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CAS SO 207 (15)

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Boston University
CAS SO 207
Ruha Benjamin

RACEAND ETHNICITY 03/05/14 Diversity and Society Pages 118-127; 275-324; Pages 118-127 MexicanAmericans • Santa Fe/New Mexico founded around 1600s (before Jamestown), settlement developed amongstArizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas—based on farming and herding, Catholic life, dominated by elite wealthy landowners • Texas o WASP immigrated to Texas and outnumbered Mexicans—gov’t control of these immigrants was ineffective but both brought together by opportunity of the land o Mexicans became conquered people and minority group—Tejano (Texas Mexicans) became impoverished; widespread violence • California o Gold Rush of 1849 caused population movement from East to West; Mexicans (Californios) were there andAnglos entering took the land and political power o Laws made to encourage stealing land and Californios found it hard to argue their case in English-speakingAnglo-controlled courts o Repealed requirement of publishing laws in Spanish and this made Californios weaker (discriminating) • Arizona and New Mexico o Arizona created in 1912, most of Mexican population was immigrants o New Mexico—MexicanAmericans had large group size and skill in mobilizing for political activity (became state in 1912) and had some political power o Contact situation for these state was different but MexicanAmericans still received a minority group status • Mexican Americans and the Noel and Blauner Hypotheses o Ethnocentrism present inAnglo immigrants and Mexicans—prejudiced views directed towards poorer Mexicans (“lazy”) o Skin color marked group membership o Mexicans Roman Catholic vs. Anglos were Protestant o Competition of Land o Size of power differential explains why domination was established faster in some places rather than others (i.e. Texas vs.Arizona and New Mexico)  Military control (in New Mexico they were evenly matched)  Mexicans were vital source of inexpensive labor o Contact period was a colonized status for MexicanAmericans in all areas  Culture/language suppressed, forced acculturation (banning Spanish)  Profit forAngloAmericans from conquest—business boomed for agriculture • Gender Relations o (Prior to colonization) Patriarchal—clear gender division or labor o Persisted after conquest and creation of minority status o Women took care of household work and rearing children and men were reduced to landless labor force, so women suffered by taking up their economic responsibilities since men had to be away from home now o Decision making power of women increased as men had to leave for work far away  Economics of conquest led to increased matriarchy and more mothers working outside home o MexicanAmerican women were most vulnerable part of the social system Comparing Minority Groups • MexicanAmericans similar toA.A. in that they provided useful, cheap labor (exploited) • M.A. similar to A.I. in that they had land useful toAnglo (exploited) • These three groups had little control over their densities, degree of acculturation, or even survival as a group • In Gordon’s terms, we characterize these situations as “acculturation without integration” aka structural pluralism—but doesn’t describe the situation that well for Mexican Americans whereas Blauner’s concept of colonization does Comparative Focus: Mexico, Canada, and the US • Spanish were first of 3 European nation to invade Western hemisphere (before Jamestown was founded) o Defeated Aztec Empire even though it was highly organized and large, Spanish absorbed social structure o Identified 56 racial groups —highly race conscious to classify class, mestizos were European-Indian and are hug majority of today’s Mexican population o Elite positions in society tend to be monopolized by people of “purer” European ancestry o French colonized Canada—created lucrative trade with Indians (absorbing their social structure); intermarriage created mixed-race group o Spanish adapted Aztec practices; French developed an economy requiring cooperation with someA.I. tribes, and English did not absorb social structures of A.I. since they came in contact with small/less developedA.I. tribes o English were only ones that wanted complete new social structure rather than adapting; but all three needed slave labor o English relied most heavily onA.A. slaves (France relied on its own people for labor) o France and Spain had tradition of working around other societies but English were used to tending to only their own needs/desires Pages 275-324 HispanicAmericans: Colonization, Immigration, and Ethnic Enclaves • Intro o “Lucresia”—husband away for 2 years at work, arranged to cross border (and smuggle children), she slowly died in desert and husband found her remains to bury her; illustrates how dangerous crossing the border (for work) is for Mexicans o Mexicans are nations largest minority group (>16% ofAmerica) o America reshaped and made by popular items from Mexicans (tortilla chips/salsa) o Three largest Hispanic groups: MexicanAmericans, Puerto Ricans, and Cuban Americans o Latinos growing because of high birth rates and immigration o H.A. are partly ethnic minority group and partly racial minority group  Mexicans—mix ofA.I. and European  Puerto Ricans—mix of white and black o Labels and group names are important in HispanicAmerican group  Most identify with family’s country of origin, some identify with “Hispanic” or “Latino,” and some just identify as “American” • MexicanAmericans o LikeA.I., impoverished and small group and powerless, isolated in rural areas distant from industrialization/modernization o Like A.A., supplied much of the labor for Southern agricultural economy o Most important difference is the proximity of the sovereign nation of Mexico • Cultural Patterns o Major difference is religion (Catholic vs. Protestant) and language  MexicanAmericans are less active in Church o Culture of poverty is associated with them since many are poor (characterizing the poor as lazy and associating this with M.A.)  However, Hispanics are more in favor of “hard work” in getting ahead than most of the population in general o Machismo is another cultural difference—a value system that stresses male dominance, honor, virility, and violence  Stereotypes portray the negatives but fail to emphasize positives such as good provider/respected father, also this is not unique to Hispanics  Strong family ties conflict with individualistic values/success of dominant culture o These differences inhibit communication between dominant and minority group exclusion but provide group cohesion (amongst groups) • Immigration o Intro  Competition is one of key variables in Noel’s hypothesis and shapes relationships between Mexican Immigrants and largerAmerican society (contemporary: jobs) o Push and Pull  Mexicans have been pushed from their homeland and pulled towards US  Mexicans motivated by industrialization and globalization (also wage gap for jobs)  Flow of Mexicans from lower to higher economic opportunities has been affected by conditions in sending and receiving nations o Conditions in Mexico, Fluctuating Demand for Labor, and Federal Immigration Policy  Immigration increases with good times in US and decreases with bad times—reinforced by policies/actions of federal gov’t  Regulation increased around 20 century (1900s) as concerns increased  Decreased during Great Depression—as competition for jobs increased, efforts began to expel Mexican laborers (Noel’s hypothesis)  Gov’t instituted a repatriation campaign aim at deporting illegal Mexican immigrants (Mexican population declined by ~40%)  After depression and towards WWII, US businesses turned to cheap Mexican labor once again • 1942—Bracero program initiated to permit contract laborers (agriculture) to work in US for a limited time and then return to Mexico • Continue for several decades after war and crucial source of labor for US economy –supplying 26% of seasonal farm labor (1960)  At the same time, other programs worked to deport undocumented (illegal) immigrants—Operation Wetback (1950s)—fed authorities deported ~4 million Mexicans • Raids on homes and businesses, ignoring civil and legal rights • US Citizens of Mexican descent were sent to Mexico too  1965—overtly racist national immigration policy incorporated in the 1924 National Origins Act was replaced by a new policy that gave a high priority to immigrants who were family and kin of US citizens  Policy reinforced tendencies of kinship/social networks  1986—Congress passed Immigration Reform and ControlAct—allowing undocumented immigrants who had been in country since 1982 to legalize their status and ~3 million took advantage of this but it did not slow illegal immigration o Recent Immigration from Mexico  Lower standard of living in Mexico  Impetus to immigrate reinforced by globalization of Mexican economy • Forced Mexicans out of traditional way of life  NAFTA(1994) is most significant change to Mexican society—united North American nations with a single trading zone—brought Mexicans across border for new jobs to Mexican economy but other jobs were lost  Mexican wages declined and increased poverty amongst M.A. and driven out of rural economy o The Continuing Debate over Immigration Policy  Hotly debated topics of immigration—fed gov’t attempts to reduce flow by building wall along border; nation divided on implementing more force or not  Key issue is what to do with illegal immigrants—allow them to become citizens or deport them? Should there be criteria they must meet?  Some worry about illegal immigrants impact on job prospects for urban underclass ofAmerica (mostly a minority) o Immigration, Colonization and Intergroup Competition  (1) Flow of population from Mexico is stimulated by powerful political and economic interests in US  (2) Mexican immigrants enter a social system in which colonized status for them has already been established  (3) Review of twisting history of US policy on Mexican immigration should serve as reminder that competition increases prejudice/discrimination Developments in the United States • Continuing Colonization o Usually receive lower wages thanAngloAmericans and further split by gender; M.A. women have worst jobs and receive lowest wages in urban and rural areas o Most M.A. worked in agriculture and women forced to enter job market (paid less) o As US industrialized and urbanized, employment more diversified: M.A. work in manufacturing, construction, transportation, etc. and some moved into middle/upper-class occupations  Most is still concentrated at bottom of occupational ladder o M.A. institutionally discriminated against—separate (and unequal) school systems for M.A. children, “white only” primaries and residential segregation o Continual discrimination in criminal juice system and civil rights violations • Protest and Resistance o Protest dated back to 19 century o League of United LatinAmerican Citizens (LULAC) founded in Texas in 1929 promoted Americanization and greater educational opportunities for M.A. o Split labor markets yield prejudice for M.A. o M.A. active in labor movement, creating new unions when excluded o M.A. served in armed forces during WWII • Chicanismo (1960s) o Chicanismo: an ideology that guided a protest movement—encompassed demands for justice o Adapted many tactics of civil rights movement o Similar to Black Power ideology by rejecting traditional stereotypes in response to failure of US society to implement promises of integration o Valued group empowerment and militancy rather than assimilation to dominant culture o “Chicanos” was an adopted discriminatory name for Mexican Americans (similar to “Negro” forA.A.); new names came from the minority groups themselves but were twisted in a way by dominant groups to discriminate • Organizations and Leaders o Reies López Tijerina—formedAlianza de Mercedes (Alliance of Land Grants) in 1963; goal was toe correct illegal seizure of land from Mexicans during 19th century  Alianza was militant/confrontational—seized and occupied federal lands;  Tijerina spent several years in jail and his movement lost its strength in 1970s o Rodolfo González—founded Crusade for Justice in 1965—focused on abuses of M.A. civil rights and worked against discrimination by police and courts  Expressed creating power base within group rather than assimilating o JoséAngel Gutiérrez—organizer of La Raza Unida (People United) party, offered alternative candidates/ideas to those of Democrats and Republicans o César Chávez—best known leader of 1960s and 1970s—organized United Farm Workers representing migrant workers  Also organizedA.A., Filipinos, andAngloAmericans  Farm workers were invisible due to lack of economic/political resources and communication yet Chávez succeeded in organizing this group  Like MLK, Chávez was a disciple of Gandhi and student of nonviolent direct protest (boycott) • Organized grape-pickers boycott in 1965 (lasted 5 years) and improved situation for workers • Gender and the Chicano Protest Movement o M.A. women heavily involved in Chicano protest movement—Jessie Lopez and Dolores Huerta were central figures in movement o LikeA.A., Chicano women faced gender discrimination and could not assume l
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