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Mexican American Culture Essay

Abstract This paper is a review on Mexican American culture in the United States. I will discuss the history of this culture and how they became part of the U. S. I will also talk about the different wars and treaty that was signed to give them rights. I will also include the latest in demographics and population from the Census Bureau (2010). I will cover the Mexican Americans prejudices and discrimination and provide slurs that are commonly used in this group. I will go over some resilience factors that helped my ethnic group in dealing with prejudice and discrimination.

Abstract This paper is a review on Mexican American culture in the United States. I will discuss the history of this culture and how they became part of the U. S. I will also talk about the different wars and treaty that was signed to give them rights. I will also include the latest in demographics and population from the Census Bureau (2010). I will cover the Mexican Americans prejudices and discrimination and provide slurs that are commonly used in this group. I will go over some resilience factors that helped my ethnic group in dealing with prejudice and discrimination.

Another topic of discussion will be what I feel social workers need to know when working with my ethnic group. I will touch on Biases within the culture against other cultures and define one personal bias of my own. I will close my literature review with reflecting on what I have learned. Brief Mexican History The first Mexicans that became part of the United States did not have to cross any borders. Instead the borders crossed them. Spanish speaking people have lived in Northern provinces since the Spaniards colonized Mexico in the sixteenth century.

They have always played an important role in the Continents culture and history. Mexico won its Independence from Spain in 1820. The War of Independence with Spain in 1820’s left Mexico with difficulty settling in its Northern provinces. A policy initiated by Spain that allowed Americans to settle in their regions, in effort to populate was continued by the Mexican government (King, 2000). However it backfired when Texas declared Independence from Mexico. Mexico felt betrayed by the Americans because they took advantage of their kindness and took over the state in 1845 (Skidmore, 228).

The Mexican American War, 1846-1848, was driven by the idea of “Manifest Destiny;” which was the belief that Americans had the right to expand country borders from sea to sea. This principle has been a major political and religious rationalization in the United States, demanding assimilation, containment, or annihilation of everyone else in between and First Nations peoples and Mexican (Robbins, Chatterjee, & Canda, p. 135). This angered Mexicans and Native Americans and caused disputes. President Polk was eager and did not stop until he confiscated large areas of land and sought war.

Polk felt a war with Mexico would only prove profitable for the United States, so he enticed the Mexicans to attack. Once Mexico attacked, Polk claimed he had to defend the United States, for Mexico had invaded American territory. Polk’s unexpected election, slavery conflicts, and the Mexican war were all issues in American politics during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Of all the possible explanations for these problems, territorial expansion is the number one reason. The idea of Manifest Destiny split American politics more than any other factor up to the eighteen fifties.

In 1848 under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildalgo the Mexican American War came to an end. The signing of the treaty ended the territorial disputes that caused conflict between the countries. Mexicans were pronounced to be U. S Citizens and the treaty promised citizenship along with civil and property rights. The United States paid Mexico $15,000,000 in consideration of the extension acquired by the boundaries of the United States and agreed to pay American citizens debts owed to them by the Mexican Government. 1910 big groups of Mexicans crossed into the Southwestern United States.

They were encouraged by the economic, social, and political movements of the Mexican Revolutionary years and the rise in industrial and agricultural employment in the United States. Arriving through both direct and indirect routes, Mexicans worked as unskilled and semiskilled laborers in agriculture[->0] and heavy industry (Figueroa, 1996). When the U. S joined World War II fear of shortage in agricultural field grew and we turned to Mexico for help through the Bracero Program, which allowed migrant Mexicans to temporarily work in U. S farms (Figueroa, 1996).

The Bracero program brought over 5 million farm workers to work the fields of the United States. Underprivileged Mexicans fled their rural communities and traveled north to work as braceros. It was mainly by the Mexican hand that America became the most upmarket agricultural center in the world. Their arrival altered the social and economic environments of many border towns. Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, became a hotbed of recruitment and a main gathering point for the agricultural labor force (Bickerton, 2001).

Current Population Demographics According to the United States Census Bureau (2010), the Mexican population is referred to as Hispanic or Latino, and refers to Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish cultures. 308. 7 million People lived in the United States in 2010, 16% were of Hispanic or Latino Origin. Increase in Hispanics from 35. 3 million in 2000 making 13% of the total population. Between 2000 and 2010 the Hispanic population increased by 15. 2 million, accounting for half of the 27. 3 million increase in the United States.

43% of the growth came from Hispanic population between 2000 and 2010 which was four times the growth in the total population at 10%. The growth in Hispanics varied by groups, Mexican Origin population increased by 54% and had the largest change growing from 20. 6 million in 2000 to 31. 8 million in 2010. They accounted for about three quarters of the 15. 2 million increase in Hispanic population. In 2010, 37. 6 million of Hispanics lived in the eight states; California (28%), Texas (18. 7%), Florida (8. 4%), New York (3. 1%), Illinois (4%), Arizona (3. 8%), New Jersey (3. 1%) and Colorado (2.

1%), and in all other states 25. 4%. The highest Proportion in any state was 46% of the total state population in New Mexico. Mexican Americans experience with Prejudice and discrimination Mexican Americans have been victims of discrimination throughout the history of the United States. A few degrading words that people use when referring to Mexicans are; Wetback, Spic, and Beaner, whether American or not. They also have many stereotypes against them such as lazy, machismos, drunks and many more. One of the main reasons they are discriminated against is because of their illegal immigration into the United States.

Mexicans were left no choice but to cross illegally to seek a better life, because of the cost and many obstacles it made it difficult to become a citizen. Often they were forced to work physically demanding jobs for less pay due to non-citizens or lack of options, or because they wanted badly to be part of the U. S and saw themselves to be best off here even if wages were cheaper than back at home. Companies did not make the situation better they took advantage of their need for jobs and employed them with poor working conditions and minimum wage because they knew they had no other choice.

Resilience of the Mexican American Race Despite a growing presence throughout, Mexicans continued to face discrimination and renewed threats of deportation as national programs like “Operation Wetback” searched to detain braceros who had overstayed their visas. While working to ensure economic stability, leaders of Mexican communities supported the education of workers and the development of civic and community institutions like the Mexican Civic Committee. 250 Mexican workers were imported to work for Inland Steel and marched in unity with strikers and demanded transportation back to Texas.

In the 1950’s Mexicans went to establish branches of civil rights organizations. Some of these organizations were GI forum which fought for rights of the Mexican World War II veterans. The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) sought to increase the numbers of Mexican with U. S. Citizenship and to secure rights of Mexican Americans (Arredondo & Valliant, 2005). Throughout the 1970’s and early 1980’s Mexicans worked in groups like the Spanish coalition for jobs and Latino Institute to improve housing and education while also fighting employment and social discrimination faced.

Political community activists fought for Benito Juarez High school and founded many organizations. What Social Workers need to know working with Mexican Americans Mexicans accounted for about three quarters of the 15. 2 million increase in Hispanic population, the fastest growing in the U. S. As these numbers increase there is a greater need for social work education to provide culturally sensitive training to social work students. Social Workers need to understand and know the different origins of Mexican cultures to not get them mixed up.

Social workers need to set aside all biases when working with Mexican Americans or any other cultures for that matter. Mexicans do not want to be judged on their color or looks. As a social worker we need to understand the discrimination they are faced with and know what their beliefs are. Have knowledge on immigration and migration discusses how to assess for levels of acculturation; examine cultural values; and explore prejudice work issues if any. Biases against other groups A cultural bias I can think of is marrying or dating someone of a different race as you.

Mexican Americans are very proud of where they came from and often want to keep wedlock in the same race. They feel by dating out of your race you are ashamed of who you are and consider it a disgrace. Mexican Americans want to keep the Mexican culture alive and growing, by missing with other the races we are losing some of our culture traditions. Due to the missing of races we are seeing more English speaking people than Spanish. It is very sad that today the majority of people raised in a Mexican, Hispanic or any other type of Mexican origin are not able to speak Spanish.

Bilingual speakers are a must now days and if you cannot speak Spanish your chances of finding a good job are slim. My personal bias A personal bias of my own is people who speak Spanish and do not teach their children because they feel that this is the United States and everyone should speak Spanish. This really upsets me because I am one of the ones whose parents felt that learning Spanish was not important. I feel they did this because they did not want other children to view me as an immigrant. My parents wanted to make sure everyone knew I was born in America and did not want me to be judged by my skin or language.

My parents saw how people who spoke Spanish got treated and instilled it into my head that I did not need to know Spanish because everyone living here is Americans and should speak English. They are now realizing the down fall in me not being able to speak Spanish and understand they made a big mistake. To change this we need parents to understand that our culture is very important and by not teaching us the traditions and languages you are hurting us and our economy. We already have problems not finding jobs, and now to make matters worse the one job that will accept us wont because we cannot speak Spanish.

What I learned I have learned so much about the Mexican American culture the pain they endured the racial discrimination they experienced. Mexicans at first did not have the choice on whether they wanted to become of the United States, we crossed and took over their land whether they liked it or not. They were treated unfair and had to fight for their land, losing the battle and their men was not by choice. I learned that they fought several wars to seek justice; I learned they won Independence from Spain in 1820 and this is celebrated on September 16 which is my birthday.

I also learned through everything they have been through they were strong workers and took jobs that others did not want because it was hard labor. Discrimination against us will never end but we will fight to see that everyone is treated equal. . Bibliography Arredondo, G. F. , & Valliant, D. (2005). Encyclopedia of Chigago: Mexican. Chicago. Retrieved http://www. encyclopedia. chicagohistory. org/pages/824. html Bickerton, M. (2001). Prospects for a Bilateral Immigration Agreement with Mexico: Lessons from the Bracero Program. Texas Law Review, 79(4), 895. Figueroa, H. (1996).

Mexican workers in the United States: A profile. NACLA Report On The Americas, 30(3), 38. King, Rosemary, (2000-01-01). Border Crossings in the Mexican American War. The Bilingual Review, 25(1), 63-85. Robbins, S. P. , Chatterjee, P. , & Canda, E. R. (2012). Contemporary Human Behavior Theory 3rd edition. NJ: Allyn & Bacon. Skidmore, Thomas E. , and Peter H. Smith. Modern Latin America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984. United States Census Bureau. (2010). Hispanic Population for the United States: 2010 Retrieved September 20,2012 [->0] – http://www. encyclopedia. chicagohistory. org/pages/30. html.

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