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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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The Family That Stays Together...
Program #

Social Issues
Richard Goodman
Richard Goodman

The Family that Stays Together...

Host Richard Goodman explores the history and recent transformations of the Mexican American family. He discusses some of the popular conceptions of Mexican Families, and argues that most are far from the truth. In the past Mexican families were strong patriarchal, yet despite this emphasis on male decision making and the sexual division of labor that kept women in the home and men out in the fields, women usually ran the households. In the present generation, Goodman says the sexual division of labor continues as daughters are taught to do housework and expected to have children. But these expectations are slowly losing acceptance, especially among the younger generation. Goodman also discusses the declining birthrate among Mexican-American families and the gradual acceptance of birth control as a tool to limit family size.

Goodman also looks at the role of extended families in Mexican American culture and argues that while in the past they provided a sense of security for family members, it caused tension among the nuclear family. It became more popular for families to build their homes on the same street or lot. Goodman says that the decline in family communism is associated with economic progress, social mobility and acculturation among the present generation. Goodman also examines the practice of Compadrazgo, or god parenting and its present decline.

Goodman concludes that the Mexican American family is constantly changing. As social mobility increases, so does the level of adaptation.


Birth Control
Birth Rates
Extended Family
Nuclear family
Second generation
Sexual division of labor
Third Generation

Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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