How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Terms of assimilation: What do we call people who assimilate into another culture?

A panel that I moderated last week on what defines the 1.5 generation, immigrants who arrive in the U.S. as children and adolescents, yielded enough material for many, many related posts. Panelists and audience members connected over identity, the immigrant experience as lived by young people and how it shapes them, among other things. And of course, the role of language.

On the language front, a follow-up question via email this week from an audience member, my KPCC reporter colleague Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, has prompted a great collection of replies from the panelists. First, his question:

In Mexico the word "pocho" is used to describe someone who's left Mexico and has assimilated into another culture. Is there a word used by Koreans, Salvadorans, or Filipinos to mean someone who's assimilated into another country and left the language and culture of the home country?


Is 'Mexican Mitt' a pocho? A peek behind the Twitter parody

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On yesterday's Patt Morrison show on KPCC, cartoonist and funny man Lalo Alcaraz revealed - sort of - that's he's "a hundred percent" behind the Mitt Romney twitter parody, @Mexican Mitt.

That meaning a hundred percent behind "Mexican Mitt" as a supporter, of course.

"I think we had a misunderstanding, Patt," Alcaraz joked. "When I said I was the man behind Mexican Mitt, I meant I am behind him a hundred percent, as (are) all Latinos."

Alcaraz, who recently relaunched the political satire site, was cagey about @Mexican Mitt when I asked him about it recently, too. But on air, his "Ajuua!!" does sound suspiciously like that of the charro suit-clad Romney parody, who has more than 3,000 followers.

For those not familiar with @MexicanMitt, the humor revolves around Republican presidential candidate Romney's family roots in Mexico, something he's only recently begun talking about on the campaign trail. He's the descendant of Mormons who moved to Mexico from the U.S. in the late 1800s to avoid anti-polygamy laws. His grandfather and father were born in the northern state of Chihuahua. His father came to the U.S. with his parents at age five.