Mexicans have been in California before California was even a state, yet they have not always been treated well. However, they continue to come to the United States, so they can hopefully have a better life in the United States. Currently, lots of Mexican immigrants come to California, often to work in the fields and farms. As the bottom of California lines the border between the United States and Mexico, many come to live in Southern California, not Northern California. Latinos are especially prominent in Los Angeles and many of the cities under LA County. Attitudes towards Chicanos have mostly changed for the better over the years, but they are still often considered as “job stealers” and less valuable than other minorities, such as Asian Americans. Even though Latinos help power the economy and are capable of changing election results, some people refuse to see this and see them as invading immigrants. Mexican Americans often have lesser jobs compared to their white counterparts, do worse in school, often live in poverty, and are more likely to be discriminated against.
The history of Mexicans in Los Angeles is a long one. The city itself was founded in 1781, by Spaniards and mixed race Latinos. As time went on, Latinos faced more and more discrimination. Certain events stand out in California’s Latino history. In the forties, Caucasian sailors would beat up Latinos who wore “Zoot Suits”, or baggy clothes, and the police let the Caucasians do it with no consequences.
It is logical that two-thirds of Mexican-American population in the United States live in Texas, California, and Arizona because these three states are the closest state to the Mexican border. They allow Mexicans to go back to their homeland and are attractive locations for the Mexican-American populations to make their
Hispanics have been immigrating to America since the beginning of the Spanish Colonial era. Up until the 1920’s Mexican Americans have boomed in rural places in america. The 1920’s was meeting the beginning of a renaissance, a better promised life for both native americans as well as immigrants. Businesses were booming, wages were higher, and the industry was creating a bright future for America. However, Mexican Americans continued to face hardships as well as few successes leading up to the 1920’s. Whether these were Native born Americans with a Hispanic background or newly immigrated Mexicans, Mexican Americans faced the hardship of poverty, discrimination, segregation, and struggles during the 1920’s.
They also have to deal with people calling them names because of their skin color or their birth place. “Americans also accuse Hispanics of stealing their jobs” (Ramos 53) because most Latinos that come here have a job. They also face seeing “racist graffiti on homes or on walls of buildings” (Plunkett 15) and they have to face hate crimes. Plunkett said that “Latinos sometimes get excluded from white communities” (39) because they are Hispanics. Ramos also said that “Latinos are blamed for serious problems the country faces” (195) like the fall of the twin towers. There are reasons for Americans to discriminate Latinos and reasons why they shouldn’t discriminate them.
White sailors invaded Mexican American communities and attacked Zoot Suitors. The city police did nothing to restrain the sailors, who grabbed the Hispanic teenagers, tore off and burned their clothes, cut off their hair, and beat them. However, when Hispanics tried to fight back, the police moved in and arrested them. After the Zoot Suit riots, LA passed a law prohibiting the wearing Zoot Suits” (www.stufflikethat.org, 2010)
Many Latinos in the U.S. are descendants of Mexican people who lived in the Southwest when it was taken as plunders of war or acquired in a series of land sales. In many cases, their ancestors became Americans not by their own choice. Almost all other American Latinos or their ancestors migrated here from Latin America in search of a better life and opportunities. As a group, Latinos represent a combination of several ethnic backgrounds, including European,
The Chicano movement is a Civil Rights movement that embodied the identification of Latino Americans in the United States. In the modern day, most people wouldn’t know about the struggle that Latino’s had to endure before being recognized by their diverse nature. However, the Chicano movement, just like the Civil Rights Movement, was a significant part of equality within the United States over the course of the past half a century. The Chicano movement had its roots dating all the way back to when the United States were attempting their Manifest Destiny from which they went to war with Mexico for the land now known as the south west of the United States. Ever since then, the United States had been treating Mexican’s and Mexican American’s without a regard for their existence. While Latino’s are finally beginning to receive recognition for it’s vast diversity, Latino’s nationwide still face the uphill battle against ignorance.
Latin American immigrants are not just concentrated to one area of the country. Cubans mostly live in Florida, while Puerto Ricans live in the northeast, and Mexicans mostly live in the southwest (Chavez, et al, 2005: 508). Their main destinations in the United States could be based on the geographic locations of their home countries. They settle in the area of the United States that is the closest to their country of origin. The formation of ethnic enclaves is common among immigrants because it connects them to their home country. They are able to livie among people who speak the same language, or in this case the same dialect, prepare the same food, and have the same cultural values. This spatial distancing is further proof of separate ethnic identities. Immigrants tend to live within groups of people from their own countries, not just with people who identify as Latino. By living with people from their home countries, immigrants maintain connections with where they came from.
“…About eight sailors got me outside of the theater and they started beating me up. It happened so fast, I passed out. I woke up with a cracked rib, a broken nose, black and blue all over. I was really beat.”(Alvarez, 2006, p.155) During the 1940s, the public had generated stereotypes of the Pachucos and zoot suits, which were eventually transferred to all Mexican Americans. Many young men like Vicente Morales were attacked, humiliated, and stripped from their fashionable clothes by servicemen. However, to what extent did the fashionable expression of the zooters and the culture of the Pachucos influence the Zoot Suit Riots?
A lawsuit was filed on March 21, 2016 by Fresno Police Sergeant Cervantes who is suing Fresno Police Department and three other detectives. He states workplace harassment and discrimination due to his Hispanic ethnicity. Further details state, “Sgt. Paul Cervantes accuses Sgt. Tim Tietjen and Detectives Brad Alcorn and Cary Phelps of smearing his reputation with false accusations and spreading rumors that he’s a dirty cop. Tietjen, Alcorn and Phelps are white.”(Lopez, para.2) Such accusations can lead to further tensions, costly legal battles, and government investigations. Sergeant Cervantes seeks unspecified damages, attorney fees for discrimination, retaliation, defamation and malicious prosecution. He also states he has been subjected to such discrimination and harassment since January 2008 to the present. Furthermore, it is not the first time Fresno Police Department has been sued for similar incidences. There is an ongoing problem in the department that needs to be resolve.
Haney Lopez describes the racialization of Mexicans in terms of ancestry and skin color. Although granted de facto White racial status with the United States conquest of much of Mexico in 1848 and having sometimes been deemed as White by the courts and censuses, Mexican Americans were rarely treated as White (5). Historically and legally, Mexicans have been treated as second-class citizens. Mexicans suffered the degradation accorded members of an inferior race, treatment nearly equivalent to the coinciding conquest of blacks and Native Americans (64). In 1857, for instance, Anglo mobs lynched eleven Mexicans in Los Angeles (67). The demographic and geographic custom of segregation in Los Angeles contributed to the growing cultural isolation and socioeconomic vulnerability of the Mexican community.
CitedCastillo, Richard Griswold del. "The Los Angeles "Zoot Suit Riots" Revisited: Mexican and Latin American Perspectives." Mexican Studies, University of California Press. 16.2 (Summer 2000): 367-391.
Racial tensions began heightening in the city of Los Angeles on June of 1943. It’s what came to be known as the Zoot Suit Riots. Racial tension between Mexican Americans who were called both pachucos and zoot suiters. They were known for their fashion which had a symbolic meaning towards them, it was a way in expressing themselves which white sailors and servicemen disliked. They saw Mexican Americans as thugs, gang members, and delinquents. White servicemen and sailors were unfamiliar with hispanics, but it was so easy for them to discriminate by appearance. Several Mexican Americans served in white units. Tension was rising between them, especially when marines and sailors assaulted both Mexican and African Americans in their own neighborhood. Also, for a false rumor towards Mexican Americans which stated that they had attacked and stabbed a sailor. Both races were being discriminated and were treated unjustly. The day came on June 3, 1943 where these conflicts led to the Zoot Suit Riots. This incident of violence lasted a whole week. Zoot suiters were beaten and arrested for no reason at all. The issues that led to the Zoot Suits in 1943 was Jose Diaz, the Sleepy Lagoon Case, and racial attacks between whites and people of color. This filled the atmosphere with a lot of hatred and discrimination that had erupted in the summer of 1943. The riot led to a compromise of all military personnel being banned from the city limits with in Los Angeles
In the Preface of Major Problems in Mexican American History Zaragosa Vargas writes, "Nearly two thirds of Latinos in the United States are of Mexican descent, or Chicanos- a term of self definition that emerged during the 1960's and early 1970s civil rights movement. Chicanos reside mainly in the Southwest, the Pacific Northwest, and the Midwest. Their history begins in the precolonial Spanish era, and they share a rich mestizo cultural heritage of Spanish, Indian, and African origins. The Chicanos' past is underscored by conquest of the present-day American Southwest first by the Spanish and then by the United States following the Mexican American War" (xv). When one thinks of a Chicano one thinks of the Mayans and Aztecs, the conquests,
Upon initial research of the rich heritage of California the two minority groups that stood out as especially influential in historic California and today’s society are the Native Americans and Hispanic Americans. To better understand and identify with these minority groups we must identify the common themes within their day to day life. By researching each culture’s common family traditions, religious beliefs, arts & entertainment, and language one can gain a greater appreciation of many different kinds of people, and in turn have more effective relationships in a multicultural society.
I agree with you on how California saw the rise of anti-immigrant viewpoints. It got bad to the point that an anti-Filipino riot in Watsonville resulted in one Filipino dead and several others injured (pg. 321; p. 2). This case tells us that Californians were clearly upset and looking for someone to blame their problems on. And sadly, immigrants suffered as a