Facebook and Language Use in Forming Identity in Mexican Americans

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This article contains a research analysis that explains how Rancheros, a subpopulation of Mexican peasants who are viewed as having certain conflicting ideas by the broader Mexican community, use language to interact and establish their identity on Facebook. Rancheros, like indigenous Mexicans, are perceived to be at the bottom of the social ladder in all other Mexican subpopulations, as shown by the derogatory treatment they get from the broader community. The Mexican Government perceives the ranchero communities as the most dynamic in terms of their desire for private property ownership (such as land), geographical mobility as well as patriarchy and endogamy (Sidury 689). This core aim of this study is to demonstrate how some of the ranchero individuals mockingly use Spanish terms on facebook in order to distance themselves from a traditional ranchero identity and construct identities including their own transnational backgrounds.

In the study, five participants who reside in Mexico, Chicago and Michoacan, and are part of the transnational social network were selected to take part in the study ((Sidury 692-693). Moreover, the selection of the participants was also based on the centrality within the social network and age. The study revealed that the participants spent much of their attention and time on facebook displaying their ranchero identity with links to music videos and photos.

The interesting aspect of the findings of this study is that most of the respondents uses the traditional and non-transnational ranchero Spanish, to such an extent that no any other party who does not contemplate the ranchero Spanish can understand what the participants are talking about. For example, Renata, one of the five participants, posts an image in her facebook wall bearing her cousin and her while enjoying an American food (Sidury 693-694). The comments from her friends are in ranchero Spanish. Moreover, none of the participants or their friends who comments on facebook used the term ranchero to describe themselves. This shows the extent to which the participants are determined in distancing themselves from the rancheros category. In addition, it is interesting for the participants and many other members in their facebook friend lists to mock each other using ranchero Spanish. I beg to differ with the author`s description characterization of the participants and the other members in facebook as rude, uneducated, and proud rural individuals just because they used ranchero Spanish, a traditional and a non-transnational language to mock each other (Sidury 695). According to the author, the participants and their friends have not abandoned their old ways of communicating. Apparently, it is common for people of the same ethnicity and age to mock each other in social media platforms.

Moreover, the work of this author also relates to the work of Jeong Kyu Lee and Michael L. Hecht, who stipulated that ethnic identification can be established by behavioral acculturation constructs such as language use and generational status (Jeong & Michael 203-204). Moreover, the Lee stipulated that the Spanish language media has grown rapidly and through social media platforms, one can is in a position of identifying Spanish speakers with ease Jeong & Michael 204).


It is, therefore, evident that the participants of this study constructed their ranchero identities through the use of a stigmatized ways of Ranchero Spanish on facebook. Apparently, future research studies needs to conduct more research concerning the same by studying the behaviors of some other ethnic tribes. Consecutively, there is need to use a larger sample size in order to reduce biasness of the study.

Works Cited

Jeong Kyu Lee & Michael L. Hecht. Media Influences on Mexican-Heritage Youth Alcohol Use: Moderating Role of Language Preference and Ethnic Identification. Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. The Howard Journal of Communications, 21:199–223, 2010. DOI: 10.1080/10646175.2010.496321

Sidury Christiansen. ‘A ondi queras’: Ranchero identity construction by U.S. born Mexicans on Facebook. John Wiley & Sons Ltd. University of Texas, U.S.A. 2015 Print.

November 03, 2022

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