by Rolando Gonzales
Recently, there is the current issue concerning the crossing of illegal, underage immigrants who cross over to the United States not just from Mexico, but from Central and South America.
Because of this, United States citizens are witnessing an increase in humanitarian support for the care and welfare of underaged illegal immigrants who cross into the Rio Grande Valley and oth
er cities along one of the world's longest secured international border.
Not only do the immigrants face many hardships along the way, comes the issue of intraethnic discrimination that ocurrs along the border where Mexican Americans do not support nor agree with the current governmental handling of the influx of illegal immigrants. But this started somewhere and there a contributing factors that lead to this type of intercultural discrimination.
In the BeginningEdit
Historically Mexican Americans have had it rough for many, many years. in their article “Racial Identity and Racial Treament of Mexican Americans,” Vilma Ortiz and Edward Tells state that many argue that Mexican Americans have been racialized throughout United States history thus limiting their participation in society (Ortiz-Tells 1). According to their study, children of intermarriages may lose a connection to being Mexican, but do not acknowledge themselves as being white.
However, they make a valid point, “racial experiences are varied and involve many aspects of a person's life (Ortiz-Tells 5).” Mexican Americans ultimately decide what they are based on what they've been through. Because of this, they may lose their sense of culture thus looking at those and the situation with anger and angst.
Assimilation-Trying to Fit In Edit
Trying to fit into American society, young Latinos may lose their sense of culture and belonging. Maybe this is where the seed of intracultural discriminationIn is planted. In her essay “Socialized into Whiteness,” Roxana Rojas states the challenges Mexican Americans face trying to navigate in an American -English speaking world asserts the long standing theory of assimilation that adjustment to a new society does not necessarily erase all
of their culture and that assimilation is a process through which immigrant groups experience varying degrees of integration into American society (Rojas 2).
In the editorial “My Mexican-American identity crisis” published on CNN’s website by Ruben Navarrette states,
“We're their offspring, and we're loyal to them (ancestors). Not Mexico. And even though we may now be living the American Dream, having gone to good schools and taken good jobs, we can never lose sight of the fact that it's the American Dream we're living, and not the Mexican one. Our identity might sometimes be fuzzy, but our loyalty is clear. It's to the United States.” It could be that Mexican-Americans along the border feel their homeland is being somewhat taken over where individuals are coming over uninvited hence the negative feelings towards the illegal immigrants.
It wasn't too long ago where Latino students faced punishment and humiliation for speaking Spanish in school. But for most people and cultures, language is one if not the most important factors for identity formation (Rojas 5). However, there is a stigma along the border when either Spanish or English isn't spoken, that person may be looked down upon which goes for both immigrants and Mexican American alike.
In his article "The Mexican-American Second Generation: Yesterday, Today...and Tomorrow," David E, Lopez states that "Mexican immigrants bring over a set of conflicting racial attitudes about themselves that reflect the contradictory role of race in their homeland." This could indicate why Mexicans discriminate towards Mexican Americans
simply for not being able to speak the language.
Even when trying to learn Spanish, Samuel P. Huntington states that "second generation immigrants often lo
ok down on and reject their ancestral language and are embarrassed by their parent's ability to communicate in English (Huntington 11)". Therefore, the instance where an individual is ridiculed or chastised for not being able to speak the other's native tongue could lead to discrimination.
And when it comes to education, there are instances where even educated Mexican-Americans look down upon their own culture along the border an those who are here illegally. Rojas states "that any type of desire to advance is not the result of wanting to be perceived as white or to fit in as white, but rather as an attempt to reach personal and familial goal (Riojas 2)."
Huntington, Samuel P. "The Hispanic Challenge." Foreign Policy 1 Mar. 2004. Web.
Lopez, David E. The Mexican-American Second Generation: Yesterday, Today...and Tomorrow.Comparative Immigration and Integration Program (CIIP). Migration Dialogue, Feb. 1999. Web. 29 June 2014. <https://migration.ucdavis.edu/rs/more.php?id=42_0_3_0>.
Navarrette, Ruben, and The Opinions Expressed in This Commentary Are Solely Those of Ruben Navarrette. "My Mexican-American Identity Crisis." CNN. Cable News Network, 30 Nov. 2012. Web. 29 June 2014. <http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/30/opinion/navarrette-mexican-american/>.
Ortiz, Vilma, and Edward Telles. "Racial Identity and Racial Treatment of Mexican Americans." Race and Social Problems 4.1 (2012): 41-56. Web.
Rojas, Roxana. Race, Ethnicity, and Me Project. First Edition - Fall 2008. David Spener, Fall 2008. Web. 27 June 2014. <http://web.trinity.edu/Documents/student_affairs_docs/CCI_docs/Diversity/Socialized%20into%20Whiteness.pdf