Due to racial tensions between Anglo-Saxons and Mexicans, Mexican-Americans struggled to find their place in American society. Mexican-Americans are often under a microscope and picked apart for being “too American” among Mexicans and “too Mexican” for Americans, which led to Mexican-Americans creating their own subculture in society. These Mexican-Americans refer themselves as Pachucos while Americans referred to them as Zoot Suiters. Pachucos deviated from mainstream culture through their clothes, language and attitude/behavior. Pachucos did not want to be a part of American society; rather they wanted to stand out and resist assimilation and pressure to enlist for the war. Through this subculture, Mexican-Americans embraced being different and carried themselves in a manner that is deviant to the culture of the larger society during the 1940s.
Racial tension was running high to anyone that was different. Howard Becker suggested that “culture arises essentially in response to a problem faced in common by a group of people…” which is seen in the Pachuco culture (Becker, 80). The pachuco did not want to become a Mexican again; at the same time, he did not want to blend into the life of North America, this was the problem that many Mexican-Americans faced when living in the United States (Paz, 14). This group rebelled against both Mexican and American cultures and it grew because this group was not seen as patriotic nor American because they refused to enlist and resisted