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In class this week we read articles all relating to Mexican American exploitation and discrimination in United States history. The article “ Sexual Violence in the Politics and Policies of Conquest” by Antonia I. Castaneda discusses the destructive effects of rape and the abuse of Mexican American women and Native American women in California Missions. The essay “Chicanos in the United States: A History of Exploitation and Resistance”  documents  the exploitation of Mexicans in the 1800’s by Whites and Mexico’s history with the United States. The last article is called “Becoming Hispanic: Mexican Americans and Whiteness” by Neil Foley which explains how Mexican Americans received the term ‘Hispanic’ and the segregation they went through.

“Sexual Violence in the Politics and Policies of Conquest” by Antonia I. Castaneda is about the rape of women in the 1700’s and 1800’s and how common it was and it was ignored without punishment. Even thought laws trying to prevent rape from happening were created it didn’t stop men from committing this vulgar crime. A quote that really stood out to me was, “In the history of Western civilization writ large, rape is an act of domination an act of power. As such it is a violent political act committed through sexual aggression against women.” Men would rape the women of a conquered village or city. Rape was seen as a sign of power and prestige, “rape has been considered a legitimate form of aggression against the opposing army– legitimate expression of superiority that carries with no civil penalty.” It is disgusting to know that things like this were acceptable and common, to have women’s lives forever changed and damaged.

“Chicanos in the United States: A History of Exploitation and Resistance” is an essay that elaborates on Mexico’s history of discrimination and abuse from the United States. Mexican American have gone through many obstacles of abuse in order to migrate and live in America. Which eventually lead to the Chicano Movement in between 1965-75. Bringing positivity to Chicano life, “ With Journalistic phrases like “people on the move,” “awakening gaint,” “emerging minority,” and “sleeping gaint” writers have drawn attention to the “sudden” visibility of Chicanos. The article gave me a lot of information of how it was to be a Mexican American during World War II and the depression.

The third article called “Becoming Hispanic: Mexican Americas and Whiteness” by Neil Foley was very interesting because it stated how in the late 1800s and early 1900s ‘Hispanics’ wanted to be viewed as ‘white’ so they wouldn’t be segregated and not viewed as citizens. “Mexican Americans during the thirties and forties began to call themselves “Spanish” and insisted on their whiteness.” I also found it interesting to know that people would be decided if they were granted citizenship by the way they looked and if they were “white enough,” which sounds ridiculous. I was also surprised by the discrimination and segregation, “Mexicans were segregated into “Mexican schools” on the grounds that they needed special language instruction, were “dirty” or had fallen to far behind to be educated with Anglos of the same age.”

In conclusion, these two articles and one essay all dealt with discrimination. In “ Sexual Violence in the Politics and Policies of Conquest”  Native American women and Mexican American women were raped an abused by white settler and Priest from the Missions. In “Chicanos in the United States: A History of Exploitation and Resistance” Mexican Americans have been discriminated all through out history. Finally in the article, “Becoming Hispanic: Mexican Americas and Whiteness”  discusses the segregation of Mexicans and how Mexicans fought and tried not to be discrimination and be seen as equal in the early 1900s. This article to me was the most interesting because of the length Mexican Americans went through to be seen as white, to avoid inequality and the absurdity of not allowing citizenship to people of dark skin, but allowing citizenship to immigrants with white skin.

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