Not with the Fist, Mexican-Americans in a Southwest City

Not with the Fist, Mexican-Americans in a Southwest City

Not with the Fist, Mexican-Americans in a Southwest City

Not with the Fist, Mexican-Americans in a Southwest City

Excerpt

In the Southwest, persons of Mexican descent and extraction are as familiar a part of the surroundings as mesas, cactus, and those washes called rivers. In this area, which once belonged to imperial Spain and later to the fledgeling Mexican republic, the names of cities, streets, and localities are reminders of the historic tie with a Hispanic civilization. One can hear Spanish spoken on street corners, in soda-fountains, on school playgrounds. Words like dinero and casa and frijoles have crept into the vocabulary of the average resident, as have antique dishes like tamales and tortillas into his cuisine, and the semi-enclosed garden, called a patio, into his house plan. He is accustomed to seeing faces as natively American as those which greeted Cortez on his march to Mexico City--as well as faces as Hispanic as that of the conqueror himself--on buses, in stores, and on the streets of every town. As long as there have been Americans in the Southwest, they have had as neighbors representatives of the great cultural blend of Latin America--that of the ancient Indian civilizations and the European culture of Spain. One might expect that Anglo-Americans in this section of the country, through long-continued contacts in their communities, might have unusual appreciation and understanding of the other half of the hemisphere. Unfortunately, this has not been the case, for the Anglo-American has viewed his immediate neighbors of Latin descent through a rather peculiar pair of spectacles, refracted so as to limit vision sharply in certain directions and tinted so as to shadow the whole vista.

Persons of Mexican origin and descent, resident in the United States, have acquired the label of "minority." Some of them are the descendants of families resident in the territory long before the United States had any title to it. Some are immigrants who came from Mexico twenty-five or thirty years ago. A great many . . .

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