Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in Hyphenated Selves: Immigrant Identities within Education Contexts, edited by Saloshna Vandeyar (Amsterdam • Pretoria: Rozenberg Publishers • UNISA Press, 2011), pp. 57-72..


Copyright 2011 Saloshna Vandeyar.


An examination of responses by 346 students from Nuevo León and Zacatecas, Mexico, who had previously attended schools in the United States, found that 37% asserted a hyphenated identity as "Mexican-American," while an additional 5% identified as "American." Put another way, 42% did not identify singularly as "Mexican." Those who insisted on a hyphenated identity were not a random segment of the larger sample, but rather had distinct profiles in terms of gender, time in the United States, and more. This chapter describes these students, broaches implications of their hyphenated identities for their schooling, and considers how this example may pertain to other parts of the world, like southern Africa.