Manifest Destinies: The Making of the Mexican American Race

Manifest Destinies: The Making of the Mexican American Race

Manifest Destinies: The Making of the Mexican American Race

Manifest Destinies: The Making of the Mexican American Race

Synopsis

Filled with Joyous self-affirmation, angry manifestos, and searching personal reflections, this classic work provides a close look at the individuals and ideologies of this important social movement. In the tradition of Sisterhood is Powerful, Out of the Closets presents , in their own words, the views, values attitudes, aspirations, and circumstances of the early generation of gay and lesbian liberationists. Highlighting both how much and how little has changed since Stonewall, this work is essential reading for anyone concerned with the history of sexuality and the legal and social status of lesbians and gays in contemporary America.

Excerpt

More than a century-and-a-half ago, a series of events occurred that resulted in the formation of Mexican Americans as a racial group in the United States. For complex reasons that I explore in this book, Mexican Americans often have been portrayed (and sometimes have portrayed themselves) as an ethnic group that eventually will assimilate into American society, just as European immigrant groups once did. I will argue that given the early history of Mexicans in the United States, it is more accurate to treat Mexican Americans as a racial group.

Two common misconceptions lie at the root of what most people take for granted about Mexicans in the United States. The first is that Mexican Americans are not a racial group at all, but instead merely an ethnic group. Race in the United States has historically been viewed as a matter of black/ white relations and, more specifically, as about white subordination of African Americans. Despite the fact that the United States has always been a racially diverse society, non-white groups other than blacks often have been overlooked. Although Indian tribes were recognized as constituting independent nations (who could, for instance, freely enter nation-to-nation treaties with the United States until 1871), Indians were just as surely recognized as a racial group and as racially inferior to Euro-Americans. The arrival of more than 400,000 Chinese immigrants in the first century of the nation's existence added to America's racial diversity. The United States has always been a multiracial nation, even though it has become popular only in the past twenty-five years to talk in those terms.

The second misconception is that Mexican Americans are a “new” group that consists primarily of recent immigrants and their children. Mexican Americans have been a significant part of American society since 1848, when more than 115,000 Mexicans became U.S. citizens. It was well into the twentieth century before the U.S. government seriously regulated Mexican immigration to the United States. For 160 years, the Mexican . . .

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