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A view of the Valley of the Sun from South Phoenix.



Mike Brown

SOC 332, Modern City

February 14, 2003

Mexico in South Phoenix


Mexico in South Phoenix


     “It’s like going to Mexico without ever leaving Phoenix.”  This was a quote by Mr. Virgil, the Manager of the Ranch Market.  A tour of the Ranch Market showed his statement to be true, hence the title of this paper.  The following will discuss the Ranch Market and Mexico in South Phoenix.

     To begin, the tour was absolutely intriguing.  The class was introduced to Mr. Virgil.  Then we proceeded to get a really in-depth insight into what was up with the Ranch Market.  While the Ranch Market is really just another store to purchase canned food, fruit, personal hygiene products, and even a meat department, the real attraction is the food service department.  The class and I learned about the revenue intake of the entire Ranch Market; and as things go, the food service department accounted for over 40% of the income.  I thought the food was awesome, as did the several hundred patrons.

     The food service department consists of several components.  The most prosperous of the components is the Mexican food deli, followed only shortly by the bakery.  The Mexican food that is prepared right in front of you consists of tacos, burritos, tostadas, quesadillas, nachos, and about any other type of Mexican food one could think of.  The bakery is awesome.  The prices are very appealing to the frugal, but the availability of all types of bread (donuts, to loafs, to cakes and pies) is appealing to basically everyone.  However, the whole Ranch Market seemed to be focused on appealing to the Mexican culture.

     This type of environment reminded me of a reading that was assigned; it was titled American Apartheid, Segregation and the Making of the Underclass.  This reading addressed the segregated society.  A few sentences really interested me, such as “…extreme racial segregation did not just happen; it was manufactured by whites through a series of self-conscious actions and purposeful institutional arrangements that continue today.”  This reminded me of how South Phoenix has been shunned by the Valley of the Sun and a haven for illegal immigrants who do not speak English.  Another reference from American Apartheid is “Although poor black neighborhoods still contain many people who lead conventional, productive lives, their example has been overshadowed in recent years by a growing concentration of poor, welfare-dependent families that is an inevitable result of residential segregation.”   While black segregation was primarily addressed, I feel that the same type of segregation is transpiring in the Mexican population in the United States, especially in South Phoenix.

     Obviously there are literally millions of Mexican illegal immigrants.  This contributes to the underlying segregating interest amongst legal citizens.  Illegals take jobs that legal citizens need to support their families.  Obviously the United States, our government, allows illegal immigration from Mexico, and what better place to settle in the United States of America than South Phoenix. 

     Obviously a majority of the patrons who visit the Ranch Market, located in South Phoenix, are from across the southern border.  Basically the whole food service department is operated in Spanish.  Luckily I grew up in Phoenix and speak enough Spanish to know that my food order number treinta tres, or thirty three, was ready.  The tacos, beans, rice, and basically all the Mexican food was prepared very well and was extremely satisfying. 

     To once again use the word obviously.  Obviously I am fond of Mexican food and the culture.  Obviously growing up and living around the Mexico border has provided me with ample opportunity to observe the Mexican culture.  However much of the United States has not seen the inevitable integration of the U.S.A. and Mexico.  History has taught us that societies change.  The U.S.A. used to use blacks for slave labor; now it seems illegal immigrants from Mexico have taken their place, and many of them live in South Phoenix and visit the Ranch Market.  So to conclude, it really is “like going to Mexico without ever leaving Phoenix.” 



American Apartheid, Segregation and the Making of the Underclass, Douglas S. Massey and Nancy A. Denton, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England.