Historical Report on Race-Letter to a Friend

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Category: Societal Issues

Date Submitted: 07/05/2013 09:18 PM

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Dear Sally,

I know we have talked before about understanding where I am coming from sometimes in my views or comments about our lives. I feel it’s time I give you some background so that you can better understand me and my family. I’m writing this because I value our friendship and I truly know that you want to learn and understand. I hope that this brings you to the level of knowledge and understanding that can bridge that gap in our friendship.

First, you have to understand a little bit about our history in the United States. We weren’t always Mexicans. A lot of the population came from land that is now America but was Mexico at one time. America won the land and what is now California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Utah in the Mexican Cession of 1848 (Schaefer, R, 2012). People who were born here were now deemed second class citizens and kicked out of their own land, much like the Native Americans. There was a time where they did allow people who were born here to cross over into Mexico and come back again for family and work purposes but that didn’t last either. From the 1840’s to the 1920’s there was an estimated 597 Mexican Americans lynched (Wikipedia, 2013). The lynching was not mostly due to legal and judicial matters as most territories didn’t even have a judicial system in place. There were thousands of Mexicans arriving in California during the California Gold Rush. Many were experienced miners and had some success mining gold. Some Anglos reacted with violence and at least 163 Mexicans were lynched in California alone (Wikipedia, 2013). These numbers are second to the amount of lynching to the African Americans during that period.

Mexicans started moving into other regions in the U.S. to obtain the low paying jobs in cotton fields, factories, packing plants, automobile manufacturing plants and to work in the agriculture and related fields. This large wave Mexican immigration are attracted to low-paid labor jobs and an equally high...