The article depicts how Mexican Americans are the most dominant in terms of percentage total population of the various Hispanic American groups. Their rapid rate of growth is mainly as a result of high migration rates and partly due to high rates of birth. The rates of growth of all Hispanics groups exceed the national average, a trend that is anticipated to spill over into the current century. An assessment of the cultural patterns of the Mexican Americans relative to that of the Anglo Americans has also been examined in this article. Further, the article reveals how fluctuation in immigrations rates of the Mexican Americans relies on labor demand, the prevailing conditions in Mexico and a variation in the Federal Immigration policy. The issue of immigration of the Mexican Americans, their subsequent colonization and the eventual emergence of intergroup competition has also been explored.
The continued colonization of the Mexican Americans in the form of low-wage jobs for the better part of the 20th century was met with resistance and protest by the Mexican Americans as they endeavored to enhance their collective position. This culminated in the formation of such ideological movements as Chicanismo that sought to fight for fairness, justice, and equal rights of the Mexican Americans. New leaders and groups emerged thanks to the Chicano movements (for example, Reis Lopez Tijerion and Cesar Chavez, among others). However, external and internal forces limited the desire by Chicanos to achieve their objectives. The article has also address the immigrations of the Puerto Ricans and the eventual change in language and culture of the group through transitions. The push and pull factors of immigration that affected the Cuban Americans, the ethnic enclaves that the group was faced with, and how they managed to adapt to the American culture is also addressed. Discrimination and prejudice of the Americans against the Latinos, and the pluralism and assimilation of the group into the American culture, has also been addressed.
What it means to be a Latino in America
The prejudice held by the Americans against the Latinos dates as far back as the 19th century.
During this period, there were conflicts that helped to shape up the ascribed status of the Latinos as a minority group. During the conquering and the subsequent subordination of the Latinos, they were often characterized as lazy, inferior, low in intelligence, irresponsible, and dangerously criminal. The racism and prejudice, augmented by echoes of racist beliefs and ideas carried by the Anglos as they migrates Southwards, aided in the validation and justification of the exploited and colonized status of Latinos. To be a Latino American means having to endure illegal deportations. It means being ready to have ones legal and civil rights abused.
Latino Americans also have little choice but to accept low-paid jobs as laborers in the unskilled sector. It means having to contend with temporary or seasonal work and no job guarantee and once work ends, chances are very high that one could be forced to return back home. The Latinos Americans are periodically the victims of powerful economic and political interests and this normally dictates the flow of the Latino population into the United States. Being a Latino in the United States therefore implies having to contend with pre-defined social systems of the group with an already established colonized status. Accordingly the minority group is often forced to endure the kind of treatment that is only subjected to colonized groups, even as new immigrants continue to arrive into the United States. As an American of Hispanic origin, one has to learn how to endure increased levels of racism, prejudice, and discrimination.
In addition, the minority group is often faced with bitter resentment from other groups within the Anglo population who harbor the feeling that the Latino laborers who are otherwise regarded as an attractive source of cheap labor, are a threat to their financial and job security. As victims of an economic and political machination, and the ensuing resentment from the Anglo population, the Latinos have often lacked in the necessary resources that WOYDL otherwise enable them to overcome exploitation that they have had to face at the hands of their employers, or the discrimination and the rejection that the group has to endure, by others. Being a Hispanic American implies having to contend with differences in power, competition and prejudice. It means having to struggle every day in an effort to enhance one’s economic, social and cultural status. It implies having to endure control and repression by way of being accorded little political power and fewer rights in comparison with the Anglo Americans. The plight of the Latinos in America may best be described as continued colonization in that they have been faced with split labor markets (as exemplified by the low pay that they often get for the same, if not more, work accomplished in comparison with say, the Anglo Americans, end up getting paid more), low wage, and less desirable jobs. It means having to resign to the fact that one cannot do away with a workforce that has been split along the gender divide, in which the Latino women are often assigned the most deplorable, of jobs, in effect meaning that they are the lowest paid workforce in the market, both in the rural as well as the urban settings. As a Latino woman living in the United States, one is often forced to join the labor market, albeit the unskilled sector, in an effort to supplement the little income that the husband brings home.
It means having to juggle between work and their role as mothers and wives. On the other hand, their male counterparts are often relegated to the back-breaking and nearly suicidal jobs of working in the fields and mines, often having to sacrifice the joy of seeing their families for days on ends. Being a Latino in the United States means having to settle for the lowest ranks on the organizational ladder, with only a handful of Latinos ascending to the highest levels of the corporate ladder.
This is often the case, even as an increasingly larger number of the Anglo Americans with similar academic qualifications and work experiences are in a position to climb up the career ladder with little or no resistance, and within a short duration of time. For much of the 20th century, the Latinos, just like their African American counterparts, were often denied access to the larger society and public institutions, thanks to customs and laws that were discriminatory to them. This was especially the case in the segregated South. For example, unequal and separate systems of schools were established to accommodate the Latino children. In a majority of the communities, the Latinos were often faced with disenfranchisement, not to mention being accorded few civil and legal rights. In line with the Jim Crow Model, primary elections were labeled ‘whites only’, meaning that the Latinos did not have the right to vote. Furthermore, the Latinos were also subjected to the widely practiced residential segregation.
Although there was evidence of rampant discrimination against the Latinos, sadly, the criminal justice system (in this case, the court system and the police), ignored or abetted this rampant discrimination. Even when the Latinos formed resistance and protest groups with the aim of enhancing their collective position say, at the workplace, this in effect turned the workplace into an arena of conflict. Thanks to split labor market issues, the prejudice against the Latinos increased with a number of labor unions attempting to exclude the Latinos. While the Latinos have been faced with various forms of discrimination (both at an individual and institutional level) nonetheless, it is important to note that it has not been so rigid as to rival those systems that had been instituted to control African American labor under the umbrella of slavery and segregation.
Nevertheless, the extent to which the Latinos in the United States have been subjected to one form of discrimination or another is yet to dissipate to a similar level as that meted out to immigrants groups of European dissent. Since they have been in the United States fro a relatively longer period of time, more than any other Latino group, the Mexican Americans could have probably also been affected the most by the various types of institutionalized discrimination