A recent article in the Washington Post discusses the fading history of Punjabi-Mexican Americans who arose from the unions of Punjabi (and predominantly Sikh) men with Mexican women at the turn of the twentieth century, largely in California, as a result of strict immigration and citizenship policies:
“Many Punjabis married the Mexican women that worked on their land because of their cultural similarities and proximity,” [Karen Leonard, author of “Making Ethnic Choices: California’s Punjabi-Mexican-Americans“] explained. “And when they’d show up at the county record office, they could both check ‘brown.’ No one knew the difference.”
The Punjabi men chose Mexican women for a host of other reasons: Physically, Mexican women at the time were thought to resemble Punjabis, Leonard said. Both communities also shared a rural way of life, cooked similar types of food and had a similar material culture.