Cierra Alvear| MAS10B / Section 1| | Portfolio 1 Covarrubias/ Cruz| 03/18/13| Section 1: 1900-1930 C. How did the Great Depression affect Mexican Americans differently than other Americans? Explain the multiple impacts endured by the Mexican Americans. After WWI money was being spent three times the rate of tax collection and soon the government began to cut spending in the 1920’s. This then resulted in the Great Depression. The Great Depression was a massive economic crisis that was held over a period of ten years, 1923-1939.
With the Great Depression hardships began to rise, unemployment sky rocketed, and for Mexican-Americans, things got unbearable. During the Great Depression Mexican-Americans, unlike white Americans, were faced with hysteria and deportation (illegal and lawful), false accusations, segregation, and extreme loss of jobs. While all Americans suffered during the Great Depression, Mexican-Americans suffered tremendously more. Mexican immigrants and Mexican- American Citizens constantly lived in fear of deportation during the Great Depression.
In 1924 Labor Appropriation Act established the Mexicans and Mexican Americans were made to feel as if they didn’t belong in the United States.
As the economy began to fall into a deeper depression, Mexican, citizens or not, were being deported at a rapid pace. At times women and their children were forced on buses and shipped off to Mexico, miles away from civilization. They were forced to walk hundreds of miles and were separated from their families for years on end (Acuna, 194). Now, if this was done to white Americans, it would be considered cruel and injustice but for Mexicans it was allowed.
That alone is an example of how unfairly Mexicans were treated and deported with no warning. Another factor that led to the massive deportation of Mexicans, and Mexican American citizens was the Repatriation Act of 1929. This law was set in “mute” and allowed the process to return a person back to ones place of origin of citizenship (Cruz, 02/25/13). It was estimated that “150,000 Mexicans were repatriated” as soon as the Repatriation Act of 1929, which was indeed a discriminative law against Mexicans (Acuna, 194). With this act if deported, Mexicans were not allowed to collect any wages they had made or even sell their land.
Slowly everything was being taken away from Mexicans during the Great Depression. Once again, if a law such as this was put in effect towards the white-Americans it would certainly not be in “mute” and be treated as legal law, they also would make a huge riot if it came down to collecting money that they earned, but since Mexicans were not white, they had no chance. One of the biggest factors that lead to the deportation of approximately 2 million Mexicans and Mexican Americans was the belief and false accusation that anyone of Mexican decent was stealing “American” jobs.
With the accusation of all Mexicans, citizen or not, that they were stealing Americans jobs resulted in a fight for jobs that they would never win. They never stood a chance when competing White-Americans for employment because now, even the “Mexican work” was being filled by whit Americans (Acuna, 204). The most considered occupations for Mexican men were “in agriculture (45 percent), manufacturing (24 percent), and transportation (13 percent)” (Ruiz, 9). With all the jobs being taken over by white Americans, Mexicans began to grow hungrier, fall even further into poverty, and made the surviving a hard thing to accomplish.
Also with the lack of income, many Mexicans began to become malnourished, and sick, which then resulted in the ridiculous speculations that all Mexicans were “diseased”. In reality Americans, Mexicans, and Mexican Americans were all becoming terribly ill with tuberculosis, and other illnesses. However, the White Americans started to point fingers toward the Mexicans, causing rumors to spread that Mexicans were the ones who started and spread the diseases. This caused incidents such as checking only Mexicans and Mexican American citizens, for diseases.
If they had a fever or any kind of sickness they would deport them or put on their record “diseased”, causing them to never have the chance to return to the states even if they were a citizen already (Ruiz, 27). These incidents were completely discriminative and another thing Mexicans had to fear. With the rumor of disease, also came segregation. Soon schools began to segregate Mexican children and put them in underfunded, unfurnished, and rundown buildings that they called “schools”. So now not only were Mexican workers experiencing tremendous hardships, their children were too.
Segregating the schools was another example as to how Mexicans and Mexican American citizens experienced racism and inequality from white Americans. Mexicans faced far worse consequences after World War I. During the ten years of the Great Depression hardships arose for the entire country. Unemployment began to sky rocket, and for Mexican-Americans, things got unbearable. Mexicans and Mexican- American citizens suffered far worse outcomes during the Great Depression than white Americans. White Americans at least had the chance of survival, rather than Mexicans whose lives fell into deeper poverty.
Mexican-Americans were faced with hysteria and deportation (illegal and lawful), loss of any chance at employment they had, they were faced with false accusations of diseases, and lastly segregation in schools began to dominate. In short a chance of survival for Mexicans in the United States was rare and difficult. Section 2: World War II Era and the 1950s B. To what extent did Chicanos’ demonstration of patriotic duty through military service during WWII benefit them socially (and/or politically) afterwards? During WWII the Mexican American generation, or better known as the children who grew up as citizens, were thrown into war.
Mexicans did see light at the end of the tunnel for WWII. They thought the war it would lead to a job opportunity, education, and adventure. They also felt as though it was their patriotic duty; to prove they were worthy to be seen as an American. Some however forced into the war by their father or the draft. Either way, by choice or no choice it is estimated that 370,000- 500,000 Mexican Americans served in the armed forces (Acuna, 236). The bravery of the Mexican American soldiers after WWII was overlooked, and unappreciated.
The Mexican soldiers had high hopes in returning to the states; equality, job opportunity, praise. Despite their contributions, sacrifices, and most casualties, things didn’t change when they arrived back in the United States. Socially WWII didn’t benefit Mexican Americans upon return, instead they were faced with discrimination and broken promises. However, WWII politically affected Mexican-Americans in a beneficial way; they began fighting for the injustice and for their equality. After WWII Mexican Americans had the idea that white Americans would now have an understanding for Chicanos.
However, this was not the case, the dominant society was not ready to view/ accept them as equals (Acuna, 248). Upon their return Mexican Americans became the “scapegoats”. They were being blamed for all the casualties during the war, even though most were of Mexican origin (Acuna, 240). Mexican veterans were largely discriminated in most areas. For example, some restaurants refused to give them coffee just because they were Mexican, they were looked down upon, and they still were made to feel as if they didn’t belong despite their notable actions during WWII.
Another example of discrimination was “The Longoria Incident”. Private Felix Longoria who was killed in action in 1944 was denied in his hometown, Three Rivers, Texas, because he was Mexican (Covarrubias, 3/13/13). To deny burial service to a fallen soldier because of his race would be an outrage if it were to happen in today’s society. Mexicans were faced with discrimination everyday especially when it came to “promises” that were supposed to be awarded to them. When going into the war, all soldiers were promised a chance of a new beginning.
The Servicemen’s Readjustment, known informally as the G. I. Bill, was a law that provided a range of benefits for returning World War II veterans. The Benefits included low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans to start a business or farm, cash payments of tuition and living expenses to attend college, high school or vocational education, as well as one year of unemployment compensation (Acuna, 249). However, it was available to every veteran who had been on active duty during the war, as long as you weren’t Mexican. For white Americans as long as they were in WWII for at least inety days, and were not dishonorably discharged, then they would receive the benefits of the G. I Bill. In fact they white Americans who didn’t even fight in combat received these benefits, unlike the Mexican Americans who were forced to put their life on the line in high task missions. With the massive difference in inequality after WWII, Mexican Americans grew tired, and fed up with all the discrimination, because they too were American citizens. The discrimination and inequality against Mexican Americans only pushed them further and gave them courage to stand up for themselves.
Chicano veterans found that the war had given them a new found pride in their identity, thus the beginning of their political battle for equal opportunities (Cruz, 3/11/13). The American G. I Forum fought for equality of veterans, and increased involvement in civil rights. A great organization that fueled Mexican Americans fight for equal opportunity was the “League of United Latin Americans”, also known as LULAC. LULA organized the fight for education, Chicano identity and also went door to door to register Mexican Americans to vote, and become politically active (Acuna, 249).
The First Regional Conference on Education of the Spanish- Speaking People took place at the University of Texas at Austin, which was a huge take on Mexican Americans political input (Acuna, 249). Later more court cases began to arise and Mexicans were fighting for what was right. Soon segregation in schools became unconstitutional, and opportunities began to arise. In the end most Mexican Americans who were the youth of the 1930’s, and now were veterans and adults, integrated themselves in national organizations like LULAC, The G. I.
Forum, and other emerging national organizations such as the Community Service Organization (Acuna, 250). Pushed by the leaders in the Mexican community, more Mexican Americans took the path of toward democratic participation. This highly benefited the Mexican American communities and was a start of social and political equality after WWII. Thus, at first after WWII Mexican Americans didn’t benefit or prosper socially upon return, and were instead faced with discrimination and broken promises. They were not allowed certain services and guarantees such as the G.
I Bill was nonexistent for Chicanos. WWII did however benefit them politically. It made them proud of their Mexican identity and pushed them to fight for the injustice, become active in organizations, and fight for their civil rights. Works Cited Acuna , Rodolfo. Occupied America: A History of Chicanos. 7th. New York: Pearson, 2011. Print. Covarrubias, Jesus. Lectures: January- March 2013. Cruz, Maria. Lectures: January- March 2013. Ruiz, Vicki L. From Out of the Shadows. tenth anniversary edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998, 2008. Print.
Cite this Indigenous People and Wwii
Indigenous People and Wwii. (2016, Oct 30). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/indigenous-people-and-wwii/