Chicano Studies Synthesis
The readings from the previous sessions have majorly focused on the issue of racism and discrimination of minority groups in the United States. In fact, the race has been used by the white community as a tool to stereotype minority groups such as the Chicanos and Latinos. The readings illustrate how American people tend to treat immigrants with disrespect and make it challenging for them to be incorporated into the American community. As a result, the immigrants have a hard time feeling so isolated, ignored and fear to participate in issues that are mandatory such as education. The articles explored in this paper presents historical accounts of the Mexican and Latino immigrants, the problems they encounter when interacting with Americans, and the influence that immigrants bring into the American society.
Authors such as Monica Muñoz Martinez, Vicki L. Ruiz and Kelly Lytle Hernández have expressed a popular, yet most important opinion as regards the history of Mexican immigrants in the United States. Martinez's article, Recuperating Histories of Violence in the Americas: Vernacular History-Making on the US–Mexico Border, reveals the state violence that occurs during the policing of social and political borders. This is presented in two principal parts. The first section of this article illustrates the violent approaches of state agents and highlights the impunity culture they embraced when subjecting populations for manual labor. It explores the male-controlled narratives and racial binaries to expose struggles for power between the state and citizens, which was previously disregarded.
Further in the first section, Martinez demonstrates the persistent effect of this era of terror on the social, political and familial lives of people near the US-Mexico border (Martinez 667). In order to resist to the inhuman activities at the border, the article asserts that the residents could engage in protests, applied property rights, and reporting their grievances to international courts. The second part includes the generational reminiscences to show the historical occurrences of state violence towards the minorities and disadvantaged population; a subject which was concealed and only shared in private contexts (Martinez 675). Indeed, as highlighted in the article, minority groups such as Mexicans, American-Mexicans, and Anglos were the primary victims of the violent practices across the US-Mexico border.
Vicki L. Ruiz, in the article Nuestra América: Latino History as United States History, further explores the historical accounts of Latinos in the United States. It should be noted that the modern media depict Latinos as individuals who arrived in the United States a few decades ago; however, Ruiz affirms the extensive history of this minority group. The author put more emphasis on three critical historical moments that define the existence of Latinos in the United States. To begin with, the article demonstrates the U.S-Mexican war that happened in 1848. Then the focus is shifted to the Filipino- Filipino-Cuban-Spanish-American war that took place in 1898. Last but not the least, Ruiz discussed the post-Second World War in 1948; an essential era for integration and activism of the US Latinos (Ruiz 659). Similar to Martinez's article, this significant reading also examines the divergent perspectives of people who have memories of the past racial-oriented wars, particularly individuals who served in the armed forces. With the exploration and reflection on colonialism and liberty in the 1890s to Latino activism in the 1940s, Ruiz indicates that Latinos have made the United States history within and beyond the country's borders. However, reading deeper into the article, the reader can notice the issues of racism, discrimination, economic imperialism, and nativism, as the author illuminates how Latinos suffered as they attempted to fight for their rights in America (Ruiz 669).
In the book City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771-1965, Kelly Lytle Hernández also shows the historical exploitation and oppression of minority groups. This is illustrated in the first chapter, An Eliminatory Option (Hernandez 16-44). As mentioned in this section, Los Angeles Basin was solely a home for the indigenous societies collectively referred as Tongva-Gabrielino tribe. In 1781, the Spanish Crown came to the place and established a jail. After some time, the jail was filled with Indios who were imprisoned by the Spanish colonists and their descendants. Throughout the period of colonialism, majority of the incarcerated people were from the indigenous groups. Like Vicki L. Ruiz’s article, this reading unmasks the histories of native elimination, immigrant exclusion and racial discrimination. This chapter help to know how minority groups were mistreated in their own land by the colonists, through eliminatory capacities of incarceration. It digs up the roots of the nation’s prejudiced system against the immigrants.
Discrimination, oppression, violence, and racism of minority groups are also evident in Deborah A. Miranda's article, Bad Indians: A tribal memoir. In this article, Miranda writes about the history of her own family in California, the mistreatment of indigenous people and the theft of their properties and language. The Padres oppressed the Indians they found on the land they intended to carry out missions, and Miranda provides the historical account of this process and the harm it caused on the peaceful populations that initially lived at the land (Miranda xiii). Basically, all that is been left of Miranda tribal history is based on the exploitation and violence, which echoes the lives of her ancestors. Her description is similar to that of Monica Muñoz Martinez and Vicki L. Ruiz; however, Miranda majorly focuses on her family.
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