History of Mexican Americans

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Mexican-American history is the history of the Mexican American people.


  • The struggle is inner: Chicano, indio, American Indian, mojado, mexicano, immigrant Latino, Anglo in power, working class Anglo, Black, Asian--our psyches resemble the bordertowns and are populated by the same people. The struggle has always been inner, and is played out in outer terrains. Awareness of our situation must come before inner changes, which in turn come before changes in society. Nothing happens in the "real" world unless it first happens in the images in our heads.
  • Even as American colonizers tapped a native elite to govern in a region with far more Euro-American soldiers than civilians, they also needed to keep Mexican Americans and Indians in their racial place. For Mexican Americans, as the native elite in [New Mexico], the distinction between political and social equality became paramount, if not always openly discussed. Though Euro-American men ceded formal political equality to Mexican American men, this did not translate into social equality between Euro-Americans and Mexican Americans.
  • The success of Mexican Americans in maintaining a distinctive culture in the Southwest did not lie in the fact that they violently or even overtly resisted Anglo Americans’ steady encroachments on their way of life. Rather, the ultimately political and social significant of the perpetuation of distinct Mexican American communities throughout the Southwest lay in the fact that Mexican Americans were able to survive and persist as an ethnically distinct people despite the change in political sovereignty over their homeland. In technical, political terms, although Mexican Americans, by virtue of their new status as American citizens, were no longer Mexicans, American racism and Mexican Americans’ de facto subordinate status in the new social order encouraged them to consider themselves Mexicans in a way they never had before.
  • World War II, then, imbued the ongoing Mexican American civil rights movement with new leadership and a new attitude of entitlement - Mexican American men had, in large numbers, served their country as Americans; now it was time to reap the benefits of full citizenship rights.
  • The Texas Rangers brutalized Mexican American communities in Texas. The rinches, as many Mexican Americans called them, were originally a group of deputized gunmen hired to protect the land of Anglo ranchers and farmers from perceived predators. The reality was that in most instances, Mexican Americans were trying to retrieve land stolen from them by Anglos.

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