MAS10B Research Paper

MAS10B Research Paper - The involvement of Mexican...

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The involvement of Mexican Americans in the Vietnam War is something that is overlooked, hardly ever talked about or mentioned even though they contributed as much as any other ethnic group if not more. More Mexican Americans voluntarily signed up to join the military than any other ethnic group before the draft. While many of them had different reasons for signing up many of them felt that, just like every other American, it was their patriotic duty to enlist. It was that patriotic duty and rebellion that caused division between the families and communities. For many of them their patriotism quickly faded once they began to question the reason for which they were fighting. If the war itself didn’t make them question their patriotism the response that they when they go back to the states did. The coming back home was a huge disappointment for many soldiers since they saw that they were still being treated like second class citizens and not like the war heroes that they were. Since at the time of the Vietnam War the military was categorizing Mexican Americans into the term Latino it is difficult to get the exact number of Mexican American soldiers that were in Vietnam. Although the specific information about Mexican Americans is hard to find what they do have accessible is the statistics of Latinos that were in Vietnam. The Southwest and the West had the highest percentage of Latino veterans. New Mexico had the highest proportion of all-one out of every four veterans there was Latino. Also Mexican Americans not only had the highest rate of volunteers to proportion, but they were also being killed at higher proportions than any other ethnic group. This was because they were generally put into the most dangerous missions that were very high risk of death. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Latino veterans possessed certain group characteristics: they were generally younger than their non- Latino counterparts (56 percent were under forty-five years of age, compared with 39 percent of non-Latinos); they had less formal education; there was a slightly higher representation of Latino
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veterans among the unemployed; and income levers were consistently lower than those of their non-Latino peers throughout virtually the entire age spectrum 1 . The first few years of the war were said to have been fought by the country’s poor population, which put Mexican Americans in the front line were a few ways in which a person can get out of having to go to Vietnam and one of them was to be a college student, which didn’t necessarily mean that it guaranteed an annulment. Alejandro mentioned that he was going to city college and, since he wasn’t a full time student, he was drafted. During those times very few Mexican Americans had the money to or the resources to attend college. Another way was to be able to prove that you were a consciences objector, which was something that not everyone could easily prove. The last way was to have children, but that some how often got overlooked when it
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MAS10B Research Paper - The involvement of Mexican...

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