Mexican American paper

Mexican American paper - Mexican Americans are a...

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Mexican Americans are a very “hidden” minority with a ranking of second in population to blacks and four times the number of Puerto Ricans. Stereotypes and all sorts of misconceptions of Mexican- Americans amount for its caricature as migrant workers with too many children. When, in reality, only a small portion of the population is migrant workers (Bayes 1982). Policies in the United States have affected these misunderstood Mexican Americans dramatically over the years. Mexicans have strived for equal civil rights since the end of the Mexican- American War (1846-48) and have organized numerous responses to racism, segregation and violence. Mexican- Americans were economically weak, having a median income of $7,900 in 1973 (Levitan, Johnston and Taggart 1975). Also, the factors of being politically marginal, geographically isolated, and poorly acquainted to the legal traditions of the United States have encouraged them to launch political campaigns. However, population has grown, as has the number of organizations that represent the community (Tirado 1970). Three types of distinct forms of organizations emerged to protect members from outside threats: Mutualistas, Mexican American labor unions, and civil rights organizations (Jennings, Marquez 2004). Mutualistas were one of the earliest organizations that developed for Mexican Americans. The Mutualistas were very common in parts of Mexico and the American Southwest where they created libraries, published newspapers, acted as credit unions and issued funeral insurance. After the Mexican-American War, some of the functions added were advocacy and self-defense (Hernandez 1983). The Mutualistas built their foundation on the purpose they had not conformed to American culture or politics. Mutualistas created a very deep bond with their society by where they lived, dances, patriotic
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holidays and barbeques all helped reinforce the group solidarity. The larger cities like Los Angeles and San Antonio, the Mexican Consulate had harnessed strong relationships with the Mutualistas in order to further domestic and foreign policy goals (Gonzalez 1999; Sanchez 1993; Jennings, Marquez 2004). The United States began to be overwhelmed as Mexicans immigrated in large numbers. Mexicans were confronted with the large ranching association demand for a huge labor force. Anglo-dominated labor unions treated these immigrants as though they were enemies (Gomez-Quinones 1994; Zamora 1993). Mexican- American labor activists took the initiative and fought unfair discrimination in the workplace. The lack of political representation and being isolated from the Anglo population made many Mexican- Americans struggle for equal treatment. They demanded equality, but often the members of the union were beaten and deported (Escobar 1999; Jennings, Marquez 2004). Labor-led organizations shared many ideas of the Mutualistas’ cultural
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course HIST 260 taught by Professor Powell during the Spring '05 term at Kentucky.

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Mexican American paper - Mexican Americans are a...

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