Anglos and Mexicans in the Twenty First Century ARTICLE BY DAVID MONTEJANO KAREN RO PROFESSOR BUELNA CHS 245 OL (14003) DUE: 3 APRIL 2014 David Montejano About the Author DAVID MONTEJANO is… 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. Abstract 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 WWII? - Or will enlightened leadership from the Anglo and Mexican American communities work out mutually beneficial policies to prevent the growth of a Chicano underclass? Introduction 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 Southwest? 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 pressures. 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. Conclusion 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.