My guess is that when you think discrimination, the first race you think of is most likely not Hispanic. I made this website to help others understand what these people have to go through everyday and maybe sway some opinions on how to treat Latinos.
I am personally interested in this topic because I am curious about what other Latinos have to go through every day. Although I myself am also a Latino, because of my social status and the color of my skin, I don’t have to go through this ‘other’ Latino life. I would like to learn about this ‘other’ Latino perspective and truly learn what it means to be Latino in this country. I want to know what it’s like to be undocumented. I want to know what it means to have someone discriminate against you for who you are, and I want to know what people have to go through because of who they are or what they look like.
My interest is in the Oppression and Discrimination of Latinos. The culture, the family life, the emotions, the oppression, and the reasons they are still caught in a loop of discrimination. When oppression comes up, author and therapist Birgitte Bonning Espitia says that,
“Normally, violence is presented to us through very explicit visual images of destruction, including physical attacks, dismemberments, and bloodied bodies. Normally, these violent images are ragingly loud, or they are uncomfortably quiet when dead or destroyed bodies are left for passersby to observe. We often see images like these being used to represent Latin American countries and their people” (Gale Literature Resource Center)
The main question that I want to research for this project is: Why are Latinos caught up in a cycle of oppression and discrimination? In this case, I want to focus on Latin Americans as a whole. Not viewing them as most people would of them as farmworkers and janitors, but as a people that have been oppressed since the beginning of America. The oppression and discrimination of Latin Americans can be traced all the way back to the early days of America. I want to start when Americans started classifying them as “job-stealers” and go all the way to “illegal aliens”. It is my goal to see what they are and what they aren’t.
Migrants Crossing the border on top of a Train
What you need to know:
Ever since the United States conquered over half the territory of Mexico in 1848, Latino people have been overlooked and pushed down. People of Latino descent are still being discriminated against for the way they dress, the way they talk, and the way they act. This is not right. I wanted to research why this has been happening so much to try and help our world thrive. I believe that educating people about how their actions can be hurtful to others is the most effective way of helping the world we live in because it shows people, without shaming them, the wrongs they commit by educating them about why they are wrong in a way that doesn’t make them feel scolded or punished. It allows people to correct their flaws by themselves. Since the conquest of Mexico, there have been many things that have defined how Latinos are treated in our modern-day society, and how it will remain unless people are educated about their actions. There are many examples of discrimination in the country, but here are a few.
For example, there have been multiple instances in the history of Latinos of low representation in positions of power. Not only do few people from other races vote for Latino representatives there are also low counts of Latino voters towards them too according to Sophia J. Wallace in a paper she and others wrote at Rutgers University. Throughout her research, Wallace asked very broad, but defined questions that had to do with ethnicity such as, “Do minority group members want members of Congress (MOC) who look like them, and if so what factors influence their support”(Wallace)? And these questions suggest new ones such as, “[W]hy are there so few Latino representatives? Do Latino members of Congress behave differently than other legislators? Finally, do Latinos want to have Latino representatives, and what individual constituent characteristics and experiences affect this desire” (Wallace)? Wallace, among others, has been closely studying the effect and origins of these issues and their findings suggest that discriminatory attitudes can lead to other Latinos not voting for Latino Representatives. How would that make a Latino feel to not be able to vote for someone who shares their identity?
“NBCNews.com Alexandra Acevedo”
A second example took place after World War II and had a huge impact on the Hispanic community: a government-funded campaign in 1955 called Operation Wetback. Operation Wetback was a massive campaign to rid the country of most of, if not all illegal Hispanics coming from the south. Between 1944 and 1954 when the United States was recruiting millions of Mexican immigrants to work the fields, the Mexican population in the US grew roughly 6,000 percent, and most of that was illegal immigration (Toft). Moreover, Mexican immigrants were blamed for taking jobs from the veterans who fought in the Korean war which ended in 1953. This sole event had an enormous impact on the way people viewed Mexicans and still has an impact on the current day. Discriminatory slang also started being used on Mexicans. One main one was calling them Wetbacks due to the easiest way to cross the border at the time was by crossing El Rio Grande which is the enormous river that borders and separates the United States and Mexico (Toft). All of this led to Mexicans and other Hispanic races being viewed as an enemy. Not as an enemy of the country, but an enemy of the economy and a way of life.
Here’s a short video from CNN Politics to summarize Operation Wetback and give you a perspective from both an officer and a Mexican immigrant at the time of the operation.
When it comes to solutions there are three main things that I feel would help. The first is things that people could do on a personal level such as individuals, their friends or their family. The second is things people could do on a societal level such as your neighborhood, schools, or work. And the third are things we could all do on a government level, such as laws, votes, and reformations of certain things. These along with the help of the government could make not only impactful changes, but it could also make fundamental changes in the way we live our lives as Americans and it could benefit everyone.
The First solutions are at the individual level. These require people to make simple changes in their lives. First, doing research on the journeys of Mexicans across the border to America and finding their reasoning behind it. This can allow people to be more empathetic towards the Hispanic community, such as allowing them to thrive in their own communities, and not name call or assume. It benefits Hispanics by allowing them to feel as they are accepted in American society. Too often are Hispanics called aliens. Too often are they manipulated because they can’t speak English. And these things need to stop.
The next solution that we could all do is helping out the Hispanic community. Such as restaurants, small businesses and buying food or crops from farms that are owned by Latinos. Furthermore interacting nicely with the Hispanic people in your community can mean the world to people and not assume what they have been going through, but know it is a lot if you know they crossed illegally. Business owners can help as well by hiring more Hispanic workers. It not only promotes business and incentivizes more Latinos to come to their business, but it also helps Hispanics get out of the loophole of working the soil and providing America and the world with crops and cleaning the floors of buildings after hours. A lot of the time if Hispanics can’t find a job they go to the easiest place to get a job, farms.
Finally, something we could do on a societal level is fixing our immigration system. Currently, our immigration system is a long tedious process that can take up to six months from the day you get your green card to get into the country and that can be even longer and harder to obtain if you’ve crossed illegally. Furthermore, according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service “[They are] given two opportunities to take the English and civics tests and to answer all questions relating to your naturalization application in English. (USCIS If [they] fail any of the tests at [the] initial interview, you will be retested on the portion of the test that you failed (English or civics) between 60 and 90 days from the date of your initial interview.” Later on, if they fail the second attempt their citizen application is denied. This process not only is hard but can take tons of time and depending on the individuals’ situation.
As of today, a few things have already been done by the government such as laws and funding towards creating new jobs for people and for helping the Latino community thrive. For example, the LEDC (Latino Economic Development Center) received a $700,000 award for helping low-income Latinos with finding job opportunities at food businesses. (LEDC).
Here’s a link to their home page:
Overall the treatment and opportunities of the Hispanic community in the United States need to change. The immigration system needs to loosen their guidelines and people need to make more opportunities for the Hispanics that cross the border, illegally or not. It is not right that the world that we live in seems to be so unfair, but until we can all see everyone around us doing their part I’m going to keep trying to help others. We have all lived in a time where people seem to have to feel out of place I hope that one day I can see the last person feel left out or discriminated against due to their race.
If you want to read my fully essays on this topic here are these three links:
If you want to see my Works Cited visit here:
Thank you for taking the time to read this through if you did. Feel free to leave constructive thoughs or conversation starters (on topic please) in the comments below. I will try my best to respond to all of them.
To get everyone started:
What solutions can you think of to help the Discrimination against Hispanics?
If you can’t think of any solutions, what would be someways you would improve on mine?
Have there been more efforts to help the Latino Community where you live that you want to share? If so were they successfull?