Anglos and Mexicans
in the Twenty First Century
CHS 245 OL (14003)
DUE: 3 APRIL 2014
David Montejano
About the Author
 An historical sociologist as well as an associate
professor in the Department of History at the
University of Texas at Austin.
 The author of the prize-winning work “Anglos and
Mexicans in the Making of Texas, 1836-1986”, which
was published by the University of Texas Press.
In this article, Montejano explores and further discusses the
implications of the United States’ declining place in the
capitalist world-system between Chicano middle class
politicians and the Anglo business and political establishment
in the Southwest.
Montejano aims to discuss a couple scenarios in this article:
- Will a possible future of economic stagnation bring with it a
renewal of the ethnic/class conflict and repression that
characterized Anglo-Mexican relations in the decades before
- Or will enlightened leadership from the Anglo and Mexican
American communities work out mutually beneficial policies
to prevent the growth of a Chicano underclass?
 While Montejano was on a research trip in the State of Zacatecas, Mexico, assisting
lawyers (who were representing families of several Mexican workers who died in a
railroad boxcar in 1987), he ended up in a remote, unmapped village called El
Saucito. There, he realized ethnic relations in the Southwestern United States
when he found himself following a Coca-Cola truck to find a good driving path.
 Montejano realizes that in order to understand the general contours or limits of
ethnic relations, one should look at the global view of social change.
 What impact might this have on ethnic relations in the U.S., and specifically in the
The Present Situation of
Mexican-Anglo relations in the Southwest
 Political integration
> the granting of effective citizenship to the Mexican American.
> after 1970, Mexican Americans became significant players in
California and Texas state politics—and thus, in national politics.
> “The current political integration was not just the result of an
‘awakening,’ the acquisition of a ‘national consciousness’ by an
emerging minority. Such integration was fundamentally the
result of shifting class politics during the post-World War
economic boom.” (5)
> Political integration does not signify the “structural” or
“economic” assimilation of the Mexican American people, but
rather whether or not a significant “underclass” exists among
Mexican and African Americans.
On the Demise of Segregation
The rationale and political orientation in the segregation of
Mexican American communities was grounded in the
agricultural developments of the region.
The interests and practices of growers made social segregation
“natural,” so that it appeared to be created “not with a fist.” (6)
Reclamation Act of 1902 was created. It allowed the
government to undertake irrigation projects to establish farms
for relief of urban congestion.
National Labor Relations Act of 1935 was created. This
crippled the workers’ ability to organize unions and
bargain collectively.”
What are the ways growers organized labor across the
Southwest? It is already clear that this task was essentially a
“racial” one nonetheless.
The ethnic complexity (of a variation of ethnicity and class in
the farm labor force) was still organized and segregated along
class and color lines. “White” ethnic growers and their families
were living on one side and “brown” ethnic workers and their
families living on the other. There was still segregation in the
midst of trying to achieve equality.
The gradual demise of segregation developed to immobilize
the Mexican farm workers.
Mexican American veterans of World War II insisted on equal
rights immediately after the war.
TIE IN: Zinn | Chapters 7 & 8
Both Mexico's inhabitants, and America's Indians were forcibly
removed from their territories one way or another, but the
methods of their removals were somewhat different and
resulted in different outcomes.
Mexico's takeovers were the results of war battles. Americans
barely put in effort to prevent or avoid this conflict. People who
lived in Mexico were forced out of their land through war.
Both Indians and Mexicans tried to resist against America
through guerrilla troops. “…the Seminoles began a series of
guerrilla attacks on white coastal settlements, all along the
Florida perimeter, striking in surprise and in succession from
the interior" (132) to resist against more land takeover, while
Mexican guerillas returned fire when, "group of men from a
Kentucky regiment broke into one Mexican dwelling, threw out
the husband, and raped his wife" (150). Because of this
aggressiveness, Americans lost soldiers.
Both Indians and Mexicans were wronged and treated poorly.
Both Montejano and Zinn touch upon the segregation that
American enforced as an act of injustice and racism.
On the Demise of Segregation (continued)
 “As long as the Mexican-American activists in
the urban and rural areas worked separately,
Jim Crow segregation in the farm areas
remained intact and stigmatized all Mexican
Americans in the region as second-class
citizens” (8-9).
> These actions allowed for a broad civil rights
mobilization among all classes of the Mexican
American community.
 The Chicano movement developed along
several different fronts, and eventually
dissipated due to external and internal
 In the long run, perhaps one of the most
successful movement goals was a partial
opening of the universities to Chicano youth.
 The context for Mexican-Anglo relations has
been transformed from a segregated order to a
present-day integration.
A Global Focus: The United States in Decline
 The “integration” of the post-World War II period was
made possible because the United States was a rising
power. This increase in power brought wealth and
political confidence that made Jim Crow social policies
seem irrelevant.
 However, the demise of race segregation occurred in the
context of this increase in power.
 Paul Kennedy in The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers
argues that the lack of class politics on the United States
has been helped by the fact that one-third of American
society, which is the poorest fraction, has not been
mobilized to become regular voters.
Here is a cartoon that depicts the segregation. History seems to repeat itself.
A Southwestern Focus: A Dissolving Consensus?
 What does it mean for the inter-ethnic consensus that
makes for integration?
 In the Southwest, there exists an abundance of
commentators and analysts who have painted very
explicit scenarios.
 The young Latino population begins to see its
predicament as an exploitation.
> huge portions of their paychecks were used to fund
Social Security programs for the elderly
 Such scenarios essentially portray ethnic conflict along
generational lines.
 What potential futures await us?
 We must keep in mind both worst-case and best-case scenarios because
they remind us of the indeterminate nature of the future. It also forces us to
keep our perspective and realize that the struggle between inclusion and
exclusion continues.
> The worst case scenario might be: if we misinterpret the present state of
inclusion as a permanent condition; if we become complacent and
comfortable with success--the result would be an absence of leadership and
vision, as well as an extremely vulnerable Mexican American community.
> The best case scenario might be: understand that one must extend
effective citizenship to communities; there needs to be an organization in
order to fight to maintain the rights and opportunities won in the 1960s
and 1970s, so that there will be no such thing as a permanent Chicano or
Black underclass.
All in all, “we must remain rooted in our communities so that as the world
economic system changes…we will be there present and prepared to serve
as ambassadors of good will and understanding” (20).
TIE IN: Dr. Acuña’s Interview
 At the beginning of the interview, what is
addressed is that the number of CSUN
students, who are of Mexican descent, has
significantly increased over the years.
CSUN initially had 50 students of Mexican
descent, but now there are 10,000. With
the total population being 33,000, that is
nearly one-third of the CSUN population.
 This provides further evidence that
Latinos have come a long way in terms of
finding a place in this country.
TIE IN: Zinn | Interview; Esparza | Interview
In the Zinn video, he discusses the “radical insight” that he gained at a very young age. Before college,
he worked on the docks, involved in a demonstration at Times Square. There, the police attacked. He
was hit by a policeman and knocked unconscious. After waking up, his response to this was, “My God,
this is America.” In the interview, he discusses that in America, there are both good guys and bad guys,
and the government is said to be neutral—to which he completely disagrees with. After this incident, he
came to gain a radical insight that the government is not neutral.
The interviewer shares an excerpt of Zinn’s autobiography, which states, “I was a radical, believing that
something fundamental was wrong in this country—not just the existence of poverty amidst great wealth,
not just the horrible treatment of black people, but something rotten at the root. The situation required not
just a new president or new laws, but an uprooting of the old order, the introduction of a new kind of
society—cooperative, peaceful, egalitarian” (You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train, Howard Zinn,
1994, pp. 7, 173). He is discussing and challenging America’s beliefs and intentions. Essentially, he is
asking, “What can we do to change a corrupt society such as this?”
In accordance to Felipe Esparza, Zinn’s perspective on social issues has a tie to Esparza’s. In Esparza’s
interviews, he discusses how the American society influenced—and continues to influence—his identity
as an individual. As an individual of the Latino culture, he is immediately identified as a Latino. And as a
comedian, he is immediately identified as a Latino comedian. Although he embraces the fact that he is
Mexican, he finds fault in being labeled as an “ethnic comedian.” In one of the two videos, he discusses
how comedians such as Eddie Murphy or Seinfeld do not get labeled as an “African American comedian”
or “Jewish comedian”, respectively; however, when it comes to Latinos, they are automatically labeled as
“Latino (or ethnic) comedians.” He views this as a social issue of discrimination.
As mentioned before, a couple things that both Zinn and Esparza share in common are: 1) past
experiences shape who they become, and 2) success requires perseverance and suffering. They both
refer back to their own experiences to share the root of how they are known today. Zinn walks down
memory lane to revisit his “radical insight” as a 17-year-old being knocked unconscious by an American
policeman, and Esparza looks back at the type of environment that he grew up in in order to share how
that molded and shaped his future self and future success. They both have become successful in using
their experiences and identity to shed light on the social issues. From hearing both interviews, we could
see that when someone works hard and consistently pursues his/her goals and dreams, s/he will
become successful.
Works Cited
 Felipe Esparza Discusses Drugs, Race and Violence. The Nonprofit
Network, 11 Apr. 2010. Web.
 Last Comic Standing Winner Felipe Esparza Challenges The World.
The Nonprofit Network, 11 Apr. 2010. Web.
 Montejano, David. "Anglos and Mexicans in the Twenty First Century."
(1992): n. pag. Web.
 Professor Acuña Challenges Arizona Officials Part 1 of 2. The Nonprofit
Network, 11 Apr. 2010. Web.
 Professor Acuña Challenges Arizona Officials Part 2 of 2. The Nonprofit
Network, 11 Apr. 2010. Web.
 "Reclamation Act." Center for Columbia River History. N.p., n.d. Web.
 Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States. New York:
Harper Collins Publishers. 2005. Print.

Due: 3 April 2014