Sunday, November 4, 2007

Foreigners in Their Native Land

Mexicans did not necessarily go to the United States, the United States more or less came to them. Americans came to California at first in small numbers and the Mexicans accepted them, however, as time went on more and more Americans came to take over the Mexicans land and the Americans started to out number the Mexicans. Americans would cross the boarder and come to Texas as illegal immigrants. And at first the Mexicans chose to leave the boarders opened to the immigrants to come over, however, then the boarder was moved and now the Mexicans were located within the United States.
The titled of this chapter holds significance because it describes how the Mexicans felt on their land. “Foreigners in Their Native Land” shows that the Americans treated the Mexicans as foreigners on their very own land. The Americans came and took over the Mexicans land and treated the Mexicans as though they did not have a right to live there. “Suddenly they were thrown among those who were strangers to their language, customs, laws, and habits” (177). This shows that the Mexicans were surrounded by Americans and their way of life. Mexicans were now under American laws and controls and therefore they were expected to abide by them. They were allowed to vote usually, however, there were not enough of them to make a difference in most places. Also, laws were aimed at Mexicans such as the “Greaser Act” and “Mexican Miners’ Tax”.
The social construction mechanism discussed in this chapter is the different class levels that they were separated into. According to this chapter, the people were separated into classes based on their skin color. Also many times they are separated based on their jobs.
They resisted discrimination and racialization by demonstrating that they were capable of defying stereotypes such as docility and submissiveness (187). They had a sense of self-respect and the worth of their work, and they repeatedly went out on strike. They developed things such as the “Mexican system” which was a way of irrigation that helped turn the Texas land from scrub bushes to green fields. They also extracted ‘red metal’ used to manufacture electrical wires. On top of the great things they discovered, they also developed groups and organizations that often held strikes to try to get fair working conditions.
One example of race in this chapter is that “many countries established ‘white primaries’ to disfranchise Mexicans as well as blacks” (179). An example of ethnicity in this chapter is “These strikes reflected a feeling of Mexican ethnic solidarity” (189). Race is more of a socially constructed idea of a group based more on their color and the way in which they look while ethnicity has more to do with their culture and where they are originally from.