The Mexican American experience has been one of adversity, and endurance. The plight of these native people has been ignored, and many times erased from the American conscience. They have struggled for acknowledgement, fought for equality and have gone to battle for respect. This population has been victimized, and driven to the ground by the powerful grip of American society.
Efforts were repeatedly made to shape Mexicans into what others perceived them to be. The language they should speak, the things they should learn, and the way they should live, were decisions they were unable to control. This lack of power allowed the U.S. to take advantage of Mexican rights, labor and land. In addition, this produced a loss of Mexican identity and culture.
Several thousand agricultural workers migrated to the U.S. in the early twentieth century. The majority of these persons were Mexicans that found work on farms, where white owners welcomed their cheap labor. Growers minimized local opposition to Mexican immigration by promising that the Mexicans would return to Mexico, following picking season.
This broken promise enabled the growth of systematic oppression toward incoming Mexicans. By migrating to the U.S., they hoped to find more prosperous means of living. The Bracero Program was implemented as a tool for Mexicans to migrate and work in the U.S. The Bracero Program offered a dramatic solution for Mexicans to work through visas in the U.S. This program offered thousands of workers the opportunity to work on farms, and get paid. Unfortunately, it had its failings. Basically the program was a way for the American employers to exploit Mexican workers, and pay them very small wages.
Race became the main justification for discrimination and subordination of Mexicans. On a social side; class, race, and gender are the means by which people are set apart. Mexican identities became lumped together, and were referred to as the bottom of the barrel, in the Anglo American eyes. This culture is viewed as a rejection of assimilation.
In current debates over the increasing unemployment rates, Americans seek to use Mexicans as scapegoats. This is often due to the number of Mexicans that migrated to the U.S., and are willing to preform manual labor for minimal payment. These Mexicans have been exploited by imperialism and globalization. It is this exploitation that brings about migration and changes to their culture and identity.
In the United States, we live in a society that proclaims equality, free of discrimination, opportunity, liberty and freedom to all its citizens. However, that is only a façade. Reality is the gentrified urban areas, neglect and ignorance of the presence of racial and gender inequalities that saturate society. Social stratification impeded racial relations in the U.S. far more than any other racial differences. Minorities experience the majority of wealth in the hands of the white population.
Whites refer to government programs for minorities as a handout, or minorities being lazy. For many decades people have been using race as a way to classify humans into different social categories. Unfortunately, Mexicans have been placed in the underclass category. This is due to their financial income, occupations, and legal right to be in the U.S. Regrettable, Mexican Americans are viewed as inferior, and seem to be at the bottom of the social hierarchy.
Courtney from Study Moose
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