For U.S.-Mexicans, the terms is an ethnic and not a national identifier whereas for Mexican nationals, it is, of course, a national identifier.
This nuance even frequently confuses Mexican nationals. We need to have a broader public conversation just on this...what it means to be Mexican. That way, we can speak more accurately and meaningfully about anti-Mexicanism in our country today.
Thanks for encouraging this thinking and conversation, Dr. Huerta.
|Photo Credit: Cartoon appears courtesy of Lalo Alcaraz © 2019 Andrews McMeel Syndication|
The Mexican: An Endangered or Hunted Species by Alvaro Huerta, Ph.D.
Mexicans have officially become members of an endangered or hunted species in the U.S. (I’m not referring to our enormous demographics, as we’ll continue to multiply in el norte—where individuals of Mexican origin represent over 40 million citizens/residents—despite the racist fantasies of Donald J. Trump and his immoral ilk. Throughout the early 1800s to the present, Mexicans have been robbed of their lands, lynched, killed, imprisoned, segregated, subjugated, vilified, scapegoated, sterilized, raped, beaten by white mobs, brutalized by cops, racially targeted with violence, etc.
Today, the guilty of these heinous acts and crimes include the most powerful racist in the world (Trump), the morally bankrupt political party (GOP), state media (Fox “News”), deplorable Trump supporters, capitalists and state agents.
While Trump wants us to believe that there are “good people” among those who espouse (and act upon) white supremacy, racial hatred/violence and those who oppose the worst elements in our midst, we are currently living in another dark period in American history when people must take sides. When the government targets a particular racialized group with brutal policies and programs (e.g., slavery, reservations, Jim Crow, internment camps, children in cages), you are either in favor of the state’s inhumane policies and programs or you are against them.
When it comes to injustice, there’s no neutrality.
According to the late educator and philosopher Paulo Freire in the Pedagogy of the Oppressed, the oppressors or those in power who dehumanize the oppressed or the vulnerable, in the process of dehumanizing others, they become dehumanized. For instance, when the government of the U.S. and its agents/apologists separate children from their parents/guardians and force the children into cages, those responsible for these inhumane acts become dehumanized.
At the end of the day, history will condemn the oppressors or guilty!
In my most recent book, Defending Latina/o Immigrant Communities: The Xenophobic Era of Trump and Beyond, while I discuss the plight of Latina/o immigrants in general, I argue that anti-Mexicanism in particular has deep roots in American history. As part of my topical and timely book, as a guest essayist, Dr. Juan Gómez-Quinones provides a brilliant analysis and paradigm on the question of anti-Mexicanism in el norte: “Anti-Mexicanism is a form of nativism practiced by colonialists and their inheritors.”
As I’ve previously argued, anti-Mexicanism has become one of America’s favorite pastimes, like baseball. Yet, unlike this favorite American sport, anti-Mexicanism goes back to the 1820s when white American immigrants first settled in what is now known as the state of Texas. Back then, it was Mexican territory, where many white American immigrants originally settled with and without permission. Once Mexico outlawed slavery in 1830, according to the late Dr. Ronald Takaki in A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America, the white settlers, in conjunction with slave owners, engaged in warfare against the Mexican government and annexed Texas in 1836 as The Republic of Texas. It appears to me that the white American settlers or greedy gringos took the Mexicans literally when my people graciously said, “Mi casa es su casa.”
In short, it’s long overdue for all individuals of Mexican origin (sin los vendidos) and our sympathizers/supporters to collectively speak out, organize and take action to defend our human rights in el norte and el sur!
About: Dr. Alvaro Huerta holds a joint faculty appointment in Urban & Regional Planning and Ethnic & Women’s Studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Among other publications, he’s the author of Reframing the Latino Immigration Debate Towards a Humanistic Paradigm and Defending Latina/o Immigrant Communities: The Xenophobic Era of Trump and Beyond. He holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley. He also holds an M.A. in Urban Planning and a B.A. in History from UCLA.