Skip to main content
Contribution to Book
Making Multiculturalism: Immigration, Race, and the Twentieth Century
A Companion to California History (2008)
  • Kevin Allen Leonard, Western Washington University

This chapter reflects recent scholarship in the twentieth-century history of immigrants and racial and ethnic relations in California. It will deal mostly with the experiences of individual groups, although it will note similarities and differences among the groups and their experiences. Mexicans were “inbetween people” in California before World War II. Many Anglo Americans treated Mexicans as members of a distinct and inferior race. Federal officials, judges, and some local officials, however, classified Mexicans as “white.” World War II, which many Americans believed was a war against Hitler's racial ideology, undermined the ideological and rhetorical foundations of white supremacy in California. Many Californians from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds also expressed anger at the continuing immigration from Asia and Latin America. Instead, the presence of immigrants and a range of racial and ethnic groups continues to provoke often heated debate among many of the state's residents.

  • California,
  • Immigration,
  • Multiculturalism,
  • Race,
  • Racial ideology,
  • Twentieth-century,
  • World War II
Publication Date
William Deverell and David Ingler
Publisher Statement
Chapter published online: 15 Nov 2013 Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd DOI: 10.1002/9781444305036.ch20
Citation Information
Kevin Allen Leonard. "Making Multiculturalism: Immigration, Race, and the Twentieth Century" Malden, Mass.A Companion to California History (2008)
Available at: