Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Mexican Inclusion: The Origins of Anti-Discrimination Policy in Texas and the Southwest

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Mexican Inclusion: The Origins of Anti-Discrimination Policy in Texas and the Southwest

Article excerpt

Mexican Inclusion: The Origins of Anti-Discrimination Policy in Texas and the Southwest. By Matthew Critter. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2012. Pp. [xii], 160. $40.00, ISBN 978-1-60344-798-0.)

Matthew Gritter provides some insight into the interplay between Mexican American civil rights activists and the Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC). The book does not explore policy outside that agency. A policy study of the FEPC as it related to Mexicans and Mexican Americans is overdue. Gritter provides a useful introduction. The book does not revise Richard Griswold del Castillo's World War II and Mexican American Civil Rights (Austin, 2008) but provides a political scientist's viewpoint on a narrow aspect of the broader subject.

The strength of Mexican Inclusion: The Origins of Anti-Discrimination Policy in Texas and the Southwest lies in its transnational focus. Mexican consuls in the Southwest collaborated with Mexican American civil rights activists to take advantage of the investigative authority of the FEPC. Gritter elaborates on the complexities Mexicans on both sides of the border faced during World War II. Mexican workers wanted to come to the United States to take advantage of economic opportunities. Strapped for employees because of the war, American industry viewed Mexicans as an inexpensive source of labor. At the same time, however, the unfortunate fact of discrimination against Latinos in the American Southwest placed Mexican workers at the end of the line when it came to hiring. Further complicating matters was the history of U.S.-Mexico relations. Mexicans viewed Norteamericanos as conquerors and invaders but did not want to position themselves as being unfriendly to the Allied fight against fascism. …

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