

people were interviewed using the network visualizations.

4.3.5 Vignette Surveys

A vignette survey (Rossi & Noch, 1982), also known as a factorial survey, was designed

for this study on ethnic identification switching. This component of the survey phase comprised

of nine vignettes of hypothetical situations. For each scenario participants had to indicate how

they would identify themselves ethnically. An extra question was included in the survey for

participants to list and rank all the ethnic labels they use or have used. I also included a vignette

which was not based on the factorial design and was the same in each survey administered. This









survey allowed me to identify which factors are significant to the invocation of a particular

ethnic identification. Moreover, the survey is a way to operationalize ethnic identification

switching for hypotheses testing purposes. Thus, ethnic identification switching exists if

participants report using more than one identification across the different scenarios.

Using my observations from the ethnographic phase of the research I made a list of factors

and corresponding levels that influenced ethnic identification. The factors were: 1) social

setting; 2) resource at stake; 3) ethnicity of interlocutor; 4) age of interlocutor; and 4) and

language spoken by interlocutor. Each of these factors had several levels and these levels were

used to create the vignettes. As an example, the levels of "social setting" presented for

evaluation were: job interview, census questionnaire, unfamiliar neighborhood, party, ethnic

festival / celebration, conanunity protest, airport, and sales encounter. For "ethnicity of

interlocutor," the levels used were: Puerto Rican, Dominican, Colombian, M~exican, neutral

Latino, white American, Afiican American, hidian, and Chinese. There were seven levels of

"resource at stake," three levels of "interlocutor age," and five levels of "language spoken."

Vignettes, in factorial survey design, are comprised of the randomly combined levels from

each of the factors of interest. Using MS Access, I created tables containing the levels of each

factor. I wrote a query that randomly pulled one level at a time from each table and put these

combinations in a separate table. In the next step I copied and pasted each of these combinations

onto a word document and arranged them into readable vignettes. To reduce question-order

effects, I used a random number generator to determine the order of each of the vignettes (each

vignette was given an ID number from 1 through 9). Spanish translations of the factors and

levels were put through this same process.

Immediately after finishing the social network survey, I handed participants the vignette

surveys to complete by hand. Their first task was to list all the ethnic labels they used to identify









themselves to others. I asked that they also include labels they use very seldom. Next,

participants had to rank these, starting with the ethnic label they used most often. For purposes

of completing the vignettes, the ethnic label they reported using most often was their primary

ethnic identification. At this point they were ready to begin the vignettes. Here's a sample

vignette from one of the surveys:

h. You applied for an important full-time job. The job is difficult to get. You interview
aI ithr an older Dominican man who speaks to you in Spanish. What ethnicity would you
want the interviewer to know you are?

O I would want the person to known my primary ethnic identification.

O I would want the person to know the following ethnic identification.

In addition to questions about their ethnic identification, the survey included a question

about language choice in each scenario. After the respondents completed the vignette survey, I

interviewed them about their responses.

Because the vignettes were randomly generated, some of the scenarios presented were

nonsensical, irrelevant to the participant or highly unlikely to happen. Concerned that such

scenarios would cause the participant to not take the survey seriously, thus diminishing data

quality, I decided to clean the surveys of any problematic vignettes. When I identified a problem

vignette I replaced it with another having the same ID number. Therefore, while measures were

taken to reduce bias, ensure that participants evaluated as many combinations as possible and

improve replicability; my own judgments about what was realistic and possible certainly

influenced which scenarios participants were presented.

When I began the survey phase in October, the vignette survey was not ready to launch. It

took me a couple of months to design and assemble the vignettes. I worked on these as I began

collecting surveys for the acculturation study. Therefore, not everyone who took the social

network survey also read the vignettes. In fact, the vignettes were administered to just over half,










or 128, of the final phase-two sample. After 1 V/2 year of field work, I administered my last

survey in May of 2006.

4.4 Conclusion

Throughout this chapter I discussed a number of limitations of the research. Both in the

ethnographic and survey phase, sampling was a challenge. Finding Puerto Rican (especially first

generation), Mexican, and first generation immigrant participants in general was problematic. In

the ethnographic phase there is also an over-representation of young voices. Although I sought

participants older than 50 years old, the recruitment methods I used did not reach out to enough

older Latinos. Fortunately, in the survey phase I was able to interview more men and women

above the age of 50, including two septuagenarians. Their experiences will be incorporated into

this dissertation.

In the survey phase, data quality would have been improved had the survey not been so

long (respondent fatigue was an issue) and had I limited the number of surveys administered at a

time to two, instead of four. Nevertheless, the interviews collected using the network

visualizations were very rich, and most mistakes were fixable.

These limitations notwithstanding, the key strength of the research design was the

significant variety (and quantity) of data that were collected. Interviews, social network surveys,

vignette surveys, naturally occurring conversations, observation data, and linguistic data:

enough for several dissertations. This dissertation will focus on the results of the ethnographic

phase (field notes, interviews, and recordings) and the visualization interviews of the survey

phase.









CHAPTER 5
LATINO ETHNICITY IN NEW YORK

5.0 Introduction: Latino Bonds & Divides

On April 10, 2006, my son Al and I traveled to City Hall in Manhattan, one of the sites of a

nation-wide immigration rally. By the time we arrived, thousands had already converged and we

met the rally several blocks from City Hall. Coming from Queens, we shared the train with many

others, (mostly Mexicans, by their flags) who decided to mobilize on that day: parents with

young children, teenagers, housewives and men just off from work, all wearing expectant looks.

It was striking to me how hundreds of previously silent voices found a boldness that day. For

months I had found it difficult to recruit Mexicans to participate in my study. As a community

health volunteer working mostly with immigrant women, I learned of the hidden distress of

women with little access to the world outside of their rooms or their backbreaking, under-the-

table jobs. These women had entered the US illegally and feared a forced return to their

countries. That April day, however, they were unafraid and unashamed of their status or

identification. They announced themselves to the rest of New York proudly.

The next thing that struck me as we joined the mass of demonstrators in lower Manhattan

was the diversity. I don't just mean the diversity of countries represented; New York' s must

have been the most eclectic demonstration. As I took in the sounds and images around me, at

least two worlds became apparent. Thousands were like the women and men who traveled with

me from Queens: immigrants, many undocumented, speaking only Spanish, who ventured out of

safe enclaves like Corona carrying their countries' flags, shouting "Si se puede!" Then there

were those more like...me. Young, Americanized, English-speaking men and women of color.

We did not carry flags and did not wear t-shirts declaring our origins. Many, like me, carried

cameras, or organized banners and displays decrying the American government, or world trade,

or capitalism. These were men and women who already lived in a safe world.










Al and I quickly wove our way through the slow moving current of demonstrators. We

followed the sound of tribal drums and found a crowd had circled around drummers. The

rhythms came from a Korean drumming group and the circle that had formed around them

waved flags from Mexico, Haiti, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and the US Accompanying

the drums was a futbol jersey-wearing Latino trumpeter who played the Star Spangled Banner

and familiar salsa tunes. Spectators shouted, "Viva la hispanidad, viven los hispanos!" It was a

moment in which real boundaries among distinct groups, with distinct histories were ignored.

The scene, while impromptu, purposefully presented a strong sense of solidarity across all

immigrant groups, particularly across all Latino groups.

Reflecting on this show of unity, I looked around for my birth country's flag: the Puerto

Rican flag. I could not spot any. Having left the island for the US at the age of nine, I have

always considered myself an immigrant. So, while conscious that Puerto Ricans' special status

excludes them from much of the immigration debate, I expected to see more empathetic gestures

of support from the Puerto Rican community. I discovered unexpected evidence of Puerto

Ricans' detachment from the immigration plight of many other Latinos when I recruited

participants for my research. Some of my ads read that I sought immigrants from Puerto Rico,

the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Colombia. To my bemusement, I received several

vitriolic emails from Puerto Ricans who took great offense to the use of the word immigrants and

Puerto Ricans together. They cited Puerto Rican sacrifices in American wars, citizenship, and

their long history in the US. One person even sent me a picture of immigration rights

demonstrators crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and wrote, "Here's your target market. Maybe

they'll want to give you an interview."

I suspected that the people who sent me these defensive emails were born and raised in the

US. Surely, someone who had actually experienced the emotional, economic, and social










upheaval of immigration would relate with the demonstrators. But the immigration protests of

spring 2006 revealed that this was not sound logic. On April 11, a day after the rally, I

interviewed one Dominican man named Jon. Jon arrived to the US with a tourist visa in the

1960s. He eventually overstayed the visa and lived illegally in the US for years before

petitioning for a green card through his wife. I asked Jon for his opinions of the immigration

rallies. His assured response was that no special rights should be afforded to undocumented

immigrants, especially amnesty. "Lo' mejicanos vienen aqui para abusar del sistema" ('The

Mexicans come here to abuse the system'), he said. When I asked him to justify this given his

own immigration experience, he explained that his case was different: his intention from the

beginning was to work hard and get his papers as quickly as possible.

These anecdotes serve to paint a picture of a contradictory Latino pan-ethnicity. One the

one hand, Latinos are bonded by a common language, similar geo-political histories, intertwined

political destinies, and shared neighborhoods where their lives overlap on a daily basis (Ricourt

& Danta 2003, Suarez-Orozco & Paez 2002). Yet the similarities between Latino groups

arguably end there. Latinos run the gamut: from the Mexican who can trace ancestors here back

a century or more, to the Ecuadorian who just arrived; from the educated Cuban businessman, to

the Puerto Rican high school drop out and factory worker; from the black Dominican to the

white Colombian. A number of scholars have reflected on these contrasts (see for example

Suarez-Orozco & Paez 2002, Portes & Truelove 1987, Padilla 1984, Stepick and Stepick 2002,

Torres-Saillant 2002). Equally as important are the generational and background differences that

exist even between people of the same group. Ask any recent Puerto Rican migrant what they

have in common with Nuyoricans and the response will be a resounding, "nothing". Scholars

argue that the differences are too significant for Latinos to be grouped together for analysis or

policy treatment (Portes & Truelove 1987).









There is a case to be made for both these arguments. Antecedents to migration are

strikingly similar across certain groups. For example, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Dominican

migrations were triggered by a shift from diversified, subsistence economies to capitalist

agriculture and industrialization. More often though, one group's socio-historical circumstances

contrasts with another. For instance, the forms of reception for each migrant group have been

quite different. As Portes and Boirocz (1989) show, immigrants to the US experience divergent

modes of incorporation. This term is useful for understanding how Latino groups in New York

show dissimilar patterns of ethnic identification formation.

In this chapter I will outline briefly the immigration histories of each of the five maj or

Latino groups in New York City. These were also the groups I most often came in contact with

during fieldwork: Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Mexicans, Ecuadorians, and Colombians. I will

also discuss how these contrasting histories of migration and incorporation to the US help

explain differences in ethnic identification. Finally, I will comment on the development of pan-

ethnic Latino identification in New York.

5.1 Latino Immigration to New York

In 2000, there were 2. 1 million Latinos in the city (2.8 million in New York State). Census

population estimates for all of New York State indicate that Latinos numbered just over 3 million

statewide in 2005 (Census 2006). Keeping NYC / NY State proportions the same; this would

suggest that the NYC population of Latinos was approximately 2.3 million in 2006. This is

almost 1 / 3 of the total NYC population. According to the 2000 Census, Puerto Ricans, the

largest Latino group, totaled 789, 172. Dominicans, the fastest growing ethnic group in the city,

totaled 406,806. In the past 10 years, the Mexican population has also grown at rates much

faster than Puerto Ricans. Seven years ago there were 186,872 Mexicans. More recent estimates

put the number near 244,000 (US Census 2005). Census estimates of undocumented immigrants










in New York suggest that the total Mexican population is much higher (US Census 2003).

Ecuadorians are the fourth largest Latino group with 101,005. This number rose 1% since 1990.

In contrast, the number of Colombians decreased to 77, 154 in 2000.

5.1.1 Puerto Ricans

Of the five, Puerto Ricans have been in New York the longest. Historically, when a Puerto

Rican said they were moving to the US they really just meant New York. As a child, my only

image of the US was a tiny "neighboring" island, much like my own Puerto Rico, named "Nueva

York". US and New York were one and the same. And the relationship between P.R. and N.Y.

was an intimate one. When things got tough in Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans left for New York

and vice versa. Some argue that the island and Puerto Rican communities in New York have

both paid a heavy price for this inconsistency (Suro 1999). But despite the bleak statistics of the

New York Puerto Rican community (e.g. high poverty rates, high dropout rates, high AIDS rates,

high incarceration rates), Nuyoricans have greatly influenced native conceptions of what a

Latino is. Much like Mexicans have defined Latinoness in the southwest.

As both citizens and foreigners, the experience of Puerto Ricans in the US is unique. Such

is the case with much of Puerto Rico' s history with the United States. Puerto Rico is beset with

ambiguity: a colony, but not quite a colony; a model for third world development, but essentially

dependent; an island with a vibrant national culture, yet widely Americanized. When the US

took over the island from Spain in 1898 small Puerto Rican migrant communities already existed

in the States. Puerto Rican independentista~s living in these communities were hopeful that the

US would help free Puerto Rico from Spanish rule. As it turned out, under American control

Puerto Rico had less economic and political sovereignty than under Spain's Charter of

Autonomy granted in 1897. Thus began an exploitative relationship that, even after Puerto









Ricans were granted US citizenship in 1917 and commonwealth status in 1952, has remained

largely unaltered.

By 1910 there were approximately 2,000 Puerto Ricans in the United States (Rodriguez, et.

al. 1980). Puerto Ricans came as students, revolutionaries, field hands and factory workers. In

response to demand for workers during World War I, Puerto Ricans arrived in larger numbers.

They settled in the area of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Harlem. By 1920 there were 7,364

Puerto Ricans living in New York City (Fitzpatrick 1971). On the island, the economy was in

disarray, with unemployment and poverty rates rising precipitously. These conditions were a

direct result of US led economic development that changed the island from a diversified

subsistence economy, to one solely dependent on sugar production. In the 1920s the decline of

the sugarcane industry hit Puerto Rico hard. A substantial proportion of those who immigrated

to the US were from Puerto Rico's peasant class. As was commonly the case, these agrarian

workers had first moved to Puerto Rico's urban areas seeking work. With the consolidation of

land for large-scale sugar production and a shift from labor to capital intensive practices, the

island had a large labor surplus.

While migration slowed during World War II, after 1945 Puerto Ricans began leaving the

island in large numbers. Unrestricted migration to the mainland was crucial to the success of

Operation Bootstrap (1848 1965), a program to industrialize the island. Cheap San Juan New

York airplane flights and Puerto Ricans' status as citizens encouraged intense labor recruitment

of the islands young, blue-collar workers. During the migration phase' s peak year (dubbed the

largest airborne migration in history), 470,000 Puerto Ricans arrived in the US. This is more

than the immigration totals of any country including Mexico (Portes and Grosfoguel 1994).

Puerto Ricans settled in Chicago, Florida, and throughout the eastern seaboard, but especially









New York. Since then, Puerto Ricans became America's third largest ethnic minority, after

African Americans and Mexican Americans.

The low barrier to US entry unique about Puerto Rican migration has promoted two trends.

First, large numbers of Puerto Rico' s lower classes migrated (Portes and Grosfoguel 1994).

Second, it has allowed for va y ven (back-and-forth) migratory movement. Gonzalez (2000)

suggests that the easy migration between the mainland and the island has encouraged the flight

of the US Puerto Rican community's middle class. As Gonzalez explains, those who were able

to save money and learn English returned to the island and started businesses. There they joined

the island's middle class as employers, leaving Puerto Rican barrios in the US without a

developing middle class. Gonzalez writes, "The result of back and forth migration has been a

Puerto Rican middle class here that is less stable and less connected to institution building

among the masses of poor people than in, say the Mexican and Cuban immigrant communities"

(2000:258).

In 1960, 60 percent of Puerto Rican workers in New York were in factory j obs. Between

1970 and 1980, New York City lost over 270,000 such j obs and city employment fell by 8.6

percent (Waldinger 1986). For the first time the Puerto Ricans' status as citizens and a tendency

to unionize worked to their disadvantage. Faced with a declining industry, manufacturers

preferred the more pliable and less expensive new immigrant labor (e.g. Dominicans).

Thousands of unemployed Puerto Ricans returned to the island. By 1972, 14 percent of Puerto

Rico' s population consisted of return migrants (Lopez 1974). On the mainland, conditions in the

already impoverished New York Puerto Rican communities worsened. As with the African

American community, their plight was intensified by pervasive discrimination. Puerto Ricans

tended to settle near historically black communities in New York and occupied similar job

niches. By the 1980s, Puerto Ricans had the lowest labor force participation rates, highest un-










employment levels, the highest incidence of poverty, and the lowest levels of education of the

three major US Latino groups (Tienda 1984). These conditions limited the options available to

newcomers (Portes and Grosfoguel 1994). This deterioration has encouraged both the new and

the settled to seek better conditions outside of New York City. In 1990, there were nearly

900,000 Puerto Ricans in the city. This number decreased by 6% in 2000; the most significant

decrease of any New York Latino group.

Frequent visits back home allowed thousands of Puerto Ricans to stay connected to social

networks, information, and cultural practices and traditions on the island. For the second

generation, these connections, however tenuous, serve to authenticate claims to ethnic group

belongingness when other bonds (e.g. language or first hand experience with the native country)

are absent. Inevitably, circular migrants and their children also develop social networks and new

cultural practices and lifestyles tied to their local communities in New York. Each context

requires distinct modes of identification and distinct practices; what many scholars have called a

bi-cultural identity.

Puerto Rican bi-cultural identity has been widely explored both by Puerto Rican American

literary authors (see for example Santiago 1994) and researchers (Duany 2002, Acosta-Belen

2000, Romberg 1996). The commonly-used term, Nuyorican, captures the dual points of

reference for New York Puerto Ricans. But in spite of, or perhaps because of, this bi-cultural

identity the Nuyorican has become something of a pariah in mainstream New York society and

among more recent Latino migrants. I spoke to one young Puerto Rican man who contrasted his

circumstances with that of Nuyoricans (he was a professional who had come to the US to study

and work). He saw the Nuyorican situation as "sad because they are rej ected by both Americans

and Puerto Ricans on the island". The biggest problem, he said, "was that Nuyoricans did not

speak Spanish". Thus they could not adequately comprehend and reproduce Puerto Rican









cultural practices and traditions. We can add that without the ability to speak fluent Spanish,

many have lost an advantage in the labor market to Spanish bilinguals.

Bi-cultural identity is not unique to Puerto Ricans. Any migrant that divides her time,

investment, sentiments, between the country of origin and the US will require a broad repertoire

of context specific (ethnic) behaviors. Furthermore, my interviews suggest that those who

identify as Nuyorican actually have little contact with Puerto Rico. The self-concepts that New

York Puerto Ricans have developed are very much New York-based. Consider the following

excerpt from a self-identified Puerto Rican named Abygail. Abygail was born and raised in New

York. Her mother was a second-generation Puerto Rican immigrant and her father migrated

from Puerto Rico at the age of 12. Abygail, who is married to a second-generation St. Croixian

man, is the mother of bi-racial children.

It gives you an understanding that only a Puerto Rican could
have. If you are not born and raised a Puerto Rican you just
don't know! You just don't know. Like for instance I know
where the best restaurant in New York is. The best cuchifr~itos
in all of New York is on 103rd between Lexington and 3rd,
and when you get off the train you walk up the...(laughing).
And that's something only a Puerto Rican could know. You
understand what I'm saying? There are things that you
only know 'cause that' s your culture. I make a very good
pot of beans, yo!...There are some things that you could only
know...being who you are.

Abygail also mentioned that while she is often assumed to be a light-skinned African

American, anyone would know what she really was by the Puerto Rican flags and art work that

adorn her apartment. Thus, the Nuyorican depends heavily on the use of symbols and tokens to

defend claims to Puerto Rican identification. These are meaningful and necessary within the

context of New York City but not sufficiently authentic on the island. What requires little

defense is the Puerto Rican's place within New York. Through sheer numbers and a long history

in the city, Puerto Ricans have come to dominate native perceptions of Latino ethnicity in the










northeast. One consequence of this is that Latinos from other groups, or especially Latinos with

only one Puerto Rican parent, will invoke or emphasize Puerto Rican identity to defend their

own claims to Latino identity, to street-smarts, to New York grittiness. If the New York City

Puerto Rican population continues to decrease, it will be interesting to see what group takes their

place, and how NY Puerto Ricans themselves will identify.

5.1.2 Dominicans

In the 1960s, the annual average of Dominican emigrants to the United States was over

9,000. By the 1970s the average climbed to over 14,000 and then to 20,000 in the first half of

the 1980s (INTS 1961-1980, 1984,1986). In 1991 and 1992, the number of Dominicans who

entered the US reached over 40,000 each year (Torres-Saillant and Hernandez 1998).

Overwhelmingly, these migrants chose New York City as their destination. Between 1980 and

1990 Dominicans were the fastest growing ethnic group in New York, increasing from 125,380

to 332,713 (ibid.). While other groups (i.e. Puerto Ricans and Cubans) decrease in numbers, the

number of Dominicans in New York rises. In the 1960s, Dominican migrants tended to settle

near established Latino communities in New York. Today, the largest Dominican communities

can be found in Manhattan's Upper West Side, Lower East Side and Jackson Heights-Corona in

Queens.

According to Grasmuck and Pessar (1991), skilled and semi-skilled workers' wages and

security were indirectly threatened by the large reserve of labor in the Dominican Republic. This

middle class group could also afford the expensive trip to the United States. Thus, most migrants

after 1966 were from the urban middle-class. In 1991 a government doctor in the Dominican

Republic earned about $160 a month (ibid.). The same doctor could improve his income

substantially by working as an operative in New York' s garment industry. Because of this,









Dominicans in New York are overrepresented in low-paying blue-collar manufacturing jobs and

underrepresented in the professional and managerial categories (only 9.6 percent in 1990).

A large number of Dominicans who work in the manufacturing industry are

undocumented. Contradicting illegal alien stereotypes, undocumented Dominicans were far

more likely to have held professional or managerial jobs in the Dominican Republic. In contrast,

documented Dominican migrants tended to cluster in unskilled occupations. This is explained by

the ample number of Dominicans who overstay tourist visas selectively issued to those most

likely to return: people with skills and resources (Hendricks 1974; Grasmuck and Pessar 1991).

As with other immigrants, the barriers to professional re-licensing have constrained

Dominicans' livelihood choices. The economic picture for Dominicans is not complete without

considering the exceptional levels of entrepreneurship in response to such constraints.

Dominicans dominate in the ownership of bodegas, medium-sized supermarket chains, retail

stores, gypsy cabs, and garment contracting. According to the Dominican Federation of

Merchants and Industrialists, Dominicans own 70 percent of all bodegas in New York City

(Portes and Grosfoguel 1994). We can trace part of this phenomenon to the unique conditions

that existed in 1960s New York when Dominicans arrived in large numbers. They moved to the

city at a time when whites were leaving. Neighborhoods in the Upper West Side and parts of the

Bronx saw large numbers of apartments vacated and decreased rent prices. The poor immigrant

communities that emerged in the wake of white flight boomed but were underserved. For

example, unlicensed car services (gypsy cabs) thrived to compensate for the lack of yellow cabs

that ventured into the worst parts of upper Manhattan. As these businesses prospered, capital

was reinvested in other businesses in upper Manhattan; including restaurants, retail stores, and

bodegas (Suro 1999).









Then and now these micro-enterprises relied heavily on the cooperative efforts of kin and

friendship networks. These tightly knit networks are the base from which employees are hired,

resources are pooled, and new entrepreneurs emerge. Therefore, Dominican enclaves like

Washington Heights are considerably disconnected and insulated from the rest of New York.

What is also unique to Dominicans, at least before Mexicans settled in New York in large

numbers, is the deeply transnational character of these kin and business networks. Not only do

Dominicans invest in New York businesses, but a considerable amount of profit is invested in

businesses in the Dominican Republic. Millions of dollars are also sent home to build second

homes for Dominican immigrants. The US Embassy in Santo Domingo estimated Dominican

remittances at $1.4 billion dollars (Boly, 1996).

In the 1970s, their immigrant status gave them an advantage in New York's declining

manufacturing sector. However, in the 1980s and 1990s the city continued to lose

manufacturing jobs. Overrepresented in this sector, the Dominican community suffered a serious

blow. Despite the considerable number of skilled and semi-skilled Dominican migrants that

entered the US after the revolution, by the 1990s it was clear that Dominicans were among the

most impoverished New Yorkers. In contrast to earlier trends, Dominicans have low levels of

educational attainment compared to other groups (Grasmuck and Pessar 1991; Torres-Saillant &

Hernandez 1998; Hernandez and Rivera-Batiz 1997). Analyzing data from the US Department

of Commerce, a 1997 study found that the income of the Dominican population was the lowest

of all the maj or racial and ethnic groups in New York City; that the community's unemployment

rate was at 19 percent; and that at 45 percent, the percentage of Dominicans living below the

poverty line is more than double the city's overall average (Hernandez and Rivera-Batiz 1997).

Part of this picture is the lack of English proficiency among many Dominican migrants. A

consequence of living in the cloistral Dominican communities of Manhattan' s upper west side









and the Bronx is that a person can live for decades without having to learn much English. I have

family that arrived from D.R. to Washington Heights in the 1960s who still have very poor

English language skills. Those who do work in j obs outside of these enclaves are in industries

(e.g. garment) with Spanish-speaking co-workers and even Spanish-speaking bosses (whether

they are Latino or not). Thus, the most stubborn obstacle to economic stability cited by the

Dominicans I interviewed was language. A silver-lining to this difficult reality is that second

generation Dominican migrants, in becoming their family's interpreters, learn to speak both

languages well; much more so than Puerto Ricans. Add to this the common practice of sending

children for extended summer visits to the Dominican Republic, and young Dominican men and

women grow up with strong ties to the D.R.

Another obstacle faced by Dominicans is skin color. As the darkest of the New York

Latinos, Dominicans are discriminated against even by members of other Latino groups. In the 1

V/2 years that I observed and interviewed Latinos in New York, I got the impression that other

Latinos, particularly white Colombians, were the most harsh in their assessments of Dominicans.

Zentella (1990) reports that Dominican' s low standing in the hierarchy of New York Latinos also

has consequences for how the Dominican dialect is perceived and used. A twist to the racial

experience of Dominicans in New York is the seemingly contradictory racial preferences of

Dominicans themselves. Dominicans enter the US with notions of blackness that differ

markedly from American racial conceptions. Whereas in the Dominican Republic dark-skinned

Dominicans choose among a range of racial categories (reserving pure black for Haitians), in the

US a person with any trace of African ancestry is labeled black. Thus, some Dominicans have

reported that they did not perceive themselves in terms of a black racial identity until they

arrived in the US (Torres-Saillant 1998, Duany 1998).









Because the racial system on the island is also more complex than that in the US, Puerto

Ricans share a similar story. In the early years of their immigration history Puerto Ricans also

tended to settle near historically-African American communities in New York City. Because of

this, (and not unlike what happened to early Irish immigrants), Puerto Ricans were categorized

with African Americans, and subj ect to discrimination. Both Dominicans and Puerto Ricans in

New York, particularly young men who face limited economic and social upward mobility, have

embraced black American culture and identity. For example, Puerto Ricans have adopted

features of African American Vernacular in their speech (Wolfram 1973, Zentalla 1997). One of

my favorite examples how this association between Puerto Rican and black can work to a

person' s advantage, actually comes from Roberto, a Venezuelan participant of this research.

Roberto is white and blue-eyed. Except for when he speaks in Spanish, he is indistinguishable

from other white Americans. One day Roberto traveled to a black neighborhood to buy drugs.

Apparently this neighborhood was known to be dangerous and frequented by undercover police

officers. Here Roberto describes how he appropriated Puerto Rican (Boricua) identity to avoid

trouble with blacks:

You know one thing when you are in a black neighborhood,
right? You don't want these motherfucking molletos'2 to think
you're white-white! Fuck that! Me hago boricua...instantly!i
Like I remember, the last time I got high I was on my way to
cop [buy] and I knew these niggas was not even gonna look at
me. You know what I did? I turned the phone to vibrate so it
won't ring and I had the thing y me pongo hablar ('and I start to
talk'), "Mira que si este, que si lo otro, cla, cla, cla..." ('Look,
this and that, blah, blah, blah'). Hablando una conversation con
el aire ('Having a conversation with the air')! Pero en espahiol
('But in Spanish'). En boricua ('In Puerto Rican'). Y los tipos
ahi ('And the dudes there'): "Bueno ('Well'), you're not white!"





'2 a derogatory word for a dark-skinned person










As this example illustrates some Latino immigrants have used American racial categories

and associations to their advantage, thus affecting patterns of Elinvocation. Immigrants who

can pass as white (or would otherwise be classified as white) find that emphasizing a white racial

identity allows them greater social and economic mobility (e.g. Cubans and Colombians). In

contrast, because the American racial binary stigmatizes blacks, dark-skinned Latinos are at a

disadvantage. Therefore, dark-skinned Dominicans and Puerto Ricans may choose to lessen the

impact of black skin by emphasizing their Latino background (Patterson 1975). I argue that

upwardly mobile Latinos from all groups will develop and invoke an El that distinguishes them

from black Americans.

5.1.3 Mexicans

In October 1986, the US Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act

(IRCA). In the years leading up to the legislation, the US economy was in a decline and cold-

war hysteria prevailed. Widespread calls to curb Mexican immigration conflicted with the needs

of large-scale American farms. To satisfy the agricultural sector, 3 million formerly

undocumented long-term immigrants and undocumented farm workers were given amnesty

(Massey, et. al. 2002). To satisfy Congress' demands and calm public fears IRCA also increased

the INS enforcement budget, imposed sanctions against employers who knowingly hired

undocumented workers, and increased the budget for work-site inspections (Bean et. al. 1989;

Goodies 1986). However, the legislation had the opposite effect intended. It encouraged long-

term settlement in the US, the dispersal of Mexican migration over other parts of the country,

and an increase in the prevalence of dependents on workers (Massey et. al. 2002). The

legislation also failed to reduce undocumented migration.

The increasingly restrictive legislation of the 1980s (including Proposition 187) attracted

thousands of Mexican migrants away from the West. More immigrant-friendly New York saw a









dramatic increase in its Mexican-origin population (Alonso-Zaldivar 1999; Dallas 2001). After

Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, Mexicans are now the third largest Latino group in New York

City. In 1990 the Census reported 61,722 Mexicans lived in there. By 2000 this number had

increased by 200 percent. Some accounts put this number as high as 275,000 (Smith 2002). At

this growth rate, more than half a million Mexicans will be living in New York City by 2010

(Dallas 2001).

Vibrant Mexican communities can now be found in all five boroughs. In East Harlem and

parts of the Bronx, the Mexican flag is slowly replacing the Puerto Rican flag in tenant windows.

Part of Corona in Queens has become a Little Mexico of sorts. Numerous taco stands, cramped

traditional medicine boutiques with curanderos and psychics, Mexican music stores and novelty

marts serve the almost exclusively Latino community. In addition to these establishments, the

sidewalks are open space for the enterprising. Clandestine ventures involving prostitution and

the sale of falsified document (e.g. social security cards) are rampant. To avoid trouble with the

law, these sellers advertise their services using few, well-targeted words at the passers-by.

Surreptitiously distributed business cards and flyers make it into the hands of the select. There

are high rates of small business development among the Mexicans of New York. The rate of self-

employment is at 3.7%, compared to 3.3% among other Latinos (NYC Department of City

Planning 2000).

Most new Mexican migrants come to the city to work in restaurants, garment factories and

corner groceries. The Mexican Consulate estimates that 70 to 80 percent of the Mexican

community in New York is undocumented. Undocumented day laborers station themselves at

strategic spots throughout the city. Men wait for hours near hardware stores, U-Hauls, bus

stations, and other pre-determined areas for temporary work. I remember distinctly the day one

of my research participants set out to "pick up a couple of Mexicans" for a cleaning proj ect. We









drove down Broadway in Astoria in a white van. The driver had only to wave his hands out the

window before more than five workers fought to make it into the still-moving van. To avoid

scenes like this, Mexican community leaders have established day labor cooperatives in some

parts of the city. One near Coney Island in Brooklyn has workers sign in early every morning.

They are then assigned a job on a first-come-first-served basis. In a given week, all men who are

part of this cooperative have the same chance of finding a temporary assignment. Employers

who recruit workers at these sites must guarantee a set wage. It is no secret that the employers

who usually recruit these workers pay them poorly; often well below the minimum wage. Thus,

throughout the city and including other Latinos, Mexicans are viewed and treated as dispensable,

easily replaceable labor commodities. Nevertheless, unemployment among New York Mexicans

is lower than in other Latino communities (Census 2005).

Whereas Mexican immigrants to southwestern US tended to originate from western and

northwestern Mexican states like Jalisco, Zacatecas, Michoacan, Guanajuato (Durand and

Massey 2003), a new trend developed for New York. The maj ority of New York Mexicans come

from south central Mexico, particularly Puebla and to a lesser extent Guerrero and Oaxaca

(ibid.). Poblanos alone make up more than half of the Mexican population in New York (Dallas

2001). These settlement patterns are due in large part to the heavy reliance on familial and

friendship networks among Mexican immigrants. New arrivals are often received into severely

over-occupied apartments. Opportunistic New York landlords have met the demand for cheap

housing by creating apartments, sometimes in violation of city codes, to accommodate as many

people as are willing to cohabitate. One Mexican woman whose social network data I collected,

listed more than 20 relatives and close friends who shared apartments in one building in

Manhattan' s upper west side. The maj ority of her remaining network was also Mexican.









Restrictive immigration policies, undocumented migrations, and dependence on kin

networks offer few opportunities for developing non-Mexican or non-Latino affiliations. As

with Dominicans, submersion in Mexican-dominant daily life discourages English-language

learning and flexible ethnic self-presentation. Census statistics support this (Cordero-Guzman

2006). Mexicans are more likely to be non-US citizens; 60% compared to 24% among other

Latino communities. They are also less likely to be English proficient; 38.7% do not speak

English well or at all compared to 21.6% among other Latinos. As I will discuss in a later

chapter, data on the use of ethnic labels among the Mexican participants in this study confirm

that Mexicans identified exclusively as Mexican. If they used other labels, these were specific to

the regions in Mexico where they were from.

5.1.4 Ecuadorians

In 1994 the Ecuadorian government agreed to grant dual-citizenship to Ecuadorians living

abroad. Not only did this recognize the growing Ecuadorian community in the United States, but

also the community's transnational character.

A modest phase of Ecuadorian immigration to the United States began in the late 1950s

and early 1960s. The effects of a failing Ecuadorian banana market in the early 1960s were

deeply-felt in the coastal lowlands (the Costa) and in the Andean highlands (the Sierra) where

many migrant workers to the Costa originated. This coincided with the passing of the Hart-

Celler Act of 1965 which abolished national-origin quotas. Ecuadorians perceived the Act as

indicative of a newly receptive America (Kyle 2000). Also, in the late 1950s airplane travel

between Ecuador and New York City became easier. Thus, Ecuador US immigration tripled

during the 1960s. These pioneering migrants tended to be urban, middle class, relatively

educated, from the coastal areas, and documented.









The second, and current, phase of mass Ecuadorian labor migration began with the decline

in the Panama hat trade after World War II. Panama hat cottage industry was the cornerstone of

the Azuayan economy throughout much of the 19th century. The decline was induced by

America's switch to cheaper straw hats from Asia. By the end of the 1970s Ecuadorian migrants

were men, largely undocumented, from both urban and rural areas in the Sierra, and especially

from the south-central provinces of Azuay and Cafiar (Kyle 2000). Overwhelmingly, these

migrants have settled in New York City.

It is not clear why New York City emerged as the primary destination choice among

Ecuadorian migrants. Zambrano (1999) suggests early migrants to New York relied upon

contacts within banana corporations to secure tourist visas. These visas later converted to

worker visas in New York. Kyle (2000) suggests that in the 1950s the young middle class

migrants (many came from families tied to the hat trade as exporters), relied on commercial

networks linking New York and the centers of Panama hat production in rural Ecuador.

In New York, Ecuadorians are among the fastest growing ethnic groups. Using census

figures adjusted with the Current Population Survey 2000, Logan (2001) estimates that 396,400

Ecuadorians live in New York. According to the 2000 Census, 57,716 (56 percent of all New

York Ecuadorians) live in Queens alone. Most of those in Queens settle in the Jackson Heights-

Corona community. Researchers have cautioned against relying solely on 2000 Census figures

for Latino counts: the method for recording Latino populations were inadequate and tended to

undercount new Latino groups (e.g. Dominicans, Ecuadorians, and Colombians). Undercounts

are also inevitable due to undocumented migration. Undocumented Ecuadorians in New York

City have outnumbered other groups with historically high rates of undocumented migration (e.g.

Dominicans). The New York Department of City Planning estimates that in 1993, Ecuadorians

constituted the number-one undocumented migrant group in New York, with 27,000









undocumented Ecuadorians in the state and an equal number elsewhere in the United States

(New York Department of City Planning 1996).

Ecuadorians in the US tend to lead bi-national lives. Upon arrival to the US, most men

work as day laborers or in service-sector jobs (e.g. restaurants and hotels). Women tend to work

in the garment industry or restaurants (New York City Department of Planning 1999). Most

often Ecuadorian migrants are married men with households in Ecuador they must support.

Seeing migration as a temporary means to an end, these young men arrange volatile living

arrangements, travel back and forth from Ecuador, and move among various households of

family and friends (Pribilsky 2003 in Jokisch and Pribilsky 2002). To keep economic options

open in Ecuador as well as the US, Ecuadorians have developed networks connecting home and

host community (Jokisch & Pribilisky 2002). Evidence for this is found in the proliferation of

courier services in New York and Ecuador and the billions of dollars in remittances Ecuadorians

have sent home. In 2003 alone, remittances to Ecuador totaled $1.54 billion dollars (Latin

American News Digest 2004). On average, every Ecuadorian sent money home eight times in

2003 (ibid.). This money is used for house-building or the purchase of land (Jokisch & Pribilsky

2002).

Permanent immigration fosters a sense of belonging to and/or greater participation in the

receiving society. With permanent settlement comes greater investment in a broad range of

relationships (at work, community, school, etc.), and greater exposure to American culture and

values. Conventional assimilation theory predicts that permanent settlement encourages

immigrants to adopt American identity. In contrast, migrants who enter the US with the

intention to settle temporarily (like Ecuadorians who tend to be target earners) may feel a limited

obligation to the wider society and see little need to forge relationships with others not directly

tied to their migration goals.










Among the Ecuadorians I came in contact with in Queens, work-related contacts tended to

be other Ecuadorians. Interestingly, there is a sense among Ecuadorians that a person from the

coast (L oi,\ibs),\, say Guayaquil, can trust other Latinos more their own compatriots from the

Ecuadorian Sierras serranoss), and vice versa. Regional conflicts that exist in Ecuador have

been transplanted in New York. The
backwards and conservative. Serranos think of c asicibsl as proud and pretentious. Also, no

bounded Ecuadorian communities exist here. Instead, Ecuadorians are dispersed among other

Latinos. Therefore, my observations suggest that while Ecuadorians tend to rely on other

Ecuadorians (especially from the same region) in work-related areas, they are very likely to

develop ties with other Latinos.

5.1.5 Colombians

On April 9, 1948 popular Liberal leader, Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, was assassinated in the

streets of Bogota. The Liberal uprising that ensued spread epidemically throughout Colombia's

countryside. Lasting almost ten years, La Violencia involved the bloody repression of Liberal

and communist peasants by the right-wing Colombian government. Peasants formed armed

self-defense movements in response to the offensives. These consolidated under the

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 1964. Since then, numerous other guerilla

groups arose, including those inspired by the Cuban revolution (e.g. National Liberation Army -

ELN). In the years after the civil war, Colombia's economy collapsed. The percentage of

Colombia's workforce living in absolute poverty more than doubled, from 25 percent to 50.7

percent and as high as 67 percent for rural laborers (Leech 2002). The cocaine boom in the

1970s lured thousands of landless peasants and urban unemployed workers to coca plant

cultivation, cocaine production, and distribution.









These conditions set the stage for the proliferation of guerilla and right-wing paramilitary

forces that along with drug cartels and Colombia's own (US trained) military have vied for

control over Colombia's people and territory. Over the past forty years a low-intensity civil war

has ravaged the countryside displacing 600,000 Colombians in the 1980s alone (Meertens and

Segura-Escobar 1996). Today Colombia has the highest homicide rate in Latin America and all

types of crime, including kidnapping, extortion and theft have multiplied (Velez et. al. 2003).

Since the mid-1990s economic conditions worsened after a period of growth, with

unemployment escalating to almost 20 percent (ibid.).

More than 72,000 Colombians arrived during the 1960s, 77,000 in the 1970s, and 122,000

in the 1980s. A maj or wave of Colombian migration began with the recession in the mid-1990s.

Today there are over half a million Colombians living in the US (Logan 2001, Portes and

Truelove 1987). Migrants tend to be skilled and educated white Colombians from the upper and

middle classes. Thus, the country has experienced a serious capital and brain drain.

Increasingly, those that remain in the country are poor and highly susceptible to the temptations

of the drug market. The poor have also become easy targets for paramilitary and guerilla

recruitment.

New York and Florida are the preferred destinations for Colombian immigrants to the US.

Miami is a particularly key destination of upper class Colombians. In New York, a successful

ethnic enclave in Queens has established a strong Colombian middle class. Colombians have

opened small businesses and work in fairly well-paying jobs compared to other Latino groups in

the City. Of course, re-licensing and re-certification has been an obstacle for some professionals.

Middle and upper class Colombians have found that they must take j obs that they would not

consider back home (Brinkley-Rogers 2001). Poverty and unemployment rates in the Colombian

community are comparable to those found among Cubans. In 2000 the Colombians had an










unemployment rate of 4.3 percent (compared to 5.8 percent for Cubans and 8.6 percent for

Dominicans) (Logan 2001).

Those Colombians who flee because of real threats to their own or their family's lives have

encountered a catch in US asylum law. Because the US is Colombia's ally in the Eight against

left-wing guerillas and drug traffickers, Colombians are ineligible for political refugee status.

This has resulted in high rates of undocumented migration among Colombians. Commonly,

undocumented Colombians have overstayed tourist visas, refusing to return to the violent

conditions at home. Thousands others try to enter the US without visas. As Chardy (2001)

reports, an increasing number of Colombians have taken international flights that connect

through the US. Upon arrival they abandon their travels and request political asylum. According

to INS Eigures 2,747 applications for asylum were Hiled in 2000, compared to 427 in 1999 (ibid.).

American legislators have tried to address the human rights problem with The Andean

Adjustment Act of 2003. If passed this bill would grant protected status to thousands of

Colombians who arrived here before December of 1995.

Within the hierarchy of ethnic groups in New York, Colombians enj oy favorable

perceptions and treatment from other New Yorkers. Within Latino communities, their

educational and professional status has marked them as respectable and even enviable. Abel, an

Ecuadorian participant in this study, told me that to avoid being mistreated and typecast as a

poor, Ecuadorian laborer, he tells people that he is Colombian. In fact, I saw him do this while

trying to make a sale. Outside of Latino communities, the fact that many Colombians are white

means that they suffer from little discrimination. The lack of such an obstacle has undoubtedly

contributed to their success. When I asked Alma, another participant in the ethnographic phase

of this research, to talk about her own feelings as a Colombian woman, she had the following to

share:










Yo me siento orgullosa de ser colombiana. A mi no me
da pena. A todo el mundo le digo yo soy colombiana porque independientemente de
que piensan que los colombianos
trabajan con droga, los colombianos somos muy educados
y muy educados. Para mi, colombianos somos muy educados,
tenemos, hay diferencia con paises de otro, el nivel educa-..
El nivel no de educaci6n, el nivel de...buenos modales.
Manners; de los colombianos es mej or que el de las otras
cultures, me parece pues a mi. En la mesa, en todo. Por ejemplo,
de los dominicanos, comen con la boca abierta, hablan cuando
estan comiendo, no saludan, no se despiden. Los colombianos
somos bien educados. Y allay en Colombia, esos modales
vienen de Europa, de los espafioles. Oiga, yo estoy trabajando
con un senior colombiano en el real state. Que senior tan educado,
ese senior, yo me aterro, ese senior se le ve encima que es colombiano.
Apenas el empez6, a hablarme asi tan educado tan pausado tan
tranquilo pa' hablar; yo me dije, este senior es Colombiano y era
Colombiano.

('I feel proud to be Colombian. I don't feel sorry. I tell everyone
that I'm Colombian because independently of thinking that Colom-
bians work with drugs, Colombians are very educated, very educated.
For me, us Colombians are very educated, we have, there's a difference
with countries of other, the level of educ-... Not the level of education,
the level of...good manners. Manners, of the Colombians is better than
that of other cultures, it seems to me. At the table, in everything. For
example, of the Dominicans, they eat with their mouth open, they talk
when they're eating, they don't greet, and they don't say goodbye.
We Colombians are very educated. And over there in Colombia, those
manners come from Europe, from the Spaniards. Listen, I'm working
with a Colombian gentleman in real estate. What an educated man,
that man, it terrifies me, that man you can just see that he is Colombian.
As soon as he started talking to me, like that so educated, so unhurried,
so calm to talk; I said to myself this man is Colombian and he was
Colombian.')

According to Alma, Colombian identity is communicated in the way of talking

(independently of dialect or accent), in the way one carries himself, and in the way one treats

others. They are set apart from other groups not only by their economic success but by their

social graces. I often heard this perception from non-Colombians as well. Without extolling

my own social graces, I was frequently confused for Colombian. Given my light skin, level of

education and my measured, neutral (not obviously Puerto Rican) Spanish, I did not fit people's










perception of a caribeha. Colombians see little need to invoke ethnicities other than Colombian;

this identification is sufficiently advantageous outside of and within the Latino community.

5.1.6 Other Latinos

In addition to these five maj or groups, in my research I encountered or worked with

Latinos from other countries. These included El Salvador, Argentina, and Venezuela. With such

relatively smaller numbers represented by these countries, many of those who I talked from these

countries identified strongly with the broader Latino collectivity. Esperanza, the Argentine

woman I observed during my fieldwork, admitted that since coming to New York she associated

only with other Latinos. "All my friends are Latins," she said, "I don't have any American

friends and I'm not interested either." Esperanza' s social network was quite diverse; made up of

people from various Latin American countries. A New School University lecture I attended on

Argentinean immigration discussed the notion that there is no cohesive Argentine community in

New York. Because of their tendency towards English proficiency, European looks, and high

educational attainment, many quickly blend into mainstream American society.

Presence or absence of ethnic enclaves to receive migrants represents another important

mode of incorporation. Ethnic enclaves, such as those found in Miami for Cubans and the US

Southwest for Mexicans, allow immigrants to maintain a life style similar to what they left

behind. In an ethnic enclave, members are encouraged to speak their native language. They can

also develop and maintain social networks heavily represented by fellow ethnic group members.

This environment would tend to strongly reinforce the El shared with members of the enclave

community. Not only that, but there are very clear incentives for maintaining and invoking the

shared EI. Shared El grants the migrant access to the economic and political benefits available

within the enclave (e.g. jobs, votes).









In the cases where migrants do not enter into an established ethnic enclave, as with

Argentines or Salvadorians, a strategy of ethnic inclusiveness may be the most ideal. The

migrant is encouraged to develop and invoke the ethnic identification that represents a common

ground with others in the community. For example, the pioneering Mexican immigrants who

entered New York in the 1980s may have found that their adaptation and access to resources

depended on forging ties with the Puerto Ricans and Dominicans they settled near to. Pan-

Ethnicity forms as a result. Padilla (1984) reports this to be the case for the Puerto Ricans and

Mexicans who share neighborhoods in Chicago. According to Padilla, Latinos in Chicago

(especially community leaders) invoke the inclusive pan-ethnic Latino identity to gain political

and economic advantage over other ethnic groups in Chicago. New York is an ideal location to

test this hypothesis. While there are a number of well-established Latino enclaves in the city

(Puerto Ricans in the Bronx and Spanish Harlem, Dominicans in Washington Heights,

Colombians in Queens), many Latinos have also settled in ethnically mixed communities

throughout New York' s five boroughs. These communities tend to attract Latinos from all over

Latin America and encourage pan-ethnicity based on, as Ricourt and Danta (2003) point out,

convivencia diaria.

5.2 Ethnic, Regional and Linguistic Categories

Having reviewed the immigration histories of five of the largest Latino groups in New

York City, I will now describe the ethnic, regional, and linguistic categories that specifically

pertain to the focal participants of this study: Roberto and Abel. These descriptions draw on the

socio-historical circumstances outlined above, as well as my own ethnographically-grounded

insights about the NYC ethnic landscape. Starting with Roberto, I provide basic descriptions of

each of the categories along with demonstrative quotes taken from Roberto' s and Abel's

discourse. The ethnic and regional categories invoked by Roberto were: Venezuelan, Spanish,










Puerto Rican / Nuyorican, Urban Latino, White New Yorker. During conversations, Roberto

used one or more of the following languages or dialects: Puerto Rican Spanish (PRS), New York

English (NYE), Venezuelan Spanish (VS), and African American Vernacular (AAVE). Abel's

ethnic and regional repertoire included Ecuadorian, guayaquileifo / c owhojl, indio, Latino /

Hispano, and Colombian, et.al. In his interactions, he primarily alternated between Ecuadorian

Spanish (ES) and Hispanized English (HE). At times he also used elements of Colombian, and

Rioplatense Spanish.

5.2.1 Roberto's Ethnic and Regional Identifications

Venezuelan Makes claim to origins in Venezuela. In New York, there are distinct

associations of Latinos born in South American and those born in the Caribbean. Common

stereotypes attributed to South Americans are: racist, conservative, backwards, indios, drug-

traffickers, well-off, fluent in Spanish, warm, always late. Caribbean Latinos on the other hand,

which predominate among Latinos in New York, are cast as happy, extroverted, passionate,

sexual, lazy, temperamental, Americanized, dark-skinned, and poor. People like Roberto, who

have ethnic and linguistic flexibility, associate with or disassociate from these stereotypes as

need be.

Examples:
* I'm from Venezuela.
* Yo soy Venezolano. ('I'm Venezuelan')

Spanish Makes claim to origins in Spain and can be used to support claims to whiteness

or being white, and conversely, can be downplayed to support claims to blackness or being black.

Examples:
* Well, if they ask me where my origins are from because my origins are from Spain.
* My father is from Spain. My father is that type of Spaniard that, he brought me up with
values!

Puerto Rican or Nuyorican -Identifies with the island of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Ricans.

Developed attachments to elements of Puerto Rican culture like the food (e.g. arroz con
96










gan2dules, pa~steles, cuchifito), music and dancing (e.g. salsa, bonaba yplena) and language.

Lives in or around Puerto Rican neighborhoods (e.g. south Bronx, east Harlem, Sunset Park in

Brooklyn). For decades, Puerto Ricans have been the largest Latino group in the city and have

therefore influenced popular concepts of Latinos in the northeast. Many Latinos, Roberto being

one of them, capitalize on the reputation and associations made of Puerto Ricans. Or just to get

by and fit into predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhoods. At the same time, it has meant that

for many non-Puerto Rican Latinos that can pass for Puerto Rican, assertions about their

background are made in opposition to Puerto Rican identity: "I ain't Puerto Rican".

* Examples:
* I know a lot about Puerto Rico. I know more about Puerto Rico than about my own
country. You can drive me right now to Puerto Rico and I go boom!i Give me the rental, I
know where I'm going, I know what to do. Do that shit in Venezuela? No joda, me
encuentran~rt~rt~t~rt~rt~ en una nzontalia allay~ al la'ito 'e Colombia. Perdi 'o! ('No kidding, they'll
find me in a mountain, over there next to Colombia. Lost!')
* I don't speak New York Spanish, like I said, I can roll into whatever. Usually we talk more
Puerto Rican than anything.

Urban Latino Often described as hood or ghetto, and frequently associated with African

American culture, including music, language (AAVE), food, dress, and kinesics. Urban Latinos

are strongly linked in people's minds with socio-demographic trends among poor urban Latino

and African American populations (and poor whites who live in predominantly Latino and black

neighborhoods): mainly high crime and incarceration rates, rampant single motherhood, and

dependence on public assistance. Beyond these negative generalizations, urban African

American and Latino communities are also characterized by strength and resistance in the face of

discriminatory pressures. In the hood, respect and loyalty to close kin and friends are important

values. Churches remain important sources of neighborhood cohesion and many urban African

Americans and Latinos live in communities where everybody lazows everybody else. Finally, the

African American and Latino communities of NYC have also been the source of artistic

innovation with world-wide recognition. The music, dance, and other cultural forms to emerge










from the hood are a source of pride and means of ethnic expression for urban African Americans

and Latinos.

Despite strong bases for unity and mutual support, some Latinos are antagonistic towards

African Americans (and vice versa); even while they adopt elements of African American urban

culture. Thus, it is not uncommon for Latinos to adopt discriminatory discourse grounded in

simplistic, often contradictory stereotypes. Consider the following quotes from three urban

Latino men:

Anthony, Pha~se 1 participant, Puerto Rican and Cuban -
Being in jail makes you racist against black people.

Roberto, Pha~se 1 participant, Venezuelan2:
The blacks I didn't really care about too tough, you know what I mean, I just knew that
they were just not accepting of me and I had accepted that.

M~elvin, Pha~se 2 participant, Dominican:
Como to puede estar con un negro Jamaiquino? Lo que tu necesita' es un negro clasico.
('How can you be with a black Jamaican. What you need is a classic black.')

Robert formed his opinion of incarcerated African Americans, while being incarcerated

himself; Roberto rej ected those that rej ected him, with initial directionality impossible to

determine; and Melvin, a dark-skinned Dominican identified himself as a different kind of black.

The grouping of urban Latinos with urban African Americans in mainstream consciousness

masks the ways that Latinos contribute to American racist ideologies.

Still, the strongest tendency in New York is for young urban Latinos to associate with

black urban culture. I encountered powerful evidence for this trend in Phase 2 of my research.

Clarissa, a young, fair-skinned Euro-Puerto Rican woman outright said to me, "I'm black" when

I asked her how she identified herself. Clarissa supported this claim by showing how her social

network was significantly African American. Finally, it is important to note that while the

influence of African American culture on Latinos is most frequently described as unidirectional

(black Latino), Latinos also influence black urban culture: in language, as with the adoption









of mamni by urban blacks to describe and sexualize Latinas and in music with the popularity of

reggaeton among both African Americans and Latinos. Therefore, I prefer to use the more

general term urban, than overemphasize the influence of black culture on New York City

Latinos.

Examples:
* You know what time it is with this nigger right here, son!
* I like my rap, I like my Hip Hop.

White New Yorker Emphasizes upbringing in New York City as a source of attitudinal

and behavioral uniqueness: grittiness, street-smarts, universality, and directness. Embraces the

city's long history as a melting pot, while capitalizing on white privilege. Associates culturally

and/or linguistically with white groups having a long history in New York (e.g. Italian, Irish).

Speaks the New York dialect of English (Labov 1982).

Examples:
* We grew up in Queens Village but I basically grew up in New York City because I would
make my way all over New York.
* And the whites were just, they were more like me in the sense of, you know, the whole
crew likes to play handball, you know, we all like to ride our bikes, everybody worked on
their bikes.
* Like I could be a white boy. I['d] listen to classic rock and wear them jackets and the
jeans, and you know "hi dude, how are you doing dude" and you know.

5.2.2 Roberto's Linguistic Repertoire (Gumperz 1964):

Puerto Rican Spanish Zentella (1997) distinguishes between Standard (SPRS) and Non-

Standard (NSPRS) varieties of Puerto Rican Spanish. The most significant feature setting apart

SPRS and peninsular Spanish is the aspiration or elision of syllable final /s/. This feature is

shared by other Caribbean Spanish dialects. SPRS is further distinguished from other Spanish

dialects by the pronunciation of word initial and medial as a velar /x/ or uvular trill /R/,

rather than the more common apico-alveolar trill /r/. Cited by speakers as the most distinctly

Puerto Rican of all the sounds in Puerto Rican Spanish (Lipski 2004), this feature renders words

like arroz ('rice') and rico ('rich') with a raspy quality. Syntactic traits of SPRS include: lack of
99









inversion of the subj ect in questions where the subj ect is a pronoun (e.g. Que tu haces? for Que

haces tu?, 'What are you doing?'); conservation of subj ect pronouns, mainly yo, tui, and usted,

where they would otherwise be implied in other Spanish dialects (Hochberg 1986, Lipski 2004),

(e.g. Yo tengo hamnbre for Tengo hamnbre, 'I am hungry').

In her study of bilingual Puerto Rican children in New York City's El Barrio,~BBB~~~~BBB~~~BB Zentella

(1997) described two pronunciations used by participants in her research and particularly

associated with nonstandard or popular Puerto Rican Spanish: syllable final /s/ aspiration or

elision even in formal speech and substitution of /1/ for syllable final /r/ (e.g. recuelda for

recuerda, 'remember'). Zentella notes that these consistencies were found among those

participants "who were born and raised in Puerto Rico in poor families, often those from rural

areas who had little formal education (1994: 44)." Another common phonological feature of

NSPRA is the weakening or elision of inter-vocalic /d/. This happens most frequently in words

ending with -ado (e.g. enojao for enojado, 'angry'). A syntactic characteristic ofNSPRS

relevant for some of the research participants in this study is the use of phrasal calques (Otheguy

et. al. 1989) emerging from English syntactic influences. For example, para atrds (patrds),

literally 'for back', as in Te I11111111lam~lo patrd' from 'I will call you back', rather than Te devuelvo la

1111111l~llllllamad a.

Examples:
((At a pre-Puerto Rican Day Parade festival in Brooklyn, Roberto passes out
promotional materials)):
R: Papo coje. (1.3) Vamo(-s) mami coje. (Ya
('Man take this. Come on dear take this. Now')
te la) da do/h/.
('I give two')
W: Que e/h/to?
('What is this?')
R: No se? (.) Pero lo e/h/tan dando ahi gra?ti(-s).
('I don't know. But they're giving it away free there')
((Roberto laughs))
R: Yo no se. Yo ( ). No me impo/1/ta.
('I don't know. I ( ). I don't care)
100











((During pre-street fair preparation in Manhattan, Roberto instructs fellow street fair
workers on proper set up)):
R: Right there! Put the pan right there, in the
bottom, right there. A:::::h! Pa(-ra) que yea.
('That' s so you see')
R: Alright Annie, let me go. ((Talking to his wife on the phone))
R: AJA! PA(-RA) ESO CORREN!
('Aha! For that, run!')
AJA! PA(-RA) QUE VEAN!
('Aha! That's so you all see!')
Pa(-ra) eso co/x/en.
('For that, run')

New York English (NYE) Labov' s (1982) study of the New York dialect provides a

comprehensive description of its phonological and syntactic attributes. An important expression

of New York City's distinguished immigration history and character, NYE evolved through

contact between the various languages spoken by those who moved to New York beginning with

the earliest Dutch settlements. Provided that NYC's ethnic groups move further towards inter-

ethnic contact and mixing, this would suggest that the dialect will continue to change, influenced

by the relatively more recent and significant migrations from Latin American, Asia, and West

Indies. Though not exclusively, today NYE is widely spoken by European Americans born and

raised in New York City and neighboring areas.

The highly recognizable New York City accent is based on the following features analyzed

by Labov. I will cover only those most relevant to the participants in this study:

Tensing and raising of the vowel sound /aw/ in words like more, coffee, long, and talk;

tensing of the short vowel in words like banana and bad, with /ae/ becoming /ea/; elision of

syllable final and pre-consonant in words like butter and park; dentalization of/d/ and /t/,

and replacement of lingua-dental fricatives /6/ and /a/ with dentalized stops /d/ and /t/ (e.g. dis

for this).

Examples:










((Calls a friend he had not talked to in a long time to ask for help))
R: No, and I got these ice cream carts Bobby?
(Though) I got these ice cream carts that are ban/ea/nas!
I got the big Haggen Da/d/z ca(-r)ts.

R: It c/aw/st a dolla(-r) a piece.

((Pitching his services to a potential client))
R: I can organize stree:tfai(-r)s for you, f- for your
people if they want. >If they need somebody w- /d/at,
/d/at, knows how to organize it they need
somebody that-< I can go out, I can get /d/e
vendo(-r)s.

Venezuelan Spanish Venezuelan Spanish is classified under the broader category of

Caribbean Spanish. Therefore, while intonation patterns and lexicon differ from those of Cuban,

Dominican, and Puerto Rican Spanish, some important phonological features are shared.

According to Lipski (2004), these include: weakening of intervocalic /d/, and syllable and word

final /s/ elision or aspiration. Traits unique to Venezuelan Spanish include strong pronunciation

of /y/ and as an affricate in word / syntagma initial position, velarized word-final /n/, /rr/

pronounced as a slightly devoiced alveolar vibrant, and syllable final /r/ elision.

Example:
((Talks to a Venezuelan friend outside of his apartment about a Venezuelan
acquaintance)):
R: Y le en afiro. O sea, un ped- 0- no:: esa vaina
('And they fooled him. In other words, a problem- no that mess')
lo tiene que pe?lea:r., (hue-)von. Porque aqui no ha
('he has to fight, dude. Because here no one has')
Ilama- a- a- aqui no llamo na?die.
('call- h- h- here no one called')

African American Vernacular English (AAVE) A robust dialect of English, AAVE was

spoken to varying degrees by six of the eleven participants in phase 1 of this research. Of the

five who did not use AAVE, three are not native English speakers. This speaks to New York

Latinos' identification with their African American peers, as discussed above. Some researchers

consider the use of AAVE by both African Americans and Latinos as resistance to dominant










disparaging discourses (Morgan 1994, Bailey 2001). In this study, a switch to AAVE worked

like other code-switches having social functions. Spoken mostly in informal registers, AAVE

code-switches were used as contextualization cues, for ethnic signaling, and generally to achieve

acceptance by others. It was also used to provide emphasis to certain arguments or expressions,

to be humorous (not in a way mocking to AAVE), and to imbue the speaker with a certain

toughness or directness.

Among the AAVE features most used in this study were elision of postvocalic and

intervocalic /r/ (e.g. car pronounced as /ka/), substitution of syllable final velar nasal , /rj/,

with alveolar nasal in two syllable words (e.g. notin' for nothing), devoicing or elision of

/b/, /d/, and /g/ (e.g. second' for second), elision of syllable final /s/ and /' s/ (e.g. 50 cent for 50

cents), copula deletion (e.g. You funny for You are funny), elision of subject-verb agreement

marker (e.g. He make me nzad for He makes me nzad), double negation (They don 't want

none for 7hey don 't want any), and replacement of amn not, isn 't, aren 't, etc. with ain 't. As with

New York English, there is also the tendency to pronounce lingua-dental fricatives /6/ and /a/

with dentalized stops /t/ and /d/. This can depend on the sound's position in a word (Green

2002). Habitual be, part of the tense-aspect system (Labov 1972, Morgan 1994), and considered

one of the most distinguishing features of AAVE, was also used by some participants. Habitual

be expresses that an action is performed habitually or continually (e.g. She be trippin ', 'She often

acts crazy'). Another component of the tense-aspect marking is the use of stressed been or bin

(e.g. I been done the work) to denote an action that occurred in the distant past and either was

completed in the past or continues into the present. Thus, in the example above, the translation is

'I did the work a long time ago'. Finally, there were numerous words and expressions

popularly associated with AAVE, used by participants in this study. Some of those used by

Roberto were: Yo (an interjection), bro ('brother' or 'friend'), nzad (' a lot'), and son ('friend').










Example:
((Talking to me about a friend who he recruited to help him with a street fair))
R: He didn't have to set up cans. He didn't do not(-h)in(-g).
He lazy. I'm putte- I'm put his ass to work today.

((Helping a friend to figure out how to get the recorder to work))
R: That shit is on, baby.
A: It wasn't on before /d/ough.
R: That' s (be-)cause you ain't lookin(-g), sonny boy.

((Talking to friend on the phone about an upcoming street fair))
R: I got mad shit to drop off!

5.2.3 Abel's Ethnic and Regional Identifications

Ecuadorian- Makes claim to origins in Ecuador. Regionalism was an accepted theme

among Ecuadorians I spoke to while in the field. Personal anecdotes revealed that Ecuador was

divided right in half between los un,\~ici)
people' or 'indios'). According to the prevalent categorizations in Ecuador, c asrici)
fun-loving, superficial, untrustworthy, open-minded, machista~s. Serranos on the other hand are

characterized as conservative, hard-working, ignorant, humble and (also) untrustworthy. The

alleged differences are so deep that Abel once claimed that he, as a costeho, could get along

better with Latinos from any other country than with serranos from his own. Purportedly, these

divisions are transported to American soil by Ecuadorian immigrants so that unity among all

Ecuadorians in the US is a tenuous claim.

Examples:
* Soy ecuatoriano ('I'm Ecuadorian')
* Aqui somos todos ecuatorianos ('Here we are all Ecuadorian')

Guayaquilefio / Costefio Makes claim to origin in the coastal city of Guayaquil,

Ecuador' s largest city. For Abel, who preferred not to tell people he was Ecuadorian, this was an

important category to use. Pride in being Guayaquileho thrived on the sentiment that to be from

Guayaquil was to be street-smart, confident, and ready (not unlike the value that comes from

identifying as a "New Yorker"). According to Abel, to meet a Guayaquileho is to be greeted by
104










someone who will treat you like you've known each other for years. Most importantly for Abel,

to be from Guayaquil was to disassociate from the negative associations made of indios or

serranos.

Examples:
* Yo soy de Guayaquil ('I'm from Guayaquil')
* 100% guayaquilefio!

Indio- Identifieation with a group of people regionally linked to the Sierras of Ecuador or

the countryside. Identification as indio is inextricably connected to specific phenotypic

characteristics; chiefly, brown skin, short stature, and Asiatic facial features. Abel also made

frequent reference to his nose as an undesirable indio trait he inherited. Actually, he held a few

contradictory views about his indigenous heritage. On the one hand, he acknowledged that in

Ecuador he was considered indio. From his travels to Otovalo, he developed romanticized views

about the "indio lifestyle": warm, humble, hard-working. Yet, he identified so strongly as a

costefio that he used deragotory labels like "tira flecha" ('arrow thrower') and choloo" to

describe indios and even himself.

Examples:
* Mi mama es indiecita como ella. ('My mother is a little indian like her')
* Venimos de desendencia india. ('We are descended from Indians')
* Yo soy cholol3. 'I am Indian')

Latino/Hispano Identifieation with the broader pan-ethnic collectivity of people having

roots in the Spanish-speaking countries of North and South America and the Caribbean. It is

well documented that the Hispanic label has historically held negative connotations for many,

particularly in its association with Spanish colonialism. Latino, on the other hand leans towards

inclusiveness, empowerment and self-determination. Some participants in this research invoked



'3 In Ecuador, this derogatory term for people having indigenous heritage connotes backwardness, low educational
attainment, and poor social graces. Abel referred to himself in this way to an acquaintance, as a way of jokingly
explaining his difficulty with opening a particularly tricky car door.

105










the Hispanic label in contexts where they had to identify themselves to the state. Thus, in some

cases this label represents the adoption of state language for categorizing ethnicity. Latino, on

the other hand had connotations, of ethnic and cultural empowerment, arising out of awareness

of being part of a socio-political whole. One interesting exception was suggested by a second

phase survey respondent whom I also interviewed. For him the use of the term Hispanic or

"hispanic" asserted a politically formidable pan-ethnic ideal. For more recent Latino immigrants

the distinction between Hispano and Latino had fewer political connotations.

Corona, the community where Abel lived, was predominantly Latino and significantly

foreign-born. Ricourt and Danta (2003), who conducted their study among women in this very

neighborhood, argue that through convivencia diaria ('daily co-existence') a new pan-ethnic

Latina community has emerged in Queens. The authors suggest that this web of informal

alliances is mobilized to address pan-Latina concerns, without weakening particularistic ethnic

group identity. During the time spent with Abel, my view into this community was very much a

view into a man's world. Still, my observations tend to agree with that of Ricourt and Danta.

Abel, in particular, held a pluralistic personal philosophy encouraged by considerable time spent

living with non-Ecuadorian Latinos:

Como he estado muchos afios aqui, he vivido
con muchas nacionalidades. Yo he vivido en un
apartamento donde viven uruguayos, argentinos,
dominicanos, brasileros. Me he ajuntado much
con diferentes nacionalidades. Menos con
Ecuatorianos.

(' Since I've been here many years, I have lived
with many nationalities. I have lived in an apart-
ment where Uruguayans, Argentines, Dominicans,
Brazilians live. I've gotten together with many
different nationalities. Except Ecuadorians.')

However, what he describes in this excerpt had changed considerably by the time of the research.

His workplace was almost exclusively Ecuadorian. In my time with other participants in this
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community, I observed similar clustering of ethnic groups. As a caveat to Ricourt and Danta' s

findings, my observation from work in the Jackson Heights and Corona area is that in immigrant

men's work domains (e.g. business in general, sales, gypsy cab collectives, construction) there is

still a strong tendency towards organizing along ethnic rather than pan-ethnic lines.

Examples:
* Siempre yo soy Latino. ('I'm always Latino')

Colombian, et al- Makes claim to origin in Colombia. Although Abel had no connection to

Colombia, he was known to give people the impression that he was. As I will illustrate in this

chapter, Abel was willing to go along with any assumption people made of his ethnic

background.

Example:
* O sea a mi me daba vergtienza. ('In other words, I was ashamed.') "Where are you from?"
"Ah, from Colombia! From Venezuela! From Brazil!"

5.2.4 Abel's Linguistic Repertoirel4

Ecuadorian Spanish (ES) Few studies have been conducted about Ecuadorian Spanish.

Lipski (2004) cites a 1953 monograph by Humberto Mateus Toscano as the most comprehensive

to date. According to Lipski, Quechua has made important contributions to the Spanish of

Ecuador. While Quechua is more widely spoken in the highland regions, prolonged contact

between the rural areas and the large cities has spread the influence of Quechua beyond the

Sierras. Besides the indigenous connection, Afro-Ecuadorian populations both along the coastal

region and in the highland Valle de Chota, have retained elements of ancestral African languages



14 Abel was a familiar with phonology and lexicon from a number of other dialects of Spanish, specifically
Colombian, Dominican, and Rioplatense Spanish. Because his speech in the recordings was characteristically
Ecuadorian a great majority of the time, these other dialects will not be considered as part of his linguistic repertoire.
However, as I will discuss later in this chapter, depending on who he talked to he introduced key words, phrases or
pronunciations from other dialects into his speech. I should add that the Spanish from the Caribbean coastal regions
of Colombia shares features of Ecuadorian Spanish. Both languages tend towards elision or aspiration of syllable
final /s/ and velarization of word final /n/. Therefore, it would not be a complete stretch, linguistically, for Abel to
identify himself as a Colombian from the Caribbean coast.

107









in their Spanish. The Spanish of Ecuador is divided into three primary regions: coastal, Andean

highlands, and Cuenca / Amazonian. Here I will outline the features of coastal ES only. These

include: velarization of syntagma final /n/ and also in prevocalic words"; some tendency to

neutralize preconsonant /1/ and /r/, frequent elision of syntagma final /r/; realization of /rr/ as an

alveolar vibrant; weak intervocalic fricative /y/, at times elided in contact with /i/ and /e/; and

aspirated or elided syllable and word final /s/. Voseo, the use of second person singular pronoun

vos instead of tui, is common in the coastal area of Ecuador but stigmatized among the upper

classes in Guayaquil (Toscano Mateus, 1953: 200). Therefore, while it is widespread in coastal

communities, there's a tendency away from this practice in Guayaquil. In fact, Abel did not use

voseo except when addressing speakers of Rioplatense Spanish.

Examples:
((A co-worker asks if he received a call they were all expecting))
A: A mi y a Marco >no(-s) = (ha-)n=lllllll1~1111anz(-do. A lo/ br
('They called Marco and I. To the
do/ bI nYona(-s) = no(-s) =han =1111111111Illlllllanza(-d~ br .
('two of us only they have called.')

((Talks to Marco over the phone about political problems at work))
A: A: claro (e-)so=si puche. Poiq bIl Porque asi por asi, meter
('Ah sure, that' s true pal. Because, like that, to put in
oi~~l Jun by a quien recla~na~nos. A quien le hacento(-s) pito.
Orders and who do we complain to? Whose attention will we get?')

((Standard information given to potential DTV clients))
A: Activacion y equipo totalmente gratis.
('Activation and equipment totally free').

Hispanized English (HE) Abel learned about my study while attending a community ESL

class. He was not fully fluent in English, but among his fellow Ecuadorian salesmen, he had the

most command. His English could best be described using Zentella' s (1997) classification,

Hispanized English. This variety is marked by transfer of Spanish phonology and grammar.



'5 Bold n in transcripts indicates velarized /n/.









Features cited by Zentella as common to HE are: tendency to reduce vowels to the five vowel

sounds of Spanish; and tendency to reduce consonant clusters and replace English phonemes like

the interdental voiced and voiceless fricatives /6/ and /a/. Grammatical transfers from Spanish

can result in double negation. Forms that transfer the form and meaning of a Spanish lexical

item to English also occur (e.g. "She puts me nervous" from M~e pone nerviosa) ibidd.: 47).

Examples:
((After teasing him jokingly, requests that the manager of a DirectTV installation office
address some concerns of Abel's sales team))
A: >I know you were /eh/smokin(-g).< >I know you were
/eh/smokin(-g).<
Mv: Hello. How're you doing.
A: I wonderr investigationl6 So be careful what you say.
((Laughs)).
M: Ah. Alright. That's good.=
A: = We need to ta/t/ to you. We need to ta/t/ to you.
We wan(-t) a know wha(-t)'s goin(-g) on here.

((Apologizing to an English speaking-friend over the phone))
A: I promise. I promise. I'm feel really ba/h/ about /d/at.
So sorry about that, I wan(-t) a do somet(-h)in(-g),
to- to-. I wan(-t) say apology. I wan(-t) a say
apology so ( ). I wan(-t) eh- I wan(-t) do somet(-h)in(-g)
better...I' m feel really ba/h/ about /d/at.

5.3 Conclusion

In the beginning of this chapter I painted contradictory pictures of the Latino experience in

New York City. The immigration rallies of 2006 saw people from throughout Latin America

take up under the broad Latino or Hispano categories: "Viva la hispanidad!" Yet these events

exposed cleavages that exist within the pan-ethnicity: recall the defensive Puerto Rican emails

and the Dominican respondent who was against amnesty for undocumented immigrants. In my

view, it is not a question whether unity exists among Latinos, because it does. And neither is it a




16 This was the subtle, humorous way Abel customarily used to let people know that he was wearing an audio
recorder.










question of whether divisions exist, because they do. Rather, two things stand out to me as

important factors: perceived racial difference and generation.

However diverse the racial categorization systems that exist in their native countries,

Latinos bring with them negative associations with negro and indio. These cut across national

origin so that a black Colombian or Panamanian may have better relations with a Dominican

than with whites from their own home countries. Similarly, an Ecuadorian from the Quechua-

speaking, indigenous areas of the Sierra, may have more simpatia with a highland Peruvian or a

poblan2o of Mexico, than with an Ecuadorian unicirljl. It is not to say, however, that blacks and

indios have much basis for bonds either. While close at the bottom of the racial hierarchy, these

categories occupy very distinct spaces. In my view, any group that has an association with

blackness, including Nuyoricans because of their historical and geographic proximity to African

American communities, dwell within their own pan-ethnic umbrella. Similarly, the campesinos

of Mexico, Central America and South America, those tending to have indigenous roots, have a

strong basis for their own pan-ethnicity.

Cross-generationally17 we find another important distinction. First, we can assume that

most if not all second-and third-generation migrants will have learned English. This opens up

opportunities to build out-group relationships and greater opportunities for developing ethnic

self-identifications tied to these relationships (e.g. American or Latino). These later generations

grow up in a cosmopolitan New York. Through school and work, they branch out beyond the

ethnic enclave. In some cases, if out-group relationships dominate the social network over long

periods of time, the person can come to identify primarily with this out-group. For example, I

encountered one young, white Puerto Rican woman raised in predominantly black


'7 Considerable length-of-stay in the U.S. will be included as part of this generational distinction. So, an immigrant
who arrived in the U.S. at a very early age and lived in the U.S. for most of their life is assumed to exhibit beliefs
and behaviors consistent with a second-generation immigrant.

110










neighborhoods, with a largely black social network who claimed to be black. Roberto, the

Venezuelan participant mentioned earlier in this chapter grew up with Puerto Ricans and married

Puerto Rican women. He had expertly adopted Puerto Rican dialect, was familiar with Puerto

Rican idioms and popular culture, and identified strongly with his Puerto Rican friends. Each of

these two participants developed a repertoire of behaviors quite consistent with their adopted

ethnic groups. In overcoming the structural barriers that limit more recent migrants, later

generations tend to diverge economically, behaviorally and in identification, from their parents

and grandparents.

Of course, there are exceptions to these two trends. For example, first-generation Mexican

or Argentine professionals, say in the finance and information sectors, may experience similar

patterns of integration as second and third generation migrants. Proficient in English, they may

build diverse social networks that include members of other ethnic groups, including more

Americans. They could live in Manhattan, rather than immigrant Queens. In turn, these

immigrants would have little in common with undocumented migrant laborers. But these class-

based distinctions also tend to be co-related with race and generational variables.









CHAPTER 6
ROBERTO

6.0 Introduction

Roberto and I first met at a Starbucks in Astoria, where I conducted screening interviews

for Phase 1 participants. Just as he said he would, Roberto entered the cafe wearing a blue jump

suit, white sneakers and a New York Yankees baseball hat. We greeted each other in English as

we would for most of our other interactions. From the beginning Roberto struck me as an

energetic and enthusiastic man. I quickly recognized after meeting him that he used this energy

and enthusiasm to sell a point. Though he did not need to convince me that he would be a

fantastic participant for my research, he dominated much of the interview with lively

affirmations of his flexible language skills. He even assured me that if I decided to write a book

based on my research it would be "a hit".

During our time together, Roberto shared freely and candidly his experiences with drug

abuse, economic hardship, and family turmoil. He also shared with me his knowledge of running

street businesses, being an entrepreneur himself. As we walked together in Manhattan and

Queens, he explained to me how African street vendors make money on watches and wallets,

why and how Chinese sellers peddle bootleg DVD's and the best way to compete with them, and

the workings of a few other illegal operations. He also put me to work in his canopy business,

assembling canopy set-ups and moving tables and chairs for street fairs.

Even from our first meeting, Roberto's broad linguistic and ethnic repertoire was clear. At

Starbucks, I learned that he was 36 years old, worked part-time as a lifeguard, was Venezuelan-

born, of Spanish-origin, and married to a Puerto Rican woman. To my excitement, I found

frequent evidence of his flexible use of language and ethnicity throughout my observations.

Next I will describe each of these categories in turn, including supporting quotes from my

interviews of Roberto and samples of his naturally occurring speech.

112









6.1 A Brief History of Roberto

In Chapter 5, I described an incident in which Roberto used Puerto Rican identity to

expedite a drug purchase. He shared this story with me as part of a longer explanation of why he

felt so comfortable in Puerto Rican skin. At the age of nine, Roberto was sent by his mother

from Venezuela to live with his father in the US. In New York, he grew up in a mixed Queens

neighborhood: whites, blacks, and Latinos. Roberto recounted to me that he was often confused

for Italian or Greek. In fact, in the initial screening interview he said he considered himself

Spanish because his father's roots were in Spain. As an adolescent, his close childhood friends

were Puerto Rican, Colombian, and Italian, yet he lived near a neighborhood with a large African

American and West Indian population and his stepmother is a black Haitian. With his father as

his only real tie to Venezuela, Roberto learned to walk the walk and talk the talk of the other

Latinos he came in regular contact with. For example, he recounts that the Puerto Rican mothers

and grandmothers of his best friends were like second mothers to him. These women cooked for

him and adopted him into their homes.

After high school, Roberto planned to enter the Marine Corp. He traveled back to

Venezuela for four months to "clean up his system". However, within two months of his return

to the US, Roberto's father died and he was thrown into a tailspin. Leaving his childhood

community to wander the streets of New York City, he succumbed to substance abuse. For three

years he lived in the homeless shelter system and was in-and-out of detox programs. During this

period of his life he honed his urban survival skills, which undoubtedly included using ethnicity

and language to avoid trouble and establish supportive bonds. One of the other things that

Roberto became good at was making "fast money". During my time with him, I observed him

use his ethnic and linguistic flexibility to secure financial stability.









Despite periods in his life of considerable instability, Roberto developed a long-term

relationship with Annie, a self-identified Puerto Rican woman of mixed parentage. While they

were not legally married, they referred to each other as husband and wife, raised Annie's 12 year

old daughter together, and had been together for 6 years. Annie, who had been estranged from

her African American father, was raised by her Puerto Rican mother in the Bedford-Stuyvesant

neighborhood in Brooklyn. She identified strongly as Puerto Rican and expressed this

identification in her occasional use of Spanish, love for Latin dancing, and Puerto Rican stickers

and flags that adorned her car and home. Roberto admitted that they spoke mostly Puerto Rican

Spanish in their home. However, during my observations of their interactions, Annie very rarely

spoke Spanish; Roberto much more so. Her use of Spanish was limited to short utterances. In

their relationship Spanish seemed to function as a way to sweeten-up the other, as in the

following short exchanges:

((ANNIE AND ROBERTO AT HOME ONE ((ANNIE AND ROBERTO IN THEIR CAR,
MORNING)) TALKING ABOUT A BUSINESS
E: I'LL BE BACK, YOU WANT ME TO OPPORTUNITY))
MAIL THIS? E: NOT ONLY THAT, WE ALSO HAVE
A: POR FA VOR. THE VILLAGE VOICE.
('PLEASE') OH MAN, I'M LIKING IT! I'M
E: POR FA VOR, UNBESITO!? LIKING THIS BUSINESS.
('PLEASE, A LITTLE KISS!?') ((ROBERTO LAUGHS
((THEY EXCHANGE KISSES)) DEVILISHLY)).
A: TAN BELLA, CO1~70 M4M4r, M~AMA!
('SO BEAUTIFUL, DAMN!') (( IN AN ENDEARING VOICE))
V M4MT~ YO QUIERO CAFE. ME
PUEDES COM~PRAR CAFE?
('MAMI I WANT COFFEE. CAN
YOU BUY ME COFFEE?')
M~E P UEDES COM~PRAR UN CAFE?
(' CAN YOU BUY ME A COFFEE?')
A: OH, I NEED MONEY!


Roberto saw his relationship with Annie as providing a strong basis for identification with

Puerto Rican language and culture. It is not uncommon for a person to adopt the ethnic identity

114









of a spouse of partner (cf. Spickard & Fong 1995). In the past, the direction of such an adoption

may have happened along gender-based power differences, through the woman's adaptation to

her mate's culture. In Roberto and Annie's case, his adoption of Puerto Rican dialect, food

preferences, and frames of reference happened prior to the relationship and was perhaps a basis

for their initial bond. When they had money, Roberto and Annie traveled regularly to visit

Annie's relatives in Puerto Rico.

I asked Roberto if he tried to pass as Puerto Rican when he visited the island and he

energetically replied yes. "Why?" I asked and his immediate response was: "I don't know.

Pathological liar maybe?" But then, he provided the drug purchase example given in Chapter 3

in which he used Puerto Rican dialect to convince black drug dealers that he was not a white

undercover cop. So, while Roberto attributes his switching to a character flaw, he unabashedly

acknowledges his ethnic flexibility and the benefits that come from it. Of the eleven participants

who were the focus of this study, Roberto was a model case. His diverse upbringing coupled

with personal upheavals and economic scarcity, has made it possible for him to develop ethnicity

as a survival tool. If variation means adaptation, then Roberto's example shows that in the

demanding ethnic landscape that is NYC, ethnic and linguistic variation has clear adaptive

advantages.

The graphic below (Figure 1) depicts that Roberto was also diverse in his social relations.

Growing up in middle-class Queens Village, Roberto lived among a mix of people and

languages. His close childhood friends were European-, Colombian- and Puerto Rican-

American. Queens Village is close to Jamaica, an established middle-class West Indian

neighborhood and Roberto reports being one of the few white kids in a predominantly black

school. Roberto affirms that he was more drawn to the "Spanish crowd" and "the whites;" the










Spanish guys because they "got all the pretty girls" and the white guys because he felt he had

more in common with them.

In figure 1, refer to the legend for information about each network member' s (alter) ethnic

background. The size of the nodes represents his closeness to each of the alters: the bigger the

nodes, the closer he felt to them. Roberto' s network consists of four components. The largest

component appears in the middle and includes work related, family and friendship ties. Next, at

the bottom right of the graph, two nodes are connected to each other and no one else. These are

women who are related to each other, and have been supportive to Roberto in his life. Finally,

each of the two isolates are separate components. These are distant acquaintances (Roberto was

unsure about the last name of one of them), who have no relation to each other or anyone else in

the network.

Figure 1 Roberto' s Personal Network

~7Isolates


ig *
~* Work related







Legend
American X
& Either
Venezuel an
Dominican Family and close friends
Puerto Rican
Good friends
*i Colombian


Roberto's personal network is moderately dense. Some areas are more interconnected than

others. His family and close friends more so than his work related contacts. The people he has

known in his money-making ventures have not all been from one employer or organization. We










can see that most are spread out, several of which are only linked to Annie (Roberto's main

business partner). The largest component, represents 41 of the 45 alters Roberto listed. His

wife, Annie, can be seen in the middle, the most central person in his network. Except for the

isolates and dyad on the bottom right, Annie has contacts with all areas of Roberto's network. I

should add that in my week with Roberto (and in the other week he recorded on his own), he had

contact with very few of the 45 people he listed. I personally met only his wife, step-daughter

(large black node directly below Annie's), and five or six of his work-related contacts. This

brings to mind issues about the accuracy and reliability of network data (particularly, in terms of

describing daily realities of social interaction); a topic addressed in several papers by Bernard,

Killworth, and Sailer (Killworth and Bernard 1976, 1979; Bernard and Killworth 1977; Bernard,

et. al. 1979, 1982). My impression was that Roberto himself was isolated.

The ethnic diversity of his upbringing and formative years is also portrayed in the graph.

Roberto described half of his network as American (black nodes). Three of these he further

described as Nuyorican or of Puerto Rican descent. His American alters are mostly white, but

four were described as African American or mixed-race. Of the nodes that appear in blue

("other"), two were categorized as Russian, one as Jamaican, and another as Haitian (his step-

mother who appears as the largest of the blue nodes). A number of his alters are Puerto Rican,

more so than those who are Venezuelan. Finally, Roberto had weak ties to (based, in this case

on closeness) to a Dominican man and a Colombian man. Thus, we can see that the two maj or

network influences, both in terms of numbers and degree of closeness, were American and

Puerto Rican. As we will see in his linguistic data, these influences are evident in his code

choice and discourse.









6.2 Linguistic Data and Analysis

6.2.1 Why Don't You Come in on this Man?

On my first day of observation with Roberto I accompanied him as he passed out

promotional flyers for his business. At the time, Roberto and Annie were two years into their

street fair equipment rental venture. Roberto had worked many years for an established street

fair production company before deciding to go independent. A rather enterprising man, Roberto

had significant experience with various informal sector businesses. According to Roberto, one

of his previous ventures was a lucrative, but shady, donation collection setup in Manhattan.

Roberto and his wife administered numerous street-side stands that asked for help-the-homeless

donations from pedestrians. These donations were actually pocketed by the collectors who in

turn paid Roberto a large percentage. Eventually, this and similar operations were shut down by

then NYC District Attorney, Eliot Spitzer. Roberto's assets were confiscated and he was left

penniless.

Roberto was strongly committed to lift himself and his family from the financial hole. He

jumped on any opportunity to make money, whether it was to sell colognes, bootleg DVD's, and

Italian ices in the streets or participate in research studies. Roberto also worked part-time as a

lifeguard in an apartment building. The street fair rental business he promoted on our first day of

observations was an attempt to legitimize his entrepreneurial aspirations. He was seriously

focused on establishing connections with local businesses, to build his clientele.

The transcript that follows was from one of many encounters with sales clerks and store

managers as he distributed flyers store to store. The stores were situated in close proximity to

each other in a busy commercial zone in Rego Park, Queens. Roberto was informed about a

street fair that was to take place in that area within a few weeks. The flyers he distributed

promoted a special deal on canopies, tables, chairs and set-up for street fair participants. Upon










entering a cellular phone store to drop off a flyer, Roberto greeted James, the store's supervisor.

In my observation notes I wrote that James, a stocky, fair-skinned man, was not immediately

recognizable as Latino, which he happened to be. Also, his English was unaccented for Spanish.

Since Roberto is also not immediately identifiable as Latino, I believe both men entered into the

interaction unsure about the other' s ethnicity. The transcript reveals attempts on both their parts

to test their assumptions and establish the appropriate linguistic and behavioral protocols. These

were needed to create the rapport they both eagerly sought, each with their own businesses in

mind.

1 R: H'you doing.
2 J: Alright.=
3 R: =You guys ah participating in the street faiz?
4 (0.7)
5 J: Yeah.
6 R: You are? (0.5) 'K. Just in case you need, ah, in
7 case you need canopies tables and chai(-r)z,
8 (1.0)
9 j's gimee a call.
10 J: Yeah. I don't know when the next one is I
11 haven't got [any-]
12 R: [May twenty-secon(-d).]
13 J: Rea:.11y?
14 R: That' s the one with the Chamber and 15 is in deh:: fawl>.
16 (1.0)
17 J: Mm, well I do the Clearview one over at at my
18 other store.
19 R: Ah, which store is [that-
20 J: [(By the), ah, Junction Boulevard.
21 R: On Junction?, yeah?
22 J: Yeah.
23 R: Well, I got the canopies, tables and chairs. I
24 used to work for Clearview. I worked for Clearview
25 for 8 yea(-r)z.
26 J: [oOk.o]
27 R: [An' ] um I started a canopy company (0.5)
28 that' s (0.8) direct contact with dem, so whenever you
29 need one or if you need tables, chaiz whatever
30 you need,[ j's give me a cawl ahead of time, let=
31 J: [oOk.o
32 R: =me know what event, give me your spot nuhmbuh and
119









33 it will be there before you get der.
34 (1.0)
35 J: Ok.=
36 R: =And [it'll already be set up.
37 J: [( )=
38 R: =>Yah.<

Most prominent in these first few lines of Roberto' s exchange with James, is his use of

pronunciation related to New York English. In lines 3, 7, 25, 29, and 32 he elides the syllable

final /r/ in the words "fairs," "chairs," "years," and "number". Another feature of NYE used by

Roberto is dentalization of /d/, which in most varieties of English is produced as an alveolar

(with the tip of the tongue behind the teeth). He used dentalized /d/ in line 28 with "direct".

Lines 15, 28, and 33 suggest that he tends to replace the lingua-dental fricative /a/ with

dentalized stop /d/, so that the "deh" them "dem," and there "der". A final NYE

feature to point out in this segment is the quintessentially New York tensing of vowel sound /aw/

in fall -"fawl". Roberto introduced pronunciation from AAVE as well. In line 12 we see that

he devoiced syllable final /d/, second second" '

If there is one linguistic influence in Enrirque's life that dominated over others, it was

English. Throughout this entire transcript we will see reflections of Roberto' s diverse

upbringing. However, without taking factors external to lines 1 through 37 into account, the

speech of these men seems to be that of two working or middle class New Yorkers (possibly of

European background) conversing. His choice of NYE also supports the interpretation that

Roberto initially assumed James to be white and American. In other cases where Roberto met

men and women who looked Latino, he approached them immediately in Spanish.

Pitching his canopy business had become a smooth and automatic process. He always

began by asking potential clients if they planned to participate in the upcoming street fair. This

opening functioned more as a way to legitimize his initial approach than a screening question,

because regardless of whether they said "yes" or "no," Roberto handed a flyer and described his
120










services quickly and concisely. Thus, the opening helped to distinguish him from just any

solicitor, to a solicitor who might actually have something useful to offer. A common

component of his pitches was name-dropping "Clearview". In the street fair business, this

company was large and reputable and Roberto seized any opportunities to make explicit his

association with them. In line 17, James reveals knowledge of Clearview and in lines 23-27

Roberto capitalizes on it by stating his association with Clearview.

As we will see, James was also partial to name-dropping and stressing his status and

qualifications. In line 17, he refers to a store in Junction Boulevard as "my other store". It's not

clear whether this was a statement of actual ownership, or an implication. I do know, however,

that in other declarations of his background and qualifications he never mentions ownership of

any store or stores. The reference to Junction Boulevard may also have been a very subtle clue

to his background, as most of the businesses on Junction Boulevard in Corona, Queens are either

owned, manned, or frequented by Latinos. Next, James is ready to bring ethnicity into the

interaction.

39 J: Let me give you some information.
40 (5.0)
41 J: Roberto?!
42 R: Yeah.
43 J: I had a couple of other customers that that(.) do
44 fairs and stuff.
45 R: O?k.
46 (2.0)
47 J: oTry to give you some info.o
48 (2.0)
49 ((James searches for business card))
50 J: o(Ok)o ((James hands Roberto business card))

James reads Roberto's name out loud (line 41), as it appears on the flyer given to him. He

says the name using Spanish pronunciation, with monophthongized vowels and a very slight

velarization of the medial /r/. In the context of the speech preceding and following line 41, this

pronunciation of Roberto' s name is a code-switch. I believe it was intended to signal James' s
121










recognition of Roberto as a Latino and in turn signal his own identification (he recognized or at

least assumed Roberto was Latino because of his name). This also set the stage for the business

card that he was about to give. It is interesting that in turn 42, Roberto's curt response does not

reveal an inclination to communicate with James at that level. It was more of a "Yes, that' s my

name" response than "Oh, you know Spanish?" I get the impression that he had accomplished

his goal, dissimenated his information, and was ready to move on. James initiates a repair (lines

43-44) to line 41 by providing Roberto with more details to justify his getting and giving the

business card.

51 (3.0)
52 ((Roberto reads business card))
53 R: Cuchifr~ito for Thoughtl
('Puerto Rican soul food')
54 ((Roberto laughs))
55 R: I like that! [That's hot.]
56 ((Roberto looking at business card))
57 J: [(Yeah I),] I own an online magazine
58 called Cuchifr~ito for Thought, it's been around for 8
59 years.
60 R: O?k.
61 J: Ahm, (2.0) I'm working with a company called
62 Alianza Latina?
('Latino/a Alliance')
63 (.5)
64 J: They did something really big in, ah, Flushing
65 Meadow Park last year.
66 R: No me digaI b .=
('You don't say?')
67 J: = Yeah and >it's all Latino(-s)< and [(and from 21 countries?,]
68 R: [O:h, coho, e(-s)ta (bien).]
('Oh, damn, that's good.')
69 J: >and they used a bunch [of canopies and stuff like that.]<=
70 R: [oMm::::h, o?k.o]

The business card works. Roberto, who reads "Cuchifr~ito" using Spanish pronunciation

(monophtongized vowels and a vibrant medial /r/), is amused by the title and his interest is

piqued. Notice that James did not explain the business card or mention his business as he handed

1s Pseudonyms are used for names of companies and organizations that may reveal participants' identities.

122









the card to him. Instead, he allowed time for Roberto to get the full effect of the name on his

own, and perhaps to gauge his interest. Having confirmed Roberto's interest, James enters

immediately into his own pitch. He makes a connection between his ongoing projects and

involvement with Alianza Latina (lines 61-62) and Roberto' s business (line 69). Thus offering

the possibility for mutual support or collaboration. With his Cuchifr~ito magazine and link to a

Latino organization, James is successful in communicating his affiliation with Latino ethnicity.

Notice that more straight-forward means of identification are not employed here. The subtle

cues presented by both James and Roberto are up to this point based solely on presupposed

cultural knowledge (the sort enclosed by schemas and models). At this point, Roberto

recognizes the importance of confirming his own affiliation. This is accomplished by the code-

switch in line 66. Although it is too early at this point to be certain what dialect of Spanish

Roberto will use for the rest of the conversation, the word final /s/ in "diga~s" is aspirated, so that

diga~s "d~'~''iga b ". This is a characteristic feature in Puerto Rican Spanish.

Roberto' s code-switch in line 66 is an important move to align himself with James, who

prior to that point had made several attempts to bring their ethnicity into the interaction. Using

Scotton & Ury's (1977) classifications, Roberto has moved the conversation from a

ttrttrttrtranational~r~r~r~ arena to an identity arena. Still, James doesn't actually switch himself. In my

view, this supports the notion that Roberto's code-switch was recognized as having an

identification function rather than an invitation to continue the conversation in Spanish. It's also

not that James didn't feel the need to identify himself as Latino. On the contrary, it is clear that

he invoked Latino ethnicity at several points in their exchange (lines 41, 50, 62, and 67). He also

subtly identifies himself as a Caribbean Latino, perhaps Puerto Rican, by the choice of Cuchifr~ito

for his magazine. The talk sequence in lines 66 through 68 establishes their common

identification as Latino men. First, Roberto switches (line 62), confirming his identification and









interest. Then, with his emphasis on "all Latino" (line 67), James assumes and appeals to

Roberto's interest in working with other Latinos. Finally, Roberto acknowledges this appeal and

confirms his interest (line 68) with "Oh, coho, e 'ta bien" (syllable final /s/ is deleted as is

common in NSPRS). At this point they have both established a common frame of reference.

One in which common identification as Latinos presupposes certain cooperative interests.

71 J: = They're actually really big out there.=
72 R: =Who ah::, who whose, who organizes that. Who
73 sent (.) who? does [it.]
74 J: [>Ah] I can give you all the contact information,<
75 just hit me up at the website.=
76 R: =At this website?=
77 J: =oLet me give you my email address.o-
78 R: =Yeah, give me your email man. I definitely,
79 what I'll do is (.5) I'll email you some'n' like
80 dis?
81 ((Roberto holds out one of his flyers))
82 J: Mhm.
83 R: Remember, Celestial Canopy Rentals. That's mine
84 papa. Y yo hago, mira yo hago (1.3) el el show >puertorrique~o
('man. And I do, look I do the the Puerto Rican show')
85 for the Bronx Borough President' s office in the Bronx?<
86 J: Mhm?
87 R: I'm doing that this year. (.)That's on June twent -six.

Speaking exclusively in English, most of James's utterances to this point do not share the NYE

features present in Roberto's speech. In general his speech suggests a tendency towards Standard

American English. He does reveal some inclination for AAVE with the use of the idiomatic

phrase "hit me up" ('contact me'). His switch to Spanish pronunciations with words

"Cuchifr~ito" and "Latino" may suggest familiarity with Puerto Rican (New York Latino) English

(Wolfram 1973, Zentella 1997). On the other hand, Roberto, who started out with a strong

tendency towards NYE, introduces more elements of standard and nonstandard Puerto Rican

Spanish and AAVE. For example, in line 79 and 80, \Innethrling like this -, "some'n' like dis;"

with the substitution of syllable final velar nasal , in "something" with an alveolar nasal

and the production of the lingua-dental fricative
as a dental stop /d/. This last feature is
124









also present in NYE. Roberto switches to NSPRS in line 84. I'm classifying this utterance as

nonstandard rather than standard PRS because of the use of "papa"- a common word in

colloquial PRS with a function similar to slang man in English and the hispanized

pronunciation of the word "ho \Il~ '. One other thing to note in line 84 is the short pause between

"hago" and "eP'. Here and with the false starts ("el, eP') before "\lhem l' it seems that Roberto

was looking for the appropriate Spanish word to describe the event. He finally settled on an

English word but with Spanish pronunciation.

For the first time in their exchange, Roberto makes a specific reference to a Latino group,

namely Puerto Ricans. It is significant that he switches to Spanish to state his participation in a

Puerto Rican event. In combination with his use of Puerto Rican pronunciation, this seems to

locate him closer to a Puerto Rican identification than any other up this point. James, for his

part, is consistent in his goal to promote himself and his website. In a move reminiscent of a

typical sales tactic (lines 74-75), he directs Roberto to his website for information requested in

lines 72-73, rather than give it to him upfront.

88 J: Well [a::ctually]
89 R: [Los salseros], [van, van estar r ]
('The salsa players, will, will be-')
90 J: [I don't know if you guys are] doing anything on ah
91 (1.5) if you guys are doing anything on Saturday.
92 Actually my birthday party I'm having it in Park
93 Avenue on in the Helmsley Building (.5) at a little
94 lounge called Lea Lounge? (.5) I have a private one-
95 hour (.6) spot before the club actually opens up.
96 J: [( ) ]
97 R: [>Righ', righ', righ'<.]
98 J: Like little cocktail hour networking type of thing.
99 Ah:: a lot of people from La M~ega ((popular Latino music station))
100 are gonna be there, a lot of people from Amo Z/ ((a romantic Latino
101 music station)), all the radio stations and stuff.=
102 R: =Really?
103 J: And then uhm (.) ah (.) my good friend, who I manage,
104 ah Yaira Lopez she is a Latina comedian. She's actually
105 performing some comedy there, (.) during that time.
106 R: Wo[w!









107 J: [>When the club opens up<, it' s gonna be a regular
108 club night, but (.6) if you guys wanna stop by just
109 send [me an email.
110 R: [At what time, at what time is this?
111 J: From ten to eleven, [that's the ()] hour.
112 R: [At night?]
113 J: Yeah.
114 R: Oh, that's hot. I cou'do dat!
115 J: Yep [it' s right on] Park Avenue. It's a really classy [place. ]
116 R: [' Cause I got-] [I know-]

Mentioning his participation in the Bronx Borough President's Puerto Rican celebration

(lines 84 and 87), served to further signal a Puerto Rican connection with James. James in turn

acknowledged this connection (line 90) by inviting Roberto and me to his birthday bash.

According to James, not only was this private social networking event to take place at a classy

Park Avenue club, but some of the biggest names in the New York Latino community were to

attend. It is apparent in this transcript that James wished to create a grandiose impression on

Roberto. His wish to come across as person actively involved in the Latino community is also

clear. All of this makes sense, given that he was trying to secure Roberto' s business, as will

become obvious in a moment. Like with his other switches, James reserved Spanish

pronunciation for the names of people or organizations. In line 100 he pronounces the radio

station name Amor in a way typical for many speakers of NSPRS; he substitutes word final /r/

with an /1/.

Turning now to Roberto, line 89 ("Los salseros, van, van exiar r ," 'The salsa players,

will, will be-') illustrates an attempt to appeal to James's knowledge and appreciation of Puerto

Rican music. Roberto expressed line 89 with Imowing enthusiasm and emphasis. Roberto

invokes a common schema among Puerto Ricans, one that I call the sensational-salsa-event

schema. This schema generates images and sensations of the pulsating and energetic salsa

performers and dancers; the kind of revelry valued in Puerto Rican culture. I believe he

purposely invoked this schema as means of further aligning himself, particularly because his
126









enthusiasm contradicts his much more downplayed description of the event to a Venezuelan

friend (see line 152 in section 6.4.2). It would suggest that he built up the event here (lines 84,

85, 89) to bolster the importance of his own business. In this section of the transcript Roberto

once again uses AAVE phonological elements. "Oh, that's hot. I cou'do dat!" he exclaims in

response to James's explanation. Roberto devoices word final /d/ in "could," bridging with /d/ in

"do". He also dentalizes the alvelor fricative /a/,
in "that".

Something subtle is going on with the ethnic alignments made by these men. While

Roberto seems to be consistently invoking Puerto Rican frames of reference, James consistently

refers to a more pan-ethnic Latino orientation. We can return to the beginning of the transcript to

find evidence of this (lines 62, 67, 99, 100, and 104). His mention of Puerto Rican comedian

Yaira Lopez (line 104) would have been a good place to make this connection more explicit, but

instead he opts for the general term Latina. Could it be that he is not fully convinced about

Roberto's background? Does Roberto conjure Puerto Rican associations because he is clear

about James's background? There are a number of factors that come into play when people

make such judgements about the ethnic backgrounds of others. Appearance is key factor. In

New York there are strong mental models for what a Puerto Rican, Mexican, Dominican, etc.

looks like. Roberto, for his part, does not quite fit the mold of what a Puerto Rican is supposed

to look like. Accent is another factor. Unless he consciously emphasizes one Spanish dialect or

another in his speech, Roberto's accent does not easily identify him either. He admits to

stumping people regularly. As he says, leaving people thinking, "Damn, where the fuck is he

from?" A person's appearance can lead a curious spectator in one direction and their accent in

another direction. I'm inclined to think this was the case for James. Assuming that people will

tend to invoke the identity that most favorably aligns them with another (Barth 1969; Cohen

1969; Haaland 1969; Kaufert 1977; Nagata 1974; Padilla 1984; Patterson 1975, Banks 1987),

127









James opted for the more general, inclusive identification. Clearly, this only makes sense in

situations where similarity rather than contrast is valued.

117 R: I know exactly which one it is.=
118 J: = They play, they play a mix of everything. (.5) Umh, but yeah we can
119 definitely talk. And I [also build websites.]
120 R: [Yo man? Listen man, if we can,
121 J: I build websites.
122 R: Yeah? You do websites!?
123 J: Under 500 [bucks ( )]
124 R: [Dude, I don't even] have, I don't even
125 have a website for Celestial Canopies, man, so
126 we definitely need to sit down and tawk
127 [and try to kick some stuff around.]
128 J: [Under 500 bucks], you, you won't
129 even pay for hosting.
130 (.5)
131 R: Rea: :11y?=
132 J: =Everything's included.=
133 R: =Everything's included?
134 J: Every- We're talking about a five hundred dollar
135 package, everything, (.) your customers will be able
136 to put their order in right on the web.
137 (.7)
138 R: oOh, shit!o
139 J: So, we're talking about some nice stuff here,
140 a'right?

They begin to talk business in this section of the transcript. Almost simultaneously the two

speakers attempt to promote their interests, overlapping in lines 119 and 120. Starting with the

widely-used AAVE interj section "Yo," Roberto asserts his interest in working with James, but

cuts-off mid-utterance, probably to let James go ahead with what he was saying. Taking

advantage of this break (line 121), James repeats the information overlapped in line 119. While

James assumes a more formal, sales-oriented style during his pitch, Roberto contrasts with his

informal, at one point, vulgar (line 138) approach. His talk is peppered with colloquialisms:

"Y,"y, "dude" (124), "man" (120, 124), "try to kick some stuff around"19 (127), and "shit" (138).



19 "Kick some stuff around" may be related to another construction attributed to urban African American
communities: "Let's kick it" ('hang out'). The term may have also emerged as a metaphoric reference to kickball or
128









Contributing to the informality of his speech, Roberto produces a nonstandard pronunciation of

"definitely" (126), and NYE vowel tensing in the word "talk" (126). This contrast strengthens

James's position as the provider of important resources and Roberto as the receiver; a position

that Roberto attempts to change later in their conversation.

141 R: Yeah but listen man I just started, you know
142 my company is only two years old. It's only run
143 by me and my wife.
144 J: O?k. > Cool.<
145 R: An' uhm, you know that' s it, man, pero-
('but')
146 J: When you have that website, you go [to anybody (for)]
147 R: [Yeah it' s cragz.]
148 J: events and just hand them out, like listen.
149 (.5)
150 J: La Meg does tons of streetfairs, ou [know )
151 R: [Do they really?]
152 J: Ye.ah? They do all that stuff in the Heinhts.=
153 R: =Yo listen man, wh 'n chu, wh'n chu=
154 J: =Sponsors.=
155 R: =Y.'know. Wh 'n chu come in on this man?=
156 J: =(,I [ )
157 R: [Look at my- [I'll give you my -], listen, I'll give=
158 J: [( )]
159 R: = ou my rices ( I got a ninedeeni:ne dolla' s ecial. Less
160 than a hundred dolla(-r)z you get the canopy (.) a
161 table (.) and two chai(-r)z.
162 J: Wawewewe [(wha' we do:: -)]
163 R: [Everybody's] charging over a hundred and
164 twenty five, a hundred and thirty, a hundred and forty.
165 J: If you do a website with us, we
1 66 (.)
167 R: >oYeaho<
168 J: usually (include) free advertising on Cuchifr~ito.
169 (.)
170 R: [>oOkoq]
171 J: [That] sees 25,000 people a month.
172 (.6)
173 R: Wa:: ow!=





soccer, and so conjures association with "team work". Robert was inviting James to get together to talk, work
together, or negotiate.










Spanish, AAVE, and NYE are used by Roberto in this segment. First he switches to the

Spanish discourse marker "pero" (line 45) to contrast the startup nature of his business with an

unrealized utterance. It' s likely that he intended to reassure James about interest in his website

service, despite the fact that his canopy business was small. In fact, the qualifiers "just started"

and "only" in lines 142 and 143 serve to cast Roberto' s business as a startup. In this way, he

fished for the possibility that James might give him a break with the website deal. Possible

interpretations for the use of "pero" instead of "but" include: a) it is habitual for Roberto to do

this; b) it is a contextualization cue to guide James's interpretation of Roberto' s previous

utterance; and c) a reminder to James about common linguistic and ethnic identity. After

consistent efforts on James's part to sell himself and his services to Roberto, Roberto re-iniates

his own pitch. He switches to a nonstandard or street English (most likely influenced by AAVE)

to persuade James to contract his services (line 155). His use of street sales talk rather than

formal sales talk suggests that he's is now trying to appeal to James's familiarity and comfort

with urban culture. In other words, he's trying to connect with James as a street mate (more

intimate) rather than just a business contact. When this doesn't quite work, given James's false

starts in line 156, Roberto returns to his old, more canned, salesman-like approach. Once again,

this approach is marked with various NYE elements, mainly elided /r/ in "dollar" (159), "dollars"

(160), and "chairs" (161). Not to be deterred, James counters with his own offer in lines 165 and

168.

174 J: =And a lot of people do adve- Like I said ah, I mean I have
175 stuff in Flo?rida. Like, [they have -
176 R: [>Yeah, yeah, yeah.<
177 (.)
178 J: They have something called >La Fiesta~s Patronales<
'The Patron Saint Parties'
179 [in Florida.]
180 R: [Yeah.] Iknow, yeah.=
181 J: =Where they do all the patron saints in one day, it's
182 like a big street fair, they see like eighty [thousand people-]
130










[La Calle Ocho? ]
('Eight Street')

No. This is [ah-
[La Calle Ocho is something else?=
=It' s a different town. Yeah.

Oh, wow?!i
Different part of Florida. They do (this), they've
been doing it for four years and they basically
shut down the whole neighborhood or >whatever<.


183 R:


193 J: [( )]
194 R: [Yeah, yeah, [yeah.
195 J: [(They see about) 80,000 people in about four day(.)span.
196 R: M~ira gue loquera, broder !=
('That' s crazy, bro')
197 J: = So, an' I have all (the') emails, I have all the contacts.
198 I can contact any Latino streetfair organization,=
199 R: =Yo lo que quiero hacer ahorita, broder (.) me quiero
('What I want to do now, bro, I want to')
200 simu // (0.8) con, ( con >la~sJI ei( to haui en Nueva Yor los
(' situate myself with the fairs here in New York and the')
201 events aqui en Nueva Yor porque yo vivo en
(' events here in New York because I live in')
202 Nueva Yor ahora. <=
('New York now')
203 (0.6)
204 J: =Mhm.=
205 R: =0 sea que (.) cuand'o me conviene::, (0.8) me conviene ocolot
('I mean, when it serves me, damn, it serves me')
206 J: oYeah.o What' s? up? [(Tu eres) cubano, verdadddddddddddddddddd
('You're cuban, right')
207 R: [( )]


R: No. Venezolan2o.
('Venezuelan')
J: Yeah? Oh, ok.
R: Venezolan2o.
('Venezuelan')
(0.6)
J: That' s cool. (.) So definitely, just get in touch with
me like I said I have a lot of networking events
and stuff like that [and like I s-]
R: [Al?right.=
J: =A lot of what I do, has to do with -[( st:


208

209
210

211
212
213
214
215
216
217
218
219


R:
J:
R:


[(Bringing) outdoor events


reetfairs.)


oYeah. o
Alright.









Code-switching in this segment, particularly lines 199 202, fits quite well with Blom and

Gumperz's (1972; 1974) description of metaphorical code-switching. Without redefining the

interactional situation, metaphorical switching signals a change in topic. This kind of switch

adds emphasis to or enhances the interaction. In Roberto's case it lends authenticity or a

measure of sincerity to his statement. Like with his switch to street talk in the previous segment

(line 155), this switch is another example of Roberto's skill in creating an interactional space

where they can relate as connected equals. This contrasts with James's strategy, who

consistently positions himself as the one with the upper hand. Ethnicity is important for this

strategy to the extent that he can use it to illustrate his embeddedness in important Latino circles.

With his substitution of word final /r/ in \iniui" wua~ /," and aspiration of word Einal

/s/ in "feria~s" -"JI' la h" Roberto uses NSPR for his switch. Though we cannot determine

whether James interpreted Roberto's Spanish to be a Puerto Rican dialect, there's reason to

believe he at least classified it as Caribbean. This segment shows that James speculated,

gathered clues, and tested assumptions about Roberto's background. In line 174 he brought up

Florida. Given that he assumed Roberto was Cuban (line 206), his mention of Florida expresses

two assumptions: 1) about Roberto's Cuban identity and; 2) that as a Cuban he would appreciate

such a connection. What gave James this impression? One clue, of course, was Roberto's

pronunciation and intonational style. Another clue was Roberto's appearance. Put together they

suggest that James's interpretations about Roberto's ethnicity were guided by a schema in which

white, blue-eyed Latinos with Caribbean accents are assumed to be Cuban. Further

confirmations for James's Cuban interpretation are evident in the following statements by

Roberto: 1) "[Yeah.] I know, yeah.=" (line 180), 2) "Calle Ocho?" (line 183), and most subtly

3) "porque yo vivo en Nueva Yor ahora ('because now I live in New York')" (lines 201-202).


"0 I owe these insights to Chris McCarty.









Each of these three statements gave the impression that he was familiar with Florida and may

have even lived there before coming to New York ('I live in New York now'). This last

statement might give anyone the impression that Roberto is not native to New York, which as we

know, is not true. Roberto did spend some time in a detox residential program in Florida, so the

statement is not an outright lie. However, he seems to bend the truth. But why? One possible

interpretation is that Roberto recognized James's Cuban assumption. He had plenty of precedent

for this. As I witnessed myself on other occasions, Roberto is often confused for Cuban.

Having recognized this, he "went along with it" and subtly lent credence to James's assumptions.

This mutual identification work is possible because of a schema shared among many Latinos and

other group s: the all-Cub ans-have-links-to-Mi ami schema. That hi s interpretati ons turned out to

be false slightly surprised James, as his response in line 209 indicates.

The cell phone store exchange just discussed highlights Roberto's fluid command of

multiple languages, dialects, and registers. Compared to Roberto, James was much more

consistent in his use of language. While Roberto jumped seamlessly from Spanish, to New York

English, to AAVE, James employed standard, at times formal, American English, limiting most

of his Spanish to proper nouns. Their respective linguistic strategies were compatible with each

speaker's interactional goal. Roberto, who entered the situation as a solicitor, automatically

assumed a subordinate role. Once Latino ethnicity was brought into the interaction as an

important point of reference by James, Roberto's strategy was to linguistically invoke

identifications that would best align him with James. James, on the other hand, made frequent

references to extensive resources at his disposal, whether human, informational, or cultural. His

identity was sufficiently implied in all of these references and language played a secondary role.









In the next and final example of his ethnic and linguistic flexibility, Roberto converses

with a friend. Conversationally-situated power differences do not exist in this transcript, yet

Roberto negotiates his multiple identifications just the same.

6.2.2 Lo devolvieron al loco ('They sent the dude back').

On our second day of observations I met Roberto around noontime to accompany him and

his wife Annie to a dental appointment. When I arrived outside of his apartment in Astoria,

Annie was still inside getting ready and Roberto waited outside for a friend, Omar. Omar, who

lived near Roberto, was one of the few Venezuelans Roberto knew personally (see Figure 1). In

preparation for a big street fair, Roberto needed a van to transport the canopies, tables and chairs

he rented out to a local hospital. He planned to borrow Omar's white van and waited to confirm

this with his friend. The next transcript centers on an incident that happened to a mutual friend,

Sergio. Apparently, Sergio entered the country from Venezuela on a visitor' s visa. However, he

made the critical error of revealing to US immigration officials his intention to work while in the

country. In a piece of their conversation not included here, Omar explained to Roberto that when

Sergio was asked to provide a contact number in the US, he gave officials Omar' s phone

number. Officials then called and heard that the answering machine announced the name of

Omar' s business. This convinced authorities of Sergio' s illegal intentions. Having entered and

stayed in the US under less than official circumstances themselves, Sergio's plight resonated

with both Roberto and Omar.

1 R: Mafiana quiero- mariana quiero llenarlo,
('Tomorrow I want tomorrow I want to fill it,')
2 >tu va/h/ trabajar mariana?<
('are you going to work tomorrow?')
3 (0.6)
4 O: A que hora?
('At what time?')
5 R: [En la tarde.]=
('In the afternoon')
6 O: [( )]









7 O: =Si,yo([ )
('Yes, I')
8 R: [En la tarde a eso de la(-s)=bueno
('In afternoon, like around, well')
9 >vamos a decir como la(-s)< cinco, la(-s) seis:.
('let' s say like at five, at six')
10 O: A no, esta bien, [no-]=0ye.
(Ah, no, that's fine. Listen')
11 R: [(es-)ta bien?]
('that' s alright?')
12 R: Dime.
('Tell me')
13 O: oLo devolvieron al loco. o
('They sent the dude back')
14 R: >Como que lo< devolvieron?
('What do you mean that they sent him back?')
15 O: oEn el aeropuertoo
('In the airport')
16 R: De/h/ el aeropuerto? Mira esa vaina.=
('From the airport? Look at that mess')
17 O: =Si, ono le dej aron entrar. o
('Yes, they didn't let him enter')
18 (0.6)
19 R: DEL AEROPUERTO DE AQUI?
('From the airport here?')
20 O: De aca de la- Florida.
('From here Florida')
21 R: De Florida. (1.0) Pero pru?
('From Florida. But why?')
22 (1.3)
23 O: Que el tipo le habia dicho que pa(-ra)
('That they guy had told him that why')
24 que venia pa(-ra a-)cti::?, que venia trabajar?,
('was he coming here, that he was coming to work')
25 (1.3) que no se cuan[to?-
('that I don't know what')
26 R: [Pe(-ro) que pendej o!, >haber dicho
(But what a dummy, he should have said')
27 que venia de< va:cac:iones:.
('that he was coming for vacation')
28 O: Le han (>revocado<) la visa por cinco afios.
('They (revoked) his visa for five years')
29 (0.7)
30 R: Le gue?!
('They what?!')
31 O: La visa que tenia se (>1a=han=revocado<) por
('The visa that he had they (have revoked it) for')
32 cinco afios.










('five years.')
33 (1.4)
34 R: Como que- s- s- no puede hacer nada en cinco
('What do you mean that- he can't do anything in five')
35 afios?
('years?')
36 O: oYa no ya. o
('Not now')
37 R: Que CA:Ra:?da! ohuevono-
('What a screw up, man')
38 (2.6)
39 O: El me Ilam6. (.) Yo tambien, me Ilam6 ayer. (0.7)
('He called me. Me too, he called me yesterday')
40 En el trabaj o, yo estaba trabaj ando allay.
('At work, I was working over there')
41 (0.7)
42 R: Cofio, que vaina (huev-)on. Enton(-ces) tiene c:inco
('Damn, what a mess, man. So then he's got five')
43 afios >que no puede venir-pa(-ra) los< (Es-)ta(-dos)
('years that he cannot come to the US')
44 Unidos:. (1.7) >Pero=(-e)so lo puede< pelear? o no.
('But can he fight it or no?')
45 No puede pelearlo.=
('He can't fight it?')
46 O: = Yo creo que si, claro porque [q q aqui-
('I think so, sure because here')
47 R: [Que. bola(-s)?
('What balls')

In contrast to the conversation in section 6.4.1, Roberto's exchange with Omar is marked

by two unique paralinguistic elements. Speed is one and intonation is another. In terms of

speed, it seems that Roberto talks quickly more often when talking in Spanish, at least in

comparison to the conversation with James. There's also more latching (denoted by =)

represented in this transcript. Most instructive, however, are Roberto's intonational practices.

Since Venezuelan Spanish shares phonological characteristics with Puerto Rican Spanish,

intonation is one way to tell the two dialects apart. As a speaker, Roberto is conscious of this.

Compared to his conversations with James and other New York Puerto Ricans (including his

wife), Roberto's performance of Venezuelan Spanish is marked by frequent rising intonation

(either as part of a syllable or in longer utterances). (See for example the intonation marked in
136









lines 36, 43, and 46.) Rising intonation is also notable in Omar's speech (lines 24-25).

Throughout the conversation Roberto attempts to pattern his Spanish to that of Omar

(intonationally and lexically). Omar, who is less fluent in English than Roberto, has retained

Venezuelan dialect and speaks much more fluidly than Roberto. In fact, some of the pauses

evident before Roberto's turns and mid-utterance may be due to L2 limitationS21. Further proof

of Roberto' s constraints in Spanish-dominant conversations is his reliance on exclamatory

phrases using lexicon common in Venezuela to complete his turns: "Oue CA:ga:da! ohuevonon

('What a screw up, man' (37)), "Colio, que vaina (huev-)on." (Damn, what a mess, man' (42)),

"Que. bola(-s)" ('What balls' (47)). Notice also the verb conjugation error, "haber," rather than

"hubiese" or "hubiera," in line 26.

Therefore, Roberto, who had not been to Venezuela in many years and who did not have

regular contact with other Venezuelans in the US, produced his own approximation to

Venezuelan speech. I believe he did this in contrast to Puerto Rican dialect which he used more

frequently. For example, where a Puerto Rican might aspirate syllable final /s/, he not only

preserved it but also lengthened the sound, even though this is not a feature of Venezuelan

Spanish seisis:," 9 and "Unidos:," 44; see also lines 53, 73, 138 below). This is not to say that

Roberto did not drop or aspirate syllable final /s/, he did this consistent with either Venezuelan or

Puerto Rican Spanish (lines 2, 8, 9, and 16). Roberto also produced strong apico-alveolar trills,

particularly in word initial and word final /r/ (lines 63 and 144 below) and in cases where a

Puerto Rican might use a velar or uvular trill (for example "arrechera ('irritation' or

infuriationn')," lines 55, 62 below). I propose that Roberto uses these features (lengthened /s/

and strong trill), to both differentiate from PRS and to authenticate his Spanish. Both of these

features lend a careful, well-pronounced quality to his delivery. It might be his way to


21 While Roberto's first language was Spanish, he admitted that he had more command over English.

137










compensate for Spanish language limitations that could call his claim to Venezuelan

identification into question. These phonological elements also add emphasis to his statements, as

with "supze:r r in line 63 (see also line 89 in the previous section).

I mentioned earlier another rather noticeable characteristic of his speech when talking to a

Venezuelan: frequent (even exaggerated) use of lexicon and exclamatory phrases associated with

Venezuela or in cases syntactically and semantically distinct from PRS. So far in this segment of

the transcript he uses "vaina" ('nuisance' or 'mess'), "vale" ('alright' or 'OK'), "pe(-d)o"

('problem'), "colio" ('damn' or fuckk'), "que bola~s" 'what balls', and "huevon" ('dude' or

'man'); much more so, even, than Omar. These lexical insertions serve to further differentiate

his Venezuelan Spanish from any other dialect.

48 R: Cofio que caga(-da) que le hizieron esa vai?na.
('Damn, they shit on him with that mess')
49 (0.6)
50 O: Si va:1e.=
('Yes, right')
51 R: =Co/n:::/fio que bolas:.
('Damn, what balls')
52 (1.6)
53 O: Lo devolvieron del aeropuerto, no lo dej aron pa?sar.
('They sent him back from the airport, they didn't
let him pass')
54 (3.7)
55 R: Cofio que arrechera.
('Damn, how madenning')
56 O: Si:, se regreso pa(-ra) allay, y (1.4) >yo le habia
('Yes, he went back, and I had')
57 pedido una botella de< a uardient viste~td la
('asked him for a bottle of liquor and look, all
my')
58 vaina me la devolvio.
(' stuff they sent back')
59 (1.9)
60 R: .tsh
61 (1.0)
62 R: Que arrechera, pana. (2.5) Esa vaina debe estar
('How madenning, bud. That mess should
be')
63 supe~r/r/ (0.9) cohio el tipo ts una depresi6n debe
138









(' super, damn that guy, should have a depression')
64 tener el tipo encima? ahorita, cohio madre.
('on him right now, motherfuck.')
65 O: Si (>yo no fuera a la calle=yo me iba a la casa?<).
(Yes, (I would not have gone out to the street, I
would have gone to my house')
66 (1.6)
67 O: (o o )
68 R: [Oye, vamo/h/=a ver, el tiene que
('Listen, let's see, he has to')
69 pelear esa vai?na, bro(-d)er. Tiene gente aqui.
('fight that mess, bro. He has people here for him')
70 O: Porque el no puede hacer e?so.
('Because he can't do that')
7 1 (.)
72 R: No vale. Por cuanto tiempo se venia a toda(-s)
('That' s not right. How long was he coming for')
73 maneras:?
('any ways?')
74 O: El se venia por uno(-s) tres o cuatro meses que le
('He was coming for three, four months that')
75 habian dado la visa cuatro mese(-s) permiso?
('they had given him a four month visa')
76 (3.7)
77 O: Pe:ro ya esta, lis?to.
('But it' s all settled')
78 (1.1)
79 R: En Florida lo devolvieron. Que coiios de madre!
('In Florida they turned him back. What motherfuckers')
80 (1.2)
81 O: Uno/h/ cubanos que lo, los tipos de la
('Some Cubans that, the guys from')
82 inmigraci6n lo/h/ cubanos, lo lo pararon. (1.7) >Y
('immigration, the cubans, stopped him. And')
83 como yo cuando vine aqui< afio(-s) atra(-s) vale,
('like me when I came here years back, right,')
84 >mira<,
('look' )
85 ((Coughs))
86 era un cubano tambien. Y tu te va(-s) quedar? Y
('he was a Cuban too. And you are staying? And')
87 a ti=que te importa >chico?<. (1.0) Cua(-1)?
('what do you care man? What is')
88 e(-s e-)1 problema.
('the problem?')
89 R: ((Laughing)) [A ti que te importa.]
('What do you care?')
90 O: [( )]











In this section, Roberto's use of Venezuelan exclamatory phrases as fillers becomes more

pronounced. He does this at almost every turn between line 48 and 62. Additional to

Venezuelan lexicon, Roberto produces other phonological elements of VS, eliding /d/ in

"broder," a Spanglishized word, and aspirates and deletes word Einal /s/ in "vamos" (line 68) and

"todas" (line 72), respectively. Omar demonstrates a preference for deleting word Einal /s/

altogether (lines 74, 75, 83, and 86) than aspirating it as Roberto does. Multiple pauses in this

same sequence suggest that the topic of Sergio's unfortunate return to Venezuela is close to

becoming exhausted. Roberto attempts to revive the discussion by fleshing out his laments in

lines 62 64. But eventually he Einds further fodder for the discussion by suggesting that he and

Omar Eind a way to help Sergio's situation (lines 68 69). Vamo' a ver ... tiene gente aqui," is

Roberto's way to confirm their mutual interest in their friend's dilemma, uniting them under a

common cause, so to speak. This "we" statement Eigures well into the "they" discourse Omar

offers in lines 81 88. In this case "they" are Cubans and it is not inconsequential that Omar

chooses to invoke this distinction.

We/they distinctions were common among the Latinos in this study (including the 252

survey participants in phase 2). Some familiar we/they distinctions recorded include: we-

"Hispanics"/they-"'Americans," we-"latriness '/they-"blanquitos,"" we-"latriness`'/they-"negros,"

we-"citizens"/they-"illegal s" we-"everyone"/they-"Chinese," we-"Latriness \'/they-"judes l,\'. But

equally compelling were the me theyr~ distinctions made by Latinos about other Latinos. Often,

statements that began like Omar' s Uno' cubanos," (" Un Colombiano, ahi," "El Domincano,

ese," Una Boricua"), functioned as neat vehicles for a great deal of cultural, stereotyped

associations. The stereotyped association that Omar invoked about Cubans, or more specifically

Miami Cubans, is a view commonly held among other Latinos encountered in this study:

"Cubans rule Miami and they only look out for their own." My intention here is not to lend
140










weight to these associations, but to make a point about the important role played by these

models, stereotypes, associations for categorizing people, guiding interpretation, aligning

affiliations, and encouraging disassociation from certain groups. As we will see in chapter 7,

disassociation from stereotypes was a key motivation for switching.

91 R: Cofio que ma:10:? (.) pobresito vale.
('Damn, that's bad. Poor guy, right.')
92 R: [Debe estar]
('He should be')
93 O: [Que no te vayas], no te va:yas (.) no te va:yas,
(That, don't go, don't go, don't go')
94 dije yo. (Que no puedo hacer y que no venia
('I said. (That I can't and that he wasn't
coming')
95 tan malo. El no)
('too bad. He doesn't'))
96 Ahora (es-)ta ma(-s) luco.
('Now he's worse off')
97 R: Va estar bien mal a/y/i? (huev-)on. Ahi s- no se
('He's going to be real bad there man. Over there
you can't')
98 puede hacer un cara~jo.
('do a damn thing')
99 (2.0)
100 R: (E-)sa vai?na. (1.0) No se, chao.
('That mess. I don't know, man')
101 (1.5)
102 R: Cofio pero el tiene que ir a inmigracion allay
('Damn but he's got to go to immigration over
there')
103 pelea:r?lo.
('fight it')
104 O: A lo mej or voy ahora en Junio.
('I may be going in June')
105 R: En Junio va/h/ pa(-ra a-)11a?
('In June you're going over there?')
106 O: Si. ( )
('Yes')
107 R: ((Coughs)) Yo no voy pa(-ra) ningun lado hasta que
('I'm not going anywhere until I')
108 arregle mi pa- mi mi: (1.1) mi vaina americana.
('fix my pa- my, my, my American mess')
109 >Yo no salgo (d-)el pai(-s) ni pendej o [que fuera=
('I don't leave the country even if I were stupid')









110 O: [((J laughs))
111 R: =cohio madre y si no me deja entrar yo los mato
('motherfuck and if they don't let me in I'll kill
them')
112 ahi mi/h/.mo?,< me vuelvo loco!
('right there. I'll go crazy')
113 O: ((Continues to laughs))
114 R: >B 'like Wha'nigga'? You fuckin' cngzy? Me van a
(' They' re
goint to')
115 mandar a mi a un pai/h/ donde yo no cono/h/co un
(' send me to a country where I don't know')
116 cofio. Pa(-ra) quedarme?=No joda. M- me ven- me
('a damn thing. To stay? No shit. I- I'll co- I'll')
117 vengo nadando.
('come back swimming')
118 O: ((Laughs))
119 R: ((Starts to laugh himself)) Caigo en Puerto Rico.
('I'll end up in Puerto
Rico')

This passage is an illustration of three of Roberto's identifications at work. First,

considerable use of intonation to mark his speech as VS is evident (lines 91, 97, 98, 100, 103,

and 112). His narrative in lines 107 1 19 juxtaposes the fact of his immigration status with the

reality that he has little social or economic links to Venezuela. Having lived in the US for most

of his life, Roberto leads a life materially independent from his past in Venezuela. He feels more

comfortable speaking in English and has few social network members who are Venezuelan. In

fact, he has more ties to Puerto Ricans than to Venezuelans and his statement in line 119

provides proof of this connection. Yet, he shares uncertainties similar to immigrants who enter

the country without documentation, limited English language skills, and close ties to kin and

friendship networks in their native countries. Thus we see two identification discourses at work:

Roberto as the "undocumented immigrant" and "Americanized Roberto" who has known little

else but New York for most of his life. Finally, Roberto seamlessly switches language and

register to emphasize the absurdity of a potential deportation (lines 114). It' s fitting that he uses

English to deliver these utterances. His statements clearly evoke an image of Roberto in this
142










situation; a situation in which all connection to anything but "American" would be emphasized

to avoid a deportation. It certainly would not be a scenario in which a bilingual would speak

Spanish. Like Roberto, several participants in this study used AAVE and urban slang to

provide emphasis, force, and/or humor to otherwise standard American English or formal

speech. This j ocular, emphatic presentation is consistent with one of the features of code-

crossing described by Rampton (2000).

120 O: Oye. >Quedamos asi entonces, nos vemos
('Listen. It's settled then, we'll see each other')
121 mariana.<
('tomorrow')
122 R: Ahng?
123 O: Yo voy (es-)tar mafiana- (.) >a partir de la(-s) do(-s)
('Tomorrow I'm going to be- after two')
124 de la tarde estoy aqui ya.<
('in the afternoon I'm here')
125 R: A partir de la(-s) do/h/?
('After two?')
126 O: Si, yo ( ) ha parquear la [guagua.
('Yes, I'm ( ) to park the van')
127 R: [Lo unico que tengo que
('The only thing I have to')
128 hacer es llenar la camioneta. Tengo que meter die-
('do is fill the van. I have to load ten-')
129 =tengo que meter die/h/ canopia(-s), doc- doce
('I have to load ten canopies, twe- twelve')
130 canopias. (1.0) Ok? Tengo que meter como veinte
('canopies. Ok? I have to load like twenty')
131 mesa(-s). Vente- veinte y- veinte y tre(-s) mesa(-)s
('tables. Twenty- twenty- twenty-three tables')
132 por ahi, quiero meter.
(around there, I want to load')
133 O: Aha.
134 R: Las- los sandbags, y las sillas, y se acab6.
('The- the sandbags, and the chairs, and that' it')
135 ((E gestures as if cleaning his hands of something))
136 O: Nada, nada, casi nada.
('Nothing, nothing, that's almost nothing')
137 R: Eso no es nada. Compara(-d)o con 10 que no/h/
('That's nothing. Compared to what's')
138 viene Junio treinta? No, Junio veinte y seis:?
(coming to us June thirtieth. No, June twenty-six')
139 O: Hay que comprar [otra-










('You have to buy another')
140 R: [El garage complete huevo(-n).=
(' The entire garage man')
141 O: =Hay que comprar otra guagua (en-)tonce-=
('You have to buy another van, then')
142 R: =No::!, que cohio comprar otra guagua! Ese ya rento
('No, fuck buy another van. For that I'll just rent').
143 un camion? Mira no la vaina e(-s) e/h/ta, (0.8)
('a truck. No look, the things is this,')
144 r/r/ento un cami6n para PraidFes (0.7) y la guagua
('I'll rent a truck for Pride Fest and your van')
145 tuya va conmigo pa(-ra) el Bronx.
('goes with me to the Bronx')
146 O: Y que tu va (ha-)cer en el Bronx.
('And what are you doing in the Bronx?')
147 R: En el Bronx tengo una vaina::: un:- el el Bronx
(In the Bronx I have this mess, a- the the Bronx')
148 Borough President.
149 (0.5)
150 O: O::=
151 R: =Que tiene una feria, una para(d-)ita chiquitita de
('That' s having a fair, a tiny parade, those')
152 esa:(-s) (.) chimbas. (0.7) Pero no joda(-s) huevon,
('cheap ones. But no kidding, man')
153 no j oda
('because live salsa to the fullest. No kidding')
154 ahi bailando todo el dia? (.) Gozando? un pe(d-)o y
('over there dancing all day. Having a blast and a ')
155 medio?=
('half )
156 0. =A ti te gusta esa vaina.
('You like that mess?')22

I would like to point out a few subtle examples of the ways that Omar and Roberto diverge

in their speech in this segment. It' s possible that after his mention of how disruptive a

deportation would be, the differences between himself and Omar were brought to the surface. In

this section of the transcription he reduces his use of exaggerated VS intonation. While Omar

drops /s/ in "dos" (line 123), in his repetition of Omar' s statement Roberto aspirates word final

/s/ in "dos" (line 125). In line 126 Omar uses "guagua" to refer to his white van and Roberto

uses "camnioneta" (line 128). In other words the obvious convergence to Omar' s speech is no

22 Apparently Omar does not share the sensational-salsa-event schema.










longer evident. It's not possible to say whether these changes were made consciously by

Roberto. But it cannot be ruled out that a subconscious adjustment occurred in the face of a

contradiction between his identification as a Venezuelan and the overstated use of VS on the one

hand, and his American, New Yorker, and even Puerto Rican orientation on the other.

Finally, recall in section 6.4. 1 Roberto' s enthusiastic declaration of his participation in

the Bronx Borough president' s Puerto Rican festival. Here he describes the parade as "chimba"

(152). I was unfamiliar with the word and did a search for it in a language forum

(http://forum.wordreference.com). According to one of the participants of the forum: "en

Venezuela es una palabra ampliamente utilizada para calificar a personas o cosas de manera

despectiva o para decir que algo es falso o de mala calidad." ('in Venezuela it is a word broadly

use to qualify persons or things in a derogatory manner or to say that something is false or of bad

quality'). Roberto also does not use "Puerto Rican" or "puertorriquelio" to describe the event

like he did in his conversation with James. As I mentioned in section 6.4.1, his diminishment of

the event here likely means that he wished to make a favorable impression on James and

presented the event as something more significant than what it really was. The two

conversations considered together point to the usefulness of intertexuality, or the use one text to

guide the interpretation of another, as applied to discourse analysis.

6.3 Discussion

Roberto is quite flexible in his use of ethnicity for achieving a number of interactive and

material goals. He accomplished the three types of switching I outlined in Chapter 2. In terms

of passing or crossing, he especially aligned himself to Puerto Rican categorization. In his

conversation with James, this is clear. However, this fact represented a gray area for me. As

seen in his network and discussed in his life history, Roberto had little contact with Venezuelans

and Venezuelan culture. Puerto Rican influences were more present in his life. Major sources of










Puerto Rican cultural knowledge came from his current wife and past wife who both identify as

Puerto Rican. Additionally, influential neighborhood relationships during his adolescence were

with Puerto Ricans. Finally, Roberto confirmed that he was much more familiar with the island

of Puerto Rico than with his birth country.

These experiences have played important roles in shaping Roberto's ethnic self-

understandings. Roberto occupies a gray zone, vacillating between the fact of his kin and birth

ties to Venezuela and his experiential and interactional ties to Puerto Rican identification. His

discourse suggests this. If he has no choice but to identify himself by a label, he will choose

Venezuelan. But if he has room to manage his ethnic self-presentation he draws readily upon his

knowledge of Puerto Rican culture and behavior. This raises important questions about the use

of ethnic labels in socio-demographic surveys.

These elements of Roberto' s ethnicity shed a new light on his conversations with Omar.

Yes, Roberto was born in Venezuela. He uses this category as his primary identification. In his

interactions with Omar, Venezuelan frames of reference figure prominently. Yet, his

exaggerated used of Venezuelan Spanish features were accommodations or convergences to

Omar' s speech. They suggest a certain insecurity about, or overcompensation for, his tenuous

ties to Venezuela.

In the data analysis section I mentioned a number of schemas that directed areas of

Roberto's interactions. One which was activated in both conversations is the ethnic cooperation

schema. As worded in section 6.4.1, this schema Eixes common ethnic identification as

presupposing certain cooperative interests. As an abstract representation it positions social

actors sharing a common ethnicity as also sharing common interests. This schema has a great

deal of directive force and may help explain why Latino pan-ethnicity is persistent despite all the

factors that complicate a common identification.










Evidence of this schema in Roberto' s conversation is found, for example, in James' s ready

invocation of Latino connections: his relationship with various Latino organizations and his

statement "Yeah, and it' s all Latinos" in line 67. Roberto for his part, used code-switching to

highlight his willingness to play according to the rules set forth by the ethnic (Latino)

cooperation schema. Similarly, in his conversation with Omar, Roberto said: "Oye, vamo 'a ver,

el tiene que pelear esa vaina, broder. Tiene gente aqui (' Listen, let' s see, he has to fight that

mess, bro. He has people here for him')". Appealing for their mutual friend, Roberto is

basically saying "Let' s do something." He is assuming there' s a common cooperative interest.

However, the ethnic cooperation schema was not as salient between Roberto and Omar, as it was

between Roberto and James. This may be because with Omar he has a pre-established

relationship upon which to base mutual support and cooperation.

6.4 Conclusion

The two transcripts discussed here are presented as evidence of ethnic identification

switching, or the use of multiple ethnic identifications across contexts. Roberto' s ethnic and

linguistic repertoires are quite broad, making him an ideal participant for this research. In his

conversation with a Puerto Rican store manager with access to promising business contacts, he

alternated between languages and dialects, invoking multiple frames of reference. With a fellow

Venezuelan, his use of VS became more pronounced, but still aspects of his multiple

identifications were present throughout. Thus, Roberto's case demonstrates not only that people

ethnically invoke multiple frames of reference across contexts, but also aI ithrin the same context.

This last point is one of the unique insights from Roberto' s data. Past research on

contextual phenomena like code-switching and situational ethnicity has established that

identification shifts according to social context are the norm. But few studies have documented

how and why these shifts occur in a span of minutes, within the same context and with the same









interlocutor. For example, in the conversation between Roberto and James, there was enough

ambiguity about each other' s primary identification that both had to play an open field. To

accomplish this, both men, but especially Roberto, tried identifications that suited each's

intentions and fit each's continually-tested assumptions about the other. Roberto's conversation

with James is a good example of how ethnicity can be instrumental and yet remain implicit in an

interaction. Except for James' direct question at the very end about Roberto's background, never

was self-identification accomplished by naming categories named out loud. This subtle

navigation makes it possible for both participants to test the waters interactively customizing

their responses according to what is appropriate. It also points to the ways that presupposed

worlds drive an interaction, since so many things were left unspoken.

Finally, Roberto's case further suggests that ethnic and national labels can be misleading.

Labels in social scientific research draw boundaries around populations assumed to share

attributes and outcomes. But Roberto' s daily practice reveals just how arbitrary these boundaries

can be. US Census conventions would categorize him as a white, Hispanic from South America.

Yet his linguistic preferences, social network and cultural knowledge align him well with New

York Puerto Ricans. Scientists have called attention to the inadequacy of race and ethnicity as

explanatory variables, when what they actually capture is socio-economic variation (Rivara &

Finberg 2001; Collins 2001; Schwartz 2001). Promising alternatives or supplements to ethnic

categories can be found in social network measures (e.g. distribution of ethnicities among

network members) and in questions about language use.









CHAPTER 7
ABEL

7.0 Introduction

After seeing a flyer about my study posted in their ESL school, Abel and his friends called

me to find out more. We agreed to meet at a Colombian restaurant, "Cositas Ricas" in Jackson

Heights, Queens. A June weekday, I waited for them outside the always-packed restaurant on

the all-important immigrant thoroughfare Roosevelt Avenue. This particular section of

Roosevelt Avenue cuts through what is known as the Latino section of Jackson Heights. Abel

and his friends greeted me dressed in casual business clothes and carrying messenger-style bags.

Stifling a chuckle, I couldn't shake the sensation that I was meeting them to discuss some very

important business proposal. Rather than the interview of potential participants I was

accustomed to doing, I readied myself to deliver a sales pitch.

As I later found is customary for this group, we sat down to eat before talking business.

Abel and his friends generously treated me to Colombian beef stew and papaya shake. We

casually talked in Spanish about my proj ect, which inspired lively comments about immigrants

in New York City. During our group conversation I was able to ask each of them about their

background and daily routines. Abel, Marco, and Luis, were Ecuadorians working as salesmen

for DirectTV installation companies in Queens. Throughout our lunch, Abel took regular breaks

to make and answer phone calls to clients. His close friend Marco urged him to relax from work

and enj oy the meal, which he finally did. Knowing that I could not recruit the three of them I

paid particular attention to what they said about their daily routines. In the end I asked Abel to

participate. It turned out that Abel and Marco worked so closely together that my observations

of Abel regularly included Marco. Happily, Marco provided a number of keen insights into

immigrant and ethnicity issues, as well as to Abel's behavior.









Abel described himself as a 37-year old married, church-going satellite TV salesman. I

was interested in experiencing how ethnicity came into play at church, having not attended

religions services with other participants up to that point. So this was a key factor for asking him

to participate. I was also intrigued by his relationship with his Mexican wife, who like him,

entered the country without documents and spoke little English. Abel's participation promised

an inside view into number of dynamics I had not yet explored in the research. In the end,

however, most of my observations with Abel were at work. It was in the work context that he

made the fullest use of his ethnic and linguistic repertoire.

7.1 A Brief History of Abel

Much of Abel's time was spent working in the streets. Especially in the warm months of

the year, he set up his DirectTV display on the busiest sidewalks in all NYC boroughs except for

Staten Island. We set up our first interview in a small public park not far from his office in

Corona. Sitting on a bench, Abel narrated an economic, personal, and spiritual passage that led

him from Guayaquil to New Jersey to New York. He described his life as a series of ascents and

precipitous descents, with his state at the time of our meeting the most stable. Born to a family

of clothes and electronics vendors, since the age of eleven he learned how to make a living

selling in the streets. "I worked, worked, and worked, always working," he said, and lived in a

neighborhood where all his childhood friends eventually died violently or succumbed to drugs.

At the age of twenty-seven he decided to try for the US. While his two sisters would

eventually decide to move to Spain, where entry was easier, Abel opted for the Mexican

fr~ontera. Ten years ago, when he paid for someone to arrange for the cross-over, the trip cost

$5000. Travel took him through the Ecuadorian Sierras into Colombia, Venezuela, Panama,

Mexico and eventually New Jersey. Upon his arrival he began working in construction with

Portuguese contractors. Working alongside him were other Ecuadorians, many of them










serranos. In construction Abel developed a set of beliefs that to this day influence his ethnic

self-presentation. First, he described the Portuguese foreman he worked under as exploitative

and callous. "When I lived in New Jersery, I was ashamed to say I was Ecuadorian," he

admitted. Mistreatment he received while working in construction lead him to cease telling

people he was Ecuadorian. His reasoning was that those looking to exploit, used his Ecuadorian

identification to categorize him and debase him. "They catalogue you," he said, "and then they

put you in a group and they treat that group with kicks." Not only did he build resentment for

the Portuguese bosses, who he perceived as racist, but also for the Ecuadorians around him who

were complacent about their conditions. Additionally, since many of the Ecuadorians he worked

with were not costeho like him, he also grew to distrust and disassociate from them. Thus, up to

when I worked with him in Queens, Abel used the "guayaquileho label before using

"Ecuadorian".

Looking for independence more along the lines of previous work, he became a taxi driver.

During this time he was determined to learn English. One incident in particularly urged him to

learn. A fellow Ecuadorian, who happened to be in better economic standing, refused to speak to

him in Spanish. Nonplussed, he determined for language not to be another source of ridicule.

He also wanted to be accepted by Americans, to move beyond the immigrant community where

it was all Latinos and all spoke only Spanish. While a taxi driver, Abel became involved in New

Jersey's underground sex industry, catering to the immigrant community where he lived. As a

lider de mujeres ('pimp'), he made frequent trips into Queens to find women, mostly Colombian,

Mexican, and Dominican, to bring back to New Jersey. The money he made as a pimp helped

him towards the purchase of his own taxi and livery license. With this new level of

independence he was able to amass considerable savings. But as he relates, his involvement in










this scene was not purely business. "My problem has always been women," Abel declares. And

so began another descent. After a night of heavy drinking, he drove while intoxicated and was

arrested by the police. Not unlike Roberto in the previous chapter, Abel lost his taxi and his

saymngs.

Queens was familiar to him, and so he moved there to look for work. Actually, he moved

with his girlfriend, now wife, Monica. Monica was a source of stability for him and it was upon

her urging, and the encouragement of a neighbor, that they began to attend an evangelical

church. The church catered exclusively to the Latino community in Corona. All services were

conducted in Spanish, with the exception of one fledgling and unpopular English Sunday service.

Abel found the church to be a source of redemption. He and Monica became born-again-

Christians and married at the church. It also happened to be the source of his first significant

work opportunity in Queens. A fellow church member recommended Abel to Marco, an

Ecuadorian working in DirectTV sales. Guayaquilefio himself, Marco found instant chemistry

with Abel and helped him get established as a satellite television salesman. For the most part,

Abel liked the work and spent a significant amount of his seven-day work week on it. Because of

this, most of the observations and recordings were of Abel at work or with co-workers.

Abel's personal network reflects the important relationship areas suggested in his life

history. His network comprises ten components, but nine of these are isolates. The main

network depicted in the center of the graph includes his work contacts, fellow church members

(including pastors) and his family. Similar to Roberto, for Abel the most central person is his

wife, Monica.

The main network component is moderately dense, although more dense than Roberto's.

Notice for example, more clustering than shown in Figure 1. Each of the sub-areas of his









network is quite interconnected. Abel's network also spans international boundaries. Several of

his family members live abroad; in either Ecuador or Spain. You may recall that Roberto' s

network was varied in the degree of closeness that he felt towards members of his network.

Abel's standard for determining closeness was different, however. He used only two categories

to describe his relationship with alters: "very close" or "close". Thus, he reported not feeling

"extremely close" to anyone (one of the category options) but "close" to many. His wife Monica

was his closest relationship.

Abel spent most of his waking hours at work. But this work tended to be an independent

endeavor. Marco was the only other person who regularly accompanied Abel during his day.

They often worked together to sell satellite TV subscription, and had developed a system of

sharing profits. Although his church was an important facet of his life, he spent very little time

in church activities while I was with him. Of all the participants with whom I worked, Abel was

most apt to include me in his interactions with work colleagues and friends. Therefore, with the

exception of his blood relatives, who do not live in the US, I met several of the people depicted

in Figure 2.

It is clear from the list of nationalities that Abel interacted with a diverse range of people.

Although many of his alters were Ecuadorian, if we take out the family component it becomes

clear that his actual interactions in the US were quite mixed. What is also clear is that he had

few close contacts who were American. While diverse, Abel's personal network was entirely

composed of Latinos. This fact was evident in my week of observations of him. The non-

Latinos he encountered on a daily basis were potential clients in his sales forays. As will be

demonstrated in his linguistic data below, most of his interactions were in Spanish.









Figure 2 Abel's Personal Network


SIsolates
/1 Church









egfior


Family

legend
9 Ecuadorian Dominican Paraguayan
.8rgentinean 9 Colombian Chilean
$ Mexican Peruvian
9 Brazilian + Cuban

7.2 Linguistic Data and Analysis

Talking over the background sounds of a televised futbol match, Abel announces, "Guys,

guys, quiero hacer un brindis ('I want to make a toast')." Abel, the English-speaker of the

group, four other men and one woman gathered at the Jaramillo Ecuadorian Restaurant in

Jackson Heights to welcome a new business prospect. The hopeful chatter centered around an

upcoming change in management and new alliances, leading Abel to proclaim: "The sky's the

limit." When the futbol match was over, the music began. One particularly lively song led Abel

to exclaim proudly, "Esa e la music de mi tierra ('that' s the music of my land')." Finally, one

hour into the gathering, long-awaited guests arrived. The group of Ecuadorian sellers greeted a










Colombian manager and her colleague. Exchanging kisses, Abel introduced himself to her,

"Quiubo, soy Abel ('What' s up, I'm Abel')."

This brief sketch of a one and half hour dinner among friends and co-workers illustrates

the ways in which Abel slipped easily into multiple presupposed worlds.

"Guys, guys" is familiar and playful and helps Abel begin a warm, but often formal gesture

with a casual tone. Bilinguals often interj ect such words in to mostly Spanish speech to affirm

their connection with the majority society (Jacobson 1982). Few expressions capture the

promise of the American dream like "The sky's the limit23." Like all metaphoric phrases, there

is considerable cultural knowledge behind it. One thing is clear; Abel's code-switches are

effective to the extent that the interlocutors share his knowledge. With his public show of

Ecuadorian pride, Abel revealed an ethnic attachment not expressed in most of his recordings.

Instead, his data revealed a drive for accommodating or orienting himself to the practices of

other groups, as with his use of the Colombian greeting "quiubo".

The data presented here illustrate three main patterns of ethnic self-presentation: a)

tendency towards disassociating himself from Ecuadorian identification; b) tendency towards

accommodating or converging to the speech of others; and c) tendency to invoke Ecuadorian

identification only when among other Ecuadorians.

7.2.1 Todos Menos Ecuatorianos (Everyone but Ecuadorians)

On a Jackson Heights sidewalk, with the 7 train passing above us every five minutes, Abel,

Marco and I touched on the topic of "ethnic pride." Abel stood by calling out his usual DirectTV

announcement, "Venga, senior, instale DirectTV en casa! Pa' que vea los partidos de su pais.

23 Without making too strong a connection between the phrase's metaphoric meaning and the sentiment of this
immigrant group, Abel's use of the word is symbolic of the acculturation process. Because the expression is
imbued with cultural knowledge, knowing English is not sufficient to understanding it. Likewise, some participants
in this study have said, "To make it in America you have to think like an American." It is not enough to know the
language.










('Come, sir, install DirectTV at home. So that you can watch your country's soccer matches')."

Marco, meanwhile, sat with me and shared his perspective on the topic. People switch, he

argued, because they are ashamed of who they are. He suggested that Ecuadorians in particular

have no national pride. Marco added that Ecuadorians who switch don't want to be treated like

poor, ignorant indios. "What about you," I asked, "do you switch?" "No," he said. Marco

described one occasion when he and a colleague went to a restaurant frequented by other

Ecuadorians and "nzexicanos del canspo (Mexicans from the countryside)." One of them asked

him where he was from and he promptly told them he was Ecuadorian. "They didn't believe,"

he told me, "they insisted that I wasn't." Marco is euro-Ecuadorian. He provided this story as

an example of how strongly he sticks to his identification. That he would never try to pass

himself off as anything else and prefers to assert himself, to show people "what he is" and "what

he can do." The truth is that in Ecuador, like in most of Latin America, fair-skinned people like

Marco have a sufficiently advantageous identification option. In a country where 70% of the

population is either mestizo or indio (CIA World Factbook, 2007), whites are a privileged

minority. Transplanted on New York ground, particularly New York' s Latino immigrant

society, Marco enjoys the same status and distinction. It could be argued that as a white

Ecuadorian, "a rare breed," so much so that fellow Ecuadorians and Latinos don't believe he is,

his identification is even more distinctive and uniquely advantageous24

Abel on the other hand, admits to feeling ashamed. Listening in to our conversation, he

added:

Interview 1
A: Yo no decia que era ecuatoriano, me tienen que tratar
('I didn't say that I was Ecuadorian, they have to treat')
igual que a ellos, igual que a otra gente.

24I should also add that Marco spoke very little English and so did not have English as a tool for ethnic self-
presentation. He was, however, extremely eager to learn and often insisted on speaking English with me.










('me the same as them, the same as other people')
Yo decia que era colombiano.
('I said I was Colombian')
RN: Y te creian? La gente te creia?
('And they believed you? People believed you?')
A: Porque yo cambiaba el acento.
('Because I changed my accent')

Contrasting Marco' s experience, to be indio and Ecuadorian is exactly what' s expected.

These expectations made Abel wary. To minimize the effect of his phenotypic traits, Abel opted

for the group who popularly seem to be considered blan2quitos ('whites'). Colombians in Queens

also tend to have middle-class standing and high educational attainment relative to other Latino

groups. The visibility of numerous successful Colombian businesses throughout Jackson

Heights adds to their prestige. In the interview excerpt above the "(Whn"\` refers to the

stereotyped poor, dark-skinned indios of Ecuador, Mexico, Central America, etc. Tellingly,

despite his insistent aversion to being "catalogued," "categorized," "grouped," he did not mind it

as long as it was a group with a positive association. Recognizing that Colombian identification

required a certain performance, Abel had learned and occasionally used the Colombian accent

and picked up on common Colombian words and colloquialisms.

There were times, however, when identification as a Colombian required very little

performance. Abel explained that in this frequent scenario people guessed his background

(incorrectly) and he went along with it. During one of his trips to sell DirectTV in the Bronx,

Abel encountered this with a potential Puerto Rican client. Unsure whether he's allowed to

install DirectTV where he lives, the client (J) agrees to call Abel back at a later time. The

conversation is about ready to close, but the client seems reluctant to end it. As we will see, at

least one of Abel's reasons for not correcting people's wrong assumptions is to not disrupt

conversational flow:









Excerpt 1
1 A: Me puede Ilamar.
('You can call me')
2 J: Ok, esta bien. Yo te Ilamo.
(Ok, alright. I'll call you')
3 Van a /Eh/taten Island tambien?
('You go to Staten Island as well?')
4 A: Staten Island, Long Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan:,
5 (0.7)
6 E:m, Florida, Miami.
7 (1.2)
8 J: Tu ere/h/ colombiano.
(You're Colombian')
9 A: ((Abel silently nods his head yes))
10 (3.4)
11 J: Je je. ((C laughs)) Yo soy boricua.
('I'm Puerto Rican')
12 A: (Es-)Ta bien papa.
('Alright, pop')
13 J: Tengo, tengo gente colombiana.
('I have Colombian people')
14 A: (En-)Tonce cualquier cosa (.) me e/h/ta- una
('So then, anything you give me a')
15 Ilamadita.
('call')
16 J: Si, yo ahora, (viste), estoy en Staten Island. Me le
(Yes, right now I (look), am in Staten Island. I')
17 escape a mi hermana. Tu me entiende?
('escaped from my sister. You know what I mean?')
18 A: A: te (es-)capaste.
('you escaped')
19 J: Si porque, imaginate, le digo, vamo a Manhattan.
(Yes because, imagine this, I say, let' s go to Manhattan')
20 Me dice que no.
(' She tells me no')

J spends the next three minutes venting about domestic troubles he is having with his

sister, whom he lives with. Responding mostly with, "'Ta bien ('Ok')," Abel listens patiently

without giving much feedback. When it becomes clear that J depends on his sister and likely

cannot make a decision about DirectTV without her, Abel's "Ok' s" begin to take a tone of

finality, urging the client to close the conversation. Turning to the excerpt, the first thing to










notice is that J's turn in line 8 is an attempt to move the conversation from the transactional arena

to the identity arena. In light of the rest of their conversation, this move is meant to open up

conversational possibilities. Lines 16 20 suggest that J has an isolated living arrangement,

hence the use of "me le escape a mi hernzana ('I escaped from my sister')." In other parts of the

conversation he lamented that he felt misunderstood by his sister and other family members.

This was a man in the mood to interact and vent. He found a situation in which Abel, as a

salesman was, in a word, obligated' to engage him in a conversation. Although Abel did not wish

to spend too much time on J and miss other, perhaps more promising prospects, he recognized

the need to keep him happy as a potential client. In line 9 he acknowledges to J that he is

Colombian but his technique is revealing. Abel's nod in line 9 allowed him to "keep the client

happy" without over-conanitting himself to Colombian identification. In this case, actions do not

speak louder than words. I was present when Abel did this, and observed a certain reluctance in

his gesture. The nod would best be described as the bodily equivalent of a whisper. His turns in

lines 12 and 14 showed his reluctance for the conversation to turn to the topic of ethnic

background, perhaps out of concern that his "cover" would be blown.

Naturally, after their conversation ended Abel and I talked about what had just
happened. Here is part of our exchange:
Interview 2
A: See? Y asi encuentra gente, que no tiene quien le
('And like that you find people with no one to')
escuche.
('listen to them')
RN: Pero le dijiste que eres colombiano. Explicame eso.
('But you told him you are Colombian. Explain that')
A: Me hace sentirme a mi bien feliz viendolo a el feliz.
('It makes me happy to see him happy')
Si el dice que soy colombiano, soy colombiano.
('If he says I'm Colombian, I'm Colombian')
Me gusta ver feliz a la gente. ((Spoken in a sweet, but
('I like to see people happy')
slightly sarcastic tone.))










RN: iPorque crees que le hace feliz a el?
('Why do you think that makes him happy?')
A: Porque- dice (si ) colombiano. Ok.
('Because he says that ( ) Colombian.')
Porque ahi tuve la conflanza de conversar.
(Because then I had the trust to talk')
RN: iTu no dices que eres de Ecuador?
('You don't say you are Ecuadorian')
A: Eh:- No se, quiza', porque todo el mundo conoce a
('I don't know, maybe because everyone encounters')
la gente, simplemente mira, y conversa su' cosa'.
('people, simply look, and shares theirs things')
Pero si ni se de donde eres, i Brasilero? Si, soy
('But if I don't even know where you're from? Brazilian?
Yes, I'm')
brasilero. iDe donde eres? iDe Paraguay? Si
(Brazilian. Where are you from? From Paraguay? Yes')
soy paraguayo.
('I'm Paraguayan')
RN: Entonces no estas apegado a decirle a la gente que
('So you are not attached to telling people that')
eres de Ecuador.
('you are from Ecuador')
A: Si la gente que me saca el acento, o a menos que
('If people recognize my accent, or unless')
sea un client que vive aqui. Que era de DirectTV.
('it' s a client that lives here. That was from DirectTV')
Disculpe, ide donde usted? Ecuatoriano. Si!, yo
('Excuse me, where are you from. Ecuadorian. Yes! I'm')
tambien soy ecuatoriano, much gusto. Solo
('Ecuadorian too, a pleasure. Just')
para que me hagan la compra.
('so they buy from me')

There are no plainer words. Abel chooses the ethnic option he believes will satisfy the

potential buyer. In an extension of "The customer's always right," he takes the interlocutor's

lead. Referring to Lakoff s (1973) work on politeness rules and Goffman' s (1974) work on

frame semantics, Sweetser (1987: 44-45) notes that "conversation often has its primary purposes

at the level of social interaction; making someone happy, or negotiating the interaction frame,

may be a more important goal than informativeness."









Inherent to Abel's reasoning (and reminiscent of the ethnic cooperation schema described

in Chapter 6) is the assumption that people ask ethnic identification questions to connect and

once connected the conversation can flow more smoothly. Because of the potential presented by

ethnicity for connecting with others, the next guiding rule is that in fleeting in counters, "if I

don't even know where the person is from," ethnicity should be used flexibly. There is no notion

of ethnic attachment here. As my question to him shows ("... no esta~s apegado..."), my original

thinking was in terms of "attachment". Where' s the attachment? Is there no cognitive

dissonance? Isn't this deception? I don't think Abel views this as outright deception. Perhaps in

his own way he is living the notion that our identifications are just as dependent on the

ascriptions of other' s as on our self-ascriptions. His experiences with rej section for being

Ecuadorian have encouraged him to develop flexibility, allowing people to make positive

ascriptions for him.

As the above example suggests, non-Ecuadorian identification is a strategy used only in

fleeting encounters or in situations where people deal with each other at surface level. It's clear

that Abel's Colombian identification carries the risk of exposure. Therefore, Abel opted for

another approach also designed to lessen the impact of his indio identity, opting for

guayaquileifo as his primary identification. Using this label had two key results: it allowed some

distance from the serrano/indio association, and it was ambiguous enough to lead people mau/y

from "Ecuador." The short transcript that follows is an example of when and how Abel used this

label to achieve the latter goal. In it, he has a conversation with a DirectTV sales office operator.

These operators work locally in Queens providing support for sales people and technicians. Abel

called to get a credit report on a potential client. While he waited for the results, Abel talked

casually with the operator:










Excerpt 2
1 A: >Tu ere(-s) colombiana? verdad.< Me diji(-s)te.
('You're Colombian, right. You told me.')
2 (3.2) Yo- yo soy de, Guayaquil. (2.0) Si. Soy
('I'm from Guayaquil. Yes. I'm')
3 guayaquilefio. (1.8) (A-)donde queda, adonde
('Guayaquilean. Where is it, where')
4 queda e/h/tara pensando. A(-d)onde queda
('is it, you must be thinking. Where is')
5 Guayaquil. (3.7) Queda- (0.8). (Es-)ta (es-) ta
('It' s- it' s, it' s')
6 cerquita de Colombia. (5.6) A::::! Por eso,
('really close to Colombia. Ah...that' s why')
7 porque (es-)ta cerca de Peru. (1.5) Yo soy
('because it' s close to Peru. I'm')
8 calla(-d)o, de d- Santa Marina.
('quiet, from Santa Marina')

A familiar conversation starter is to ask about the background of others, as Abel has done

here. This is often done to establish areas of commonality, break the ice, or signal interest in

having a conversation. Consistent through Abel's recordings is his use ofguayaquileifo to

identify himself; except in situations where he wishes to disassociate from Ecuadorian

identification altogether. Wishing to make a positive impression on her, he very subtle takes

her away from Ecuador. Without actually appropriating the Colombian label as he has done in

other scenarios, he leads her in the direction of Colombia. The use of diminutive "cerquita"' in

line 6, serves to reduce the spatial distance and thus the similarity between the two. Abel avoids

using the "Ecuadorian" label all together. In fact, it appears that he implied that he was from

Peru. Notice the last sentence, "Yo soy calla(-d)o, de Santa Mrina, ('I'm quiet, from Santa

Marina')." This is a word play on the Peruvian port city Callao and one of its urban zones, Santa

Marina. .

Abel foretold such a scenario during the life history interview:

Interview 3
RN: Me estabas explicando que a veces le dices










('You were explaining to me that at times you tell')
a la gente que eres de Colombia o eres de-
('people that you are from Colombian or you're from-')
A: Si para que no me traten- me traten con respeto.
('Yes, so that they'll treat me- treat me with respect')
RN: Todavia no la-
('You still-')
A: No ahora no-
('No, not now-')
RN: Ahora no, era solo en-
(Not now, that was only in-')
A: En Nueva Jersey- porque es la gente que hay allay, la
('In New Jersey- because of the people that are over there,')
gente-
('the people')
RN: Alla aja, ipero aqui es diferente?
('Over there, yeah. But here is different?')
A: Aqui es diferente, claro.
('Here is different, of course.')
RN: iComo?
('How')
A: Que tu le dices que eres de Guayaquil, ya, ya saben que
('That you tell them you are from Guayaquil, and they know that')
eres de Guayaquil! Y dice, iGuayaquil donde queda?
('you're from Guayaquil. And he says, where is Guaya-
quil?')
Guayaquil queda allti por, por Argentina. Entre
('Guayaquil is over there by, by Argentian. Between')
Argentina y Brasil, le digo! iDe verdad? Van a buscar
('Argentina and Brazil, I tell them! Really? They go and find')
un mapa a buscar Guayaquil.
('a map to look for Guayaquil')

The conversation between Abel and the Colombian woman on the other line suggests an

intriguing notion warranting further exploration. Perhaps the relative positions of countries on a

map correspond with people's own mental maps about these locations. However, this mental

map carries cultural information along with geographical information. This is why Abel's

description of Guayaquil as "cerquita" to Colombia is possible as a way to highlight

interpersonal similarities between them. He places the ostensible nation of Guayaquil on the

map between two of South America' s largest countries. It appears that for Abel, Guayaquil










exists cognitively outside of Ecuadorian borders. In Excerpt 2 he placed it closer to Colombia,

and so "closer to home" for the Colombian operator. Abel is using proximity as a proxy for

similarity. Using Colombia, Argentina, or Brazil as the reference point, he's able invoke the

salient positive and impressive associations people have of these countries.

One final point about Abel's linguistic behavior. Referring back to Abel's samples of

Ecuadorian dialect in section 7.1, it is evident that when talking to other Ecuadorians

phonological and lexical features linked to ES are easy to pick out. In the precending examples

he does alter his speech slightly. He does not switch dialects but does soften certain traits.

Mainly, he slows down the speed of his utterances, so that there is little blurring of boundaries

within words. When talking to non-Ecuadorian there is also less velarization of /n/. The main

reason for doing this, of course, was to be understood. He did this with clients, me, even his

non-Ecuadorian wife.

7.2.2 Quiero que estin feliz (I want them to be happy)

In the preceding section Abel mentioned that he "likes to see people happy" and goes

along with the ethnic option of least resistance. This is a central theme in his use of his ethnic

and linguistic repertoire, even when it doesn't entail him feigning or emphasizing this or that

identity. Like many New Yorkers, he has become keenly aware of clues into people's

background: physical features, accents, dress, mannerisms, etc. It is not unusual to hear a New

Yorkers complain that "in the city the first thing people want to know is where you're from," it' s

a natural consequence of a) exposure to incredible diversity and b) the inherent human need to

categorize in order to simplify our environment25. This skill comes especially handy for

salesmen, who attempt to improve their chances of making a sale by tailoring their approach


25 Citing Killworth and Bernard (1978), Chris McCarty (personal communication) notes that location is a primary
way that people know each other, and is not special to New York.









according to customer attributes. For example, one of Abel's tried and tested techniques when

approached by a customer is to mention the channel he thinks will most appeal to them. Usually,

this happens without the potential customer actually stating their background. A side-walk

salesman has only so much time to make an impression. Quick decisions about people's

background are standard practice. If Abel believes a potential customer is Puerto Rican, he will

tell them about WAPA-TV, one of Puerto Rico' s large national channels. Mexican? He will be

sure to mention Azteca and perhaps all the international channels where one might have access

to futbol matches. For the Ecuadorian there's Ecuavisa. Abel may also opt for the more general

approach, "Tenemos canales de Argentina ('We have channels from Argentina')," etc. This is

good sales practice. But Abel is an expert accommodator. A charismatic man with a genuine

interest (whether practical or affective) in the comfort of his interlocutors, to varying degrees

he'll adapt himself to their speech. In this section I will illustrate how Abel used phonological,

lexical, and language accommodation to invoke frames of reference familiar for his listeners,

reducing the distance between them and him.

As Abel's case will clearly show, everyday examples of speech accommodation can be

found in sales encounters, where salespersons converge to customers' speech much more than

customers converge to the salesperson (ibid.). Thus, the power element is among the most

crucial determinants of the direction of the convergence. As a case in point, Wolfram (1973)

found that Puerto Ricans were much more likely to assimilate the dialect of Blacks; relative to

Puerto Ricans, Blacks in New York City hold more power and prestige.

Phonological accommodation










In this first example, Abel adjusts his pronunciation to match that of an African American

client. For much of their conversation, the client and a friend accompanying her showed a strong

preference for AAVE:

Excerpt 3
1 L: But wha(-t) I gotta put up when the ma:n come to
2 /d/e house?
3 A: E::, nothin(-g)
/ nahtheen/
4 L: No(th-)in(-g)?
/nuh-in/
5 A: /Nahtin/, /nahrin/.

In line 3 Abel's Hispanized English is marked by pronunciation of the vowel sounds /uh/

-/ah/ and /i/ -/ee/. He does take care to pronounce the voiceless fricative /th/. Abel adds

stress to nothing', reassuring her that there is no money up front. In line 4, L repeats Abel's

answer as a reassurance-seeking interrogative. She drops the voicessless fricative /th/ and

produces a stressed, distinctly velarized and nasalized last syllable /in/. Rather than reproduce

his pronunciation in line 3, in line 5 Abel attempts an approximation at L's pronunciation of

"nothing". One key feature of his phonological convergence is the use of /i/ rather than the

Spanish vowel sound /ee/. L's stressed, nasalized and velarization pronunciation of /in/ is

trickier to reproduce. In his first attempt he devoices using /t/ rather than /d/. This did not quite

result in his desired effect and self-corrects once more with a /r/ and a velarized /n/. Especially

because he makes that second attempt to better approximate her pronunciation, I interpret his

turn in line 5 as an accommodation.

Lexical accommodation

Excerpt 4 is of a conversation between Abel and an African American woman who

approached him for DirectTV information. She was unsure whether the satellite dishes would be










allowed in her apartment complex and asked for Abel's opinion. Unsure himself, he offers the

option of having a technician go to her home:

Excerpt 4
1 A: You- /dZ/ou wan- wan(-t)a try?, oh no. We can
2 go to the house and we try. (0.8) Is no- is no(-t)
3 go(-ing)na be a problem, wi- for you. No?
4 (.)
5 S: I don't kno:w that' s my problem. I'm a ask for it.
6 So, y(-ou)all cou- y(-ou)all cou(-ld) put like on top
7 of the roof!
8 A: Mm, sometime(-s) on top of the roof. Sometime(-s) 9
on the window. Si- in the side. In the right side.=
10 S: =If I can it si- If I can't have it on the window,
11 A: No?
12 S: I cou(-ld) have it on the roof!
13 A: Yeah. Gotta be on the roof. Is- Find out le(-t) me
14 know. I'm gonna give you my phone number, and 15
call me. /D/is my phone number, my cell phone, c- 16
call me. Gim- me- gimme holla when you,
17 you find out. (Be-)cause I don(-'t) wan(-t) a
18 problem wi(-th), you know, you guys have a
19 problem.

In line 16 Abel uses "gimme holla" for "give me a holla'" ('give me a call')". Though not

exclusively, this expression is associated with African American speech and used in informal

contexts. Twice in lines 15 and 16, Abel uses the standard "call me," therefore his use of hollaa"

is redundant as a request. However, as an accommodating gesture, it is indexically rich. By

showing his familiarity with an African American expression at best, and American slang at

least, he signals his multi-cultural savvy. During my time teaching ESL classes in Queens I

observed that students first focus on the basics of English before they understand or use popular

expressions. Besides, their limited language skills constrain the quantity and quality of contacts

they can have with English-speakers from a variety of backgrounds. Abel's knowledge and use

of these and other popular American words and expression, distinguishes him from an immigrant










with limited language abilities to an immigrant with awareness of the world beyond the enclave.

In this way, he reduces the linguistic and cultural distance that exists between himself and S.

In the preceding example, Abel demonstrated knowledge of popular American culture and

language. The next example shows that his multi-cultural awareness extends beyond the US

Abel calls a Colombian DirectTV technician over the phone and leaves a short message. The

way it works is that once a client decides to purchase the DirectTV subscription, Abel refers their

case to an installation office where a technician will be found for the case. These technicians

tend to work independently and on a case by case basis. Maintaining positive relationships with

them is important because if they do not make the installation Abel does not get paid:

Excerpt 5
A: iQuiubo paisa? (0.5) >oUngo-< (0.7)Llame patra, le
('What's up countryman. Call back, it's')
saluda Abel. Para saber de=sobre la instalaci6n
('Abel calling. To know about the installation')
del senior Mal-=Mateo Carrion. Me Ilama. Bye.
('for Mr. Mate Carrion. Call me.')

Just as he did when greeting the Colombian manager earlier in this chapter, he greets the

technician with the familiar Colombian greeting, quiubo. Here he uses another familiar

Colombian term, paisaa ". Short for paisano, this characteristically Colombian form is used

among "countrymen," in other words between Colombians.

Language accommodation

In Excerpt 6 Abel calls a Puerto Rican client to confirm that an installation was made at his

home. This example illustrates both the use of code-switching and lexical items familiar to

Puerto Rican Spanish speakers26

Excerpt 6
1 A: Yeah. May I speak Bebo please? (.) Bebo. Abel.

26 The expressions used in this excerpt are found in other Spanish Caribbean dialects.










/Baybo/
2 From Direct TV. (12.0) M~r. Martinez, cuinteme,
('tell me')
3 que pa~sd. =le le hicieron la instalacidn. (4. 0) Estd~
('what happened did they do the installation. You're')
4 poniendo ahora? (4. 0) (Es-) t todo bien (ri ght?) De
('putting it now? Everything's good)
5 nada, pdpa. You got somebody else to- yo le
('You're welcome, man.')(I)
6 puedo ayuidardddddddd~~~~~~~ hacer la instalacidn, let me know.
('can help do the installation,')
7 (4.0) Yeah. Exactamente.t~~~ttt~~ttt~~ Alright. (.) Alright,
('Exactly. ')
8 papd. Chivere. Ok, bye.
('man. Cool.')

First thing to notice is that he is calling a household where English is spoken. He

pronounces Mr. Martinez's first name, Bebo, using English pronunciation but changes to a more

hispanized pronunciation when the listener on the other line did not understand who he referred

to initially. Once Mr. Martinez is on the phone, he addresses him with the formal English title

"Mr." using Spanish pronunciation (line 2). Abel uses Spanish to confirm that the installation

was made and that Mr. Martinez was satisfied with the service. But he briefly switches to

English to ask for a referral (line 5). Using Gumperz's (1982) terminology, Abel's uses

Spanish as the "we-code," particularly given his use of the informal, familiar, "pdpa" (lines 5

and 8) and "chivere". Both of these enhance the familiarity with which Abel addresses Mr.

Martinez because they are commonly used by Puerto Ricans. However, it is not easy to classify

his use of English as a "they-code," or an attempt to formalize the request. In line 6 he switches

to English to close the request with "let me know," an English closing frequently used in

informal contexts. Other examples of informal English usage included "Yeah" (7), "Alright" (7)

and "Ok" (8). His use of both languages is a cogent example of accommodation. Recognizing


27 I base this interpretation on the fact that after a short pause, he repeated the name again.









that Mr. Martinez is a bilingual, Abel uses both languages. Even when it is clear that Abel is

more comfortable in Spanish (see for example his switch back to Spanish in line 5). The two

languages in combination achieve a greater level of familiarity than either do alone. Given his

request for referrals, a positive evaluation by Mr. Martinez is exactly what he needs.

A special case of accommodation

I am including Excerpt 7 below even though it is not a straightforward act of ethnic self-

presentation on Abel's part. Rather, the behavior of Abel's interlocutor (U) is of special interest.

Their exchange took place while Abel waited for Marco to meet up with him, Abel talks casually

with a Uruguayan man (U). U's attempts to have Abel acknowledge his ethnicity, results in a

brief accommodation on Abel's part. This interaction does not fit neatly with some of the

conditions set forth by speech accommodation theory (Giles, et. al. 1987) and my own extension

of the concept. For example, it is not clear what benefit Abel gains from an accommodation and

there are no evident power differences between the two, so there is little need to accommodate.

Actually, Abel seems slightly disinterested in the conversation and it is U that initiates and

encourages the conversation to move further.

Excerpt 7
1 U: No tengo gana ni de hablar.
('I don't even have the desire to talk')
2 A: ((Laughs)). Porgue~ no?
('Why not?')
3 (1.0)
4 U: (No tengo gana, no.)
('I don't have the desire, no')
5 A: Ah:
6 (1.8)
7 U: Hoy estoy si tomando cafe.
('Today I'm really drinking coffee')
8 (0.8)
9 A: oAh:: yeah. o
10 (2.4)
11 U: (Es-)ta malo? o (es-)ta bueno este (sitio).










('Is it bad or is it good here, this place')
12 A: E:- si se da m:. (0.5) Nosotros vamo(-s) a otro la(-d)o a
('Yes, it' s ok. We go to another place to')
13 trabaj ar. Nosotros vamos a Bro::nx, a Brooklyn por
('work. We go to the Bronx, to Brooklyn over')
14 alla a trabajar. (1.3) Porque por aqui mucho- (2.3)
('there to work. Because around here there's a lot')
15 much compe- mucha- mu- much competencia.
('a lot of comp- a lot- a- a lot of competition')
16 Mucho-
('A lot-')
17 (11.7)
18 U: Es que Uruguay es mi pais pero es muy lejo.
('It' s that my country is Uruguay, but its very far')
19 A: Si verdad.
('Yes, true')
20 U: Yo vivia alla y conozco much gente.
('I lived over there and I know a lot of people')
21 A: >Vo(-s) so(-s) uruguayo.<=
('You are Uruguayan?')
22 U: =(o lo invitoo)
('I invite')
23 A: (olombio)
24 (1.8)
25 A: Vo(-s) so(-s) uruguayo:?
('You are Uruguayan?')
26 U: ((Silent response))
27 A: Vos sos urugua/sh/o::? ((with a surprised tone))
('You are Uruguayan?')

The above excerpt is of a very light conversation between two acquaintances with not

much to talk about. Despite the fact that U starts out by saying that he is not in a talking mood

(line 1), he makes repeated attempts to engage Abel in a conversation. In line 1 he makes a

subtle turn-yielding cue, which Abel responds to appropriately with an interrogative (line 2).

Abel's question encourages U to elaborate, but he seems, at first blush, reluctant to speak,

yielding once again to Abel. With a backchannel cue in line 5, Abel signals his wish to take no

further turns. Contrary to his previous comments, in line 7, U demonstrates his interest in

continuing the conversation. However, he once again provides a turn-yielding cue so open-










ended in its options that Abel opts for a minimal response. Recognizing that previous attempts

to engage Abel in a conversation were not effective, U changes his technique and asks a direct,

turn-yielding question about the selling location he chose that day. While this successfully

encourages a more detailed response from Abel, a lapse in their conversation occurs (line 17)

when neither speaker opts for to continue (in Abel's case) or take over the conversation (in U' s

case). Yet, U's turn in line 8 makes it clear that he is indeed interested in continuing a

conversation. Perhaps because of timidity he is insecure or unsure about how to best proceed

and chooses a comment that seems obvious. However obvious ("yes, Uruguay is far way from

New York"), U' s statement in line 18 is lucidly an invocation of his ethnic or national

identification. Abel does not at first recognize it as such; perhaps during the conversation lapse

in line 17 his mind had wandered to other thoughts and did not fully hear or register U' s

invocation. In line 19 he gives an automatic response. But U seems to communicate his wish to

elaborate on this topic. His interest piqued, Abel shows his willingness to play U at his subtle

game28 in line 21. What's interesting is that he chooses to confirm U' s ethnic invocation by

switching to a hybrid between Rioplatense Spanish and his Ecuadorian Spanish. In his first "vo(-

s) so(-s) Gruguayo ('you are Uruguayan')," he employs Rioplatense morphology but retains

Ecuadorian phonology (word final /s/ deletion in both "vos" and "sos") and intonation. U passes

over the question, latching with an inaudible comment (line 22) and Abel quietly echos the

comment (line 23). But Abel really is interested in confirming U' s original statement about his

Uruguayan identification. Once again he asks U if he' s Uruguayan, this time employing

Rioplatense intonation, and retaining Rioplatense morphology and Ecuadorian phonology.

Finally, U confirms his original statement in line 18 with a silent response. To this, Abel reacts


28 My use of the word "game" here does not suggest a manipulation, but rather refers to the game-like quality of all
conversations.










enthusiastically with a reply that reads like, "Are you really?!i" In line 27 his "vos sos

Grzuguayo" takes on all characteristics of Rioplatense Spanish, including the distinctive

intonation and lengthening of vowels associated with the dialect29. Adding authenticity to his

pronunciation is the use of the fricative /I/ (/sh/) instead of /y/ in "uruguayo".

In his understated transition from Ecuadorian to Rioplatense dialect, Abel demonstrates his

sensitivity to inter-dialectal subtleties. Such subtleties are often learned through direct contact

with a dialect, as was Abel's case. In this way he communicates a mutual connection to some

sort of Uruguayan association. In U' s case his association to Uruguay was through birth and

time spent in the country. For Abel, the Uruguayan association came through his relationship

with Uruguayan housemates. What is puzzling is U' s passive response (or lack or response) to

Abel's invitation to connect at this level. After Abel's statement in line 27 there is a

considerable gap before U initiates the conversation again using a whole other topic (see below).

Perhaps U was sufficiently satisfied that a recognition of his identification as Uruguayan was

made by Abel. Like many such invocations, the goal may have been positive distinctiveness.

The intentions behind Abel's use of Rioplatense are also not clear. Was he accommodating to

U's dialect, or invoking a distant connection to Uruguay, or both, or none? Clues from the

structure of their conversation suggest that Abel was attempting to create a positive space for

their interaction to continue based on a commonality. This is an encouragement that U seemed

to require in other parts of the conversation. But like in other parts of their conversation, U' s

hesitation to elaborate ended that exchange.





29 This intonational pattern originated and is most pronounced in Buenos Aires. Due to the prestige given porteif o
Spanish, the melodic qualities of this speech have spread beyond the city into other parts of Argentina and Uruguay
(Lipski 2004).









U and Abel did not speak much for the remaining time that Abel waited for Marco to meet

with him. When Marco and other fellow Ecuadorian salesmen approach the spot where U and

Abel wait, U initiates the following exchange:

Excerpt 8
1 U: Ahi (tiene) uno, o dos mas.
('There you have one, or two more')
2 A: No lo(-s) viste.
('You see them')
3 U: (Se juntan )=
('They get together')
4 A: Se juntan los natios ahi.
('They get together, those Ecuadorians')
5 A: Se juntan-= ((directs comment to approaching co-workers))
('They get together')
6 M: =( )= ((talking from a distance))
7 A: = Se juntan los natios se j ode todo.
('When Ecuadorians get together, everything goes to hell')

In line 3, U j okingly refers to the ethnic-based cliquiness of the approaching salesmen.

Excerpt 7 demonstrated that ethnic-based distinctions were salient for U. Hence his apparent

goal to have his ethnic identification recognized by Abel. Excerpt 8 provides further evidence of

this. In my view, U is guided by a model of inter-ethnic distinctiveness. Recall that one of the

characteristics of cultural models and other schemas is that they fill in what is left unsaid during

interactions. Line 1 of excerpt 8, ("Ahi (tiene) uno, o dos mas," 'there you have one of two

more') is not a mere observation. It' s a discursive trace of how he has interpreted the situation.

While an ethnic cooperation schema assumes similarity-based cooperation, the type I refer to

here orients a person towards points of difference. As such, U frames himself an outsider in the

scene.

Abel adopts U' s frame and refers to the group as "llti'ms"). This often disparaging term for

Ecuadorians, is used in a familiar register by Abel, akin to the use of "nigga" by African

Americans. As Marco moves closer, Abel attempts to repeat this comment aloud so that the










group will hear. Finally in line 7, Abel fleshes out his original comment by jokingly suggesting

that when Ecuadorians get together "everything goes to hell." Abel's use of irony, humor, and

familiar register is a sleek way to metaphorically distance himself from (his) group in the

presence of a non-Ecuadorian. Yet what he is really doing is identifying with them. In the

preceding sections I illustrated how Abel disassociated from Ecuadorian identification. Next, I

will provide two examples of when and how Abel typically affiliated with "his group."

7.2.3 Somos de Ecuador (We are from Ecuador)

Abel is ambivalent towards his Ecuadorian heritage. At times he expressed strong

sentiments of ethnic pride; as in the comment about Ecuadorian music described in the beginning

of the analysis section. Because of the void he perceived between serranos and (I\rnici),\ he was

especially apt to invoke guayaquileifo identification. In cases where he interacted with other

gr"l''ita~uqitii)
and his listener. In the following excerpt, for example, he subtly refers to A as an in-group

member in line 13:

Excerpt 9
1 A: Toni! (0.8) Di::melo bro/d/er. (0.5) Que hay?
('Tell me, bro. What's up?')
2 (0.5)
3 ((Abel and Toni greet each other with a hug))
4 T: Todo bien.
('Everything's good')
5 A: Cuenta me. Que hay?
('Tell me. What's up?')
6 T: A: ya, aqui. (.) Todo el dia:- (.) caliente, tu
('Here. Every day- hot, you')
7 ve=dejame sentarme=
('know. Let me sit')
8 A: = Si, no si- E:- este el clima de Guayaquil.
('Yes, yes- this is the climate of Guayaquil')
9 T: (Tu te va ir a Guayaquil.)
('You're going to Guayaquil')
10 A: Este el [clima de Guayaquil.
('This is the climate of Guayaquil')









11 T: [A: si.
('Oh, yes')
12 (1.6)
13 A: (Es-)te el clima que- que no/h/ gusta.
('This is the climate we like')
14 T: A: si.
('Oh, yes')

Often Abel expressed shame and an aversion to being categorized as an Ecuadorian. One

thing is clear, when it serves him to invoke Ecuadorian identity, he does. In the next, during one

of his sales trips to the Bronx he encounters an Ecuadorian woman:

Excerpt 10
1 E: Cuanto valen esta/h/ bandera/h/?
('How much are these flags')
2 A: Son grati(-s)=sefiora
('They're free, ma'am')
3 E: O, si?
('Oh, yes?')
4 A: Si. (Es-)tamo(-s) dando todo grati(-s).
(Yes. We're giving everything away for free')
5 E: O, si?
('Oh, yes?')
6 A: Claro, pue(-s)!
('Of course!')
7 E: A:::::!
8 A: ((to someone on phone)) Diga, paso? No le piden.
('Tell me did it go through? They don't ask for it')
9 Ya, haga el appointment con el para mariana. Tu le
('Go ahead, make the appointment with him for
tomorrow. You')
10 puede Ilamar al senior? Ok, yo lo llamo ahorita, ok?
('can call the man? Ok, I'll call him in a bit, ok?')
11 Ok, bye.
12 E: O:, son gratis pero si es que cogen esto.
('They're free, but this you take')
13 A: ((now talking to W)) DirecTV.
14 E: O:, DirecTV.
15 A: Para que vea Ecuavisa de Ecuado/1/.
(' So that you can watch Ecuador' s Ecuavisa')
16 E: O:
17 A: Para- por que vea como votamo(-s) lo(-s)
('So you can watch how we vote for the')
18 presidente(-s).










('presidents')
19 E: A, si. Yo ya se. ((laughs as she walks away))
('Oh, yes. I know.')

When E approaches Abel's display he is on the phone on hold. E is curious about the flags

of several Latin American countries that Abel has on display. She specifically inspects the

Ecuadorian flag, and Abel assumes that she is Ecuadorian. Likely he considered other aspects of

her appearance and speech to support his assumption. In line 6 he uses the exclamatory

construction "claro, pnles" a colloquial form of "pues, claro ('well, of course'). As a

colloquialism, it may be specific to Ecuador but similar constructions (e.g. "orale, pues,"

"bueno, pues," "andale, pwl\ ), exist in other Latin American countries. While E stands by, the

person on the other line returns to the call with Abel. Abel does not want to miss the opportunity

to talk further with E, who continues to stand by, and he quickly attends to the call (lines 8 10).

Notice his repeated use of "Ok" in lines 10 and 11, which serve to expedite the conversation.

Back with E, the older woman asks about the DirectTV display and he takes the opportunity to

mention a channel he thinks will interest her: Ecuavisa (line 15). Throughout this interaction, no

direct mention has been made about either of their ethnic identifications, but remains an

undercurrent of the conversation. Abel attempts to make this connection more explicit in line 15,

using "Tlriminess\ ('we vote')" in a context similarly to "nos gusta ('we like')" in Excerpt 9 above.

The first person plural form functions to identify both himself and E as Ecuadorian.

Nevertheless, at this point E begins to walk away, apparently not interested in DirectTV, and

delivers line 19 from some distance.

Less than five minutes later, E returns to the spot where Abel sells subscriptions. She

cannot find a store she believed was on that block and approaches Abel once more to see if he









knows where it might be located. After approximately a one minute exchange about the location


of the store and other buildings on that block, E initiates a topic change:

Excerpt 11
1 E: Ustedes por si acaso, son paisanos mio/h/, verdad?
('You by chance, are countrymen of mine, right?')
2 A: De: Guayaquil.
('From Guayaquil')
3 E: (A pue(-s).) Viva Guayaquil!
('Oh, well. Long live Guayaquil!')
4 A: Eso e/h/.
('That' s it')
5 E: Yo soy de Duran. [Pero ahora (estoy aqui.)]
('I'm from Duran. But now I'm here')
6 A: [De Duran? Si ](a (es-)[ta bien.])
('From Duran? Yes, alright')
7 E: [Si,]si aja.
('Yes')
8 A: [oClaro
(' Of course')
9 que si. o]
('Yes')
10 E: Somo/h/ de Ecuador.
(We're from Ecuador')
11 A: Si. (Es-)tamo(-s)-
('Yes. We are-')
12 E: A ya ya ya.
('right, right, right')
13 A: Eso lo que le explicaba a ella sobre el regionalismo
('That' s what I was explaining to her about the
regionalism')
14 que hay en nue/h/tro pais.
('that exists in our country')
15 E: Aj a.
16 A: Hay much regiona[lismo.
('There' s a lot of regionalism')
17 E: [Ay!i no, mire yo hace do/s/
('Oh, no, look, about two')
18 afio(-s) fui a la sie/rr/a. Mis padres son de la sie/rr/a,
('years ago I went to the mountains. My parents are
from the mountains,')
19 mi madre de la costa. Pero amo tanto a lo/s/
('my mother is from the coast. But I love so much')
20 indiecitos de alla como lo/s/ campesino(-s) de aqui,










('the little Indians from over there, like the rural people
from here')
21 porque de ahi? sov vo?
('because that' s where I'm from')
22 (1.0)
23 Y mire, como me regocij e, para mi fue una terapia
(And look, how I rej oiced, for me it was a beautiful')
24 hermosa de ver a esto/s/ indiecitos en la/h/
('therapy to see those little Indians in the')
25 montafias? Pero que bello, dije Dios mio, que lindo
('mountains. But how beautiful, I said my God, what')
26 paisaje veo. Mira a esos indiecito(-s). De ahi soy
('a beautiful scenery I see. Look at those little
Indians. That's where I am')
27 yo?! Porque mi padre era serrano. Por eso somo/s/
('from. Because my father was from the mountains.
That' s why we are')
28 mestizo(-s)?
29 A: Claro, somo(-s) mestizo(-s).
('Of course, we're mestizo')
30 E: Por eso somo(-s) mestizo(-s). No somo(-s) blanco,
('That' s why we're mestizo. We are not white')
31 ni negro, ni ( ), ni amarillo, ni chino. Somo/s/
('nor black, nor ( ), nor yellow, nor Chinese. We're
32 mestizo(-s).
33 ((laughs)).
34 Y a toda honra.
('And with all honor')
35 A: Si, verdad?
('Yes, right?')
36 E: Mi hijo. Tengo un hijo que me dice- que vino
('My son. I have a son that tells me- that came')
37 chiquito de Ecuador de tre(-s) afio(-s). Le digo, tu
('small from Ecuador at the age of three. I say to him,
you')
38 tiene/h/ que comer much mote, much deso,
('have to eat your corn, lots of that')
39 porque lo/s/ indio/h/ allti ni cana/h/ tenian. Y-
('because the Indians over there don't even have grey
hair. And')
40 [(le dije )]
('I told him')
41 A: [>De=verda(-d)?<
('Really?')
42 E: Y- Si es verdad. Y enton(-ce) me dice, Si yo naci
('And- Yes it's true. And so he tells me, But I was born')









43 en Manhattan. [Yo le dij e, Quien te pario!
('in Manhattan. I said to him, and who gave birth to
you?!i')
44 A: [((laughs))
45 E: Yo naci en Manhattan. Le digo y quien te pario.
('I was born in Manhattan. I tell him and who gave birth to
you?')
46 [((W laughs))
47 A: [Y ahora que tiene ya- que edad tiene el ahora?
('And now what does he have- what is his age now?')
48 E: No, ya tiene cuarenta- es por molestarme.
('No, he's already forty- it's to tease me')

Early in this exchange we can see the contrast between their two approaches. In line 1, E

asks if Abel and I (who was sitting close by), are her "patlianus",\`. This inquiry into ethnic

background does not suggest any inclination towards regional specificity (e.g. "Where in

Ecuador are you from"); in fact it does not even specify Ecuador as the country in question.

Instead, mutual recognition of ethnic background is implied, and only verbal confirmation of this

in the most general sense is required to complete the request (e.g. "Yes" or "Yes, I'm from

Ecuador")30. As is customary for him, Abel replies immediately with "De Guayaquil ('from

Guayaquil')." E for her part enthusiastically acknowledges his city of origin (line 3). As her

next turns suggest, this enthusiasm fits neatly with her general approach: inclusiveness rather

than exclusivenes. In line 5 she states her own city Duran, (also a coastal city), but adds "pero

estoy aqui ahora ('but I'm here now'). In conjunction with her statement in line 10 ("Somos de

Ecuador ('we're from Ecuador')," this demonstrates her wish to focus on what they had in

common: a) "we're are both here now" and b) "we're both from Ecuador". It' s revealing that

Abel raises the topic of regionalism, which, as he suggests in lines 13 and 14, he had raised as an

issue in our own conversations. This statement at this moment illustrates just how salient this


30 Consistent with his preference for not interrupting conversational flow and "keeping people happy" he also gives
a response that does not exclude me from her inquiry. Rather than clarify that he was from Guaraquil and I was
from Puerto Rico, he provided a response that allowed her to believe I was also from Ecuador.









dichotomy is for him. Diverging from Abel's view, E overlaps with him in line 17 and delivers a

touching description of her own encounter with her indio heritage. Her proud narratives in lines

17-28 and lines 30-32 lead Abel to make statements of agreement. However, the content and

delivery of his statement does not match the enthusiasm expressed by E. Finally, the rest of the

conversation confirms E' s romanticized views of indios. Abel's question in line 41, on the other

hand, reveals a gap in his knowledge about the indio lifestyle C describes. In this endearing

exchange between Abel and E, Abel is confronted with that part of his background that causes

him shame. Here, however, E encourages him to make a positive evaluation of indio heritage.

7.3 Discussion

Social Identity Theory asserts that group membership leads to self-categorization in ways

that favor the in-group at the expense of the out-group. Turner and Tajfel (1986) showed that just

categorizing themselves as group members led people to display in-group favoritism. Thus,

individuals seek to achieve positive self-esteem by positively differentiating their in-group from

others. However, as Abel's case makes clear, this is not always true. Often, Abel sought positive

differentiation from his putative in-group. Basing his actions and interpretations on the negative

stereotypes about serranos or indios, he preferred a regional category (guayaquileifo). In some

cases, he identified with the Colombian category. And he did so in a way that did not over-

commit him to Colombian identification: by keeping silent or my invoking cognitive

representations that did some of the talking for him (recall the map where Guayaquil was near

Colombia).

Abel differed from Roberto in that he did not have ambiguous physical features that might

have allowed him greater control over his ethnic self-presentation. I believe Abel valued this

sort of control, at the very least, because it smoothened sales transactions. He quite explicitly

admitted the instrumental / material interests he had in ethnic identification. To compensate for









this he frequently accommodated or adequated (applying Bucholtz and Hall's (2005) term), to

non-Ecuadorians. Abel used whatever linguistic resources were available to him. But again,

unlike Roberto, he lacked the proficiency in English that might have afforded him more

flexibility. Furthermore, his phenotypic features further eliminated certain ethnic options (see

Waters 1990). Because of the negative stereotypes shared in Ecuador (and throughout Latin

American) about indios, his options to use this identification as an instrumental tool are

considerably limited.

His conversation with E in Excerpt 11 suggests that indio identification is an ambivalent

area for him. It is not that Abel and E do not share the serrano / unici'/jl cultural model so

frequently expressed by Abel and other Ecuadorians I encountered. E' s romanticized

descriptions of the "indiecitos en la~s mont~ails ('Indians in the mountains') and her

characterization of them as "closer to nature" are consistent with the model. This is suggestive

of the point made by Quinn and Holland (1987: 12): "Socialization experiences may differ

sharply in the degree to which they endow a given cultural model with directive force for an

individual." While I cannot assume much about E's background, known points about Abel's life

history are clear. Attributing, certain obstacles and mistreatment to his indio heritage, Abel tends

to view indio in a negative light. Slotted into the model, this information guides Abel's

interpretations and behavior differently from E.

7.4 Conclusion

Abel's case highlights key points about ethnic identification. While Abel expressed some

symbolic attachment (e.g. music, Ecuador's weather) to his Ecuadorian heritage, these were most

salient in his interactions with other Ecuadorians. Although his identification as Ecuadorian

likely helped him land the job as a DirectTV salesman, most prominent was a tendency to

disassociate from the Ecuadorian category. But to say that he disassociated from the Ecuadorian










category should not be taken to mean that he rej ected his heritage or possessed some

dysfunctional psychological complex. He was firm in his insistence to control how others

treated him as best he could. But he also portrayed earnest moments of ethnic pride. Abel's

example undergirds a central argument of this research: that ethnic identification (instrumental)

often works independently of ethnic self-understanding (non-instrumental).









CHAPTER 8
CONCLUSION

8.0 Introduction

This concluding chapter summarizes findings of my research. The implications of these

Endings for theory and practice are also discussed. I conclude this thesis by suggesting

directions for future research.

The guiding question was: under what conditions do New York City Latinos switch their

ethnic identification. To answer this question, I approached the research with Hyve guiding

obj ectives: 1) to document the incidence of multiple ethnic identifications among research

participants; 2) to determine the contexts under which people use ethnic identifications; 3) to

determine the resources acquired by using various ethnic identifications; 4) to determine

behaviors involved in switching; and 5) to identify some basic rules for invoking one ethnic

identification over another. These objectives required a methodologically rich design,

incorporating ethnographic, survey, linguistic, and discourse analytic techniques.

8.1 Findings

Obj ective 1: to document the incidence of multiple ethnic identifications among research

participants. This research documents what may become a prevailing trend in America: using

multiple ethnic identifications. In chapter 1 I cited findings from the US Census suggesting that

multiple race and ethnicity reporting is common among the youngest members of the American

population. Increases in reporting multiple race/ ethnic categories reflect a general trend over the

past 30 years towards ethnic and racial diversity in the US. This trend has been spurred by

immigration, inter-ethnic relationships, and global communication. Undoubtedly, government

structuring of economic and political opportunities along ethnic and racial lines has also

encouraged the adoption and use of multiple categories of identification. Responding to the

unique problems of counting a diverse population, in 1993 the White House Office of

184










Management and Budget changed federal regulation to allow multiple race / ethnicity reporting

in the US Census. My work substantiates that in people's daily interactions, as in socio-

demographic questionnaires, multiple categories are necessary and used to navigate a complex

and diverse ethnic landscape. Some, like Abel and Roberto, have quite broad ethnic

identification repertoires.

From my conversations with hundreds of Latinos in New York, and in-depth work with a

select few, I find that among New York Latinos, multiple ethnic identifications are common and

for the most part, uncontroversial. All of the participants I interviewed or observed, including

Roberto and Abel, reported using more than one label to identify themselves to others. Most

common is the use of "Latino" along with a specific national label. These two ethnic options

comprise the standard toolkit for ethnic identification among New York Latinos. Both the

national and pan-ethnic labels are expressed situationally, but Latino identification functions as a

base or a canvas onto which further detail is added as need be. For example, in Roberto's

interaction with James, shared Latino ethnicity was assumed early on. Uncertain about each

others' ethnicity, both adopted a strategy that opened up interactional possibilities. Roberto kept

it open by switching between multiple frames of reference, using Spanish as an anchor to Latino

identification. James, who code-switched very little, opted for the more inclusive Latino

identification throughout, making no references to a specific ethnic or national group. Abel, for

his part, identified strongly with other Latinos, having roomed and worked with men from

several Latin American countries. Furthermore, his wife, Monica, is Mexican. Abel adopted

elements of other Spanish dialects, namely Colombian and Rioplatense Spanish, and to some

extent, Caribbean Spanish. He used these dialects with Colombians, Uruguayans, Argentineans,

and Puerto Ricans, as a way to lessen any communicative or cultural distance. In general, both

Roberto and Abel employed Latino identification when encountering other Latinos whose










national origins were unknown. Compared to the nationality-based ethnic categories, inclusion

in the Latino label is somewhat lax, and characteristically inclusive. Often, ascription of Latino

identification by person A onto person B is based on surface assessments of person B's

appearance or stereotyped interpretations of behavior. A person's selection of Latino

identification for himself is encouraged by frequent interaction with Latinos from throughout

Latin America, as was the case with Abel and other participants in this study.

In contexts where Latino identification is in some way obvious or implicit, and specifieity

required, national labels like "Venezuelan" and "Ecuadorian" are used. The use of these labels

represents a commitment to one or few categories. Therefore, those wishing ethnic flexibility

will tend to avoid using a specific label. Roberto's case illustrates this. Banking on the

ambiguity of his physical appearance, he rarely uses Venezuelan identification with non-

Venezuelans unless asked directly. Venezuelan identification and cognate behaviors are

employed in his interactions with other Venezuelans31. Similarly, Abel used "ecuatoriano" with

other Ecuadorians, or when interacting with others on a long-term basis. In fleeting encounters,

he admitted to using whichever identification was most advantageous, especially "colombiano".

Further ethnic specificity, as with Abel's "guayaquileifo," serves at least two purposes.

One is to package information about socio-economic background, cultural preferences,

disposition, and/or status, for presentation to compatriots. This information could serve to

positively differentiate oneself from others, or as a basis for further interactions and mutual

support. Another function of a specific ethnic or regional label is to disassociate from a more

inclusive, negatively evaluated category. It's the "yes, but" move in ethnic self-presentation:

"Yes, I'm Ecuadorian, but from Guayaquil". This was clearly evinced by Abel. Wishing to


31 In at least one case not analyzed here, Roberto used a more Venezuelan presentation (dialectally) when talking to
a South American (non-Venezuelan) man. This led to the only instance I recorded in which someone correctly
identified him as Venezuelan.









distance himself from negative associations made of Ecuadorians and indios, he used

guayaquileifo as a way to draw attention from negative generalizations, taking more control over

how others viewed and categorized him.

Objective 2: to determine the contexts under which people use ethnic identifications. In

Chapter 4 I included an excerpt from Hield notes I took during my Hieldwork in Astoria, Queens.

The notes described an urban environment in which ethnicity was both ubiquitous (as with the

numerous stores selling targeted ethnic goods) yet, on the surface, a non-issue. Similarly, for the

participants in this study, in some contexts ethnicity guided interactions and in others it was

irrelevant. Contexts in which ethnicity was made relevant by participants and their interlocutors

included sales encounters, social gatherings dominated by one or another ethnic group, and in

scenarios where a person wished to make themselves ethnically distinct. In some cases, ethnicity

was mostly unimportant to an interaction but was introduced early on as a way to understand

how to proceed with an exchange or to help a conversation proceed smoothly. From my

observations in New York City I gather that ethnicity has saturated so many dimensions of daily

life that it is a taken for granted backdrop. Based on evidence from Roberto's and Abel's cases,

and other participants, my research suggests that ethnicity is most relevant when crucial

resources and opportunities are at stake. Only after I completed the analysis for both participants

did I fully realize the parallels in Roberto and Abel's experiences. The life histories of both men

revealed significant periods of economic hardship, childhood traumas, legal troubles, and

emotional instabilities. Basing my selection only on the frequency of switching, I did not intend

for such experiences to be the only view into Latino realities. Yet, these honest stories may

reveal something unique about El switching. Perhaps the periods of hardship and scarcity

experienced by these men encouraged their ethnic and linguistic flexibility as a survival tool.









An important distinction in the matter of context and ethnic identification is whether the

context entails a long-term or short-term encounter. Short-term encounters, ones in which actors

are unlikely to come in contact again, allow more possibilities for ethnic self-presentation.

Indeed, risky ventures like passing are most effective in contexts where exposure or challenges

are improbable. Recall Abel's claim to being Colombian to a Puerto Rican potential client. Abel

had never met the Puerto Rican man before and their relationship was limited to a short sales

exchange. Roberto, who felt at home with Puerto Rican identification, could easily back up a

Puerto Rican claim; mainly, through his use of Puerto Rican dialect and knowledge about the

island and Puerto Rican culture. Thus, Roberto reported letting people assume he was Puerto

Rican (or Nuyorican) when he traveled to Puerto Rico with his wife. To help people's

interpretations along (people he encountered in passing), he highlighted Puerto Rican dialect in

his speech. This points to another helpful feature of short term encounters: people can create

more ethnic possibilities for themselves by letting others' assumptions take the lead. At the

intersections of context, physical appearance, and behavior, a number of assumptions can be

made. As I said in Chapter 1, aspects of my appearance that led Chasidic women to assume I

was also Jewish would have been interpreted differently had I been in a mosque. Along the same

lines, Roberto, who was often mistaken for Cuban or Italian because of his appearance and

aspects of his speech, did not often contradict these assumptions. Instead, like Abel, he subtly

went along with people's presuppositions. Both Roberto and Abel have unsteady nationalistic

attachments to their places of origins. Still, they use these affiliations to mobilize a number of

economic and practical resources (e.g. jobs, sales, transportation).

Ethnic identification in long-term encounters or relationships tended to conform to the

normative influences of relationship histories, habit, and group dynamics. Roberto was

consistent in his language use and expressions of his ethnicity when with his wife. In fact,









ethnicity was not an explicit factor driving their interactions. That being said, their initial

relationship was enhanced by Roberto' s knowledge of Puerto Rican culture and language, and

his attraction to Puerto Rican women. Abel worked daily with a group of Ecuadorian salesmen

and women. Thus, he was free to use Ecuadorian dialect and often engaged in banter steeped in

references to Ecuadorian politics, people, and places (often I was lost in these conversations). In

Abel's case, it was during time spent with other Ecuadorians that he expressed a positive

evaluation of and connection to Ecuadorian identification.

The cognitive perspective employed in this research revealed a broad schema of ethnic

cooperation which guides both long-term and short-term interactions. This schema served to set

interactive (and instrumental) goals that hinged on the presupposition that common ethnic

identification is one condition of cooperation.

Objective 3: to determine the resources acquired by using various ethnic identifications.

In the previous discussion on the contexts of ethnic identification I named some of the resources

acquired by participants. I should note that in focusing on Roberto and Abel, this research has

paid particular attention to the use of ethnicity in workplace or commercial encounters. Thus,

the resources documented here are mostly economic. These include forging business contacts

and selling and buying products/services. Interviews with Roberto revealed that ethnic

flexibility also helped him avoid trouble in thorny situations (e.g. buying drugs). Abel shared

that using labels other than "Ecuadorian" helped him control how others categorized and treated

him. Contingent uses of ethnicity described by other participants resulted in better service or less

scrutiny when entering the country from a trip abroad.

Following with the distinction outlined above between short- and long-term exchanges, in

long-term relationships, (shared) ethnicity was a way to strengthen and maintain already existing

bonds. These bonds were key components of participants' social support networks. For Abel,









his relationship with Marco was decisive for his financial stability. When they were originally

introduced by a mutual acquaintance, the introduction was framed as one Ecuadorian (Marco)

helping another (Abel). Not only were they both from Ecuador, but they were also

gr"l''ita~uqitiibe. This fact was significant for Abel and Marco. They each described their

relationship comfortable and familiar. Both felt that their chemistry was due to their shared

background. In Roberto's case, Venezuelan identification provided a basis from which his

relationship with Omar emerged, making mutual support possible.

My research adds to the literature on ethnic networks, which has found that fruitful

business arrangements emerge from ethnically homogenous interactions (Bonacich 1973;

Patterson 1975; Sanders & Nee 1987; Ooka & Wellman 2003). My own contribution is nuanced

in two respects. First, while true that shared ethnicity is a strong basis for business cooperation,

the literature tends to focus on the advantages of one shared ethnicity. Both Roberto and Abel

demonstrated ways in which multiple ethnic identifications (albeit within the Latino pan-

ethnicity) are adapted to forge varied ethnic ties. How multi-ethnic people build economic or

political networks corresponding to each of their identifications is an under-studied area. This

research provides some insights about how such a differentiated mobilization of resources works.

It is clear, for example, that bilingualism and bi-dialectism are crucial tools for such mobilizing.

Second, the literature on economic ethnic networks has also focused on the established and

lasting connections that sustain ethnic enclaves. A web of weaker, but nonetheless effective,

inter-ethnic ties is formed by the types of multi-ethnic negotiations Roberto and Abel made

everyday. Immigrant New York, with all of its well-established ethnic enclaves, also thrives

from the fleeting cross-ethnic encounters. Neighborhoods like Astoria and Jackson Heights /

Corona in Queens are good examples of immigrant communities that have been transformed by

the daily, small, social and economic exchanges of its diverse people.










Objective 4: to determine behaviors involved in switching. Previous research on ethnic

identity switching did not detail the process of switching in daily life. Many of these studies

were particularly concerned with group-wide shifts in identification (cf. Barth 1969; Haaland

1969; Patterson 1975; Nagel 1994). Of the ones that focused on individual switching, self-

reports (Kaufert 1977, Waters 1994), surveys (Eschbach and Gomez 1998), and field notes

(Nagata 1974) were used to document switches. In this study I have taken a mixed-method

approach to El switching. A key strength of the research is the use of digital audio recording to

capture instances of switching. These recordings have revealed that switching is accomplished

through a range of linguistic feats. The data presented here consistently show that linguistic

flexibility opens up possibilities for ethnic self-presentation. To varying degrees, both Roberto

and Abel had access to two languages and multiple dialects. As a result, code-switching

(including dialect switching), style shifting, and lexical insertions were employed as ways to

varyingly align themselves to interlocutors.

Besides these linguistic acts, Roberto's and Abel's discursive work also lent support to

their switching. As mentioned above, in some cases, Roberto and Abel straightforwardly used

ethnic labels to identify themselves to others. Often, switching was achieved through references

that signaled their (in-group) knowledge of categories like Puerto Rican, Colombian or African

American (c.f. Plotnicov and Silverman (1978) on ethnic signaling). Making references to in-

group knowledge was a subtle means of negotiating multiple ethnicities. It was a way to imply

affiliation without necessarily committing to an identification. In this way, ethnically flexible

people like Abel and Roberto declare "I am like rather than "I am"

Obj ective 5: to identify some basic rules for invoking one ethnic identification over

another. While further data is needed to arrive at reliable rules (see Directions for Future

Research section below), I'd like to revisit the rubric mentioned in Chapter 1: image, context,









knowledge, and performance. I argue that ethnic options are either constrained or facilitated by

each of these dimensions and that they work in combination to direct choices.

As I stated in Chapter 1, image includes both self-image (perception of ourselves) and

outward image (physical and material aspects of ourselves that influence the perception of

others). In my visit to the Chasidic temple described in Chapter 1, I never perceived myself as

"looking Jewish" and therefore I had no expectation that I could blend in or pass. Roberto's

outward image was both ambiguous and positively evaluated (in the sense that white phenotype

has been privileged in society). This afforded him the option to present himself as a white

American, Cuban, Puerto Rican, or Venezuelan. Aspects of Abel's looks that are distinctly indio

affords him less flexibility. Still, he benefited from the fact that mestizo heritage is common

throughout Latin America. At times he disassociated from Ecuadorian categorization by

invoking other nationalities (e.g. Colombian).

Context is a broad dimension spanning multiple (hierarchical) levels. At the micro-level of

interaction, it includes social setting and attributes of others in the social setting (see domain

(Fishman 1972)). Roberto' s conversation with James took place in a store where James was

manager. His exchange with Omar took place on the street, where Roberto met him to borrow

his van. All of Abel's conversations analyzed here, took place as he worked to sell DirectTV

subscriptions. Context tends to come "prepackaged" with a set of interactional rules that

encourage certain behaviors while discouraging others. Wider socio-historical conditions can

limit identification (e.g. the one drop rule of the Jim Crow era) and therefore Eigure into the

definition of context.

Using Goodenough' s (1957: 167) definition, the sort of Imowledge I refer to is "whatever it

is one has to know...in order to operate in a manner acceptable to" others. Related concepts

include conanunicative competence (Gumperz 1972) and habitus (Bourdieu 1977). Knowledge









of the rules governing particular contexts is necessary for determining the appropriateness of an

identification. Furthermore, knowledge (represented by schemas, models, and other knowledge

structures) guides interpretations and makes it possible to "pick up on" subtle cues. Knowledge

and performance are closely linked. Thus, successful performance is grounded in knowledge.

8.2 Implications and Applications

In this research I set out to examine an important, but under-studied phenomenon: people

switching their ethnic identification across multiple spheres of interaction. My review of the

literature suggests that this is the only study to have analyzed El switching from so many

different angles: linguistic, ethnographic, through social network analysis and surveys. Yet, the

topic of El switching is not merely an intellectual or methodological exercise. I believe that the

growing diversity of our cities and countries foretells a future where multi-ethnicity will be the

order of the day. There is a certain empowerment that comes from knowledge about our ethnic

flexibility. However, we must also be conscious that ethnic options are still constrained for

many: those with limited English proficiency, those with dark skin, and the socially isolated. All

in all, this research makes clear that important issues like resource distribution, ethnic conflict, or

social and political movements cannot be understood in terms of neatly packaged identities in

competition.

In the 18 months of research I worked closely with eleven Latino men and women and

spoke candidly with more than two hundred other Latinos who represented a range of

backgrounds and experiences. Many of those who shared their experiences have been in the US

for most of their lives and have developed an awareness of their Latino ethnicity as potentially

politically and economically advantageous. They view Latino identification as a commodity to

be highlighted when applying for work or developing new relationships. Then there were

those--particularly the more recent migrants--who have little choice over their ethnic self-










presentation. This was often the consequence of limited English language skills or

undocumented immigrant status.

My research has shown that there is no one-to-one relationship between biographical

ethnicity and the use of ethnic markers. Often, flexible identification spans multiple levels of

inclusiveness (e.g. Latino, Ecuadorian, serrano, Quechua). Intriguingly, these repertoires also

cross seemingly distinct boundaries (e.g. American, Ecuadorian, Colombian). Ethnic markers,

particularly language-related ones, are manipulated in a number of creative ways by members

and non-members alike, pushing the limits of what constitutes ethnic group membership and

challenging notions of ethnic authenticity. People tended to switch ethnic identifications by

changing to or emphasizing a certain language or dialect (including accents), or simply by

keeping quiet and letting others' assumptions take the lead. The reasons for switching ranged

from the relatively minor (getting free drinks), to the quotidian (connecting with friends or

landing better dates), to the vital (avoiding problems with immigration, making a sale, or in a job

interview). When unpacked, these subtle and routine acts of flexibility reveal a number of

compelling features about ethnicity. Ethnicity cannot be said to be who a person is, but rather a

way of seeing (Brubaker, 2004) and doing.

Additionally, by analyzing which ethnicities are invoked and for what purposes, as this

research has done, divisions within the Latino pan-ethnic group (or even within just one national

group) are revealed. For example, it was not uncommon to observe or hear about people who

feigned Puerto Rican or Colombian ethnicity because these are groups with a measure of

recognizability and respectability in New York City's ethnic landscape. However, no one ever

feigned Mexican identity. Some argue that the differences between various Latino subgroups are

too significant for Latinos to be grouped together for analysis or policy treatment. In fact, this

makes Latinos an ideal group for examining the salience and negotiation of multiple ethnic









identities, including the pan-ethnic Latino identity. Ethnographic evidence from this study

shows that the resonance of Latino pan-ethnicity differs from context to context and is mediated

by influences of generation, immigrant status, and class. With several issues related to Latinos

playing prominently in the national stage (e.g. immigration legislation and bilingualism), my

research documents intimately how these themes play out in people's everyday lives.

Finally, by elaborating ethnographically how people choose among multiple ethnic

identities in day-to-day contexts, the research informs how and why people decide what to say

when they are confronted by questions about ethnicity in the US Census. Understanding what is

captured by these categories is important given the reliance on these categories for prioritizing

needs and distributing resources. Many respondents in this study, particularly second and third

generation Latinos, perceived the "Hispanic" label to be relevant only within the context of the
socio-demographic survey. Within this context, the "Hispanic" epnei atmtc n


limited in its ability to capture meaningful, everyday realities. Even the more specific

nationality-based labels are misleading, as the data from participants in this study revealed.

Therefore, I argue that social scientist would be better served by relinquishing their reliance on

self-reported accounts of ethnic identification. Abel's case illustrates how conflicting these self-

reported internal states can be. Having developed negative associations of his indio heritage, he

altered his behavior to disassociate during interactions. To be sure, there are strong emotional

and psycho-social attachments to identifying with a group. Yet in everyday lived experience,

people like Abel and Roberto behave according to what is most advantageous for them. The sum

of these actions translates to predictable patterns of behavior that may not correlate with

emotional or symbolic attachments.

Alternatives based on social interaction measures (based on languages spoken and / or

social networks) are promising. For example, social networks may serve as proxies for ethnic









identification because they often reflect the maj or ethnic influences on people' s daily life and

interactions. A person's social network that is heavily represented by one ethnicity will exert

unique pressures on that person to identify according to the dominant ethnicity. Furthermore,

people with ethnically heterogeneous social networks have more opportunity (and need) to learn

and use multiple ethnic identifications. As normative influences on behavior, networks may be

more reliable predictors of social, economic, and health outcomes than the context-bound labels

used in socio-demographic questionnaires.

8.3 Directions for Future Research

Having analyzed here but a fraction of the data collected, a number of questions remain

unanswered. This dissertation represents the first step in research program tasked with the in-

depth study of multi-ethnicity and the negotiation of these in daily life. The central concern of

this agenda is to understand the consequences of ethnic flexibility for economic livelihood,

political organizing, and health. Below I outline at least three areas that need further attention: 1)

the relationship between social network structure and composition and El switching; 2)

consideration of factors that limit ethnic flexibility, including monolingualism and ascription by

others; 3) analysis of the cognitive structures underlying ethnicity.

Two key pieces of data yet to be analyzed are the results of the social network surveys and

the vignette surveys. The vignette surveys asked ethnic identification questions about scenarios

not encountered in the ethnographic phase of the research. These include identification in a job

interview, during community protests, and in international airports. Thus, the results from the

vignettes surveys will be used to determine the rules for choosing one identification over

another. Additionally, these surveys will be analyzed to determine the reported frequency of El

switching and how a number of factors are related to switching. Chief among the factors to be

analyzed are social network composition and structure. As I have already argued, network









diversity encourages the development of multiple ethnic identifications. Abel and Roberto did

have heterogeneous networks but clearly no conclusive inferences can be made about the

relationship between this and their tendency to switch. My analysis of the vignette and social

network surveys may achieve this end statistically.

I have argued that linguistic flexibility is crucial to ethnic self-presentation. But what

about monolingual or monodialectal people? Do they switch? How? Some of the participants

in this study were almost exclusively English-dominant speakers. The broader question of why

and how people switch would benefit from examining the behavior of those who fall at the other

end of the spectrum; those who unlike Abel and Roberto tend to use one, primary identification.

Abel's behavior provides one clue about what switching may look like for monolinguals with

Eixed identifications. He reported "going along with" the ascriptions of others. It was common

to hear participants say that if people wanted to think that they were X identification, then they

were not going to challenge them. This is another dimension to ethnic identification that needs

to be further explored. For example, one participant reported that he, despite considering himself

to be Puerto Rican, identified as Black. His reasoning for this was that if that' s the way people

will see and treat him it does not make sense to counter their assumptions. Therefore, it' s likely

that ascribed identification plays an important role in self-identifieation.

Finally, people's discourse on why they invoke this or that ethnicity highlighted two key

themes. First, ethnic stereotypes framed their responses to a number of my interview questions.

Participants tended to describe and interpret the attributes and behaviors of others in

essentialized, generalized ways. The Portuguese are merciless exploiters, blacks don't like

whites, whites don't want anything to do with blacks, Dominicans are dark, Ecuadorians are

looked down on, Puerto Ricans don't like Mexicans, gay Mexicans are undesirable, etc. These

associations guided their own ethnic self-presentation. For some it meant disassociating from









stereotypes for others it meant activating stereotypes or associations to their advantage. In future

research I will explore more explicitly how these cognitive processes can help further untangle

our understandings of ethnicity.









APPENDIX A
PHASE 1 LIFE HISTORY INTTERVIEW

I. Childhood:

1. Where were you born?
2. Where were your parents born?
3. What did your parents do for a living when you were a child?
4. Do you have siblings?
5. How would you describe your relationship with your parents?
6. How would you describe your relationship with your siblings?
7. Did you grow up with extended family near to you? Where did your relatives live
when you were growing up?
8. Describe the neighborhood where you grew up.
9. Describe the first time you had an awareness of your ethnicity or race?
10. What was your earliest experience with race?
11. What was your earliest experience with ethnicity?
12. What did your parents teach you about race or ethnicity?
13. Describe one or two family traditions you enjoyed as a child?
14. What were your favorite pastimes as a child?
15. Did you attend church as a child?
16. Describe your school?
17. Was your school racially or ethnically diverse?
18. Were your school friends from the same or different ethnic background as you?
19. What did you learn in school about people from different national, racial or ethnic
backgrounds?
20. Did you ever experience any racial or ethnic discrimination as a child?
21. What were some of your most memorable moments as a child?

II. Adolescence and Early Adulthood:

1. When did you have your first job?
2. Describe your first jobs?
3. Was your workplace ethnically or racially diverse?
4. Did you spend time with your co-workers outside of work?
5. Did your work provide the opportunity to meet people from a different racial or
ethnic background than you?
6. What were your early career or occupational goals?
7. Did you go to college? If yes, where did you go? What did you study?
8. Did you j oin any clubs or organizations in college or elsewhere?
9. Did you attend religious services as a teenager or young adult?
10. What was your favorite music when you were a teenager?
11. Who did you look up to as a teenager or young adult?
12. What was your favorite pastime?
13. What were some of your most memorable moments as a teenager or young adult?
14. When did you start dating?
15. Did you date anyone from a different racial or ethnic background as you?










16. How did your parents or family feel about this?
17. What were some experiences you had with race or ethnicity at this time in your life?
18. Did you have friends who were from a different national, racial, or ethnic background
as you?
19. Were you interested in learning more about your family's background as a young
adult? If so, what kinds of things did you do to learn more about your family's
heritage?
20. Try to recall some of the earliest times when someone asked you where you were
from or what your ethnicity was. What did you tell them?
21. Explain why you gave this response.
22. Did you experience any racial or ethnic discrimination as a young adult?

III. Present:

1. For immigrants: Describe your immigration experience. Why did you migrate? How
did you (and/or your family) decide where to migrate to?
2. How were you treated when you arrived in this country?
3. What were some of your most negative immigration experiences?
4. What were some of your most positive immigration experiences?
5. Did you know English? If not, how long did it take you to learn?
6. Do you have family back home?
7. How often do you keep in contact with them?
8. How often do you return home to visit?
9. What do you currently do for a living?
10. How long have you had this job?
11. Describe your workplace.
12. Do you have co-workers who are from the same ethnic background as you?
Different?
13. Are you married? Have you ever been married? Are you in a long-term relationship?
14. How / where did you meet your spouse / ex- / partner?
15. What is your partner' s ethnic background?
16. How is your relationship to your partner' s family?
17. How often do you spend time with your partner' s family?
18. Do you have children?
19. What do you teach your children about race or ethnicity?
20. How would you describe your children's race or ethnicity?
21. Describe one or two family traditions you enj oy now?
22. Describe your neighborhood?
23. Describe the meals you serve most regularly?
24. Where / how did you learn to prepare these meals?
25. When people ask you where you are from or what your ethnicity is, what do you tell
them?
26. Do you have friends who are from a different national, racial, or ethnic background
than you?
27. Have you traveled?
28. Where did you go?










29. Describe your experiences meeting people abroad.
30. Do you belong to any community organizations? Describe this organization?
31. Do you attend religious services?
32. Do you attend ethnically oriented events?
33. Do you speak Spanish in your household? English?
34. Have you had any experiences with racial or ethnic discrimination?
35. Do you teach your children your native language?
36. What do you like the most about your ethnic or cultural heritage?
37. What do you like least about your ethnic or cultural heritage?
38. Are there people from certain ethnic or racial backgrounds that you have no or little
contact with? Why do you think this is so?
39. Have you ever been involved in demonstrations or protests? Describe some of these
experiences.










APPENDIX B
PHASE 1 SOCIAL NETWORK QUESTIONNAIRE

I. Ego Questions (questions about respondent):

1. How would you describe your ethnicity?
2. How would you describe your race?

II. Name Generator:

Please list the name of 45 people that you know. Knowing means that you know the person by
face and name, that you could contact them if you had to and that you have had some contact in
the last two years. Please list the name of those you are closest to first then continue with the
names of those you are less close to.

III. Alter Questions (questions about network members):

1. What is this person's gender?
a. Female
b. Male
2. What is this person's nationality?
a. American
b. Argentinean
c. Bolivian
d. Brazilian
e. Chilean
f. Colombian
g. Costa Rican
h. Cuban
i. Dominican
j. Ecuadorian
k. Guatemalan
1. Honduran
m. Mexican
n. Nicaraguan
0. Panamanian
p. Paraguayan
q. Peruvian
r. Puerto Rican
s. Salvadorian
t. Uruguayan
u. Venezuelan
v. Other
3. How would you describe this person's nationality?
4. What is this person's race?
a. Black or African American
b. Asian or Pacific Islander










c. Native American or Alaskan Native
d. Mixed-Race
e. Other
5. How would you describe this person's race?
6. Please rate on a scale from one to five your closeness with this person?
a. 5 = Extremely Close
b. 4 =Very Close
c. 3 = Close
d. 2 = Minimally Close
e. 1 = Not At All Close

IV. Alter Pair Question (relationship between network members):

1. What is the likelihood that person A and person B would talk to each other if you were

not around?








APPENDIX C
PHASE 2 SOCIAL NETWORK QUESTIONNAIRE (ALTER QUESTIONS)

/ Sex Lual es su sexo?

183 Age L1al s su ead ad (en ans]

$ RACE Leue categoria piensa que describe mejor el color de su piel?

$ Racm kL~ue tan a menudo a pasado per experiencias racistas an los Estados Ulnidos?

SRcles Describa un ejemplo,

1J Born 2En qu pals nadci?

/ Relg -Cual respuesta que meor clecriba sureligiond

$ Reas Cual respuesta que mejor clescriba su razon para venir a los Estados Unidos?

$ Dad Do~nde nacd su padre?

/ Mom Dorndenacir su madre?

$ Mvarr Lual es su estado civil?

$ Spous Dornde nacior su esposo~ao pareja?

1183 Child i~uantos hijos tiene?

lII Cyear 2En quei ai~o liYYYY) nacio su primer hijo~ia

183 Cborn L~uantos cle sus hijos nacieron en este pais?

183 Cmom Incluye~ndole a Usted .., Lluantos hijos~is tuvo Sul madre?

$ Emp LEs Usteel asalariado a tiempo complete, a tiempo parcial, estai parado, jubilacle I













$' Pap -Tlene su situation regualarizada en los Estados Ulnidos ('papeles")?

WTY'uP L~ud tipo de trabajo hace?

clC Educ cr~ue categoria describe mejor su nivel de studioss~

17-3 Fmig LEn que ai~o sfVYYY) vino por primera vez a los Estaclos Unidos?

1 Lvis LEn que ai~o (WYYYY visit por ultima ver a la Republica Dominicana?

143 Tvis LCuantas veces en los clos rjltimos ai~os ha visitado a la Republica Dominicana?

*LC VUEU Havivido en otos paises?,

$' Span Escoja por favor la respuesta mas adecuaada a su caso: Yo hablo espanol...

$ Nlan Yo hablo ingles...

clC Spenj Me gusta hablar en espanol...

$ Sass Me asocio can americanos...

/' Hass Me asocior can dominicano~s...

$ HmusE Me gusta la mulsica dominicana qmusica en idioma espanol).

*1/ Smus Me gusta la music de idioma ingles...

C/ Hty Me gusta ver programs en la television que sean en Espanal...

$ Sty Me gusta ver programs en la television que sean en Ingles..

$ Smov Me gustan las peliculas en ingles...

$ Hmov Me gustan Ias peliculas en Espanol...

$ Nrea Me gusta leer 8por ejemple libros) en espanol...

$ Rspa Me gusta leer (por ejemplo libros) en ingles...

$ W~nat Escribo (por ejemplo cartas) en espanol...

Z Wspa Escribo (ipor ejemplo cartas) en ingles...

Z Tspa -Piensor en ingles...

/I Tnat -Pienso en espanol...

SCham Mi contactor can la Repuablic Dominicana ha sido...

$ Cspa Mi contact can los Estaclos Unidos ha sida ...

$ Fid Mi pacdre se identifica %o se identikiaba) como claminicano...

$ Mid Mi macdre se iclentifica (0 se iclentificaba) como dominicana...

$ fgro -- Mis amigos de la infancia son de origen dominicano...

$ Fspa Mis amigos de la infancia son de origen americano...

$ Hcoo Mi familiar cocina comidas dominicanas...

$ Nspa Mis amigos,/as recientes son americanoslias...









$ Fhom Mis amigos~as) recientesl son dominicanos~,is,,

J Icom Me gusta identifcarme como americano...

C) leth Me gusta identiicarme como dominicano-americano$,a..

SIspa Mle gusta identifcarme como dominicano,,

Awor Escoja por favor tres palabras a frases que mejor describan su identidacl. Escriba

AlO~r2 Por favor describa la segulnda palabra o frase que mejor describe su identidad

Awor3 -Por favor escriba la tercera palabra o frase que mejor describe su identidad

cCChng LDiria que han cambiado su sentimiento de identidad descle que estai en los Estad

S Lemon iEnvia clinero a su pais la Republica Dominicana?

SBne'A iEsta ulsancle part de este dinero para construir una casa o poner un negocio er

Dep Su familiar en su pais de origin depend de sus: envies de dinero para vivir?

SHmon Como envia el dinero?

'A'ree Lguien recibe el dinero que envia?

S Egoo L~uantas veces envia bienes a la Republica Dominicana?

18Gspe Aproximaclamente icuantos dorlares gasta cada mes en bienes para mandar a la F

c/ Hea Ahora algunas preguntas relacionadas con su salud, En te~rminos generals, icolmc

cC Exer Con que frecuncia haceejercico isico?











SSmok LCuanto fuma?

102 Tall iL16ual s su estatulra (e~n centimetros)?

103 Kilo LCuanto pesa (en klos)?

18E V~doc LEn que aiio fVYYY) visit un medico aqui en Espafia por ultima vrez? gPara nudnca

d Ncloc LC6mo cle important es para Uisted que su meclico le hable en su lengua matern-

rS Omed LHa utilizadol los servricios de alguien que no sea mi~dico, dentist, enfermerorta,

X Heal LEsta persona era un curanderofa tradicionalr

$ Dep 1 Escoja la frase que mejor le describe

$ Dep2 Escoja la frase que mejor le describe

d Dep3 Escoja la frase que mejor le describe

rS Dep4 Escoja la frase que mejor le describa

$ Dep5 Escoja la frase que mejor le describe

$ Dep6 Escoja la frase que mejor le describe

d Dep7 Escoja la frase que mejor le describe

rS Neil 1- Por favor, indique hasta qui: punt~o esti de acuerdo can las siguientes afirmaionl

X Nei2 La gente de mi barrio no compared mis valores

$ Nei3 Mis vecinos y yo queremos 10 mismo para mi barrio

4 Nei4 Puedo reconocer la mayor parte de la gente que vive en mi barrio

4 Nei5 En mi barrio me siento an casa

4 Nei6 Mvuy a menudo mis vecinos me conocen

4 Neil Me preocupa lo que mis vecinos piensen de mi

g NeiB No puedo cambiar mi barrio de como es

g Nei9 Si hubiese un problema en mi barrio mis vecinos 10 resolverian

g Nel0 Es muy important para mi vivir en este barrio

g Ne ll La gente en mi barrio normalmente no pasan su tiempo juntos

g Ne l2 -Espero vivir en mi barrio much tiempo









APPENDIX D
PHASE 2 SOCIAL NETWORK VISUALIZATION INTERVIEW INSTRUCTIONS

INTERVIEWER INSTRUCTIONS ARE IN CAPS. TEXT NOT IN CAPS CAN BE READ TO
RESPONDENTS.

CHOOSE VISUALIZATION FOR FIRST QUESTION, DO ALTERS TALK TO EACH
OTHER. SELECT "VERY PROBABLE" AND CLICK SPRING EMBEDEDER BUTTON TO
REDRAW IT.

On the screen you see dots and lines. The dots have names by them representing the people you
said you know. A line between the dots means that those two people would talk to each other
independently of you. Notice the groupings of dots. If there are a lot of dots clumped together it
usually means they form some sort of group.

1. Does the visualization appear to represent the people you know and how they know
each other? Do the groupings make sense to you?
2. Please describe the groups you see on the screen. Please tell me how each group has
either helped you or hindered you in your efforts to get live here in Spain. MAKE
SURE THE RESPONDENT SAYS AT LEAST ONE NAME IN EACH GROUP
THEY DESCRIBE SO WE CAN IDENTIFY IT FROM THE INTERVIEW.
3. IDENTIFY ISOLATES IN THE UPPER LEFT OF THE SCREEN IF THERE ARE
ANY. The people in the upper left of the screen are people who you said don't know
anybody. Who are they and why don't they know anybody?
4. CHOOSE ANALYSIS->NODE CENTRALITY->COLORING NODES-
>BETWEENNESS CENTRALITY. Now you can see that we have used the program
to color some of the dots. The darker the dots represent people that bridge the groups
in your network. I want to talk about each one of the darker dots, which groups they
bridge, that is what are the groups, and why they bridge them.
5. PICK A COUPLE OF NODES RANDOMLY FROM THE GROUPS THEY
BRIDGE. Why don't these people bridge the groups?
6. CLICK THE DEFAULT BUTTON TO RETURN THE VISUALIZATION TO ITS
ORIGINAL COLORS. SELECT ANALYSIS->PARTITIONS AND CLUSTERS-
>HIERARCHICAL CLUSTERING.
7. Now you can see that the program has drawn some circles around the dots, and put a
number by each circle. This is what the program thinks are groups. Do these groups
make sense to you? What are they? MAKE SURE YOU MENTION THE
NUMBER OF EACH GROUP FOR THE RECORDING.
8. CLOSE THE CLUSTERING BOX. CHOOSE THE COLOR BY ATTRIBUTE
ICON. COLOR THE NODES USING THE VARIABLE "ALIV". Now you see that
I have colored the dots again. This time the colors represent where the person lives
now. LOOK FOR GROUPINGS THAT ARE ALL THE SAME COLOR. All these
dots that are the same color, where do they live?
9. LOOK FOR GROUPINGS THAT THE RESPONDENT IDENTIFIED THAT
HAVE LOTS OF DIFFERENT COLORS. THESE ARE GROUPS OF PEOPLE
THAT KNOW EACH OTHER, BUT LIVE IN DIFFERENT PLACES. Let's talk
about groups where the colors are mixed. This means the people know each other but









don't live together. Why don't they live together? How does this affect you and your
interaction with them? Does it make it difficult for you to maintain your relations
with them?
10. CHOOSE COLOR BY ATTRIBUTE AND SELECT THE VARIABLE "AFRM"
AND CHOOSE SHAPE. TRY TO IDENTIFY PEOPLE WHO DONOT LIVE
WHERE THEY ARE ORIGINALLY FROM. These people appear to have moved
from their home country. Can you tell me a little about each one? Do these people
help you while you are here?
11. SET THE GRAPH TO DEFAULT AGAIN. CHOOSE COLOR BY ATTRIBUTE
AND AGAIN COLOR BY ALIV. CHOOSE THE VARIABLE "CLOS" AND
SELECT SIZE. CHANGE THE SIZE SO THAT VERY CLOSE IS THE LARGEST
AND NOT CLOSE IS THE SMALLEST WITH THEOTHER TWO IN BETWEEN.
DISCUSS THE RELATION WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE VERY CLOSE AND IN
SPAIN VERSUS NOT. Now you can see that I have colored the dots by where
people live and changed the size. The big dots are people you say you are very close
to and the smaller ones less so. Can we talk a little about your relations with those
with big dots versus small ones? Are there people that live here in Spain with large
dots? Who are these people and how do they help you?
12. CLICK THE DEFAULT BUTTON. COLOR ATTRIBUTES BY "ASEX". LOOK
FOR OBVIOUS GROUPINGS. NOTE THE SEX OF THE RESPONDENT FOR
THE RECORDING WHEN YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THIS. Now I have
colored the dots by whether the person is a man or a woman. Given that you are a
FILL IN THEIR SEX, do you feel you have enough people of your own sex to help
you adapt to life in Spain? Do you have enough people to do the things you only feel
comfortable doing with people of your own sex?
13. OVERLAY VARIABLE AFRM TO SEE IF THEY ARE ASSOCIATING WITH
PEOPLE OF THEIR SEX THAT ARE FROM SPAIN. I see that you know some
people from Spain that are the same sex as you. What sorts of things do you do
together?
14. CLICK THE DEFAULT AND REPEAT STEPS 12 AND 13 WITH "AOL2". USE
SIZE TO REPRESENT THE AGE, MAKING SURE TO CHANGE IT SO THE
OLDER PEOPLE HAVE THE LARGEST SIZE AND THE YOUNGER PEOPLE
THE SMALLEST SIZE. Let' s talk about age groups now. What sorts of things do
you do with each group?
15. CLICK THE DEFAULT. COLOR THE NODES BY THE VARIABLE "AFRQ".
USE SIZE, SELECTING THE LARGEST SIZE FOR THE MOST FREQUENT
CONTACT. BE CAREFUL TO NOTE THE FREQUENCY OF THE CHOICES.
Now I have colored the graph by how frequently you have contact with the people
you know. Let's first talk about your frequency of contact with each group. Then
let' s see of there are people within each group that are different than the others. Why
is that?
16. OVERLAY THE VARIABLE "ACON" USING SHAPE OR COLOR. Now I have
also colored the dots by the type of contact you have, whether it is in person, by
phone, etc. Let's talk about how that affects you. Does this influence the way you
think about yourself, as someone from INSERT THEIR COUNTRY or as a
Spaniard?









17. CLICK THE DEFAULT. COLOR THE NODES BY THE VARIABLE "APRO".
Now I have colored the nodes by whether you talk to this person about personal
problems. How does that affect you? What sorts of problems might you talk about?
Can you give me some examples? Do any of them help you with problems
concerning the way you get along with people from Spain?
18. OVERLAY THE VARIABLE "AHLP". LOOK FOR ALTERS THAT DON'T
PROVIDE EITHER TYPE OF SUPPORT AND OTHERSTHAT PROVIDE ONLY
ONE. EXPLORE THOSE DIFFERENCES. Now we have added the question
whether they would help you in an emergency. Let' s talk about how these people do
or do not help you.
CLICK THE DEFAULT. COLOR THE NODES BY THE VARIABLE "ASMO". Let' s

talk about the people you know that smoke. Do you find it easy or difficult to be around

smokers, or does it matter to you at all? Have they influenced your decision to smoke or not?








APPENDIX E
TRANSCRIPTION CONVENTIONS

(.) brief pause (below half a second)
(0.5) longer pauses in seconds
xxx stroll accentuated s llable or word / s oken with more em hasis
than surrounding talk
falling or final intonation
contmnumg mntonation
? rising intonation
oxxxo spoken more quietly than surrounding talk
= connects utterances with no intervening delay / latching
lengthened sound
> < spoken more quickly
< > spoken more slowly
x- talk cut off in mid- production
[ overlapping talk
(xxx) unclear talk
( )unintelligeable talk
(( )) transcriber's descriptions
bien text in itallic is in Spanish
'good' English translation of Spanish text
xxx register change: quoting self or other from another conversation










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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Rosalyn Negr6n was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and moved with her family to Upstate

New York in 1987. In 1996 she attended the State University of New York at Albany, where she

majored in anthropology and trained in high school social studies education. Before coming to

the University of Florida in 2000, she was a bilingual high school social studies teacher in

Middletown, NY. While at the University of Florida she conducted fieldwork in Jamaica, rural

North Florida, and New York City.





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SWITCHING OF ETHNIC IDENTIFICATION AMONG NEW YORK CITY LATINOS By ROSALYN NEGRN A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007

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2007 Rosalyn Negrn

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To Al with whom all things are kept in perspective

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I was sixteen when I decided that to become an anthropologist made perfect sense. Teenage aspirations born of lucid, idealistic dreams and a save-the-world complex are often solitary musings. At least they were for me. Having reached this point in my development as an anthropologist, the dreams are no less lucid or idealistic. But they are now grounded in appreciation for all those who have, in one way or another, seen to it that I get to this point. I acknowledge with deepest respect the 263 Latino men and women who opened doors and windows into their lives. I especially give thanks to the eleven who allowed me to stick around for days at a time. My experiences with these men and women have made me richer in knowledge and perspective; and resulted in some valued friendships. They are living affirmations that anthropology is truly one of the most fulfilling career paths to choose. Thank you to the National Science Foundation, Cultural Anthropology Section for providing the funding used to compensate participants for their time and to pay for research assistance. My heartfelt appreciation to Karen Jones and staff in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Florida for ensuring that the funds were allocated appropriately. At the University of Florida a number of professors have been guiding examples of professionalism and scholarship. Dr. H. Russell Bernards commitment to my success as a scholar has had profound effects on my life. His hands-on mentorship style is a model I hope to follow with the same sense of purpose. It was during conversations with Dr. Chris McCarty that the idea for this research was initially born. I am grateful that he chose to take me on as a Research Assistant at the UF Survey Research Center. Not only did it help support my studies (and later my research), but while there, and under Dr. McCartys guidance, I honed many of the analytical and methodological techniques put to use in the dissertation research. Dr. Gerald Murray is another professor who participated in my academic progress early on. I admire and iv

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am sincerely grateful for his insistence on high standards of scholarship and on consistent, well-reasoned arguments. His thoughts on career paths after the Ph.D. have also been very helpful. I am genuinely thankful to Dr. Diana Boxer for her willingness to participate in my doctoral committee a bit late in the game. Her thoughts on my dissertation topic some four years ago were hopeful and encouraging signs that I was on the right track. I am grateful to Dr. Jessi Elana Aaron for reading and commenting on an earlier draft of this dissertation. Finally, the late Dr. Peter Rossi of the University of Massachusetts generously gave his time to answer my questions about the factorial survey method he developed. I am fortunate to have learned from him before his passing. The SORs (Students of Russ), a group of young scholars of extraordinary intelligence, sense of humor, and ambition, made me feel at home at UF. SOR meetings with Amber Wutich, Eli Sugita, Fatma Soud, Stacey Giroux, David Kennedy, Lance Gravlee and Mark House were instrumental for my development as a thinker and a researcher. In New York City a number of people were very helpful in recruiting research participants. Con mucho cario le doy gracias a miembros de mi familia en Washington Heights quienes me ayudaron encontrar participantes Dominicanos y Mexicanos; especificamente: Lucinda Mata, Fineta Mata, y Felix Mata. Juan Ferreira of the Hostos Community College was amazing. He encouraged close to 30 fellow students to take my survey. Many thanks due to Zoe Sullivan in Jackson Heights, and Catholic Charities of Astoria, Queens for promoting my research to their constituents. I have benefited immensely from the hard work and intelligence of Nathaniel Murray and Sanja Martin. Nathaniel was set with the task of reviewing hours and hours (and hours) of bilingual audio files, looking for small nuggets of linguistic gold. From the beginning, he approached the task with interest and insight and for this I am even more thankful. Sanja v

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Martin transcribed audio files for me. She also went through many hours of recording. Some of these were difficult to decipher and I am grateful for her diligence and patience. In recent months the warmth and consideration extended to me by members of the Department of Anthropology at UMass Boston, have been very gratifying. I would especially like to thank Dr. Tim Sieber for seeing to it that I settled comfortably into my new academic home in Boston and arranging for a computer replacement so that I could continue my dissertation writing. Thank you to Eric Berry of the Psychology Department at UMB, for providing the replacement. I have been immeasurably blessed by the love and support of my close family and friends. Anubhav Khanna helped me through reading and writing all-nighters at UF. Thank you to Ali Rhoden who was there in the beginning and from whom I have learned much, but especially for our son. Norma Rhodens many acts of generosity, encouragement and support made all the difference throughout both my undergraduate and graduate years. While we lived in Astoria, Gary White colored my hermetical hours of writing with his wit and kindness. I am also grateful for his willingness to watch my son in the nights when I just needed to take a break and get out into the city. To Pablo Goldbarg, my muse and greatest finding in New York, I am utterly beholden. Translator, transcriber, sounding board, planner, and counselor; he has been many things for me. But the qualities that have most impacted my life are his constant humor, his unerring respect, his stunning imagination, and engaging mind. Besos grandes a la familia Goldbarg for their extraordinary warmth, for celebrating my successes and for their words of encouragement. Without the support of my sister, Wilneida Negrn, I would not have finished this dissertation. Thank you Wilnie, for all you did so that I could collect my data and write: for taking care of Al, cooking for me, looking out for me, driving me around, assisting me with vi

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some of the data, and proofreading an earlier draft of this dissertation. What would I do without you? She, along with my parents and brother, William, Sr., Oneida, and William Negrn Jr., have instilled in me the fighting spirit that was necessary to finish my graduate work. Unsurpassed hard-workers and devoted parents, brother, and sister; their love and many sacrifices have been my saving grace. Finally, I could fill pages with expressions of the infinite love and admiration I have for my son Al, who has transformed me unlike anyone. Al was born when I was a junior in college, and so has endured much as I worked to fulfill my goals. His compassion, understanding, patience, and wisdom are beyond his eight years. I am privileged to share my life with him. Baby, I love you as big as God. vii

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .............................................................................................................iv LIST OF FIGURES .......................................................................................................................xi ABSTRACT ..................................................................................................................................xii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION....................................................................................................................1 1.0 A Rubric for Ethnic Choice................................................................................................1 1.1 Research Question and Objectives.....................................................................................5 1.2 Conclusion..........................................................................................................................6 2 ETHNICITY, IDENTIFICATION, AND SWITCHING.........................................................7 2.0 Introduction.........................................................................................................................7 2.1 Ethnicity..............................................................................................................................7 2.2 Ethnicity and Cognition......................................................................................................9 2.2.1 Classification and Categorization.............................................................................9 2.2.2 Prototypes, Schemas and Cultural Models.............................................................11 2.2.3 Cognitive Structures and Behavior.........................................................................12 2.3 Social Networks and Ethnic Identification.......................................................................13 2.4 Switching between Multiple Ethnic Identifications.........................................................16 2.5 Some Reasons Why People Switch..................................................................................18 2.6 Conclusion........................................................................................................................20 3 LANGUAGE AND ETHNIC IDENTIFICATION................................................................21 3.0 Introduction.......................................................................................................................21 3.1 Language and Ethnic Identification..................................................................................21 3.2 Approaches to the Study of Language and Identification................................................24 3.2.1 Cultural Models in Language (Holland and Quinn, eds. 1987; Wimmer 2004)....24 3.2.2 Language and Social Networks..............................................................................26 3.2.3 Speech Accommodation.........................................................................................31 3.2.4 Code Choice...........................................................................................................32 3.3 Analyzing Language and Interaction................................................................................36 3.3.1 Discourse Analysis.................................................................................................36 3.3.2 Ethnography of Speaking and Interactional Sociolinguistics.................................37 3.3.3 Conversation Analysis............................................................................................39 3.4 Conclusion........................................................................................................................40 4 RESEARCH METHODS.......................................................................................................42 viii

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4.0 Introduction.......................................................................................................................42 4.1 Entering the Field.............................................................................................................43 4.1.1 Field Site 1: Astoria, Queens..................................................................................43 4.1.2 Field Site 2: Corona / Jackson Heights, Queens.....................................................47 4.2 Continuous Monitoring (CM) Observation Phase............................................................48 4.2.1 Recruiting and Selecting Participants for Continuous Monitoring........................49 4.2.2 Continuous Monitoring Schedules and Pre-CM Data............................................53 4.2.3 Observations...........................................................................................................56 4.3 Survey Phase.....................................................................................................................61 4.3.1 Survey Protocol......................................................................................................61 4.3.2 Sampling.................................................................................................................62 4.3.3 Administering the Surveys.....................................................................................64 4.3.4 Visualization Interviews.........................................................................................66 4.3.5 Vignette Surveys....................................................................................................66 4.4 Conclusion........................................................................................................................69 5 LATINO ETHNICITY IN NEW YORK...............................................................................70 5.0 Introduction: Latino Bonds & Divides.............................................................................70 5.1 Latino Immigration to New York.....................................................................................73 5.1.1 Puerto Ricans..........................................................................................................74 5.1.2 Dominicans.............................................................................................................79 5.1.3 Mexicans.................................................................................................................84 5.1.4 Ecuadorians............................................................................................................87 5.1.5 Colombians.............................................................................................................90 5.1.6 Other Latinos..........................................................................................................94 5.2 Ethnic, Regional and Linguistic Categories.....................................................................95 5.2.1 Robertos Ethnic and Regional Identifications.......................................................96 5.2.2 Robertos Linguistic Repertoire (Gumperz 1964):.................................................99 5.2.3 Abels Ethnic and Regional Identifications..........................................................104 5.2.4 Abels Linguistic Repertoire................................................................................107 5.3 Conclusion......................................................................................................................109 6 ROBERTO............................................................................................................................112 6.0 Introduction.....................................................................................................................112 6.1 A Brief History of Roberto.............................................................................................113 6.2 Linguistic Data and Analysis..........................................................................................118 6.2.1 Why Dont You Come in on this Man?................................................................118 6.2.2 Lo devolvieron al loco (They sent the dude back).............................................134 6.3 Discussion.......................................................................................................................145 6.4 Conclusion......................................................................................................................147 7 ABEL....................................................................................................................................149 7.0 Introduction.....................................................................................................................149 7.1 A Brief History of Abel..................................................................................................150 ix

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7.2 Linguistic Data and Analysis..........................................................................................154 7.2.1 Todos Menos Ecuatorianos (Everyone but Ecuadorians)....................................155 7.2.2 Quiero que estn feliz (I want them to be happy)................................................164 7.2.3 Somos de Ecuador (We are from Ecuador)..........................................................175 7.3 Discussion.......................................................................................................................181 7.4 Conclusion......................................................................................................................182 8 CONCLUSION.....................................................................................................................184 8.0 Introduction.....................................................................................................................184 8.1 Findings..........................................................................................................................184 8.2 Implications and Applications........................................................................................193 8.3 Directions for Future Research.......................................................................................196 APPENDIX A PHASE 1 LIFE HISTORY INTERVIEW............................................................................199 B PHASE 1 SOCIAL NETWORK QUESTIONNAIRE.........................................................202 C PHASE 2 SOCIAL NETWORK QUESTIONNAIRE (ALTER QUESTIONS).................204 D PHASE 2 SOCIAL NETWORK VISUALIZATION INTERVIEW INSTRUCTIONS.....208 E TRANSCRIPTION CONVENTIONS.................................................................................211 LIST OF REFERENCES.............................................................................................................212 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................230 x

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1 Robertos Personal Network.......................................................................................116 2 Abels Personal Network............................................................................................1 54 xi

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Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy SWITCHING OF ETHNIC IDENTIFICATION AMONG NEW YORK CITY LATINOS By Rosalyn Negrn December 2007 Chair: H. Russell Bernard Major: Anthropology As the nations ethnic diversity continues to grow, issues like resource distribution, ethnic conflict, or social and political movements cannot be understood in terms of neatly packaged identities in competition. Today, an increasing number of people regularly switch from ethnicity to ethnicity in normal discourse, in an attempt to maximize their social, economic and political interests. While ethnic identification has long been understood by anthropologists to be a contextual phenomenon, less is known about how the process of ethnic identification switching works. The research examines this process ethnographically and linguistically that is, how people negotiate between multiple ethnic identifications in everyday contexts among Latinos in Queens, NY. The 18 months of research proceeded in two phases: an ethnographic phase and a survey phase. This dissertation presents the results of the ethnographic phase, particularly the cases of two Latino men from Queens. In the ethnographic phase I accompanied eleven men and women, one week each, in a variety of daily routines and observed and recorded their verbal interactions. During my time with them I also collected life history interviews and social network assessment questionnaires. Using digital recorders, each participant independently collected an additional weeks worth of their verbal interactions. xii

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Basing the analysis on transcribed interviews and naturally-occurring conversations, this research shows that there is no one-to-one relationship between biographical ethnicity and the use of ethnic markers. Flexible identification spanned multiple levels of inclusiveness (e.g. Latino, Ecuadorian, serrano, Quechua). Repertoires also crossed seemingly distinct boundaries (e.g. American, Ecuadorian, Colombian). Ethnic markers, particularly language-related ones, were manipulated in a number of creative ways by members and non-members alike, pushing the limits of what constitutes ethnic group membership and challenging notions of ethnic authenticity. People tended to switch ethnic identifications by changing to or emphasizing a certain language or dialect (including accents), or simply by keeping quiet and letting others assumptions take the lead. The reasons for switching ranged from the relatively minor (getting free drinks), to the quotidian (connecting with friends or landing better dates), to the vital (avoiding problems with immigration, making a sale, or in a job interview). When unpacked, these subtle and routine acts of flexibility reveal that ethnicity cannot be said to be who a person is, but rather a way of seeing and doing. The implications of this for the measurement and reporting of ethnicity (e.g. in the Census), and for understanding the Latino pan-ethnicity are discussed. xiii

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1.0 A Rubric for Ethnic Choice The topics that I have explored in my dissertation research have from the ideas inception represented parallels in my own experience as a Latina who had come to the US at a young age. I did not necessarily set out to explore these parallels, as in a personal quest, but was certainly informed by my experiences and those of my family. I was born in Puerto Rico to a Puerto Rican father and a Dominican mother. My own mother has admitted to identifying as Puerto Rican for various reasons that lie somewhere between shame and convenience. Ethnicity for me has always been a matter of context and flexibility: Puerto Rican, Dominican, both of these, Latina, American, none of these Quite often I am asked to explain my ethnicity and appearance to others. Colombian, Egyptian, Pakistani, Venezuelan, Brazilian, Moroccan; I have been different things to different people. Undoubtedly, this quality, to be for others what they want to see in me, has helped me in my research. My ethnicity is not easily identifiable by my appearance alone. When I speak English my Spanish accent is barely detectable and when I speak Spanish my Puerto Rican accent is lost in the phonological mix that it has become, with the adoption of non-Puerto Rican elements of stress and intonation. Only the keenest ears can hear me transform /r/ into /l/ or delete intervocalic and syllable final /s/ as is characteristic of the Puerto Rican dialect. I have acquired aspects of my speech, my style, my behavior, and even my perceptions from my many encounters, purposely sought or otherwise, with diversity. A recent encounter provided the opportunity to apply to myself the very questions Im asking about others use of ethnic identity in everyday contexts. I was invited to Shabbat service at the Lubavitch temple on Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, where the Lubavitch Chasidic movement has its headquarters. I had little idea of what the evening 1

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would be like. The two Jewish companions who invited me explained the evening in Spanish. I was to visit como turista, un templo ortodoxo, a place where one of them had spent a week of contemplative study. I did not know that by ortodoxo they meant Chasidic. I was prepared for sitting alone in the womens gallery. Yet I was surprised at my reaction upon exiting the subway stop at Eastern Parkway that the temple was Lubavitch. I felt like the fact that I was not Jewish would matter more in this particular, conservative, context. I knew that it had to do with my perception of the seemingly impenetrable boundaries that surrounds the Chasidic community in New York City. I became self-conscious of my status as an outsider and it did not help that I had come conspicuously dressed for an evening out after the service. I was certain there would be no hope of me blending in. How curious, I thought to myself, that I earnestly sought for my ethnicity to be as undetectable as possible. But in my status as an outsider I wavered between pride and insecurity. I prided myself in the idea that somehow I would be one of the few Puerto Ricans who had come to worship among the regulars, that somehow I was making a statement about inclusiveness, cultural open-mindedness, and spiritual universality. My insecurity came from fear of not being able to respectfully perform the steps of worship without being completely humiliated in essence, that I would be excluded. Certainly I could not just blend in. As soon as I entered the womens area I was approached by one of the worshipers about the bag that I was carrying. You cannot carry here, she said. Confused, I asked her what I was to do with the bag. I felt at that moment that there was no clearer sign of my outsider status than my total confusion about the protocol. This was the kind of encounter that I wanted to avoid but feared would be unavoidable. We went back and forth briefly about what I was to do with this bag and my embarrassment was apparent to another woman who had entered the area. What is the matter? asked the older woman. I explained that I had just learned that I could not carry a 2

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bag but that I had no other place to put it. She immediately asked the dreaded question, Are you Jewish? After a brief pause, like that before a reluctant confession by someone caught in the act, I said that I was not. She then replied, Then what is the problem? At this revelation the younger woman who I encountered originally replied with some amazement, You are not Jewish? But you look so Jewish! This encounter left me with several thoughts to mull over as I waited for the service to begin and well after it ended. What did it mean that as a non-Jew, the rules did not apply to me? Had I known the rules, would my non-Jewishness have been detected? What did my affiliation with the Jewish friends who accompanied me count for? How might have my interaction with the women been different if I spoke Hebrew or Yiddish? After deeper reflection, this experience helped organize my thinking about situational selection of ethnicity. In particular, it recalled and highlighted factors that form a rubric, if you will, for ethnic choice: image, context, knowledge, and performance. Successful performance of a Jewish identity, (in my case passing (see Chapter 2) as Jewish), like in the successful performance of any identity, is linked to self-image (perception of ourselves) and outward image (the perception of others). In the social context of the Lubavitch temple, the cues presented by my physical appearance were translated in a way that led at least one woman to assume I was Jewish. Had I been in a mosque, my physical cues would have likely been interpreted differently. Context can determine how cues are read. Therefore the range of possible interpretations available for manipulation is extensive. Particularly for someone who can project an ambiguous or universal image, as is my case 1 A successful performance would have been further assisted by my knowledge of behavioral rules. Within the 1 This is why increased ethnic diversity, inter-marriage, and multi-racial people mean that flexible ethnic self-presentation will become more common and more important to understand. It also points to the fact that some people and groups are still limited in their ethnic options (Waters, 1990). 3

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context of this short-term encounter, knowledge of rules combined with my outward image would have afforded me entrance as an insider. As I will show, this sort of entrance, albeit temporary, has a number of advantages and tangible social and economic consequences. Long-term encounters and relationships are based on deeper knowledge of socio-cultural norms and models (whether ethnic based, work based, religion based, or language based). This knowledge can be collected through prolonged participation in particular social networks. And while it affords them an important advantage, people born to an ethnic group or having familial roots to that group (biographical ethnicity) do not have a monopoly on that knowledge. However sensitive the issue may be about who indeed can claim to be Jew, Puerto Rican, Navajo or American, had my intention been to completely assimilate myself into the scene, and had I been prepared with all the behavioral markers, I would have accomplished at least initial acceptance. I became keenly aware of the fact that the criteria for inclusion in this particular context did not require that I be born Jewish. Apparently, my physical appearance, my image, raised no flags. I had, unknowingly passed that test. My behavior was the give awaywhat with carrying the bag on Shabbat, not speaking Hebrew or Yiddish, not knowing the liturgy, and the general social awkwardness that all these insecurities created. In a personal way the scene raised questions that I will attempt to tackle in this dissertation: Can anyone claim ethnic authenticity? Should researchers focus on observable markers or self-reports of some internal state to predict behavior? How key is language to the expression of ethnic identification? The questions are many and as I will show through case studies of two ethnically flexible Latino men, situational ethnicity is a fruitful theoretical departure for students of ethnicity. With a few notable exceptions (c.f. Bucholtz and Hall 2005; Brubaker 2004; Bailey 2000; Okamura 1981; Nagata 1974), the now pro forma acknowledgements of ethnicity as situational, contextual, fluid, and flexible, give limited consideration to what this mutability implies. First, if 4

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ethnicity is a contingent phenomenon then it cannot be said to dwell at the core of a person or who a person is. Essentialist or primordialist approaches (Shils 1957; Geertz 1963) to ethnicity have been outmoded in preference of constructivism. There is a second implication of flexible ethnicity: ethnicity is contingent because it entails a system of categories, schemas, and models that are not necessarily deeply embedded in the self (or even constructed) but accessed or activated situationally. A third implication of flexible ethnicity is that with so many choices available, which to choose, where and when is likely governed by predictable rules. More research should attend to the careful consideration of these rules. One crucial reason for a focus on the rules that govern ethnic self-presentation (Goffman 1959) is that they will illuminate what is captured by ethnic categories. For example the rules for ethnic self-identification using labels on a census form are different from rules for using language to self-identify to a group of intimate childhood friends. Knowledge of how people arrive at a particular ethnic choice is critical for understanding that choice and what is captured by that choice. It further brings attention to which ethnic choice can best predict a persons behavior. 1.1 Research Question and Objectives The guiding research question in this research is: under what conditions do Latinos in Queens, NY switch their ethnic self-identification? This involves the following specific objectives: 1) to document the incidence of multiple ethnic identifications among research participants. To accomplish this, I collected life history interviews that focused on the ethnic background of informants and their experiences with ethnicity (see Appendix A). 2) to determine the contexts under which people use ethnic identifications. This involved collecting data on characteristics of the communities and social networks of participants (see Appendix B). It also involved prolonged shadowing observations of the participants in their day-to-day activities. 3) to determine the resources acquired by using various ethnic identifications. In addition to the prolonged direct observations of verbal and nonverbal behavior, I 5

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conducted brief and informal follow-up interviews to confirm observations about the benefits received from an invocation. 4) to determine behaviors involved in switching. Along with direct observations, this involved the linguistic analysis of participants verbal interactions. 5) to identify some basic rules for invoking one ethnic identification over another. This will be based on the careful comparison of two case studies of Latino men who switch frequently. 1.2 Conclusion The ethnicity literature provides numerous examples of people invoking (or hiding) their ethnicity to strengthen or weaken their ties to kin, community and the state and thereby to improve access to economic and political resources (Barth 1969; Horowitz 1975, 1985; Kelly & Nagel 2002; Patterson 1975). Less is know about how people go about doing this in their daily lives. Beyond the potential for this work to make such contributions, I was delighted to find that the research participants thought this to be highly relevant for them. Several opined that the everyday experiences of urban Latinos were under-represented, and were excited about contributing to work that would do just that. With several issues related to Latinos playing prominently in the national stage (e.g. immigration legislation and bilingualism), my research documents intimately how these themes play out in peoples everyday lives. 6

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CHAPTER 2 ETHNICITY, IDENTIFICATION, AND SWITCHING 2.0 Introduction For this research I stood humbly on the shoulders of giants in the fields of ethnicity studies, sociolinguistics, and cognitive anthropology. In this chapter I will cover some foundational research on ethnicity and identity, and specify the operationalizations of key variables in this study. A basic premise of this research is that ethnicity is a process with cognitive, linguistic and behavioral dimensions. To this effect I will present three areas compatible to such an approach. These are 1) categories, cultural models and schemas; and 2) social networks as sites for cultural knowledge acquisition and activation. A third area is the study of language itself; this will be covered in chapter three as it pertains to ethnicity. Finally, I will discuss some particulars of switching: why its done and how its done. 2.1 Ethnicity In the most minimalist sense, ethnicity arises out of the cognitive, human tendency to categorize in order to simplify our environment. Thus, it tends to be conceptualized in terms of categories or groups. The earliest classifiable ethnic differences likely arose between human populations separated by space 2 Each developing cultural patterns uniquely suited to their environment. With the emergence of ethnic difference so far in the human past, a key component of myriad definitions of ethnicity is the notion of origin, or common descent (whether real or imagined) (c.f. Weber (1922 [1968]); Horowitz 1985; Levine 1999). Thus, early theorizing on ethnicity was of a primordialist slant, where ethnic groups were characterized as natural and eternal historical entities, with hermatically impermeable social boundaries (Gil2 Perhaps this categorization was an extension of an even earlier parsing method: kin vs. non-kin. Ethnicity has been conceptualized as an extension of the obligations and benefits associated with ones own kin group. When ethnic group leaders appeal to their fellow members for support, their rhetoric is often intertwined with the rhetoric of kinship and familial obligation (Horowitz 1985, Fenton 1999). 7

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White, 2001: 516), and for which people develop deep-seated sentiments (Shils 1957; Geertz 1963). The intellectual companion to this view is the (now widely recognized as fallacious) belief that ethnic groups (and races) have essences. Countering essentialist / primordialist thinking, the field is now dominated by constructivism; a diffuse theoretical approach that posits groups and categories like race, ethnicity, and gender as socially constructed, conditional, and contextual. However, scholars in recent years (Levine 1999; Gil-White 2001; Brubaker 2004) have raised concerns that the pendulum has swung too far. For example, Gil-White (2001) argues that while true that ethnies do not have essences, research data consistently show that people tend to process ethnic groups as if there were something natural or essential about them (see also Caulkins 2001). He writes: These days good anthropologists do not essentialize groups, and therefore no self-proclaimed essentialists are found in anthropology journals. But ordinary folk are not good anthropologists or sophisticated constructivist scholars. Quite to the contrary, they are naive essentialists(2001: 516). Gil-White goes on to layout a sophisticated cognitive scientific explanation for why humans are essentializers who tend to interpret ethnic groups as species. In his own critique of the state of constructivism within anthropology, Levine notes, The news is full of ethnic cleansing and genocide while the anthropologists stress that ethnicity is 'invented' and set out to 'decentre' the notion (1999: 165). Additionally, Brubaker suggests that constructivism has become so banal as to yield little of the theoretical friction from which new questions and directions emerge. Brubaker calls for constructivist scholars to go beyond simply asserting that ethnicity, race, and nationhood are constructed [and] help specify how they are constructed (2004: 18). Their work suggests that what is missing is an approach that makes explicit the implicit cognitive leanings in the scholarly use of concepts like categorization, classification, 8

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essentialism, construction, subjectivity, et al. to understand ethnicity (see Brubaker 2004). In its oft used conceptualization as solely a social construction, ethnicity is imbued with an indeterminacy that makes it incompatible with empirical inquiry. A key appeal of cognitive approaches to ethnicity is the methodological possibilities that such a shift offers. 2.2 Ethnicity and Cognition 2.2.1 Classification and Categorization In the 1950s, Manchester School anthropologists working in Africa, notably Mitchell (1956) and Epstein (1958), described the classifications that urban Africans used to make sense of the extreme ethnic diversity of their surrounds as a cognitive map (Levine 1999). However, the most influential, early cognitive turn in ethnicity studies was proposed by Frederik Barth (1969) in his introduction to Ethnic Groups and Boundaries. Barth argued that because ethnic distinctions persist even in the face of group boundary change, what defines the ethnic group is cognitive self-ascription and ascription. The cultural activities often used to tell groups apart, (the cultural stuff as Barth called it) distract the analysis of how groups maintain cohesiveness and establish social networks and institutions through social interactions (Hechter 1974; Alba 1990). While cultural characteristics provide the basis for group solidarity and relationship and boundary maintenance (Hechter 1974), they may change in form and relevance through time and space; what is important is how they function to shape patterns of social interaction. Barths work, like Mitchell and Epsteins before it, centers classification and categorization as definitive elements of conceptualizations of ethnicity. Since then, it has been included as a key theme in several overviews of the field (Cohen 1978; Horowitz 1985; Eriksen 1993; Banks 1996; Jenkins 1997; Cornell and Hartmann 1998; Fenton 1999). The appropriateness of cognitive approaches to ethnicity is clearer yet when we consider, as Lakoff 9

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suggests, that categorization is basic to our thought, perception, action, and speech (1987: 5). But framing ethnicity as a cognitive classificatory system, still begs the question of what is particularly ethnic about it. What classificatory criteria can be termed ethnic? Here I will borrow Levines definition: ethnicity is that method of classifying people (both self and other) that uses origin (socially constructed) as its primary reference (1999: 168). I further elaborate that the basis for inferring (or presuming) and communicating origin, among the participants in this study, is both physical appearance (e.g. somatic, ornamental) and behavior (e.g. language, discourse, socializing). Following Brubaker (2004), I treat ethnicity, race, and nationality as one domain rather than three, and use the terms interchangeably throughout the thesis. Definitional clarification must also be made of identity. Using the above conceptualization as a platform, in its most basic sense, ethnic identity 3 refers to the self-ascription or self-classification part of ethnicity. It does not preclude that people can classify themselves (and others) in multiple ways. And it does not assume that there is such a thing as a core self-classification or ethnic identity. Brubaker argues that identity, has been employed to describe how individual and collective action is driven by both instrumental structurally determined interests and non-instrumental particularistic, understandings of self (2004: 44). Rather than use the ambiguous identity term to do this conceptual and explanatory heavy-lifting, he offers identification (active, processual) and self-understanding (dispositional) as alternatives 4 Many of the behaviors discussed in this study are best described as ethnic identification. As the data will show, in identifying or categorizing oneself to others, a person can act independently of non-instrumental self-understanding. 3 In this dissertation I will use ethnic identification instead of ethnic identity. I make exceptions when discussing or citing work done by others, to not alter the original meaning intended by their use of identity. 4 Along with identification Brubaker also suggested categorization and with self-understanding he suggested self-location. 10

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2.2.2 Prototypes, Schemas and Cultural Models Building on theory and methods in cognitive psychology and linguistics, cognitive anthropology has developed a number of conceptual tools relevant to ethnicity. In this research I apply schema theory and cultural models. Starting with what were fundamentally questions about categorization, pioneering efforts in cognitive anthropology sought to understand how people labeled different parts of their world (Goodenough 1956; Tyler 1969; Quinn and Holland 1987). In the course of the fields development, it was noted that some category items were more representative of that category than others (Loundsbury 1964; Berlin and Kay 1969; Rosch 1977; Kay and McDaniel 1978; DAndrade 1995; Quinn and Holland 1987). These stereotypic members, or prototypes, were found among kinship terms (Lounsbury 1964), color categories (Berlin and Kay 1969), and furniture types (Rosch 1975). The idea has been extended to prototypical event sequences and categories of people like bachelor and lie (Fillmore 1975; Coleman and Kay 1981; Sweetser 1987). An important implication of prototype theory is that prototypes can serve as schemas, or schematic mental representations, for categories of things (Quinn and Holland, 1987). Schemas represent and process information and have been defined as significant to how humans perceive and interpret experiences (Casson 1983; Quinn and Holland 1987; DAndrade 1995; Brubaker 2004). Along with related concepts like cultural models (DAndrade, 1987), stereotypes, and scripts, a schema functions like a kind of mental recognition device which creates a complex interpretation from minimal inputs (DAndrade 1995: 136). Two characteristics of schemas are particularly applicable to this research. First, schemas range from the universally shared to the idiosyncratic (Casson 1983). Schemas that are intersubjectively, though not necessarily universally, shared, have been described as cultural models (DAndrade 1987). Examples of cultural domains analyzed from a cultural models 11

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perspective are parenting (Lamm and Keller, 2007), business success (Caulkins, 1998), marriage (Quinn 1996), and anger (Lakoff and Kvecses (1987). I argue that categories like Puerto Rican, Mexican or Latino, can be further understood as intersubjectively shared schemas used to interpret the behavior of others and to frame ones own behavior. The second pertinent characteristic of schemas is that they are organized hierarchically, so that top levels represent core concepts and lower levels have missing pieces that can be filled in by environmental / situational cues or default values (Minsky, 1975; Casson 1983; DAndrade 1995). Ethnicity is one example of such environmental or situational cues, and can be slotted into schematic templates to generate ethnic variants or subtypes of the schemas (Brubaker, 2004: 77). As I will discuss in Chapter 3, other such contextualization cues (Gumperz 2001) include codeand dialect-switching. 2.2.3 Cognitive Structures and Behavior This study is primarily concerned with how cognitive structures related to ethnicity motivate and guide behavior. Such a project must contend with the fact that much of the knowledge represented and processed by such structures (e.g. schemas) is implicit 5 Furthermore, schemas process knowledge outside of conscious awareness (DAndrade 1995). To be sure, behavior can be inconsistent with related knowledge structures constructed from what people say (Wimmer 2004; see Bernard, et. al. 1984 for a related discussion). What then is the relationship between cognitive structures and behavior? Quinn and Holland (1987) acknowledge that cultural models cannot be assumed to always translate into behavior. Neither does all behavior stem from such cultural conceptualizations. However, they do insist that in enabling actors to make interpretations and inferences about experiences 5 Quinn and Holland (1987) point out that most cultural knowledge falls somewhere in between inaccessibility and accessibility. 12

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(particularly when these call for action), schemas and models can be goal-defining (ibid.; see also Quinn 1996; DAndrade 1992; Lutz 1987; White 1987). They write: [Cultural models] are used to perform a variety of cognitive tasks. Sometimes these cultural models serve to set goals for action, sometimes to plan the attainment of said goals, sometimes to direct the actualization of these goals, sometimes to make sense of the actions and fathom the goals of others, and sometimes to produce verbalizations that play various parts in all these projects (ibid.: 6). Thus, a final key point: the researchers stress the importance of talk itself, as action. A basic tenet of sociolinguistics, this notion will be explored in Chapter 3. 2.3 Social Networks and Ethnic Identification The above discussion on ethnicity and cognition recalls one of Marvin Harris (1968) early critiques of cognitive anthropology. Cultural knowledge alone can not account for cultural differences, Harris argued. Emphasizing cognitive structure without accounting for environmental structure and infra-structure misses the mark (ibid.). But how to link the two? As a starting point, Brubakers (2004) comments, on the relationship between wider structure and the activation of schemas, are helpful: Schemas must be activated by some stimulus or cue. Activation depends on proximate, situationally specific cues and triggers, not directly on large-scale structural or cultural contexts, though structural and cultural changes can affect the distribution of such proximate cues and thereby the probabilities of activation of schemas (ibid.: 76). Thus, one way to link structure and infra-structure to the activation of schemas is by way of some mediating condition. Social networks provide such a medium. Network theory is considered an important approach for studying the link between individual action and overarching economic and social processes (Goss and Lindquist 1995). In this research I take the position that patterns of ethnic identification are best understood by taking the following network-relevant issues into account: 1) reiterating Harris (1968) point 13

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above: the link between broader structural conditions and patterns of ethnic identification. 2) the role of social interaction for shaping ethnic self-understanding; 3) the role of social context (e.g. social networks) in determining which of various social identifications and related behavior is appropriate in a given situation; 4) the link between multiple spheres of interactions and the development of multiple ethnic identifications; and 5) the normative pressure exerted by social networks and network components, which limit or determine the development of ethnic identification and ethnic-self understanding. The importance of social networks for ethnic identification cannot be overstated. As sites of socialization, through interactions with network members people learn network-normative behavior and the cultural knowledge that guides such behavior. It is within their immediate social networks that people first come to think of themselves as part of us and distinct from them. But social networks can correspond with multiple social locations. Work networks, family networks, recreational networks, neighborhood networks; each of these associated with particular social identifications. Similarly, our network can reflect multiple ethnic group ties. Interaction in different areas of our social networks often requires the use of distinct frames of reference and behaviors. Thus, not only are social networks vital for attaining cultural knowledge but also crucial environments for the activation of schemata, logics, and frames (DiMaggio 1997: 283). Because this dissertation addresses the use of multiple ethnic identifications, Id like to discus more in-depth how social networks can help us understand the development of these. Changes in ethnic self-understanding and the use of multiple ethnic identifications are tied to structurally determined patterns of interaction. For example, it is easy to see how an ethnically-mixed person can invoke multiple ethnic identifications. Depending on the influence of immediate kin, they can adopt either their mothers or their fathers ethnic affiliations or develop 14

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a third, multi-ethnic (or multi-racial) self-understanding out of the unique experiences and relationships that arise from straddling two worlds (Spickard & Fong 1995; Stephan & Stephan 1989). The 2000 Census indicates that claims of multiple identities will continue to rise. Forty-two percent of all multiple-race responses were given by young people younger than 18 years, even though they made up only 26% of the US population. This may foretell higher rates of multiple-race reporting in future censuses (Morning 2003). Important infra-structural and structural conditions (spurred by immigration and inter-ethnic unions) are translating themselves into individual behavior, by way of changing patterns of social interaction. For people with a single biographical ethnicity, development of more than one ethnic identification is similarly tied to structurally-determined social relations. Multiple ethnic identifications can arise through linguistic or religious conversion (Horowitz 1975). The adoption of a new language or religion affects a persons social network. With the development of new relationships comes pressure to conform to norms and aims defined by the new group (Cohen 1974). Over time people in such situations may develop a sense of belonging to the new group, while still possessing the cultural knowledge that linked them to another. More commonly, multiple ethnic identifications emerge because group member-ship exists at multiple levels of inclusiveness (ibid.). For example, people can identify in terms of their national, racial, or regional affiliations. Each of these levels has corresponding behavioral markers. The ethnic categories invoked by people tend to be more specific, or less inclusive, as they come into daily contact with members of their own ethnic group (Cornell 1988; Kaufert 1977; Nagel 1994). For example, a Cuban woman can use the more inclusive category of Latina when interacting with members of non-Spanish speaking ethnic groups, as Cuban to another Latina, or may use the more specific category of Marielito when addressing other Cubans (Nagel 1994). 15

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Finally, people who travel frequently across national borders (e.g. transnational migrants) may also find that they must ethnically categorized themselves in multiple ways. With changes in social context there are changes in how a person is perceived by others. Much to the chagrin of many immigrants who have lived for a long time in the US, they are categorized and treated as Americans when they return to their country of origin even if they do not identify themselves as American when they live in this country. Consider terms like pocho (what Mexican nationals call Mexican-Americans and Chicanos to the north) and nuyorican (a Puerto Rican born and raised in New York). These have been used for decades to describe persons who identify themselves bi-ethnically. 2.4 Switching between Multiple Ethnic Identifications We can now turn to a discussion of the central concern of this research: ethnic identification switching. The concept of ethnic identification switching, or situational ethnicity (Paden 1967; see Okamura 1981) traces to the work of Max Gluckman and his students in urban Africa. Evans-Pritchard (1937) had observed that among the Zande of Sudan beliefs in witchcraft were invoked according to what was situationally convenient. Building on this observation, Gluckman (1958 [1940]) described what he called situational selection, in which people claimed membership in a group depending on the situation. Cohen (1974) noted that situational ethnicity can be observed in Africa when two or more people from different ethnic groups want to signify the differences between them, especially when the groups represent different socioeconomic scales. Ethnic identification switching 6 is the use of different ethnic identifications across social contexts. As discussed above, basic to this process is the notion that people have access to 6 In the literature, the term most often used to describe this process is situational ethnicity (Paden 1967; Cohen 1974, Nagata 1974, see Okamura 1981). Ethnic identity switching is also used (c.f. Eschbach & Gomez 1998). For consistency henceforth I will refer to this process as ethnic identification switching or EI switching. 16

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multiple ethnic identifications. By access I refer to cultural knowledge (of markers and behavioral rules), shemas and models associated with an ethnic identification. Thus, EI switching should not be understood as some sort of mysterious intra-psychic transformation. At times it is an automatic shift between multiple, situationally appropriate frames of reference. Other times, it is the willful manipulation of categories and markers. As discussed above, people acquire the cultural knowledge that makes EI switching possible through their participation in social networks. I argue that the more diverse a network is the more opportunities (and needs) there are for learning diverse ethnic markers, models, etc. Therefore, while a single ethnic identification can be dominant 7 as a reflection of network composition, it does not preclude the development of other identifications. Id like to the make distinctions between various types of switching. I should add that the boundaries between each of these types are by no means unyielding. They may best be understood as gradations of ethnic self-presentation. 1) Passing or Crossing (Sweetland 2002; Bucholtz 1999; Lo 1999; Cutler 1999; Rampton 1995) Refers to the act of presenting oneself according to the behavioral and/or appearance-related norms and expectations of an ethnicity other than ones biographical ethnicity. When I originally developed the idea for this research I did not expect that the most conspicuous switches I would witness would be passing. Both of the focal participants of this research (see Chapters 6 and 7) reported and were observed doing this sort of switch. Roberto, whose primary identification is Venezuelan, has passed himself off as Puerto Rican and convincingly used both Puerto Rican accent and lexicon to defend this claim. Abel, an immigrant from Ecuador, used similar strategies to present himself as Colombian, particularly when trying to make the sale. Passing was done by other participants in the study as well. Adalberto, who identifies as Mexican-American, told of an oft-repeated scenario he encounters in gay clubs. When talking to potential Latino partners he avoided identifying as Mexican, opting instead for passing as Puerto Rican. He explained his perception that in the gay community Mexican identity has an undesirable, repressed, generally un-cool connotation. This contrasted with Puerto Rican men who were celebrated for their fun-loving openness and unabashed sexuality. I should add that I never witnessed the women in this study making these bold sorts of switches and most did not 7 This dominant identification is likely the one to which people attach the most affective value. Or in other words, it may be another way to conceptualize self-understanding or self-location. 17

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report doing so. There was the exception of Lisa, who dislikes when strangers ask about her ethnicity. Lisas parents are from El Salvador and she can pass for Southeast Asian. She reports teasing curious strangers with this ambiguity by claiming to be Asian (just to mess with them). However, unlike the examples from the men, Lisa did not expect to be taken seriously. 2) Accommodation (Giles, et. al. 1987) This act is usually manifested discursively (although here I extend the term to include kinesics and ornamental acts of self-presentation), and involves strategies that invoke ethnic identifications in order to achieve social approval, distinctiveness, or communicative efficiency. In this research I link it to ethnically-germane contexts, but the concept has been applied to other areas (Coles 1992; Aronsson, et. al. 1987). When accommodating, speakers may converge to the speech of others, diverge or maintain neutrality in their speech. This often occurs in contexts where passing would be impossible or inappropriate, but where ethnicity is prized as a way to achieve the acceptance of others. Achieving acceptance by one group at times happens vis--vis differentiation from another group. Situationally adopting mannerisms or styles of dress are some non-linguistic means of realizing this type of switch. A central motivation for accommodation as Im developing it here is to signal familiarity with the norms and expectations of a particular ethnicity without the heavy commitment or potentially humiliation associated with other types of switching. In this way, people can (at least indirectly and temporarily) identify with an ethnic category. 3) Differentiated Identification (Bailey 2000; Eschbach and Gomez 1998; Waters 1990; Nagata 1974) Refers to the contextual act of shifting between multiple biographical ethnicities or different categorical levels of inclusiveness. The key difference between differentiated forms of identification and other types of switching is that the identifications used correspond more directly with ethnic self-understandings (usually the sorts preceded by I am ___). In others words, such switching is rarely called into question (by both self and others), because they are deeply grounded in personal experience. Examples of this sort of switching are easily found among ethnically-mixed people who choose to cultivate all aspects of their ethnic heritage. As such, multiple ethnic markers and models are readily available to them for presentation and/or activation. 2.5 Some Reasons Why People Switch While EI switching is a multi-layered process that can depend on cognitive, interactional, socio-structural factors, what people get out of switching fall under four main categories (Nagata 1974): 1) for expediency of an exchange (i.e. to achieve immediate advantage); 2) as a consideration of social status (this refers to the comparative reference group principle, which stems out of a desire for positive association, particularly when questions of socio-economic status arise); 3) to express social distance; and 4) to express solidarity. In this study, participants 18

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reported or were observed using ethnic flexibility to defend citizenship claims, make the sale, acquire special privileges, to strengthen social bonds, avoid rejection or threat, and in job interviews. 1) Expediency and social status considerations In a city like New York, ethnic networks and the trust-based transactions based on those networks are crucial to the economic advancement of ethnic groups. To the extent that people invoke an ethnic identification to create and maintain bonds with others who share a similar identification, they capitalize on the business partnerships or job opportunities that materialize from these interactions (Bonacich 1973; Hannerz 1974; Ooka & Wellman 2006; Patterson 1975; Sanders & Nee 1987). For some Latinos, economic advancement means invoking a more inclusive, pan-ethnic identification (i.e. I am Latino, rather than I am Dominican) (Padilla 1984). Economic advantages occur at the intersection between state policies and personal goals. A number of state regulations exist that confer economic resources on the basis of ethnic affiliation (Nagel 1994, Fenton 1999). In the US this includes affirmative action legislation and policies regulating the distribution of aid and incentives to Native American tribal members. With the ongoing immigration debate, the ability to claim American identification is at a premium. In this research, some participants reported using American citizenship claims when applying for work or when entering the country from a trip abroad. Therefore, the American identification marker par excellence is the American passport. For example, one participant reported identifying himself as Dominican in most situations except in an international airport. While he considered his nationality to be % Dominican, he acknowledged that his legal nationality was American. As this and other participants cases illustrate, the substantial transnational movement of people is making international frontiers less significant. State tools for marking citizens and controlling the flow of people through its borders, (e.g. the passport) have become less a way to claim citizenship and more a marker of the flexible nature of citizenship (Ong 1999). More minor invocations take place in daily life. Multi-linguals may recall moments where a language switch was used to smoothen a transaction at a restaurant, store, or when traveling. EI switching is not unlike this process (as I will later show they often go hand in hand). Consider, for example, a Dominican-Puerto Rican participant who reported rarely using the Dominican identification; except, she added, To get free drinks at a cruise once because our waitress was Dominican. I think it was like six drinks. 2) Expression of social distance People can also use ethnic identification to create a distinction between them and others perceived to be economically disadvantaged. Waters (1994) writes of a second-generation West Indian teenager living in New York City who asked her mother to teach her a West Indian accent. She planned to use the accent when she applied for a job or a place to live. The teens strategy was to emphasize aspects of herself that set her apart from African Americans, whom she perceived to be less economically successful. Its also not uncommon for people to invoke an identity associated with the more visible ethnic groups in the broader social context (Alba 1990). For some Latinos in New York City this has meant identifying as Puerto Rican. There 19

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are cases in which people choose to distance themselves from the ethnic group they were born into. Adalbertos gay club example is one such case. Another Dominican participant indicated that to avoid being judged he rarely used Dominican identification. He explained that as a Euro-Latino who left the Dominican Republic with his family for political reasons, he did not share the associations made of dark-skinned Dominicans who arrived for economic reasons. 3) Expression of solidarity As a basis for forging bonds with others, invoking different ethnic identities is a way of both strengthening and broadening ones social support network and improving social relationships. Among ethnically-mixed Latinos (i.e. their parents belong to different ethnic groups), Stephan & Stephan (1989) found that participants reported feeling one distinct ethnic identity when with the closest members of their social network, while more than one identity was salient in a number of other contexts. It has also been observed that a person will often adopt the ethnic identity of a spouse or partner (Spickard & Fong 1995). Similarly, Kaufert (1977) found that Ghanaian university students reported switching to a more inclusive ethnic identity that de-emphasized their ethnic ties to a particular town or dialect in order to facilitate their adjustment as newcomers to university life. Their more exclusive kin-based identity, on the other hand, was most frequently invoked to mobilize the resources of their family to help them through their studies. 2.6 Conclusion I this chapter I overviewed the ethnicity and cognitive anthropological literature that has guided my analysis and interpretation of the data presented in Chapters 6 and 7. Drawing on this literature, as well as work in sociolinguistics, and my observations from the field, I define three types of switching: 1) differentiated identification, 2) accommodation, and 3) passing or crossing. Cognitive and social network perspectives undergird much of the discussion in this chapter, and throughout the dissertation. To complete my theoretical framework, in Chapter 3 I cover research from sociolinguistics. 20

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CHAPTER 3 LANGUAGE AND ETHNIC IDENTIFICATION 3.0 Introduction Language is both a marker of ethnic identification and a medium for its construction. It reveals the categories, logics, schemas, and presuppositions that enable people to order and act upon their social worlds. As such, language facilitates intra-group cohesion by reproducing and reinforcing shared cultural models. The compatibility between language and a cognitive approach to ethnicity goes beyond methodological considerations; they represent a unified theoretical approach to the mental processes involved in ethnic identification. Linguistic flexibility (multi-lingualism, multi-dialectism, multi-sociolectism) coupled with an ethnically ambiguous physical appearance, offers speakers exceptional control over ethnic self-presentation. As this dissertation will illustrate, some Latinos are in an especially advantageous position to manipulate ethnic and linguistic categories, expectations, and assumptions. The US Latino pan-ethnicity includes at least nineteen dialects (Lipski, 2004), socio-historical roots in nearly every continent, and distinct immigration histories within the US. This makes Latinos an ideal group for examining the salience and negotiation of multiple ethnic identifications. 3.1 Language and Ethnic Identification Besides a medium for cultural reproduction and individual actualization, language serves as a tool for categorization of self and others (Fishman 1977; Giles & Johnson 1981; Giles & Coupland 1991). In multi-ethnic settings language may be the least ambiguous criteria used to categorize people into ethnic groups. Even among groups that speak the same language, lexical, grammatical and phonological variations are important ways to distinguish between various national or regional populations. Researchers assert that among all the criteria for membership in an ethnic group, language is potentially the strongest cue to a persons ethnic identity 21

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(Fishman 1977; Giles & Johnson 1981). This is because a persons accent, speech style, and language choice is acquired, in contrast to inherited characteristics such as physical appearance. Language markers are used by people as a cue to the strength of a persons ethnic identification. Depending on what associations are made of a particular identification, this can lead to inferences about someones personality traits, or their suitability for a job (de la Zerda & Hopper 1979; Kalin & Rayko 1980 in Giles and Johnson 1981). Ethno-linguistic identity theory (Giles and Johnson 1987) suggests that when ethnic group identity is salient for individuals, they may attempt to make themselves favorably distinct on dimensions such as language. Distinctiveness strategies include speech style accentuation, code-switching, and the use of vernacular. Often these strategies are used to exclude out-group members from within-group interactions (Drake 1980). Therefore, language is not just an attribute of a person, group, or community but an important way that people identify themselves and others (LePage & Tabouret-Keller 1985). In fact, LePage and Tabouret-Keller (1985) see language as an act of identity and suggest that linguistic behavior involves shifts of identity by the speaker. Through these identity shifts during interactions, speakers affiliate with or disaffiliate from particular groups. LePage and Tabouret-Keller were particularly interested in bilingual and multi-lingual (or bi-dilective) interactions, and how acts of identity were accomplished through the choice of lexis, grammar, pronunciation or code. However, as Sebba and Wooton (1998) point out, monolinguals can do this as well, albeit through different communicative resources (e.g. style-shifting (Wolfram and Schilling-Estes 1998; Bell 1997)). What is distinct about bilinguals is that they can invoke ethnicity through a more varied range of linguistic strategies. Flexibility over ethnic self-presentation has clear social, economic, and political advantages. Fishman (1989: 37) writes that modern man is a shrewd calculator of membership 22

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benefits. Through variable ethnic identification a person can profit from the resources offered in each of the various groups she may belong to. As a marker of ethnic identification, language is one key tool for securing such resources. Just as ethnic groups vary in socio-economic status relative to other groups, so do languages and dialects. Often the survival of a language and the extent to which a group will identify themselves by a particular language will depend on its economic viability (Kwan-Terry 2000; Giles and Coupland 1991; see also Bernard (1996) for a related discussion about preserving vanishing languages). But beyond the instrumental advantages, it is clear that language is notable for the way that it helps shape individual self-understanding. One hypothesis predicts that the loss of knowledge of a native language results in the loss of ones original group identity (Pool 1979 in Eastman 1981). Language is featured as a key variable in scales that measure acculturation or the salience of particular ethnic identities (Phinney 1992; Cullar, et. al. 1995). A way to understand this is that loss of an ethnic group-related language leads to weakened ethnic identification when language loss limits the extent to which one can forge relationships with other members of that group. Zentella (1990a) addresses this issue in her study of Puerto Rican return migrants. For these migrants, learning or maintaining Spanish is tied to the survival of their Puerto Rican identity. The right of non-Spanish speaking Puerto Ricans to claim Puerto Rican identity has been challenged and labeled pseudo-ethnicity (Seda Bonilla 1975). Rosario (1983, cited in Zentella 1990a) writes: el ser puertorriqeo envuelve el conservar vivo el idioma corriente de nuestro pueblo (being Puerto Rican entails the live conservation of the common language of our people). Then there are those who argue that the relationship between language and identity is not so clear cut. Researchers point out that linking social identity with behavior, (in this case language), is complex and despite refined methods and theoretical developments, not a 23

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straightforward endeavor (Milroy 1980, Fishman 1999). For instance, a person may have two or three languages or dialects available but a multiplicity of social identities, therefore the relationship between these is not one-to-one (Sebba and Wooton 1998). In some cases, what language a person knows and uses and what ethnic identification they claim may be unrelated (e.g. an immigrant may know American English quite well but not think of themselves as American). Similarly, ethnic groups are not the only groups with distinct communicative styles (e.g. Yorkshire). Yet another example of the complex relationship between language and self-identification can be found among groups that maintained a distinct ethnic identity after language loss (e.g. East Indians in the Caribbean) (LePage and Tabouret-Keller 1985). Consequently, despite the fact that language is integral to group cohesion and inter-group relations, there are a number of factors that complicate the study of language as a marker of ethnic identification. How can researchers distinguish between EI-related language use and language use with purely linguistic functions? How do researchers determine which of several identities is invoked in communication? What evidence do researchers need to conclude that a language marker used by one interlocutor is received and understood by another? In the next sections I present some approaches that have been put to the task of answering these types of questions. 3.2 Approaches to the Study of Language and Identification 3.2.1 Cultural Models in Language (Holland and Quinn, eds. 1987; Wimmer 2004) Early research on cultural models used semantic analysis to understand how cultural knowledge is organized. The listing, labeling, and sorting exercises employed to this theoretical task were effective for describing relationships among words and sketching out maps of cultural domains. However, they fell short of revealing the underlying cultural understandings that gave these words meaning. For that, far richer linguistic data are needed. Quinn and Holland (1987: 24

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16) list two data sources used by cognitive anthropologists: systematic use of native-speakers intuitions, and analysis of natural discourse. An important concern in such research is discovering what is left unspoken when people talk about things in the world, whether they are social categories and institutions like gender and marriage, or natural processes like evaporation. Presupposed knowledge is revealed, for example, in the information dropped out between propositions, a cognitive task supported by proposition-schemas (Lakoff 1984). Image-schemas and metaphors (ibid.) enable speakers to make multiple relations across physical and cultural domains. Thus, they present the researcher with a way to construct cultural models by tracing these connections. The function of models, schemas, and metaphors is not unlike that of contextualization cues developed in the field of interactional sociolinguistics (discussed below). Both allow interactants to efficiently invoke shared knowledge needed for interpretation. In my own work, the cultural models approach will provide a framework for analyzing the way that language-related ethnic markers index presupposed worlds during interaction. I have also tried to understand how Latinos in New York City categorize their ethnic landscape and how these categories are revealed in their talk. Recent work by Wimmer (2004) is an elegant example of a cognitive approach working in tandem with other methods for a nuanced view into ethnic categorization processes. Wimmer applied discourse and social network analyses to data collected from three Swiss immigrant neighborhoods. Based on participants discourse, he identified a central cognitive scheme that distinguished between order (we) and disorder (they). Thus, a key finding of the study was that participants did not primarily divide themselves and others according to ethnic categories. One might predict that this descent-blind distinction mirrored descent-blind group formation. However, results of the network analysis yielded mixed results. On the one hand, the personal networks of participants were largely 25

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ethnically homogenous: Italians related mostly with Italians, Turks with Turks, etc. Still, exogamous relationships (particularly among the second generation) corresponded with the central cognitive scheme found through the discourse analysis. The study might have benefited from a consensus analysis (Romney, et. al. 1986) to determine whether the cognitive scheme was most salient for those whose networks reflected descent-blind relations. But on the whole, Wimmers work demonstrates how complex the link between thought, discourse, and behavior can be. Its precisely this sort of mixed-method approach that the task calls for, and which I have tried to apply in this research. 3.2.2 Language and Social Networks Wimmers study is, to my knowledge, unique in combining cognitive, discursive, and social network analytic approaches to understand ethnicity and ethnic group formation. While a number of studies have addressed social network issues in language use (Ghosh Johnson 2005; Milroy and Milroy 2002; Bailey 2000; Kerswill and Williams 2000; Eckert 2000; Penny 2000; Zentella 1997), little has been done on the relationship between network attributes and ethnic identification switching. In Chapters 6 and 7 I explore the notion that ethnically heterogeneous networks encourage linguistic and ethnic flexibility. Here, I will discuss some of the foundational studies of language and social networks. Early on, Bloomfield (1933) theorized on the relationship between language and networks of interaction. He pointed out that linguistic diversity is related to the amount of verbal communication between speakers. These communication networks mediate between language and various environmental factors. In Bloomfields view, political, economic or geographical variables are not directly reflected in the speech. These variables affect language only to the extent that they facilitate or constrain communication. Thus, early dialect studies demonstrated that speech variation is a function of networks of relationships, rather than environmental factors. 26

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Later applications of the network concept to language are characterized by an interest on how networks mediate between social identities and language use. Two works in particular stand out: Blom and Gumperzs (1972) influential study of code-switching in Norway and Milroys (1980) cogent book on social networks and language variation in Belfast. Milroy was among the first to systematically apply the network concept to the study of linguistic variation. Gumperz (1982) noted that network structure is influenced by many factors unique to a person (e.g. things like occupation and education). Because of this, networks cut across socio-economic categories (Blom & Gumperz 1972). This means that speakers from similar social backgrounds may show very different patterns of language use. Rather than use these social categories (e.g. class, the limits of which are not always measurable), to predict language use, the network approach takes both social and individualistic factors into account. Therefore, networks can account for variability in individualistic linguistic behavior in communities (Milroy 1980). In her work on urban kinship relations Bott (1957) identified two types of role systems, or networks. These have been applied fruitfully in sociolinguistic research. The first type, closed, or family role system, is associated with communal values and stress status distinctions. Closed networks encourage propriety in speech and lead to restrictive use of codes among its members (Gumperz 1972). Along the same lines, these closed networks (also referred to as dense in the literature see below), tend to reinforce the use of a local language variety (Milroy and Milroy 1992; Labov 2001). On the other hand, open, or person-role systems, emphasize individual creativity and oblige members to use codes well suited for to the transmission of new information, often with standardized features common in the wider society (ibid.; Gumperz 1972). In Hemnesberget, Norway Blom and Gumperz (1972) found three types of networks that conformed to Botts original formulation: local, kin-based networks; non-local networks of urban 27

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migrants doing business in the local town; and those that occupy a middle ground and include both local and non-local ties. The local-kin based networks were, in Botts term, closed networks where local values and the local dialect prevailed. The non-local networks were open, and characterized by the use of the standard, pan-Norwegian dialect and adherence to national / regional values. Milroy (1980; see also Milroy and Milroy 2002) adds another characteristic to the networks identified by Bott and developed in linguistic research by Gumperz. According to Milroy, closed networks tend to be multiplex, meaning that each individual in a network is likely to be linked to others in more than one capacity. Open networks, on the other hand, tend to be uniplex 8 In addition to the multiplexity concept, Milroy used network density as another measure of network activity. Density measures the extent to which members of a persons network are linked to each other. Milroy proposed that rather than use the terms open and closed, we could speak of these networks in more systematic terms, as being more or less dense. Because of the dominance of kin relations in closed networks they tend to be more dense than open networks. Dense networks have the capacity to maintain normative consensus among its members and language use is just one of the behaviors that these networks define 9 8 Addressing linguistic change, Penny (2000) and Eckert (2000) have developed these ideas further. In an argument reminiscent of Granovetter (1973), Penny (2000) states that linguistic change spreads across groups via weak ties. The argument being that strong ties exert normative pressures. Eckert (2000) agrees, but adds that the identity of the weak tie will determine their influence as agents of change. 9 Parallel concepts developed by sociologist Ron Burt (1992) are applicable here. Network redundancy, where a persons network members are all tied to each other, results in the sort of redundancy of shared ideas and values described by Milroy and Gumperz. Social actors able to bridge (or fill in structural holes) between enclosed social networks benefit from the kinds of new ideas from which creativity springs. In terms of language use, the structural holes model may illuminate how innovative linguistic features emerge and spread across groups. In fact, according Labov (2001) linguistic innovations spread when they are brought to influence leaders central to their network and having weak ties to other networks. 28

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In an intriguing twist to the work just outlined, Valentn-Mrquez (2006) presents the case of /s/ realized as a glottal stop in Puerto Rican Spanish. Valentn-Mrquez notes that this linguistic variable has become more common in recent years. Citing use of the glottal stop among reggeaton musicians, he looks to the genre for insights about the linguistic features emergence. According to Valentn-Mrquez, reggaeton has mediated American cultural practices adopted and adapted by adolescents on the island. Valentn-Mrquez was able to show statistically that young women were more likely to realize their /s/ using a glottal stop. This is despite the fact that they were more likely to express negative attitudes towards reggeaton. Valentn-Mrquez turned to their social networks and found that they belonged to a local evangelical church network. He went on to argue that use of the innovative feature was to gain acceptance within adolescent social networks where reggaeton was common frame of reference. In other words, because they could not relate via shared musical tastes, they adopted the glottal stop to distinguish themselves from adults and align themselves with their peers (ibid.). So while membership in the local church network exerted enough normative pressure to discourage the young women from adopting reggeaton music and culture, the strong pull exerted by their peer groups have encouraged their linguistic innovation. They seem to fall somewhere in between the closed / open, conservative / creative distinction suggested by the literature on language use and social networks. Might they be the structural hole-bridging innovators described above (f. n. 12)? As would be expected, how language was used as an ethnic marker in my study depended on whether participants interacted with close ties, weak ties, or strangers. Language for signaling group membership with network members tended to: 1) be automatic or taken-for-granted, 2) encourage in-group cohesion, and 3) happen less frequently with close network members. 29

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When invoking their ethnicity with strangers, participants aimed to create a favorable first impression on them. In those cases where contact was temporary, some participants admitted to invoking whichever identification would expedite their immediate goals (e.g. free drinks, make a sale, fast service). If they could easily get away with it, people were more likely to pass or cross in these sorts of transient encounters. Language use is the most effective way to manage first impressions in ethnically relevant contexts. A well placed lexical item borrowed from a target dialect, a switch to Spanish in an English dominant conversation, or an emphasized accent efficiently aligns the necessary frames of reference. I should note that labels or pre-packaged ethnic origin responses (Im Mexican, I was born in D.R. but raised in the US, My parents are from El Salvador) are the most direct ways to signal ethnic affiliation but not always the most practical. Unless another person asks the question, (Where are you from? or Whats your ethnic background?) to volunteer such information could disrupt conversational flow or seem out of context. There are ways to get people to ask these questions (e.g. by asking them first), but one would have to wait until the contextually appropriate turn. Labels and pre-packaged responses are also potentially dissonant for the speaker, specifically if the speaker is passing or cant back up a claim. This is why most of the participants in this study did not use labels other than Latino/Hispanic and the nationality labels that pertained to them. The one exception was Abel (see Chapter 7) who silently nodded when an interlocutor said, Youre Colombian, right?, even though he has no ties to Colombia. It was common, however, for several of these participants to code-switch, dialect-switch, and borrow the lexicon of countries and cultures they could not otherwise claim on the basis of origin. Often the possibility for the sort of ethnic flexibility Abel and others in this study displayed stems from network membership. I have noted that through our participation in social networks we learn the models of thought and behavior that allow us to be recognized as part of a set. 30

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Thus, Ghosh-Johnson (2005) reports of Iris, a young Cuban and Mexican woman who aligned herself with Puerto Ricans in her talk. Iris had mostly Puerto Rican friends and was considered Puerto Rican by this friendship group. Similarly, Sweetland (2002) describes the case of Delilah, a white woman who authentically used African American Vernacular English in her daily interactions. Consider the following excerpt from an interview with one of Delilahs black friends: In explaining why it didnt bother him that Delilah spoke Ebonics, Will noted that it only made sense: Well she basically black. When I pointed out that she was, by all other indications, white, he responded with a list of reasons why Delilah wasnt really white: She listen to the good shit [rap], act stupid and loud just like we do, she talk to all black guys basicallybut its not like she just doing it cause they black and shes tryin to be down or something like that. Thats how she is. She been like thatI mean she come up with blacks so thats how she acts (ibid.: 525). What is implied from these examples is that the ascription or acceptance of others as belonging to a category serves a mutually reinforcing role with ethnic self-presentation. 3.2.3 Speech Accommodation Giles first developed Speech Accommodation Theory (SAT) in his study of interpersonal accent convergence during interviews. SAT addresses the motivations and constraints governing speech shifts during social interactions. The theory also accounts for the social consequences of these shifts. Giles and his colleagues (1987) describe speech accommodation as strategies that achieve social approval, distinctiveness, or communicative efficiency. Drawing on social psychological similarity-attraction research, speech accommodation theory states that a person can induce another to evaluate him or her more favorably by reducing certain differences between them. Giles, et. al. (1973) note that in exchange theory terms (see Homans 1961, Byrne 1969); an accommodation may involve certain costs for the speaker. These costs include expanded effort and potential identity change. Therefore, such behavior may only be initiated if 31

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possible rewards are available. Research does indicate that the more effort a speaker puts into accommodating to a listeners speech, the more favorably they are viewed (Giles, et. al. 1973; Giles, et. al. 1987). Bucholtz and Hall (2005) extend elements of SAT to their framework for the analysis of identity in linguistic interaction. They use the term adequation to emphasize, the fact that in order for groups or individuals to be positioned as alike, they need not and in any case cannot be identical, but must merely be understood as sufficiently similar for current interactional purposes (ibid.: 599). Like in speech accommodation, adequation is a process whereby interactants emphasize similarities and de-emphasize differences to align themselves to others. But whereas Giles (1973) suggested that these sorts of accommodations can (but do not have to) lead to identity change (described above as a cost), Bucholtz & Hall highlight adequation as one of the tactics of intersubjective identity construction. The authors also offer distinction as a counterpart to adequation. 3.2.4 Code Choice Code-switching (CS) is the use of two or more linguistic varieties (i.e. distinct and unrelated languages or two styles of the same language) in an interaction. Here, I discuss dialect-switching as a case of CS. A switch can occur between turns, within turns, and intra-sententially (Bailey 2000). Blom and Gumperz (1972) see switching as falling into at least one of three overlapping categories: situational, metaphorical, and contextualization switching. In situational switching, context (in which ethnicity can factor in) determines which code will be used. For example, people look for a number of group membership indicators, including gender, age and status, and social setting to assess the appropriateness of a code choice or code-switching itself. Becker (1997) suggests that speakers dont CS unless they know the linguistic background and social identities of interlocutors. This (and other types of switching) suggests 32

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conscious action, but it should be noted that some switches occur below the level of awareness. With metaphorical switching, the social setting remains outwardly unchanged, but the code-choice may signal a change in topic or social role. Blom and Gumperzs example of situational switching involved a government clerk and a local citizen attending to business matters in the standard official language. Upon completion of the transaction they stepped aside for a private chat using the more personal local dialect. Finally, unmarked, contextualization switches center the act of switching itself as a conversational resource (Gumperz 2001; Bailey 2000; Li 1994; Auer 1984). Thus, individual switches serve instead as contextualization, or framing, cues to mark off quotations, changes in topic, etc. from surrounding speech (Bailey 2000: 242). In terms of the identification or identity functions of CS, bilinguals can change the directionality of CS (from English to Spanish or from Spanish to English; regional dialect to a majority language). It is also common for bilinguals or multi-linguals to scatter words or phrases in a second language throughout a mostly monolingual conversation. For example, Spanish-speaking bilinguals may briefly switch to words and phrases like bueno, lo que sea, y todo, pos, andale pues, to mark their Latino ethnicity (Jacobson 1982, Toribio 2002). A special case of CS is language or code-crossing. This is characterized as the unexpected (and often viewed as illegitimate or inauthentic) switch to an out-group code (Rampton 2000; Rampton 1995). One of the ways that code-crossing differs from established conceptualizations of CS, is that crossing is said to require little competence (Rampton 1995; see also Sweetland 2002). Though not phrased like this in the literature, one feature of crossing that seems amenable to schema or cultural model analysis is described by Rampton (2000: 55) as follows: When a relatively unexpected language code gets used, it usually inserts images of a particular social type into the flow of interaction, and it both instantiates and sparks off heightened displays of the participants' orientations to one another, to the representations, and to the relationship between them. 33

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The identity functions of CS are among the most widely explored areas in bilingual studies (Williams 2006; Bucholtz and Hall 2005; Greer 2005; Bailey 2001; Gafaranga 2001; Cutler 1999; Lo 1999; Sebba and Wooton 1998; Zentella 1997; Rampton 1995). The prevailing conceptual orientation is that identity is constructed or co-constructed discursively, rather than a pre-existing given of category or group membership (Bucholtz and Hall 2005). Within this framework, code-choice is but one of several linguistic strategies that encode a relationship between a social identity and aspects of the social context. My own approach is kindred to the constructivist conviction that a person can identify independently of category membership. However, I prefer to think of CS in the sense put forth by Gumperz (2001; see also Levinson 2002): as cues that establish the context in which messages are interpreted and understood (see section 3.5.2 below). Furthermore, I am sympathetic to Conversation Analytic frameworks that examine the links among social categories, linguistic strategies, and context made relevant by the participants themselves (c.f. Schlegoff 1997; Antaki and Widdicombe 1998; Gafaranga 2005; Cashman 2005). As De Fina, et.al. (2006:5) put it: The researcher's task is then to reconstruct the processes of adscription and negotiation of identities as they are manifested within the activity in which participants are engaged. These arguments echo Schegloff's polemic stance against the imposition of ad hoc interpretive categories by politically informed analysts. Dialect switching was one form of CS commonly found among the participants in this dissertation study. Who switched to which dialect and why, suggested patterns of dialect classification and use consistent with that found by Zentella (1990b). Among Latinos in New York, class, race and education affects the extent to which Spanish speaking groups assimilate each others dialects (ibid.). Zentella investigated dialectical contact at the lexical level in the various New York City Spanish varieties. Her findings point to a number of social barriers to the 34

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adoption of lexical items from both Puerto Rican and Dominican Spanish. Zentella particularly found widespread rejection of the Dominican lexicon by Colombians, Cubans, and Puerto Ricans. In contrast, the Dominicans were the only group that adopted from all other groups without exception. Zentella suggests that Colombians, Cubans and Puerto Ricans contribute to Dominican linguistic insecurity by their widespread rejection of Dominican Spanish. I would add that another dialect not adopted by the New Yorkers in my own study is Mexican Spanish. With the exception of expression like andale pues or orale to caricature or mock Mexicans, non-Mexican participants in this study did switch or accommodate to this variety of Spanish. For Guitart (1982) speakers of radical dialects, (e.g. Caribbean Spanish), tend to imitate conservative speakers, not vice versa. This suggests that radical dialects are reserved for members of ones own group and more conservative speech is used in business and other contacts with out-group members where the economic stakes are higher. However, Zentella (1990b) offers evidence to the contrary. She observed that some conservative speakers switched their code because of their identification with a group of radical speakers. For example, some Mexicans who married into Puerto Rican families (Zentella herself is part Mexican and part Puerto Rican) or South American community workers in Dominican neighborhoods who switched because of political ideology. Labov (1972) and Waters (1994) have shown the tendency for non-black groups to adopt African American Venacular English (AAVE), particularly those whose networks includes more Blacks. In general, dialect crossing may be done in certain instances for very practical purposes. Some adopt the Puerto Rican dialect to avoid persecution by immigrant authorities given that all Puerto Ricans are US citizens. To be exact, this sort of dialect-adoption can best be described as accent-adoption. Emphasizing or hiding an accent is a possible way to either invoke a positively evaluated identification or de-emphasize a negatively evaluated one (Waters 1994; Giles and Coupland 35

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1991). As Cutler (1999: 431) points out, scholars have commented on the relative ease with which outsiders can acquire phonological and lexical features of another dialect vs. the difficulty of acquiring the grammar (c.f. Labov 1972; Labov and Harris 1986; Ash and Myhill 1986). Blom and Gumperz (1972) distinguish between dialect switching (co-occurrence of lexical, phonological, and morphological rules) and monolingual style-shifting, which may take place at the phonological level only (Milroy 1980: 34). However, neither is a choice between discrete entities (ibid.). 3.3 Analyzing Language and Interaction Recognizing that a combination of approaches is a good way to proceed in sociolinguistic research (Boxer 2002), three analytical approaches have guided my work with the linguistic data: discourse analysis in general, and conversation analysis and interactional sociolinguistics in particular. All are concerned with talk-in-(naturally occurring) interaction. 3.3.1 Discourse Analysis Discourse analysis (DA) describes a broad range of methods and orientations used to study language use, both in its spoken and written forms. In general, discourse is understood to be anything beyond the sentence level. Some discourse analysts, particularly critical theorists, examine the broad range of linguistic and nonlinguistic social practices and ideologies that construct and sustain social inequality (Schiffrin, et. al. 2001). The analysis of spoken discourse usually requires long stretches of, ideally, naturally-occurring talk. These are analyzed at multiple levels and dimensions including sounds, gestures, syntax, lexicon, style, rhetoric and meaning. To varying degrees depending on theoretical and disciplinary orientation, discourse analysts also consider participant attributes as it pertains to a talk sequence. 36

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3.3.2 Ethnography of Speaking and Interactional Sociolinguistics As the name suggests, ethnography of speaking (ES) unites ethnography with linguistic analysis (Hymes 1962). Hymes (1968) argued that speaking was an area of importance for the anthropological study of behavior. He wrote that; [t]he ethnography of speaking is concerned with the situations and uses, the patterns and functions, of speaking as an activity in its own right (ibid.: 101). Discovering patterns and functions of speaking involves intensive speech community research. Speech communities are those where its members share knowledge of the communicative constraints and options governing a significant number of social situations (Gumperz 1972). The researcher must collect information on local norms and values and the local social system before analysis and interpretation of the speech event (the basic unit of analysis of verbal interactions) can take place. In ES data is characteristically naturally occurring speech. One of the objectives of ES is to determine what members of speech communities know about when, where and with whom to use linguistic features: i.e. communicative competence. In some communities, competence is determined by how appropriately members alternate between varieties within their linguistic repertoires. These are the totality of linguistic resources available to members of particular speech communities (Gumperz 1972) and can include dialects, languages and speech styles. The appropriateness of language choice is dependent on extra-linguistic factors like setting, participant attributes (e.g. social identity of speakers), and communicative intent. Thus, in ES research, context is of primary importance. In fact, research shows that language use can vary according to the domain where a speech event takes place (Fishman 1972). According to Fishman (ibid.) domains are institutional contexts and their congruent behavioral co-occurrences (441). These include family, friendship, religion, education, and employment (Greenfield 1968). Each of these domains is characterized 37

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by specific role relationships (social statuses), locales and topics. Fishman argues that domains allow us to understand that language choice is part of broader sociocultural norms and expectations. Grounded in earlier ES studies Gumperz went on to develop Interactional Sociolinguistics (IS). Gumperz sees IS as bridging the gap between research on cultural and linguistic diversity and constructivist approaches that focus on localized interaction (Gumperz 2001). Thus, a fundamental concern of IS is shared and non-shared interpretations and the background knowledge needed in the interpretative process. Like ES, IS takes non-linguistic factors like setting and participant attributes into account. Both are regarded as micro-ethnographic in their analysis of interaction. Gumperz (1972) suggested that the analysis of language use and speech events involves the analysis of a significant and representative range of different contexts. Only through systematic and painstaking fieldwork can regularity in the activities bound to ethnic group identities be discovered. Interactional Sociolinguistics departs from ES in its central concern on miscommunication in ethnically diverse environments. Advancing this agenda, Gumperz introduced the concept of contextualization cues. These, usually, prosodic triggers work with lexical material to establish the context in which messages are interpreted and understood (Gumperz 2001, Levinson 2002). Beyond lexical misunderstanding, cross-cultural miscommunication occurs when speakers do not understand each others indirect allusions. Gumperz argues that such background knowledge is learned through our direct contact with close network members (Gumperz 2001). The very same indirect signaling mechanisms that helps us be understood by our network members, allows others to assess our social identities. These signaling mechanisms include accents, intonation and stress patterns. Code-switching is one important non-prosodic contextualization cue (ibid.). Representing shifts in contextual presuppositions, code-switching as an interpretative tool makes 38

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sense when speakers share the same or similar presuppositions. Therefore, like accents, code-switching functions to signal shared cultural/ethnic models and frames. 3.3.3 Conversation Analysis Conversation analysis (CA) of bilingual interactions is a more recent development (see Auer 1998), following in the tradition first developed by Gumperz (1982). Gumperz described bilingual conversations as consisting of socially ordered discourse strategies. But where Gumperz and Scotton (1983) see these strategies as symbolic action (i.e. they index localized norms and values), proponents of CA see language as practical social action or an activity in its own right. The CA approach emphasizes interpretation based on participant actions that have demonstrable effects, rather than on context free symbolic social categories external to the interaction. CA has its roots in the field of ethnomethodology. Developed by Harold Garfinkel in the 1960s, ethnomethodology is concerned with the techniques that people use to accomplish their everyday tasks. Uncovering these techniques requires the fine description of interactions, specifically in a conversational setting. Thus, CA is the hallmark method of ethnomethodology. CA is carried out through the careful analysis of turn-taking between speakers (Sacks, et. al. 1974) and relies on what can be gleaned inductively from detailed transcripts of conversation. In CA little attention is paid to variables like speakers identities, relationships, and setting. Only when speakers can be shown to invoke these categories in the course of the conversation are they of interest to the conversation analyst (Li 2002). How then do speakers invoke identities during a conversation? Antaki & Widdicombe (1998: 5) stress that in talk-in-interaction, identities are rarely named out loud but inferred from the acts which have been accomplished. This notion draws on Sacks, et. al.s (1974: 225) viewers maxim which states that identities and activities are co-selective. Therefore, any claim 39

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that a particular identification is significantly present in talk must be supported by the work it has accomplished in the same talk. One way this is done is through membership categorization analysis (MCA) (Sacks 1992). MCA focuses on the membership categories, membership categorization devices and category predicates that people use to describe themselves and others and that are invoked to accomplish a number of things in the conversation. CA is criticized for being atheoretical and purely descriptive. Researchers who use CA are also criticized for not explaining their interpretations in a systematic and explicit manner and neglecting aspects of the wider social context (Li 2002). Those who defend CA argue that the approach is not atheoretical, but rather has a different conception of how to theorize about social life, and a different notion of the nature of evidence and how to validate hypotheses (ibid.: 171). Validating hypotheses with CA is similar to the grounded theory method. Analysis begins without a priori theory, but the ultimate goal is to find patterns in the text (H.R. Bernard, personal communication). 3.4 Conclusion People use language varieties at their disposal to convey a number of ethnic affiliations. This can be done through code choice (including dialects and distinct styles within one language), accents and pronunciation, and discourse. Linguistic choices (and by extension ethnic choices), are acquired and cultivated through participation in social networks. These networks also serve to activate or trigger appropriate discursive strategies. The burden on the researcher is to show whether a language resource is used to invoke an ethnic identification and which of various identifications is marked by a linguistic strategy. This study draws on several DA approaches concerned with talk-in-interaction. Im interested in developing the idea that ethnic identification is the activation of ethnically salient, intersubjectively shared models have been influenced by work on cultural models in language. 40

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As I have discussed above, this cognitive orientation is concerned with how people come to learn and share culture and how these shared presuppositions are employed in daily interaction. Methodologically, it is challenging to pair categories of identification with speaker intentions. The rigor offered by Conversation Analysis, its fine-tooth-comb techniques and commitment to revealing patterns directly accessible in speech transcripts, will be employed here. Finally, the linguistic data I collected for this project was but one data element among several. The research was intensely ethnographic and significant amounts of contextual information (interviews and field notes) were collected. This study departs from Conversation Analytic methods by bringing in the external, contextual data needed to make interpretations. Thus, I integrate theory and methods from the Ethnography of Speaking and Interactional Sociolinguistic into my analysis. 41

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CHAPTER 4 RESEARCH METHODS 4.0 Introduction Discovering how and why New York City Latinos switch ethnic identifications posed a number of methodological challenges. When I first considered taking on the research question, I asked relatives, friends and co-workers to keep track of how often they switched their ethnic identification in one week. I wanted a general idea of the likelihood of observing this behavior in the field. I suggested that they be aware of instances when they used multiple ethnic labels or languages, or even instances when they felt their behavior change depending on who they were talking to. I asked them to be aware of this particularly when they interacted with people of ethnicities different than their own. As it turned out, the consensus of this tiny exploratory sample was that they rarely switched. At least, they were rarely aware of it. The three possibilities I encountered at that point were a) switching is not a common occurrence; and/or b) switching is difficult to detect in a short span of time; and/or c) people switch a lot but dont know it. There was also the matter of correctly interpreting peoples intentions if and when I observed them invoke multiple ethnicities. Nevertheless, I felt strongly that ethnic identification switching was a phenomenon with plenty of theoretical, anecdotal, and personal precedence. The task was to design a research protocol that would better my chances for observing and recognizing naturally-occurring instances of identification switching while working within a limited time frame. I also needed to incorporate methods that would yield data crucial to the accurate classification of identification invocation behaviors to be more certain about the meaning and significance of ethnic markers participants would use. Finally, recognizing that with ethnographic observations alone I would not be able to account for most factors contextualizing a switch, a survey phase would allow me to test the ethnic identification response in a range of scenarios. 42

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The research was designed to collect data about the proximate and ultimate conditions that contextualize a switch. Data on the ultimate conditions included participants socio-demographic circumstances, their physical environment (the community where they lived), social environment (their social network), and their ethnic identification. Proximate conditions would be those observable in the naturally-occurring social context, before, during, and after a switch. The research design involved two main phases of data collection. The purpose of the first phase was to gather in-depth ethnographic information from a small sample of participants. To help correctly identify instances of ethnic identification invocation and switching, I conducted life-history interviews, social network surveys, and continuous monitoring observations with eleven Latino men and women. This phase produced data with high internal validity and provided detailed information about the process of ethnic identification switching. The knowledge gained from the first phase was applied to the design of social network and vignette surveys administered in the second phase. These surveys were conducted on a large sample of participants to achieve greater external validity. Each piece of the research design will be discussed in turn, beginning with initial stages of the ethnographic phase. 4.1 Entering the Field 4.1.1 Field Site 1: Astoria, Queens I first entered the field in February of 2005. To be exact, the field was a threeby-nine block section of Astoria, Queens. Since the 1960s, Astoria has been the site of New Yorks largest Greek community (Williams & Mejia 2001). To this day, the neighborhood has maintained a distinctly Greek feel, with its restaurants, cafes, Greek orthodox churches, community organizations, and numerous Greek-owned businesses (e.g. butcher shops, bakeries, and laundromats). In more recent years (and even since I entered the field in 2005), Astoria has received a large number of immigrants from Russia, Mexico, Colombia, Bosnia, Brazil, and 43

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Bangladesh, just to name a few key representative groups. In describing Astoria, one participant said, You know how they say New York is the melting pot of the world? Well, Astoria is the melting pot of New York. This is the reason I chose Astoria. The small section that I selected for the initial weeks of fieldwork is one of the busiest neighborhoods in Astoria, particularly because of its dense concentration of smallto medium-sized businesses. The borders of this dense commercial and residential area are four of the most active streets in all of Queens. To the north and south are 30 th Avenue (Grand Avenue) and Broadway. To the east and west are Steinway Street and 31 st Street. For nine blocks, starting at Steinway Street and ending at 31 st street, 30th Avenue is a onestop center for shoppers and urban anthropologists alike. A five minute walk down this quintessentially Queens avenue will present observers with Thai, Italian, Colombian, Brazilian, Indian, Mexican and (of course), Greek eateries, Latino-owned money wiring centers, international meat and fish shops, news stands selling Bosnian and Croatian magazines and newspapers, supermarkets announcing Halal selections, and real estate businesses whose outdoor signs display last names from all the major ethnic groups in Astoria. Broadway, to the south is similar to 30 th Avenue; though when I first started fieldwork the avenue was less densely packed with businesses. This has changed. That I have observed this change in my two years so far in Queens, attests to Astorias rapid growth and importance. Recently, the neighborhood has experienced a frenzy of apartment seekers, mostly young professionals, for whom Manhattans consistently rising rent prices and living costs are not an option. Astoria is a ten minute subway ride into midtown Manhattan. The N and W line runs along 31 st Street, the western-most boundary of my Astoria field site. This proximity, its relatively low rent prices, and reputation as an up-and-coming, ethnically diverse community, is changing Astorias demographics in a very short time. 44

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Another set of trains to and from Manhattan stop at Steinway Street. Named after Henry Steinweg, of the Steinway piano-making family, Steinway Street attracts shoppers from other parts of Queens. The stores found along this active corridor tend to be national retail stores, restaurants, and banks like the G.A.P, Starbucks, and Bank of America. There are also several large but locally-owned discount clothes, electronics, and pet stores. Because it was central and well-known, I met most potential participants for screening interviews at Steinway Street. I entered Astoria intending to unobtrusively observe and record life in a mixed New York City immigrant neighborhood. I paid particular attention to interactions within and between members of Astorias many ethnic groups. My goal was to familiarize myself with the area, meet potential research participants or people who could help me find them, and get a sense of the neighborhoods ethnic group relations. My first field notes document early impressions about ethnicity in the everyday life of Astorians. The notes also detailed some methodological issues I had not fully considered until actually beginning observations. Today is the first day of me sitting down, like a tape recorder, video recorder to absorb and capture the web of words, interactions, activities that surround me here, in a small park (Athens Park on 30 th Street) in Astoria Queens. What am I thinking? First, about the process, about how I will come to feel completely at ease with holding a pen and paper taking notes from lifes dictations. At once conspicuous and unseen. Im also thinking about this observation process itself. What am I waiting to hear and see? What am I missing while I write? What do I note and what do I leave to dissipate into the air? I am sitting in a park, close to sundown, among small children, adolescent, and old alike. Of course, as with many descriptions of ethnically diverse communities I am compelled to write down what I see and hear around me that can capture the worlds, lives, spaces, thoughts, that come into contact in immigrant communities like Astoria. Across from me I see a pizzeria and Janata Grocery (a Halal meat shop and grocer, etc.). I see Acapulco Caf. Beyond, I see a supermarket, no doubt one of those where ethnic food varieties are thoroughly offered and where a mix of people, Latino, Asian, European, shop. Among the pedestrians are those that I can identify and those that I cannot. The children in the playground, probably junior high school students, speak in English, but among them is a mix of Latinos and south Asians. I see Muslim women with their headdresses and young blacks, whites and Latinos on their skateboards. The skateboard kids are interestingthey sport grungy, skateboarder looks, unkempt hair and speak in unaccented English. It seems true, at least on the surface, that ethnicity does not enter into the routine movements of life, the lives that I see around me; as parents take their children to the park, as couples walk together, as businessmen talk business. How then to get under the surface and understand what role ethnicity has for structuring interactions. 45

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Some difficulty also lies in the subject matter. I am not interviewing people involved in a certain subculture that I can easily target and ask relevant questions to. I am not interviewing people about an activity that is tangible and easy to remember or understand. I am not asking questions about responses to an event that occurred in the community. Instead I must ask first about their own perceptions of their ethnicitysomething which as I walk about Astoria I feel does not seem to enter into surface parlance, but rather looms in the background or remains covered underneath daily routine or daily understanding for those in the community. Ethnicity seems at once all encompassing and irrelevant. This I must confirm. All encompassing in the sense that in an immigrant community, with multiple languages, cultures, national backgrounds blending, merging, meeting, clashing it seeps into the very character of the community, it becomes what the community attracts, it defines it. Yet it is perhaps wholly taken for granted and un-contemplated. From these initial unobtrusive observations I moved to conducting informal interviews with community members. Whenever possible I spoke with people who sat in the neighborhood parks or loitered on street corners. Usually, I staked out businesses that had steady customer traffic and asked the owners if I could inconspicuously station myself in their stores. The most memorable establishment, one that I would visit on repeated occasions, was the International Meat Market on 30 th Avenue. This was a successful Greek-owned (one of the owners was also Venezuelan) meat shop that employed workers from Mexico and Argentina. The owners, two men in their mid-30s, and the other butchers had learned key words and phrases (and in some cases spoke fluently) in several languages, including Spanish, Italian, Croatian, and Greek. Because of their clientele they truly lived up to the stores name. The shops consistent current of customers and alluring mix of languages and nationalities made it an ideal place to observe ethnic identification switching. After Astoria, I eventually moved on to the slightly more daunting second field site: Corona/Jackson Heights, Queens. I chose Astoria because of its ethnic diversity, but also because Latinos were a visible part of the community. To assess whether the community where a person lives affects the development of multiple ethnic identities and switching, I chose Corona as a counterpoint to Astoria. It is also very diverse, but a place where Latinos are the overwhelming majority. A place where anyone could forget they were still in New York. 46

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4.1.2 Field Site 2: Corona / Jackson Heights, Queens My observations in Corona / Jackson Heights (CJH) began in late May of 2005, after I had already recruited some of the key informants who are the focus of this research. While my initial observations in Astoria happened as I worked independently, I got to know CJH with research participants as my guides. I had actually traveled to CJH on several occasions before May and found it a challenging place to approach people in the streets or enter businesses to just sit and watch. The traffic of pedestrians is denser along CJHs main thoroughfares, like Roosevelt Avenue and Junction Boulevard. Businesses along Roosevelt Avenue are cramped; many of them (including retail stores) are situated in small windowless suites in second and third floors. The number of undocumented immigrants in this area is high, and so there tends to be an air of suspicion towards outsiders. Most of my research was concentrated at the predominantly Latino intersections of Corona Plaza and Jackson Heights between Northern Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue. These two neighborhoods lie about 2 miles east of Astoria in northwest Queens. At the northern most border of the CJH field site is Northern Boulevard. This important, highly commercial boulevard connects Flushing in the east, with Astoria and Long Island City (Astorias sister neighborhood, often called Astoria) along a 7 mile stretch of road. Running parallel to Northern Boulevard, four long blocks to the south, is Roosevelt Avenue. Roosevelt Ave. connects Flushing to Woodside, Queens, historically an Irish enclave southwest of LIC/Astoria. Along Roosevelt Avenue runs the 7 train. Dubbed the immigrant express, the 7 train starts at Times Square in Manhattan, passes through LIC, Woodside, Jackson Heights, Corona, eventually ending in Flushing, the site of a well-established Asian community. Thus, the train travels though contiguous ethnic enclaves. Picture a train densely populated with women and men from more than 50 countries, speaking as many languages, both the working-class and the 47

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poor, with middle-class professionals, citizens, residents, and undocumented immigrants. At Woodside, Irish constructions workers and Filipino nurses unload. First stop in Jackson Heights, Punjabi business owners and Colombian high school student enter and leave the train. At the next stop in Jackson Heights, Colombian, Ecuadorian, and Mexican salesmen, laborers, and office workers join the mix. Once in Corona, Latino passengers from all of Latin American, especially the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico, disembark to shop, work, eat, or wait. By the time the 7 train makes its final stop in Flushing, most of the passengers are Chinese and Korean. The majority of my observations about this exceptional neighborhood were the backdrop of interactions I observed and recorded during the continuous monitoring phase. I will now discuss this next phase of my ethnographic work in Queens. 4.2 Continuous Monitoring (CM) Observation Phase The eleven women and men who are the focus of this study were selected through short screening interviews from a pool of potential participants who responded to online and newspaper advertisements, flyers or word of mouth. The response to my recruitment efforts was moderate, possibly because of the highly obtrusive nature of the research. Members of two groups in particular were difficult to find: Puerto Ricans and Mexicans. This is ironic given that Puerto Ricans and Mexicans represent two of the largest Latino groups in the city. However, it is not difficult to pinpoint the difficulties with recruiting Mexican participants. The rate of undocumented immigration among Mexican immigrants in New York is quite high and many are suspicious of research or investigaciones (particularly those related to immigration). I did interview one potential participant, an undocumented Mexican restaurant worker, who was open to the research experience. In the end I could not work with him because his boss (understandably) objected to my presence in her restaurant. One of the reasons for the low 48

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response rate of Puerto Rican participants is that I limited the continuous monitoring phase to specific neighborhoods in Queens. While there are thousands of Puerto Ricans in Queens they are not concentrated in one area. Thus, I had no area to target with flyers and newspaper ads. I looked for people who represented a range of backgrounds and experiences and whose daily routines cut across at least three domains of social interaction (e.g. work, home, social gatherings). Some of the eleven have been in the US for most of their lives and have developed an awareness of their Latino identification as potentially politically and economically advantageous. They view their identification as a commodity to be highlighted when applying for work or developing new relationships. Then there are thoseparticularly the more recent migrantswho have no choice but to acknowledge that they are different and have less flexibility over their ethnic self-presentation. This is often the consequence of limited English language skills or undocumented immigrant status. 4.2.1 Recruiting and Selecting Participants for Continuous Monitoring Recruitment was carried out in four monthly cycles, starting in April and ending in July of 2005. Usually at the beginning of each month, I placed an ad in the employment and community activities sections of Craigslist (http://newyork.craigslist.org), along with flyers posted along busy streets in both Astoria and CJH. I also placed ads in the employment section of Spanish-language newspapers, El Especialito, a free bi-weekly newspaper, and El Diario, the New York metro areas largest Spanish language newspaper. Finally, I had contacts in community organizations, most effectively Catholic Charities in Astoria and Forest Hills Community House in Jackson Heights, who agreed to spread the word about my research. All ads indicated the compensation for participation, which was $200. The most effective recruitment tool was Craigslist. While I received responses from all the recruitment channels I used, in the end, 9 out of the 11 CM participants learned about the study 49

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through Craigslist. Of the two non-Craigslist participants, one called after being informed by an ESOL program supervisor, the other after seeing a flyer. Craigslist was self-selective for a certain type of participant. They tended to be women, in their early-20s to mid-30s, spoke English, had access to computers and the internet, and were born in the US or had lived here most of their lives. Initially I was concerned that Craigslist would also be self-selective for unemployed people, given that I posted mostly in the employment section. However, many of those who responded were looking to supplement their incomes (my ads offered monetary compensation) and had at least a part-time job. Contrary to my initial thinking, Spanish-language newspapers were highly ineffective as a recruitment tool during the CM phase. The handful of people who responded to these ads really were looking for steady work. Once I told them that I was not offering employment, most quickly hung up. Others had daily routines that, because of their unemployment, would not have offered me a range of interactions to observe. I imagine that the low response rate from these newspapers was due to two factors: 1) a general unfamiliarity with research, particularly research involving life-documentation among the mostly immigrant, Spanish-speaking readership; 2) mistrust of researchers among undocumented Latino immigrant readers. This is confirmed by the non-response from flyers I posted in the mostly Latino and Spanish-speaking Corona Plaza. I received 46 email responses to my ads. Although I did not keep record of the phone calls, I received about the same number of calls as emails. This initial screening gave me a first-hand view into the process of ethnic identification switching. Several non-Latino men tried to make a case to me for participating in the study. One said, No Im not Latino, but I have a lot of Latino friends and know a lot about the culture. Another earnestly responded, Im not, but I can if you want me to be. One Brazilian man, who I agreed to meet in person because of his compelling story, also insisted on identifying as Latino. Im familiar with the debate about 50

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whether Brazilians should be classified as Latino or not. However, I made it clear to him that I sought participants from the Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. His argument for classification as a Latino hinged on three factors: 1) fluency in Spanish; 2) passage to the US from Brazil through the Mexican border; and 3) reliance on a social support network of Latinos when he first arrived to the US Thus, he identified strongly with the Latino immigration experience. He especially stressed his life-threatening Mexican border cross that, in his view, was something of a Latino badge of courage. Of the approximately 100 responses that I received about the study, I met with 23 people in person and selected 11 out of those 23. Potential participants were narrowed down from the initial pool based on their sincere interest in participating, availability, neighborhood of residence, gender, age, nationality, and unique life circumstances. The research design required a sample of 6 people from Astoria and 6 from CJH, equal parts men and women. I also sought a mix of immigrants and US born participants. Early on, I filled my quota for women, US-born Latinos, the working-class, and people in their 20s. At about the mid-mark of the CM phase (June/July) it became increasingly difficult to find people who were middle-aged or older, men, foreign-born, professional, Puerto Rican, Mexican, or from Astoria. The 23 people who cleared the initial email and phone screening were scheduled for face-to-face screening interviews. The purpose of these short, informal meetings was to explain more in-depth the purpose of my study and to learn about the daily routines of each participant. I explained to all potential participants that participation involved me following them around for one week, while I recorded their conversations. I also told them that for a second week they would be required to record their conversations on their own. Finally, I explained that prior to observations I would interview them about their life and experiences with ethnicity. While all participants understood that the study was about everday experiences with ethnicity, to avoid 51

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further self-monitoring that might affect data, I did not tell them that the express focus of the research was on EI switching. EI switching was raised as a topic, among many topics, during my life-history interviews and informal conversations with them. As I mentioned above, I sought participants whose daily routines were varied and cut across multiple domains of interaction. Therefore, I asked each participant to take me through a typical week. Those who were not selected reported having few daily interactions or activities (usually because of unemployment) or had daily routines that would make it difficult to for me to be present. The 11 men and women who were selected worked, and/or attended school, maintained regular contact with family and friends, and had some unique life story highly relevant to the topic on ethnic identification switching (e.g. maintained a transnational lifestyle or had an ethnically diverse family history). Two participants in the final sample lived in neighborhoods other than Astoria or CJH. Because of the difficulty in finding willing Latino participants in Astoria, I had to substitute Astoria with neighborhoods having similar demographic characteristics. They had to be neighborhoods with Latino representation but great ethnic heterogeneity. Therefore, I accepted responses from potential participants who lived in Elmhurst (the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in the country) and Woodside, both in Queens. In general, my screening was successful in identifying participants with whom I experienced and documented a range of activities. However, one participant, Adalberto (see below), had an inconsistent work schedule as a hairdresser and few interactions outside of work. I had to end observations with him after two days. The final CM sample was as follows 10 : 10 Real names have been replaced with pseudonyms. Robertos real name (specifically its pronunciation in Spanish) becomes important in Chapter 6s linguistic data. Therefore, I chose Roberto because it left the linguistic analysis intact. 52

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Esperanza (Astoria): 26 year old Argentinean woman, biochemical engineering student. Alfredo (Corona): 41 year old Dominican man, maintenance worker at a major Manhattan university. Mildred (Woodside): 36 year old Dominican woman, marketing executive for a small start up company. Adalberto (Astoria): 28 year old Mexican-American man, hairdresser originally from Texas. Alma (Jackson Heights): 48 year old Colombian sales woman, trained in Colombia as an industrial engineer. Julia (Jackson Heights): 19-year old Colombian woman, fashion design student. Roberto (Astoria): 36 year old Venezuelan man, life guard and entrepreneur. Abel (Corona): 37 year old Ecuadorian satellite TV salesman. Luis (Elmhurst): 40 year old Ecuadorian woman, childrens tennis instructor and casino dealer. Anthony (Corona): 29 year old Puerto Rican and Cuban man, under-employed physical trainer and semi-pro wrestler. Lisa (Astoria): 28 year old Salvadorian-American woman, yoga instructor. 4.2.2 Continuous Monitoring Schedules and Pre-CM Data During the face-to-face screening interview with each of the final 11 participants I outlined in detail what would be involved in participation. Each participant agreed to work with me for two weeks. They understood that in the first week I would schedule 5-8 hour periods of daily intensive observations. I assured them that together we would develop an observation schedule that captured times when they were most likely to interact with others and that also did not impose too many inconveniences on them. These scheduled observations were to take place in every area of their life that they felt comfortable with me observing. These domains included work, school, at-home interactions, church, shopping, and in recreational social gatherings. Participants agreed to, and indeed, were curious about wearing a small digital recorder throughout the two weeks. In the first week, audio recordings were supplemented by detailed field notes taken throughout the monitoring. Using recorders I provided, each participant would independently collect additional verbal interactions in the second week of their participation. Each person was free to turn off the recorder whenever they wanted. 53

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Participants also agreed to provide additional pre-CM information. These pre-CM data helped me to properly classify and contextualize observed behavior. First I carried out life-history interviews, and then I interviewed them about their social networks. Life-history interviews (see Appendix A): These 3 to 5 hour interviews, conducted in both English and Spanish, identified life experiences that contributed to the formation of each participants ethnic identification. Starting with childhood and ending in the present (at the time of the interview), participants were asked questions ranging from early family relationships and traditions, experiences with racial and ethnic discrimination, workplace diversity, pastimes, political and community participation, romantic relationships, immigration stories, and language use. The interviews of eight out of the eleven CM participants were conducted in one sitting. Because of scheduling difficulties, I divided the other three respondents interviews into parts. The longest interview went on for 4 hours and 50 minutes; the shortest for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Most interviews took 2 to 3 hours to complete. One important purpose of these interviews was to create a tentative list of all the possible ethnic identifications participants could invoke during the CM observations. Additionally, the life history interview functioned as an ice-breaker; a bonding prelude to the potentially compromising observations that would come. With the printed interview questions in hand as a guide, I encouraged respondents to take the discussion where they wanted. In this way, they opened up intimate details about their life that made the intensive observations seem less intrusive. Naturally, some respondents opened up more than others. It was always the case that those who shared the most private details in their life history interviews also placed fewer boundaries to my observations. Personal social network interviews (see Appendix B): 54

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Using Egonet (McCarty 2003), I collected data on each participants network composition (e.g. percentage of network that is of a particular ethnic background) and network structure (e.g. the percentage of people in a participants network who know each other). Beside network data, Egonet allowed me to collect socio-demographic information from each participant. These included gender, age, income, education and occupation, as well information about the ethnic background of parents and spouse / partner. The purpose of these data was to first, lay out their social environment in a way that would help me recognize interlocutors during observations; understand aspects of their social network that would affect their ethnic identification; and provide visual data that I could refer back to when reviewing and coding CM notes. The computer-assisted egocentric network questionnaire took 1 hour to complete and was structured in four parts. The first part asked socio-demographic questions about each participant, or ego. The second part was the name generator that elicited the names of 45 people that the ego knew. A known person was defined as someone the ego recognized by face and by name and who in turn recognized the ego by face and name. I further asked that they only list people they had known for at least two years and who they could contact if they had to. In the third section, participants had to indicate the age, gender, nationality, race, relationship and closeness to each network member (alter) listed. Finally, participants had to rate the likelihood that alters would talk to each other in their absence. The software enables this task by displaying alter names in pairs, beginning with the first name on the 45 name list and going in the order that the names were listed. This first name is paired with the second name on the list, then the third name, etc. until each possible pair is presented once for evaluation. Participants had to evaluate a total of 780 ties, indicating whether alter A and alter B were very likely; somewhat likely; or not at all likely to talk in egos absence. For purposes of this research, a tie existed in cases were alters were very likely to talk. 55

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Egonet has a feature that will visualize the results of the network questionnaire. Alters are displayed as nodes. Socio-demographic or attribute data for each alter are displayed using color, size, or shape. Each alter attribute can be displayed one at a time or in combination, depending on the needs of the researcher. For example, during network visualization interviews in this research I first displayed the nationality of each alter using color (red = Puerto Rican, yellow = Dominican, green = Colombian, etc.). Then I displayed gender using shape (circle = woman, square = man). In this way I could view the gender and nationality of each alter simultaneously. Finally, using size, I displayed the level of closeness the ego felt to each alter. The larger the node the closer the ego felt to that alter. Egonet uses algorithms developed within the field of social network analysis to calculate the relative distance and positioning of nodes based on the presence or absence of ties. Ties are displayed using lines between nodes. The remarkable thing about this feature is that it displays the nodes and ties in such a way that it reflects visually the reported patterns of relationships in the participants immediate social environment. Thus, a tightly connected ball where all or most nodes are tied indicates a very dense social network. Displays with three or four clusters, or components, suggests that the ego maintains several sub-groups that have little or no contact with each other (e.g. a family group, work group, or school group). Each participants visual can provide insights challenging to discover with standard survey questions or even formal interviewing alone. When I used these visualizations to interview the eleven CM participants, I was able to gather clues about their isolation or gregariousness, friendship-making practices, daily routines, satisfaction with social life and relationships, and sense of belonging to different ethnic groups. 4.2.3 Observations Observations began on the day after each of the participants completed their life-history and social network interviews. From the beginning, participants responded to this process with 56

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fascination. It reminded Lisa of MTVs The Real World, a show in which young men and women are selected to live out their lives for 3 months under the merciless gaze of video cameras. Her Real World approach to the observations meant that I was best served to stay in the background and keep up or lose her in a crowded street or store (which I did on occasion). Anthony and Julia boasted to their friends and family that a researcher was doing a documentary of their lives, and introduced me accordingly. Alma, Abel and Adalberto were periodically reluctant and embarrassed to admit to others that they were research participants and would actually integrate me more into their daily routines as a friend to lessen the awkward distance between them and me. Regardless of the level of fascination or embarrassment felt by each participant, the continuous monitoring of these busy urban men and women alternated between the tediously rote and exhausting, to the deeply moving and exciting. True to life I suppose. Actually, the most uncomfortable aspect of the CM observations was the digital audio recorders that they had to wear. I selected small (4 x 1 ), high-end, lightweight recorders that fit into cell phone cases. These cases were clipped on to their pant waists or pockets. Remote control clip-on mics were attached to the recorders. Participants usually clipped the mics to their shirt pockets, collars or lapels. The remote control feature on the microphones was invaluable to the respondents. All became adept at pausing or stopping recordings on the fly; for example, during trips to the bathroom, when requiring privacy, or during silent moments of inactivity. However, a consequence of having these recorders on for hours at a time over a two week period was that it remained on, unnoticed and forgotten, even during bathroom trips, idle points and extremely frank conversations (e.g. with me as the subject matter). In keeping with IRB requirements, I asked that participants tell interlocutors about the recorder, before engaging in long conversations. Usually the mic was conspicuous enough that 57

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interlocutors noticed it and asked about it. At times, I had to chime in from the sidelines if a participant did not point out the recorder when they should have. Abel consistently neglected to inform interlocutors about the recorder. In his case I asked him to wear a name label on which I wrote: Research participant. I am wearing a recorder. My intention was to observe participants for seven straight days (5-8 hours each day) in the first week and let them free with the recorders in the second week. It did not pan out this way. This was especially because participants had at least one day in which it would be impractical for me to be present: days that involved lots of resting at home, off-limit work areas, or romantic dates. Instead, I asked that they let me observe for 6 days, at least 5 of them in sequence, with the option to reserve one day of observation for a later date. For example, Julia opted to reserve one of her days for me to attend the Puerto Rican Day with her. Roberto, who I observed in late April / early May, suggested that we trade one of his idle days for an important June street festival he was to due to work at. Mildred invited me to a friends wedding dinner several weeks before I was actually scheduled to begin her observations. This worked out fine, as it gave me more varied situations to observe. Most of the eleven CM participants were incredibly open and cooperative with the observations. Even while there were numerous impractical situations that I was not allowed access to; after less than one week of being with each participant I was included in a host of truly unique and intimate moments. This seems to be one of the key benefits of this particular approach of CM versus more prolonged rapport-building ethnographic techniques. The structured, short-term, and intensive nature of this method suspends many standard rules of trustand relationshipbuilding. And of course, each of the CM participants bought into it the moment they agreed to participate, so they were ready to shed some boundaries. Therefore, while Mildred did not ask me to accompany her on a first date with a man she met online, Anthony 58

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included me in his first face-to-face meeting with a woman he met online. Luis and Alfredo rarely scheduled me to observe on days when they did seemingly boring and routine tasks like laundry or food shopping. Esperanza, Julia and Lisa, however, allowed me to tag along when they ran these errands. I witnessed family conflicts, business negotiations, dating service phone interviews, undocumented immigrant labor recruitment, and other sensitive areas of interaction. While I usually observed unobtrusively, as is common in CM; there was plenty of opportunity to observe as a participant. It was often appropriate, and encouraged, for me to engage in the interactions I was to observe. Its time to put your notebook down, or Are you going to write down all of this? were common appeals. However, continuous monitoring tends to involve a certain level of detachment from the scene and the subjects under observation. I tried to keep a balance of both engagement and detachment. This was not necessarily a methodological choice made in the planning stages, but an adjustment to the actual observation circumstances I encountered. When I was fully engaged as a participant, it became difficult to keep the desired detailed, itemized notes about behavior. Yet, as a participant there was little obvious reactivity to my presence or monitoring. On the other hand, monitoring and note-taking from a distance affected participants differently depending on how many people were involved in an interaction. As expected, the more people in an interaction the more easily I was ignored and the more natural the interactions. If the participant was alone with me or talking with just one other person, three things sometimes happened: 1) participants sought interactions with others so that I would have something to observe. The participant would call a friend and talk casually, or ask to hang out that day; 2) participants and their sole interlocutors would talk less or limit the topics they talked about. This tended to happen because of the discomfort felt by non-focal persons; 3) participants and their interlocutors performed or exaggerated certain behaviors (i.e. showed off) (c.f. Labov (1972) 59

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and Observers Paradox). This happened with only a few people. Some narrated their behaviors or observations directly into the mic as in a documentary. Others made requests of friends or family that began with words like, Show her how you _________. A small notebook was ever present during the observations. When I first entered a scene, I noted who was there, taking care to describe age, gender, general appearance, languages spoken, and racial and ethnic identification. I also documented the setting, including time of observation, addresses, landmarks, physical condition of the area, and sounds. Given that participants carried recorders to capture their conversations, the purpose of the notes was to contextualize these recordings. I did not spend too much time writing about what people said, and focused the notes on what people did and how they did it. I also wrote down my own thoughts, feelings and interpretations about the scenes. Finally, I noted all instances in which participants invoked their ethnicity or switched languages or dialects. After the fact, I referred back to participants with questions about these occurrences. My questions centered on their intentions. Because I understood that reactivity is an important concern in CM, the second week was designed to capture naturally occurring conversations without my presence. Typically, I met participants in the mornings before they started their day to download the previous days recordings onto my laptop. When needed, I also replaced batteries. Since the recorder had a memory capacity of 8 hours and 56 minutes, it had sufficient space for a day of uninterrupted recording or two days of recording with stopping and pausing. Based on recording times, participants collected a total of 288 hours of recordings. This was about the same amount of time I spent observing them in the first week (290 hours). Therefore in those two weeks with each participant I collected a total of 578 hours of recording. 60

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4.3 Survey Phase The CM observation phase ended in mid-September of 2005. I immediately began preparations for the survey phase of the research. The purpose of the surveys was to collect the data needed to test a set of hypotheses developed in the initial stages of the project. To test these hypotheses I needed socio-demographic, social network, and vignette data on a large sample of New York Latinos. As in the CM phase, I intended to collect data from Queens Latinos only; specifically from Astoria and Corona/Jackson Heights. My original target was 100 participants from each site. I knew soon after I began recruitment for the CM observations that it would be too time consuming to limit my sampling frame to these two areas, particularly if I wanted a good representation of Puerto Ricans and Mexicans. Furthermore, because this phase of the research was carried out in collaboration with Christopher McCarty at the University of Florida Survey Research Center, a number of changes had to be made to the original sampling design. McCarty was conducting a multi-site study, with Jos Luis Molina at the University of Barcelona, to develop a social network measure of acculturation among immigrants in Northeast Spain and Miami 11 The research design of my own study called for the administration of social network surveys to a large sample of Latinos (both immigrant and non-immigrant). We found a way to meet the goals of both research projects. 4.3.1 Survey Protocol As with the social network survey that I administered to the CM sample of eleven, the survey for the acculturation study was to be administered using Egonet. In September, I received a survey protocol that was being used for the study in Spain. My first task was to modify this survey protocol for the New York City population. Mainly this involved changing response 11 This projected was funded by the National Science Foundation Award No. BCS-0417429. 61

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categories to reflect the ethnic groups in NYC; changing ethnic group specific questions to apply to the NYC groups I would administer the surveys to; changing skip conditions, and translating survey questions. Each group would be given a tailored version of the survey with the option to take the survey in either English or Spanish. A total of eight questionnaires were programmed: English and Spanish versions for Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Colombians, and Mexicans. I made these modifications directly into the Egonet questionnaire-builder interface. After some testing and tweaking, the survey was ready for the field by the second week in October. The computer-assisted questionnaire was organized in four parts: 1) ego questions; 2) name generator; 3) alter questions; and 4) alter-pair questions. This structure was identical to the one administered in the CM phase. The acculturation study required that participants take the ARSMA-II acculturation scale, a set of questions related to health, and another aimed at transnational practices. Besides the social network questions, my study required socio-demographic and ethnic identification items. A vignette survey (see below) was also included, though these surveys were administered on paper. Because of the added ego questions, the social network survey in the second phase would take an average of 2 hours to complete. This fact affected sampling considerably. 4.3.2 Sampling McCarty and Molinas study required social network surveys from 100 Puerto Ricans and 100 Dominicans. In order to meet the sampling needs of my research, we agreed to collect further surveys from members of other Latino groups. We decided on Colombians and Mexicans. After Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, these two groups have the largest populations in New York City. I also felt that between these four groups a range of immigration and ethnic histories would be represented. Quotas were set for 50 surveys from Colombians and 50 from Mexicans. As I will discuss later, this goal was not met. In addition to these sampling 62

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requirements, the acculturation study needed for at least 2/3 of the sample to be first generation immigrant. Hypotheses testing in my study on ethnic identification switching, required a final sample of 200 Latinos, 50 from each of the groups named above. To better our chances of finding as many people as possible, recruitment was targeted over a large area. Participation was open to Latinos in all five boroughs of NYC. With a time-consuming survey and limited resources, this was crucial. Again, I employed the ubiquitous Craigslist once a month as well as El Especialito and El Diario to reach the target population. Along with these, I posted flyers in Queens and benefited from word-of-mouth recruitment. Unlike in phase one, all of these outlets yielded good responses. Craigslist, of course, was most effective. However, because of the type of participant that Craigslist tended to yield (young, second-generation, Puerto Rican and Dominican), I relied on this method less and less as the months wore on. Job listing features in Craigslists enables recruiters to specify job categories for each listing. Choices include healthcare jobs, government jobs, entertainment jobs, maintenance jobs among several others. These categories were very useful for meeting sample quotas. For example, admin/office jobs and tech-support jobs reached younger Latinos with more schooling and English-proficiency. Retail/food jobs yielded responses from participants with lower educational attainment and was the most effective (for Craigslist) in finding first generation Latinos who spoke more Spanish. El Especialito and El Diario were good for finding first generation immigrants, mostly working class, who spoke little to no English. An interesting, indirect, finding of the survey phase was related to sample recruitment. Members of each of the Latino groups differed in how much they relied on word-of-mouth to find me. Craigslist was very good for finding second-generation Puerto Ricans. And rarely did a potential Puerto Rican participant call me because a friend or relative passed on the 63

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information. Craigslist was also very good for finding second-generation Dominicans, but Dominicans, much more than Puerto Ricans, tended to encourage friends and family to call me. Most tellingly, half (19) of the final sample of 37 Colombians came to me through word-of-mouth. My take is that Colombians and Dominicans, being more recent migrants, continue to rely more heavily on networks of information; for finding work, money, housing, and other resources. Colombian and Dominican communities also tend to be more tightly knight. The Puerto Rican enclaves of the past; in East Harlem, the Lower East Side, and parts of the Bronx, are not the same today. These communities are diminishing and Puerto Ricans dispersing throughout the city and other parts of the northeast and southeast. The Dominican communities, in Washington Heights and Corona, and the Colombian community in Jackson Heights continue to have many of the characteristics of bounded ethnic enclaves. Finally, both word-of-mouth and advertising were ineffective in recruiting Mexicans. Two factors may explain this: 1) poor access to computers and the internet in this population; 2) mistrust of research related to immigration due to high rates of undocumented immigration among New York City Mexicans. A total of 252 participants took the survey: 100 Dominicans, 100 Puerto Ricans, 37 Colombians, and 15 Mexicans. 4.3.3 Administering the Surveys Equipped with four lap tops, a schedule book and a rolling suitcase, I traveled throughout the city administering the surveys. When I received a call or email about the study I asked the potential participant where he/she lived. My initial strategy was to make it as easy as possible for the respondent so that they would, first, agree to take the survey and second, actually show up. I needed further selling points because participants were turned off by how long the survey took to complete and the compensation ($25) relative to time. I figured that the closer to their home I could have them take the survey, the less likely they would deny me. For my own 64

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security, I very rarely administered surveys in peoples homes. Instead, I became intimately acquainted with the New York City and Brooklyn Public Library system. Hostos Community College in the Bronx and Catholic Charities in Queens also allowed me to set up my computers on site. Occasionally, I administered surveys at Starbucks because they had electrical outlets for computers. Trying to accommodate each participants location preference was a bad idea. First of all, the more obscure the neighborhood one person requested the less likely I could find other participants who could also go to that location. It was not uncommon for a person to make an appointment way up in North Bronx, 45 minutes from midtown Manhattan and one hour from my home, and not keep the appointment. Without other participants at that same location as back up, the trip back home was a sorry ride. Secondly, traveling to so many different parts of the city with four computers, while instructive, physically drained me within three months. I decided to rely on four or five major libraries in central locations; one in the Bronx, three in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn. Eventually, I administered most surveys at two main libraries in midtown Manhattan. When people called to schedule an appointment I gave them these libraries as choices. People really did not have a problem traveling to take the survey. Actually, they expected to go to the survey, rather than have the survey go to them. Another benefit of limiting the survey schedule to a few libraries was that I could schedule many more appointments in one day (since there was less time wasted traveling). That way, even with the normal no-shows, I would usually have at least one person to interview. Using this method I could interview up to 20 people in one day. On average I interviewed seven people a day. While this helped me not fall behind with meeting project deadlines, there were clear disadvantages to scheduling too many people in one day. Besides causing me to become fatigued, one very important disadvantage was that I could not closely monitor participants as 65

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they took the survey. Also, participants varied in their proficiency on the computer, with recent migrants tending to have difficulties taking the survey. This meant that I had to enter their responses for them. If more than one person needed this kind of help, a 2 hour survey could take four hours to complete. At the same time, the data quality was affected. Fortunately, part of the survey involved interviewing the participants about their results using network visuals. Most mistakes were caught at this stage and corrected. 4.3.4 Visualization Interviews I will not spend too much time discussing the visualization interviews in phase two, as the process was very similar to that in phase one. McCarty provided an interview protocol to use with the visualizations. This same protocol was being used in Spain and Miami (see Appendices C and D) and focused on the relationship between different social network factors, acculturation and adjustment to life in the United States. Interviews, which were digitally recorded, ranged from 5 minutes to one hour; but on average lasted 25 minutes. Not everyone was able to do these visualization interviews. Several people, for example, whose survey took longer than 2 hours felt strongly that they could not give any more time to the study. Others just simply ran out of time and had pressing commitments after the survey. In the end, two hundred and seven people were interviewed using the network visualizations. 4.3.5 Vignette Surveys A vignette survey (Rossi & Noch, 1982), also known as a factorial survey, was designed for this study on ethnic identification switching. This component of the survey phase comprised of nine vignettes of hypothetical situations. For each scenario participants had to indicate how they would identify themselves ethnically. An extra question was included in the survey for participants to list and rank all the ethnic labels they use or have used. I also included a vignette which was not based on the factorial design and was the same in each survey administered. This 66

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survey allowed me to identify which factors are significant to the invocation of a particular ethnic identification. Moreover, the survey is a way to operationalize ethnic identification switching for hypotheses testing purposes. Thus, ethnic identification switching exists if participants report using more than one identification across the different scenarios. Using my observations from the ethnographic phase of the research I made a list of factors and corresponding levels that influenced ethnic identification. The factors were: 1) social setting; 2) resource at stake; 3) ethnicity of interlocutor; 4) age of interlocutor; and 4) and language spoken by interlocutor. Each of these factors had several levels and these levels were used to create the vignettes. As an example, the levels of social setting presented for evaluation were: job interview, census questionnaire, unfamiliar neighborhood, party, ethnic festival / celebration, community protest, airport, and sales encounter. For ethnicity of interlocutor, the levels used were: Puerto Rican, Dominican, Colombian, Mexican, neutral Latino, white American, African American, Indian, and Chinese. There were seven levels of resource at stake, three levels of interlocutor age, and five levels of language spoken. Vignettes, in factorial survey design, are comprised of the randomly combined levels from each of the factors of interest. Using MS Access, I created tables containing the levels of each factor. I wrote a query that randomly pulled one level at a time from each table and put these combinations in a separate table. In the next step I copied and pasted each of these combinations onto a word document and arranged them into readable vignettes. To reduce question-order effects, I used a random number generator to determine the order of each of the vignettes (each vignette was given an ID number from 1 through 9). Spanish translations of the factors and levels were put through this same process. Immediately after finishing the social network survey, I handed participants the vignette surveys to complete by hand. Their first task was to list all the ethnic labels they used to identify 67

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themselves to others. I asked that they also include labels they use very seldom. Next, participants had to rank these, starting with the ethnic label they used most often. For purposes of completing the vignettes, the ethnic label they reported using most often was their primary ethnic identification. At this point they were ready to begin the vignettes. Heres a sample vignette from one of the surveys: h. You applied for an important full-time job. The job is difficult to get. You interview with an older Dominican man who speaks to you in Spanish. What ethnicity would you want the interviewer to know you are? I would want the person to known my primary ethnic identification. I would want the person to know the following ethnic identification. In addition to questions about their ethnic identification, the survey included a question about language choice in each scenario. After the respondents completed the vignette survey, I interviewed them about their responses. Because the vignettes were randomly generated, some of the scenarios presented were nonsensical, irrelevant to the participant or highly unlikely to happen. Concerned that such scenarios would cause the participant to not take the survey seriously, thus diminishing data quality, I decided to clean the surveys of any problematic vignettes. When I identified a problem vignette I replaced it with another having the same ID number. Therefore, while measures were taken to reduce bias, ensure that participants evaluated as many combinations as possible and improve replicability; my own judgments about what was realistic and possible certainly influenced which scenarios participants were presented. When I began the survey phase in October, the vignette survey was not ready to launch. It took me a couple of months to design and assemble the vignettes. I worked on these as I began collecting surveys for the acculturation study. Therefore, not everyone who took the social network survey also read the vignettes. In fact, the vignettes were administered to just over half, 68

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or 128, of the final phase-two sample. After 1 year of field work, I administered my last survey in May of 2006. 4.4 Conclusion Throughout this chapter I discussed a number of limitations of the research. Both in the ethnographic and survey phase, sampling was a challenge. Finding Puerto Rican (especially first generation), Mexican, and first generation immigrant participants in general was problematic. In the ethnographic phase there is also an over-representation of young voices. Although I sought participants older than 50 years old, the recruitment methods I used did not reach out to enough older Latinos. Fortunately, in the survey phase I was able to interview more men and women above the age of 50, including two septuagenarians. Their experiences will be incorporated into this dissertation. In the survey phase, data quality would have been improved had the survey not been so long (respondent fatigue was an issue) and had I limited the number of surveys administered at a time to two, instead of four. Nevertheless, the interviews collected using the network visualizations were very rich, and most mistakes were fixable. These limitations notwithstanding, the key strength of the research design was the significant variety (and quantity) of data that were collected. Interviews, social network surveys, vignette surveys, naturally occurring conversations, observation data, and linguistic data: enough for several dissertations. This dissertation will focus on the results of the ethnographic phase (field notes, interviews, and recordings) and the visualization interviews of the survey phase. 69

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CHAPTER 5 LATINO ETHNICITY IN NEW YORK 5.0 Introduction: Latino Bonds & Divides On April 10, 2006, my son Al and I traveled to City Hall in Manhattan, one of the sites of a nation-wide immigration rally. By the time we arrived, thousands had already converged and we met the rally several blocks from City Hall. Coming from Queens, we shared the train with many others, (mostly Mexicans, by their flags) who decided to mobilize on that day: parents with young children, teenagers, housewives and men just off from work, all wearing expectant looks. It was striking to me how hundreds of previously silent voices found a boldness that day. For months I had found it difficult to recruit Mexicans to participate in my study. As a community health volunteer working mostly with immigrant women, I learned of the hidden distress of women with little access to the world outside of their rooms or their backbreaking, under-the-table jobs. These women had entered the US illegally and feared a forced return to their countries. That April day, however, they were unafraid and unashamed of their status or identification. They announced themselves to the rest of New York proudly. The next thing that struck me as we joined the mass of demonstrators in lower Manhattan was the diversity. I dont just mean the diversity of countries represented; New Yorks must have been the most eclectic demonstration. As I took in the sounds and images around me, at least two worlds became apparent. Thousands were like the women and men who traveled with me from Queens: immigrants, many undocumented, speaking only Spanish, who ventured out of safe enclaves like Corona carrying their countries flags, shouting S se puede! Then there were those more likeme. Young, Americanized, English-speaking men and women of color. We did not carry flags and did not wear t-shirts declaring our origins. Many, like me, carried cameras, or organized banners and displays decrying the American government, or world trade, or capitalism. These were men and women who already lived in a safe world. 70

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Al and I quickly wove our way through the slow moving current of demonstrators. We followed the sound of tribal drums and found a crowd had circled around drummers. The rhythms came from a Korean drumming group and the circle that had formed around them waved flags from Mexico, Haiti, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and the US Accompanying the drums was a futbol jersey-wearing Latino trumpeter who played the Star Spangled Banner and familiar salsa tunes. Spectators shouted, Viva la hispanidad, viven los hispanos! It was a moment in which real boundaries among distinct groups, with distinct histories were ignored. The scene, while impromptu, purposefully presented a strong sense of solidarity across all immigrant groups, particularly across all Latino groups. Reflecting on this show of unity, I looked around for my birth countrys flag: the Puerto Rican flag. I could not spot any. Having left the island for the US at the age of nine, I have always considered myself an immigrant. So, while conscious that Puerto Ricans special status excludes them from much of the immigration debate, I expected to see more empathetic gestures of support from the Puerto Rican community. I discovered unexpected evidence of Puerto Ricans detachment from the immigration plight of many other Latinos when I recruited participants for my research. Some of my ads read that I sought immigrants from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Colombia. To my bemusement, I received several vitriolic emails from Puerto Ricans who took great offense to the use of the word immigrants and Puerto Ricans together. They cited Puerto Rican sacrifices in American wars, citizenship, and their long history in the US. One person even sent me a picture of immigration rights demonstrators crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and wrote, Heres your target market. Maybe theyll want to give you an interview. I suspected that the people who sent me these defensive emails were born and raised in the US. Surely, someone who had actually experienced the emotional, economic, and social 71

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upheaval of immigration would relate with the demonstrators. But the immigration protests of spring 2006 revealed that this was not sound logic. On April 11, a day after the rally, I interviewed one Dominican man named Jon. Jon arrived to the US with a tourist visa in the 1960s. He eventually overstayed the visa and lived illegally in the US for years before petitioning for a green card through his wife. I asked Jon for his opinions of the immigration rallies. His assured response was that no special rights should be afforded to undocumented immigrants, especially amnesty. Lo mejicanos vienen aqui para abusar del sistema (The Mexicans come here to abuse the system), he said. When I asked him to justify this given his own immigration experience, he explained that his case was different: his intention from the beginning was to work hard and get his papers as quickly as possible. These anecdotes serve to paint a picture of a contradictory Latino pan-ethnicity. One the one hand, Latinos are bonded by a common language, similar geo-political histories, intertwined political destinies, and shared neighborhoods where their lives overlap on a daily basis (Ricourt & Danta 2003, Surez-Orozco & Pez 2002). Yet the similarities between Latino groups arguably end there. Latinos run the gamut: from the Mexican who can trace ancestors here back a century or more, to the Ecuadorian who just arrived; from the educated Cuban businessman, to the Puerto Rican high school drop out and factory worker; from the black Dominican to the white Colombian. A number of scholars have reflected on these contrasts (see for example Surez-Orozco & Pez 2002, Portes & Truelove 1987, Padilla 1984, Stepick and Stepick 2002, Torres-Saillant 2002). Equally as important are the generational and background differences that exist even between people of the same group. Ask any recent Puerto Rican migrant what they have in common with Nuyoricans and the response will be a resounding, nothing. Scholars argue that the differences are too significant for Latinos to be grouped together for analysis or policy treatment (Portes & Truelove 1987). 72

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There is a case to be made for both these arguments. Antecedents to migration are strikingly similar across certain groups. For example, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Dominican migrations were triggered by a shift from diversified, subsistence economies to capitalist agriculture and industrialization. More often though, one groups socio-historical circumstances contrasts with another. For instance, the forms of reception for each migrant group have been quite different. As Portes and Brcz (1989) show, immigrants to the US experience divergent modes of incorporation. This term is useful for understanding how Latino groups in New York show dissimilar patterns of ethnic identification formation. In this chapter I will outline briefly the immigration histories of each of the five major Latino groups in New York City. These were also the groups I most often came in contact with during fieldwork: Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Mexicans, Ecuadorians, and Colombians. I will also discuss how these contrasting histories of migration and incorporation to the US help explain differences in ethnic identification. Finally, I will comment on the development of pan-ethnic Latino identification in New York. 5.1 Latino Immigration to New York In 2000, there were 2.1 million Latinos in the city (2.8 million in New York State). Census population estimates for all of New York State indicate that Latinos numbered just over 3 million statewide in 2005 (Census 2006). Keeping NYC / NY State proportions the same; this would suggest that the NYC population of Latinos was approximately 2.3 million in 2006. This is almost 1 / 3 of the total NYC population. According to the 2000 Census, Puerto Ricans, the largest Latino group, totaled 789,172. Dominicans, the fastest growing ethnic group in the city, totaled 406,806. In the past 10 years, the Mexican population has also grown at rates much faster than Puerto Ricans. Seven years ago there were 186,872 Mexicans. More recent estimates put the number near 244,000 (US Census 2005). Census estimates of undocumented immigrants 73

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in New York suggest that the total Mexican population is much higher (US Census 2003). Ecuadorians are the fourth largest Latino group with 101,005. This number rose 1% since 1990. In contrast, the number of Colombians decreased to 77,154 in 2000. 5.1.1 Puerto Ricans Of the five, Puerto Ricans have been in New York the longest. Historically, when a Puerto Rican said they were moving to the US they really just meant New York. As a child, my only image of the US was a tiny neighboring island, much like my own Puerto Rico, named Nueva York. US and New York were one and the same. And the relationship between P.R. and N.Y. was an intimate one. When things got tough in Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans left for New York and vice versa. Some argue that the island and Puerto Rican communities in New York have both paid a heavy price for this inconsistency (Suro 1999). But despite the bleak statistics of the New York Puerto Rican community (e.g. high poverty rates, high dropout rates, high AIDS rates, high incarceration rates), Nuyoricans have greatly influenced native conceptions of what a Latino is. Much like Mexicans have defined Latinoness in the southwest. As both citizens and foreigners, the experience of Puerto Ricans in the US is unique. Such is the case with much of Puerto Ricos history with the United States. Puerto Rico is beset with ambiguity: a colony, but not quite a colony; a model for third world development, but essentially dependent; an island with a vibrant national culture, yet widely Americanized. When the US took over the island from Spain in 1898 small Puerto Rican migrant communities already existed in the States. Puerto Rican independentistas living in these communities were hopeful that the US would help free Puerto Rico from Spanish rule. As it turned out, under American control Puerto Rico had less economic and political sovereignty than under Spains Charter of Autonomy granted in 1897. Thus began an exploitative relationship that, even after Puerto 74

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Ricans were granted US citizenship in 1917 and commonwealth status in 1952, has remained largely unaltered. By 1910 there were approximately 2,000 Puerto Ricans in the United States (Rodrguez, et. al. 1980). Puerto Ricans came as students, revolutionaries, field hands and factory workers. In response to demand for workers during World War I, Puerto Ricans arrived in larger numbers. They settled in the area of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Harlem. By 1920 there were 7,364 Puerto Ricans living in New York City (Fitzpatrick 1971). On the island, the economy was in disarray, with unemployment and poverty rates rising precipitously. These conditions were a direct result of US led economic development that changed the island from a diversified subsistence economy, to one solely dependent on sugar production. In the 1920s the decline of the sugarcane industry hit Puerto Rico hard. A substantial proportion of those who immigrated to the US were from Puerto Ricos peasant class. As was commonly the case, these agrarian workers had first moved to Puerto Ricos urban areas seeking work. With the consolidation of land for large-scale sugar production and a shift from labor to capital intensive practices, the island had a large labor surplus. While migration slowed during World War II, after 1945 Puerto Ricans began leaving the island in large numbers. Unrestricted migration to the mainland was crucial to the success of Operation Bootstrap (1848 1965), a program to industrialize the island. Cheap San Juan New York airplane flights and Puerto Ricans status as citizens encouraged intense labor recruitment of the islands young, blue-collar workers. During the migration phases peak year (dubbed the largest airborne migration in history), 470,000 Puerto Ricans arrived in the US. This is more than the immigration totals of any country including Mexico (Portes and Grosfoguel 1994). Puerto Ricans settled in Chicago, Florida, and throughout the eastern seaboard, but especially 75

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New York. Since then, Puerto Ricans became Americas third largest ethnic minority, after African Americans and Mexican Americans. The low barrier to US entry unique about Puerto Rican migration has promoted two trends. First, large numbers of Puerto Ricos lower classes migrated (Portes and Grosfoguel 1994). Second, it has allowed for va y ven (back-and-forth) migratory movement. Gonzalez (2000) suggests that the easy migration between the mainland and the island has encouraged the flight of the US Puerto Rican communitys middle class. As Gonzalez explains, those who were able to save money and learn English returned to the island and started businesses. There they joined the islands middle class as employers, leaving Puerto Rican barrios in the US without a developing middle class. Gonzalez writes, The result of back and forth migration has been a Puerto Rican middle class here that is less stable and less connected to institution building among the masses of poor people than in, say the Mexican and Cuban immigrant communities (2000:258). In 1960, 60 percent of Puerto Rican workers in New York were in factory jobs. Between 1970 and 1980, New York City lost over 270,000 such jobs and city employment fell by 8.6 percent (Waldinger 1986). For the first time the Puerto Ricans status as citizens and a tendency to unionize worked to their disadvantage. Faced with a declining industry, manufacturers preferred the more pliable and less expensive new immigrant labor (e.g. Dominicans). Thousands of unemployed Puerto Ricans returned to the island. By 1972, 14 percent of Puerto Ricos population consisted of return migrants (Lopez 1974). On the mainland, conditions in the already impoverished New York Puerto Rican communities worsened. As with the African American community, their plight was intensified by pervasive discrimination. Puerto Ricans tended to settle near historically black communities in New York and occupied similar job niches. By the 1980s, Puerto Ricans had the lowest labor force participation rates, highest un76

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employment levels, the highest incidence of poverty, and the lowest levels of education of the three major US Latino groups (Tienda 1984). These conditions limited the options available to newcomers (Portes and Grosfoguel 1994). This deterioration has encouraged both the new and the settled to seek better conditions outside of New York City. In 1990, there were nearly 900,000 Puerto Ricans in the city. This number decreased by 6% in 2000; the most significant decrease of any New York Latino group. Frequent visits back home allowed thousands of Puerto Ricans to stay connected to social networks, information, and cultural practices and traditions on the island. For the second generation, these connections, however tenuous, serve to authenticate claims to ethnic group belongingness when other bonds (e.g. language or first hand experience with the native country) are absent. Inevitably, circular migrants and their children also develop social networks and new cultural practices and lifestyles tied to their local communities in New York. Each context requires distinct modes of identification and distinct practices; what many scholars have called a bi-cultural identity. Puerto Rican bi-cultural identity has been widely explored both by Puerto Rican American literary authors (see for example Santiago 1994) and researchers (Duany 2002, Acosta-Belen 2000, Romberg 1996). The commonly-used term, Nuyorican, captures the dual points of reference for New York Puerto Ricans. But in spite of, or perhaps because of, this bi-cultural identity the Nuyorican has become something of a pariah in mainstream New York society and among more recent Latino migrants. I spoke to one young Puerto Rican man who contrasted his circumstances with that of Nuyoricans (he was a professional who had come to the US to study and work). He saw the Nuyorican situation as sad because they are rejected by both Americans and Puerto Ricans on the island. The biggest problem, he said, was that Nuyoricans did not speak Spanish. Thus they could not adequately comprehend and reproduce Puerto Rican 77

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cultural practices and traditions. We can add that without the ability to speak fluent Spanish, many have lost an advantage in the labor market to Spanish bilinguals. Bi-cultural identity is not unique to Puerto Ricans. Any migrant that divides her time, investment, sentiments, between the country of origin and the US will require a broad repertoire of context specific (ethnic) behaviors. Furthermore, my interviews suggest that those who identify as Nuyorican actually have little contact with Puerto Rico. The self-concepts that New York Puerto Ricans have developed are very much New York-based. Consider the following excerpt from a self-identified Puerto Rican named Abygail. Abygail was born and raised in New York. Her mother was a second-generation Puerto Rican immigrant and her father migrated from Puerto Rico at the age of 12. Abygail, who is married to a second-generation St. Croixian man, is the mother of bi-racial children. It gives you an understanding that only a Puerto Rican could have. If you are not born and raised a Puerto Rican you just dont know! You just dont know. Like for instance I know where the best restaurant in New York is. The best cuchifritos in all of New York is on 103 rd between Lexington and 3 rd and when you get off the train you walk up the(laughing). And thats something only a Puerto Rican could know. You understand what Im saying? There are things that you only know cause thats your culture. I make a very good pot of beans, yo!...There are some things that you could only knowbeing who you are. Abygail also mentioned that while she is often assumed to be a light-skinned African American, anyone would know what she really was by the Puerto Rican flags and art work that adorn her apartment. Thus, the Nuyorican depends heavily on the use of symbols and tokens to defend claims to Puerto Rican identification. These are meaningful and necessary within the context of New York City but not sufficiently authentic on the island. What requires little defense is the Puerto Ricans place within New York. Through sheer numbers and a long history in the city, Puerto Ricans have come to dominate native perceptions of Latino ethnicity in the 78

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northeast. One consequence of this is that Latinos from other groups, or especially Latinos with only one Puerto Rican parent, will invoke or emphasize Puerto Rican identity to defend their own claims to Latino identity, to street-smarts, to New York grittiness. If the New York City Puerto Rican population continues to decrease, it will be interesting to see what group takes their place, and how NY Puerto Ricans themselves will identify. 5.1.2 Dominicans In the 1960s, the annual average of Dominican emigrants to the United States was over 9,000. By the 1970s the average climbed to over 14,000 and then to 20,000 in the first half of the 1980s (INS 1961-1980, 1984,1986). In 1991 and 1992, the number of Dominicans who entered the US reached over 40,000 each year (Torres-Saillant and Hernandez 1998). Overwhelmingly, these migrants chose New York City as their destination. Between 1980 and 1990 Dominicans were the fastest growing ethnic group in New York, increasing from 125,380 to 332,713 (ibid.). While other groups (i.e. Puerto Ricans and Cubans) decrease in numbers, the number of Dominicans in New York rises. In the 1960s, Dominican migrants tended to settle near established Latino communities in New York. Today, the largest Dominican communities can be found in Manhattans Upper West Side, Lower East Side and Jackson Heights-Corona in Queens. According to Grasmuck and Pessar (1991), skilled and semi-skilled workers wages and security were indirectly threatened by the large reserve of labor in the Dominican Republic. This middle class group could also afford the expensive trip to the United States. Thus, most migrants after 1966 were from the urban middle-class. In 1991 a government doctor in the Dominican Republic earned about $160 a month (ibid.). The same doctor could improve his income substantially by working as an operative in New Yorks garment industry. Because of this, 79

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Dominicans in New York are overrepresented in low-paying blue-collar manufacturing jobs and underrepresented in the professional and managerial categories (only 9.6 percent in 1990). A large number of Dominicans who work in the manufacturing industry are undocumented. Contradicting illegal alien stereotypes, undocumented Dominicans were far more likely to have held professional or managerial jobs in the Dominican Republic. In contrast, documented Dominican migrants tended to cluster in unskilled occupations. This is explained by the ample number of Dominicans who overstay tourist visas selectively issued to those most likely to return: people with skills and resources (Hendricks 1974; Grasmuck and Pessar 1991). As with other immigrants, the barriers to professional re-licensing have constrained Dominicans livelihood choices. The economic picture for Dominicans is not complete without considering the exceptional levels of entrepreneurship in response to such constraints. Dominicans dominate in the ownership of bodegas, medium-sized supermarket chains, retail stores, gypsy cabs, and garment contracting. According to the Dominican Federation of Merchants and Industrialists, Dominicans own 70 percent of all bodegas in New York City (Portes and Grosfoguel 1994). We can trace part of this phenomenon to the unique conditions that existed in 1960s New York when Dominicans arrived in large numbers. They moved to the city at a time when whites were leaving. Neighborhoods in the Upper West Side and parts of the Bronx saw large numbers of apartments vacated and decreased rent prices. The poor immigrant communities that emerged in the wake of white flight boomed but were underserved. For example, unlicensed car services (gypsy cabs) thrived to compensate for the lack of yellow cabs that ventured into the worst parts of upper Manhattan. As these businesses prospered, capital was reinvested in other businesses in upper Manhattan; including restaurants, retail stores, and bodegas (Suro 1999). 80

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Then and now these micro-enterprises relied heavily on the cooperative efforts of kin and friendship networks. These tightly knit networks are the base from which employees are hired, resources are pooled, and new entrepreneurs emerge. Therefore, Dominican enclaves like Washington Heights are considerably disconnected and insulated from the rest of New York. What is also unique to Dominicans, at least before Mexicans settled in New York in large numbers, is the deeply transnational character of these kin and business networks. Not only do Dominicans invest in New York businesses, but a considerable amount of profit is invested in businesses in the Dominican Republic. Millions of dollars are also sent home to build second homes for Dominican immigrants. The US Embassy in Santo Domingo estimated Dominican remittances at $1.4 billion dollars (Boly, 1996). In the 1970s, their immigrant status gave them an advantage in New Yorks declining manufacturing sector. However, in the 1980s and 1990s the city continued to lose manufacturing jobs. Overrepresented in this sector, the Dominican community suffered a serious blow. Despite the considerable number of skilled and semi-skilled Dominican migrants that entered the US after the revolution, by the 1990s it was clear that Dominicans were among the most impoverished New Yorkers. In contrast to earlier trends, Dominicans have low levels of educational attainment compared to other groups (Grasmuck and Pessar 1991; Torres-Saillant & Hernandez 1998; Hernandez and Rivera-Batiz 1997). Analyzing data from the US Department of Commerce, a 1997 study found that the income of the Dominican population was the lowest of all the major racial and ethnic groups in New York City; that the community's unemployment rate was at 19 percent; and that at 45 percent, the percentage of Dominicans living below the poverty line is more than double the city's overall average (Hernandez and Rivera-Batiz 1997). Part of this picture is the lack of English proficiency among many Dominican migrants. A consequence of living in the cloistral Dominican communities of Manhattans upper west side 81

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and the Bronx is that a person can live for decades without having to learn much English. I have family that arrived from D.R. to Washington Heights in the 1960s who still have very poor English language skills. Those who do work in jobs outside of these enclaves are in industries (e.g. garment) with Spanish-speaking co-workers and even Spanish-speaking bosses (whether they are Latino or not). Thus, the most stubborn obstacle to economic stability cited by the Dominicans I interviewed was language. A silver-lining to this difficult reality is that second generation Dominican migrants, in becoming their familys interpreters, learn to speak both languages well; much more so than Puerto Ricans. Add to this the common practice of sending children for extended summer visits to the Dominican Republic, and young Dominican men and women grow up with strong ties to the D.R. Another obstacle faced by Dominicans is skin color. As the darkest of the New York Latinos, Dominicans are discriminated against even by members of other Latino groups. In the 1 years that I observed and interviewed Latinos in New York, I got the impression that other Latinos, particularly white Colombians, were the most harsh in their assessments of Dominicans. Zentella (1990) reports that Dominicans low standing in the hierarchy of New York Latinos also has consequences for how the Dominican dialect is perceived and used. A twist to the racial experience of Dominicans in New York is the seemingly contradictory racial preferences of Dominicans themselves. Dominicans enter the US with notions of blackness that differ markedly from American racial conceptions. Whereas in the Dominican Republic dark-skinned Dominicans choose among a range of racial categories (reserving pure black for Haitians), in the US a person with any trace of African ancestry is labeled black. Thus, some Dominicans have reported that they did not perceive themselves in terms of a black racial identity until they arrived in the US (Torres-Saillant 1998, Duany 1998). 82

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Because the racial system on the island is also more complex than that in the US, Puerto Ricans share a similar story. In the early years of their immigration history Puerto Ricans also tended to settle near historically-African American communities in New York City. Because of this, (and not unlike what happened to early Irish immigrants), Puerto Ricans were categorized with African Americans, and subject to discrimination. Both Dominicans and Puerto Ricans in New York, particularly young men who face limited economic and social upward mobility, have embraced black American culture and identity. For example, Puerto Ricans have adopted features of African American Vernacular in their speech (Wolfram 1973, Zentalla 1997). One of my favorite examples how this association between Puerto Rican and black can work to a persons advantage, actually comes from Roberto, a Venezuelan participant of this research. Roberto is white and blue-eyed. Except for when he speaks in Spanish, he is indistinguishable from other white Americans. One day Roberto traveled to a black neighborhood to buy drugs. Apparently this neighborhood was known to be dangerous and frequented by undercover police officers. Here Roberto describes how he appropriated Puerto Rican (Boricua) identity to avoid trouble with blacks: You know one thing when you are in a black neighborhood, right? You dont want these motherfucking molletos 12 to think youre white-white! Fuck that! Me hago boricuainstantly! Like I remember, the last time I got high I was on my way to cop [buy] and I knew these niggas was not even gonna look at me. You know what I did? I turned the phone to vibrate so it wont ring and I had the thing y me pongo hablar (and I start to talk), Mira que si este, que si lo otro, cla, cla, cla (Look, this and that, blah, blah, blah). Hablando una conversacon con el aire (Having a conversation with the air)! Pero en espaol (But in Spanish). En boricua (In Puerto Rican). Y los tipos ah (And the dudes there): Bueno (Well), youre not white! 12 a derogatory word for a dark-skinned person 83

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As this example illustrates some Latino immigrants have used American racial categories and associations to their advantage, thus affecting patterns of EI invocation. Immigrants who can pass as white (or would otherwise be classified as white) find that emphasizing a white racial identity allows them greater social and economic mobility (e.g. Cubans and Colombians). In contrast, because the American racial binary stigmatizes blacks, dark-skinned Latinos are at a disadvantage. Therefore, dark-skinned Dominicans and Puerto Ricans may choose to lessen the impact of black skin by emphasizing their Latino background (Patterson 1975). I argue that upwardly mobile Latinos from all groups will develop and invoke an EI that distinguishes them from black Americans. 5.1.3 Mexicans In October 1986, the US Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). In the years leading up to the legislation, the US economy was in a decline and cold-war hysteria prevailed. Widespread calls to curb Mexican immigration conflicted with the needs of large-scale American farms. To satisfy the agricultural sector, 3 million formerly undocumented long-term immigrants and undocumented farm workers were given amnesty (Massey, et. al. 2002). To satisfy Congress demands and calm public fears IRCA also increased the INS enforcement budget, imposed sanctions against employers who knowingly hired undocumented workers, and increased the budget for work-site inspections (Bean et. al. 1989; Goodies 1986). However, the legislation had the opposite effect intended. It encouraged long-term settlement in the US, the dispersal of Mexican migration over other parts of the country, and an increase in the prevalence of dependents on workers (Massey et. al. 2002). The legislation also failed to reduce undocumented migration. The increasingly restrictive legislations of the 1980s (including Proposition 187) attracted thousands of Mexican migrants away from the West. More immigrant-friendly New York saw a 84

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dramatic increase in its Mexican-origin population (Alonso-Zaldivar 1999; Dallas 2001). After Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, Mexicans are now the third largest Latino group in New York City. In 1990 the Census reported 61,722 Mexicans lived in there. By 2000 this number had increased by 200 percent. Some accounts put this number as high as 275,000 (Smith 2002). At this growth rate, more than half a million Mexicans will be living in New York City by 2010 (Dallas 2001). Vibrant Mexican communities can now be found in all five boroughs. In East Harlem and parts of the Bronx, the Mexican flag is slowly replacing the Puerto Rican flag in tenant windows. Part of Corona in Queens has become a Little Mexico of sorts. Numerous taco stands, cramped traditional medicine boutiques with curanderos and psychics, Mexican music stores and novelty marts serve the almost exclusively Latino community. In addition to these establishments, the sidewalks are open space for the enterprising. Clandestine ventures involving prostitution and the sale of falsified document (e.g. social security cards) are rampant. To avoid trouble with the law, these sellers advertise their services using few, well-targeted words at the passers-by. Surreptitiously distributed business cards and flyers make it into the hands of the select. There are high rates of small business development among the Mexicans of New York. The rate of self-employment is at 3.7%, compared to 3.3% among other Latinos (NYC Department of City Planning 2000). Most new Mexican migrants come to the city to work in restaurants, garment factories and corner groceries. The Mexican Consulate estimates that 70 to 80 percent of the Mexican community in New York is undocumented. Undocumented day laborers station themselves at strategic spots throughout the city. Men wait for hours near hardware stores, U-Hauls, bus stations, and other pre-determined areas for temporary work. I remember distinctly the day one of my research participants set out to pick up a couple of Mexicans for a cleaning project. We 85

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drove down Broadway in Astoria in a white van. The driver had only to wave his hands out the window before more than five workers fought to make it into the still-moving van. To avoid scenes like this, Mexican community leaders have established day labor cooperatives in some parts of the city. One near Coney Island in Brooklyn has workers sign in early every morning. They are then assigned a job on a first-come-first-served basis. In a given week, all men who are part of this cooperative have the same chance of finding a temporary assignment. Employers who recruit workers at these sites must guarantee a set wage. It is no secret that the employers who usually recruit these workers pay them poorly; often well below the minimum wage. Thus, throughout the city and including other Latinos, Mexicans are viewed and treated as dispensable, easily replaceable labor commodities. Nevertheless, unemployment among New York Mexicans is lower than in other Latino communities (Census 2005). Whereas Mexican immigrants to southwestern US tended to originate from western and northwestern Mexican states like Jalisco, Zacatecas, Michoacan, Guanajuato (Durand and Massey 2003), a new trend developed for New York. The majority of New York Mexicans come from south central Mexico, particularly Puebla and to a lesser extent Guerrero and Oaxaca (ibid.). Poblanos alone make up more than half of the Mexican population in New York (Dallas 2001). These settlement patterns are due in large part to the heavy reliance on familial and friendship networks among Mexican immigrants. New arrivals are often received into severely over-occupied apartments. Opportunistic New York landlords have met the demand for cheap housing by creating apartments, sometimes in violation of city codes, to accommodate as many people as are willing to cohabitate. One Mexican woman whose social network data I collected, listed more than 20 relatives and close friends who shared apartments in one building in Manhattans upper west side. The majority of her remaining network was also Mexican. 86

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Restrictive immigration policies, undocumented migrations, and dependence on kin networks offer few opportunities for developing non-Mexican or non-Latino affiliations. As with Dominicans, submersion in Mexican-dominant daily life discourages English-language learning and flexible ethnic self-presentation. Census statistics support this (Cordero-Guzmn 2006). Mexicans are more likely to be non-US citizens; 60% compared to 24% among other Latino communities. They are also less likely to be English proficient; 38.7% do not speak English well or at all compared to 21.6% among other Latinos. As I will discuss in a later chapter, data on the use of ethnic labels among the Mexican participants in this study confirm that Mexicans identified exclusively as Mexican. If they used other labels, these were specific to the regions in Mexico where they were from. 5.1.4 Ecuadorians In 1994 the Ecuadorian government agreed to grant dual-citizenship to Ecuadorians living abroad. Not only did this recognize the growing Ecuadorian community in the United States, but also the communitys transnational character. A modest phase of Ecuadorian immigration to the United States began in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The effects of a failing Ecuadorian banana market in the early 1960s were deeply-felt in the coastal lowlands (the Costa) and in the Andean highlands (the Sierra) where many migrant workers to the Costa originated. This coincided with the passing of the Hart-Celler Act of 1965 which abolished national-origin quotas. Ecuadorians perceived the Act as indicative of a newly receptive America (Kyle 2000). Also, in the late 1950s airplane travel between Ecuador and New York City became easier. Thus, Ecuador US immigration tripled during the 1960s. These pioneering migrants tended to be urban, middle class, relatively educated, from the coastal areas, and documented. 87

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The second, and current, phase of mass Ecuadorian labor migration began with the decline in the Panama hat trade after World War II. Panama hat cottage industry was the cornerstone of the Azuayan economy throughout much of the 19 th century. The decline was induced by Americas switch to cheaper straw hats from Asia. By the end of the 1970s Ecuadorian migrants were men, largely undocumented, from both urban and rural areas in the Sierra, and especially from the south-central provinces of Azuay and Caar (Kyle 2000). Overwhelmingly, these migrants have settled in New York City. It is not clear why New York City emerged as the primary destination choice among Ecuadorian migrants. Zambrano (1999) suggests early migrants to New York relied upon contacts within banana corporations to secure tourist visas. These visas later converted to worker visas in New York. Kyle (2000) suggests that in the 1950s the young middle class migrants (many came from families tied to the hat trade as exporters), relied on commercial networks linking New York and the centers of Panama hat production in rural Ecuador. In New York, Ecuadorians are among the fastest growing ethnic groups. Using census figures adjusted with the Current Population Survey 2000, Logan (2001) estimates that 396,400 Ecuadorians live in New York. According to the 2000 Census, 57,716 (56 percent of all New York Ecuadorians) live in Queens alone. Most of those in Queens settle in the Jackson Heights-Corona community. Researchers have cautioned against relying solely on 2000 Census figures for Latino counts: the method for recording Latino populations were inadequate and tended to undercount new Latino groups (e.g. Dominicans, Ecuadorians, and Colombians). Undercounts are also inevitable due to undocumented migration. Undocumented Ecuadorians in New York City have outnumbered other groups with historically high rates of undocumented migration (e.g. Dominicans). The New York Department of City Planning estimates that in 1993, Ecuadorians constituted the number-one undocumented migrant group in New York, with 27,000 88

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undocumented Ecuadorians in the state and an equal number elsewhere in the United States (New York Department of City Planning 1996). Ecuadorians in the US tend to lead bi-national lives. Upon arrival to the US, most men work as day laborers or in service-sector jobs (e.g. restaurants and hotels). Women tend to work in the garment industry or restaurants (New York City Department of Planning 1999). Most often Ecuadorian migrants are married men with households in Ecuador they must support. Seeing migration as a temporary means to an end, these young men arrange volatile living arrangements, travel back and forth from Ecuador, and move among various households of family and friends (Pribilsky 2003 in Jokisch and Pribilsky 2002). To keep economic options open in Ecuador as well as the US, Ecuadorians have developed networks connecting home and host community (Jokisch & Pribilisky 2002). Evidence for this is found in the proliferation of courier services in New York and Ecuador and the billions of dollars in remittances Ecuadorians have sent home. In 2003 alone, remittances to Ecuador totaled $1.54 billion dollars (Latin American News Digest 2004). On average, every Ecuadorian sent money home eight times in 2003 (ibid.). This money is used for house-building or the purchase of land (Jokisch & Pribilsky 2002). Permanent immigration fosters a sense of belonging to and/or greater participation in the receiving society. With permanent settlement comes greater investment in a broad range of relationships (at work, community, school, etc.), and greater exposure to American culture and values. Conventional assimilation theory predicts that permanent settlement encourages immigrants to adopt American identity. In contrast, migrants who enter the US with the intention to settle temporarily (like Ecuadorians who tend to be target earners) may feel a limited obligation to the wider society and see little need to forge relationships with others not directly tied to their migration goals. 89

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Among the Ecuadorians I came in contact with in Queens, work-related contacts tended to be other Ecuadorians. Interestingly, there is a sense among Ecuadorians that a person from the coast (costeos), say Guayaquil, can trust other Latinos more their own compatriots from the Ecuadorian Sierras (serranos), and vice versa. Regional conflicts that exist in Ecuador have been transplanted in New York. The costeo refers to a serrano as indio and perceives him as backwards and conservative. Serranos think of costeos as proud and pretentious. Also, no bounded Ecuadorian communities exist here. Instead, Ecuadorians are dispersed among other Latinos. Therefore, my observations suggest that while Ecuadorians tend to rely on other Ecuadorians (especially from the same region) in work-related areas, they are very likely to develop ties with other Latinos. 5.1.5 Colombians On April 9, 1948 popular Liberal leader, Jorge Elicer Gaitn, was assassinated in the streets of Bogot. The Liberal uprising that ensued spread epidemically throughout Colombias countryside. Lasting almost ten years, La Violencia involved the bloody repression of Liberal and communist peasants by the right-wing Colombian government. Peasants formed armed self-defense movements in response to the offensives. These consolidated under the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 1964. Since then, numerous other guerilla groups arose, including those inspired by the Cuban revolution (e.g. National Liberation Army ELN). In the years after the civil war, Colombias economy collapsed. The percentage of Colombias workforce living in absolute poverty more than doubled, from 25 percent to 50.7 percent and as high as 67 percent for rural laborers (Leech 2002). The cocaine boom in the 1970s lured thousands of landless peasants and urban unemployed workers to coca plant cultivation, cocaine production, and distribution. 90

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These conditions set the stage for the proliferation of guerilla and right-wing paramilitary forces that along with drug cartels and Colombias own (US trained) military have vied for control over Colombias people and territory. Over the past forty years a low-intensity civil war has ravaged the countryside displacing 600,000 Colombians in the 1980s alone (Meertens and Segura-Escobar 1996). Today Colombia has the highest homicide rate in Latin America and all types of crime, including kidnappings, extortion and theft have multiplied (Vlez et. al. 2003). Since the mid-1990s economic conditions worsened after a period of growth, with unemployment escalating t