Why Don't Other Latinos Like Being Called Mexican?

[¡Ask a Mexican!] And did Mexicans face legal segregation like African-Americans?

DEAR MEXICAN: My dad says when he was a kid growing up in Downey, they used to open the local plunge (pool) to mexicanos and negritos on Thursdays only because the pool was cleaned once a week on Friday mornings. Is this an accurate account of racism in the 1940s or an exaggeration? Do you know of other blatant racial policies back then, and which ones still exist against Mexicans today?

Pocho Pendejo Who Can Barely Hablo Español

DEAR POCHO: Absolutely true story. Gabachos think the desegregation movement was a primarily African-American affair, but that's nowhere near the verdad—fact is, Mexican-Americans not only suffered a lot of the same discrimination (work, school, housing, even pools) as African-Americans, but they were also at the forefront of the legal battle to overturn such pendejo laws, especially in Southern California. For instance, a Mexican-American from Fullerton named Alex Bernal was sued by his gabacho neighbors in Orange County Superior Court when he moved into an all-white neighborhood; the case, Doss v. Bernal, set legal precedent against housing covenants, as Bernal won against those idiots. Then 1944's Lopez v. Seccombe took on the issue of segregated swimming pools in San Bernardino; a federal judge found such discriminatory policies illegal. And Mendez, et al. v. Westminster, et al. saw five OC Mexican familias take on school districts that made their children attend all-Mexican schools; that case went all the way up to a federal court of appeals, with an amicus curae brief from the NAACP (which, of course, would go on to argue the far-more-famous Brown v. Board of Education). Add in all the legal desmadre waged in Texas during the 1950s (especially the efforts of the brilliant Tejano legal team behind Hernandez v. Texas, a 1954 Supreme Court case that found Mexis were humans under the 14th Amendment) and the current effort by today to fight for the undocumented, and Mexicans have indeed suffered from discrimination—but we also fight for everyone's rights, as our legal precedents benefit todos.

Mark Dancey

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DEAR MEXICAN: I'm a U.S.-born Latina whose family has lived in Colorado for generations. Over the past few years, I've noticed that more Latinos from the Caribbean and Central and South America are moving to our beautiful state. I've also noticed how pendante many of these newcomers are. One Puerto Rican executive is giving presentations to public-relations firms in Denver, telling Anglos that not all Latinos are "poor or brown or Mexican." Why is it okay for every new group that moves to this state to use Mexicans as scapegoats?

Colfax Chica (But Not the Streetwalking Kind)

DEAR WABETTE: Because that's the American way, chula. If there's one thing that new immigrants quickly learn after bus routes and how to get on welfare, it's to hate Mexicans. It gets particularly heated with Latinos, though, because many of them want to assert their own ethnic identity in a country that, outside of Washington, D.C., Florida, and parts of the East Coast, is almost exclusively Mexican when it comes to Latinos. Then again, while I don't blame the boricua for wanting to let people know he's not Mexican, but rather Puerto Rican, I must also wonder why he wants people to know he's Puerto Rican in the first place. . . .

 
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118 comments
cynthia.curran8
cynthia.curran8

I got something for you, why do Republicans in Orange County love Texas and both Harris and Dallas Counties have higher percentage of Mexicans and Harris probably has about 700,000more than OC but Republicans who don't like Mexicans here want to run to Texas.

whitefear
whitefear

Personally, I couldn't care less what a Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central American or ANY OTHER latin/hispanic  group thinks of Mexicans in this country. Nor do I care if some stupid GABACHO tries to "insult" me by calling me MEXICAN (how lame!).... What burns me up is when people in   position of power like our so called leaders(especially White, Christian Conservatives) support views and legislation that promote discrimination and breed hostility from within. This serves only to impede OUR progress and makes it easier for THEM to enrich themselves thru exploitation.That's why you'll NEVER see any real immigration reform for MEXICANS in this country despite 20 plus years of that scam called NAFTA. What we WILL continue to get, however, are efforts by idiots like Jan Brewer and her disciples to pass laws that make it OK to racially profile Mexicans in shithole Arizona or wanna be "soldier" groups like the MINUTEMEN project who take it upon themselves to shoot people. THAT is when racists and racism become a problem for me. Despite what the assholes in right wing media land may say, we DON't live in a post racial society, OK?

tom.pryor
tom.pryor

Boriucas are "new immigrants"?  Since when?

griffinmichael
griffinmichael

He could have easily answered his own question by asking himself how he'd like being called Canadian! Hey, we all speak English, don't we . . . ?

doslucky2
doslucky2

Hegemony, that is the issue. You go into any Mexican neighborhood in the USA and if you are not Mexican, people are very likely to make fun, put down, or ridicule a different accent, being indigenous, anything, that they do not consider "Mexican". Of course, there are exceptions. These exceptions tend to be Mexicans who have been exposed to a world beyond Mexico or the USA, or who take pride in their existence other than nationalism.

Which always makes me sad because "being Mexican" is as diverse as Mexico. It has been my experience that the people who take Mexican pride to the point of putting down other Latin American people have very little else in their life.

It is not that we mind being called Mexican. It is that we want people to know that the USA is a very diverse place, much more than it had been up until the 1980's. Anyone who has been to the east coast will see that Latin@s get along much better than in the Southwest because there is no numerical majority, or a type of nationalism Mexicans are bound to exhibit.

I am a Q'eqch'i Mayan born in Guatemala and raised in California. I can tell you that I have experienced much more prejudice and hatred from Mexicans and Mexicans Americans than from any other group in the USA, including whites.   

downtownbrown
downtownbrown

The northern mexicans hate the southern mexicans, the country mexicans hate the city mexicans, the light skinned mexicans hate the inditos.  The mexicans who have been in the U.S. five minutes longer hate the ones who just showed up.  But the one thing they all have in common is hatred for dawhiteman.


Dey stole are lan!

Noe Martinez
Noe Martinez

That's why all latinos need to have a gun on them at all time and eye for and eye

Diana Duran
Diana Duran

From Tijuana, Mexico to Águila Islet, Chile, we are all Mexicans to those that don't bother to learn a bit about the world. I'm including mi raza, too.

BillxT
BillxT topcommenter

Gustavo, I'm surprised that you're confusing ethnicity with national origin. Ethnicity has no rigorous definition, and of course nation of origin is simple.

sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

no one hates mexicans like other mexicans do



each group needs a scapegoat to make up for their own failings



Hector Becerra
Hector Becerra

The nastiest case of stink eye I ever got was at Phoenix airport and it was post 9-11 and I had a full beard and looked like BELOW. So I wasn't even hated correctly! That said, via email I get a regular dose of Mexican hate. Lastly, there was a case back east of an Ecuadoran immigrant stomped to death by kids who called him a "Mexican." I think the term has been used as a catch-all slur by some bigots, a convenient if lazy short cut. The addition of the article "a" before Mexican is often a hint the label is being used in a derogatory manner.

Sioux Susskind
Sioux Susskind

TO ALL HATERS & folks with too much national pride : Why can't we just ALL Latinos get along despite looking European, Native American, Black or Asian ??????? WHY?? Enough with the blindsided nationalism !!! It's time we get along !!!!!!

Cheke G Garcia
Cheke G Garcia

Not all Latinos...are the same. Get some cultural intelligence.

Mari Rios
Mari Rios

Thia is why I label myself a HUMAN!

Cyn Rodriguez-Q
Cyn Rodriguez-Q

I just want to know why everyone in Tampa thinks we're Colombian

Kelly Heltsley
Kelly Heltsley

Milk and slave masters come in several colors, Sr. Angry not young anymore Latino.

Gerardo Torres
Gerardo Torres

Dumbass I'm from Texas and I don't brag when they call me Mexican

echizo
echizo

I notice a lot hispanics from Cuba, PR, Central and South America do have a problem getting mistaken by US, to them I say you're one insecure immigrant. I have been mistaken by Puerto Rican and I have never gotten my panties in a bunch.
get over it people if you think you are better than Mexican don't show it, prove it and move on.

lonhall
lonhall

Oye Gustavo, love your mention of Mendez et al vs Westminister et al. I visited the Tolerance Museum in Beverlywood's Jew Town (OK, I'm never gonna be PC). Although a lot of info about the holocaust, there is a whole exhibit on the discrimination against latinos in California with a special feature on this legal case. It was the first I had heard of it. I love it that it was SoCal latinos who created a platform for the NAACP to pursue their federal case.

Freddie Hernandez
Freddie Hernandez

I share your frustration John, I had the same issue growing up as a teen in East L.A, everytime I would share with someone my childhood memories from Guatemala I would get the "but that's Mexico right? " luckily Gustavo Arellano knows the difference, I heard one of his jefes at OC WEEKLY is Guatemalan ;)

Erk Audelo Leon
Erk Audelo Leon

La primer pregunta y respuesta estuvo muy informative, la otra estuvo de hueva...

Kelly Heltsley
Kelly Heltsley

Poncho Pendejo is correcto-no Negritos in the pool. They taste better dipped in milk.

Rosa Gallegos
Rosa Gallegos

I learned something new! so really guatemaltecos are mexicans! lol

markjohnson289
markjohnson289

Really Gustavo? I know the "American Way" has historically hurt Mexicans in many ways.. but you know darn well divisiveness has existed and will always exist amongst various cultures/countries/ethnicities. It's hardly an American invention. Ask a Cuban.

armandocdll81
armandocdll81

@whitefear  Until Mexicans learn to take care of themselves in their own country and stop suckling on the teet of American business and culture they will never be able to look at themselves in the mirror with any degree of pride or dignity. 

whhackett3
whhackett3

@griffinmichael  It would not bother me if someone with Canadian roots thought I was Canadian.  If, on the other hand, the person who thought I was Canadian hated Canucks that would be a completely different matter.  After all, it was Canada that gave us Nanaimo Bars.  

whhackett3
whhackett3

@doslucky2  I understand your perspective and, to some extent, it mirrors my own however I have certainly experienced very substantial prejudice at the hands of "Whites."  When I lived in predominantly "Mexican-American" neighborhoods I also experienced prejudice though it centered on the fact my father was white, my mother worked for the police department and I was a very good student.  I had other half-breed friends who were generally accepted into the neighborhood without question.   Your experience seems to go to something I said earlier (other than my torching of "HJ) which is that it depends who is calling you "Mexican" (or anything else for that matter).  If someone who is of Mexican ancestry thinks you're "Mexican" I don't think that is in any way an insult.  If someone whose family hails from western Europe calls you "Mexican" then I'd say there's a real likelihood it's an insult.  I'm not entirely sure how anyone, from your description, would guess you hail from Guatemala but would be interested in hearing how it is they know this information.

whhackett3
whhackett3

@downtownbrown  While, unfortunately, you have a point about light-skinned versus dark-skinned I've never heard or seen any evidence of any of your other statements.  Do you actually have any objective evidence for the rest of your conclusions?  Gustavo's original comments involved previously legal racial/color discrimination that existed in Southern California into the early 1940s and the fact that some non-Mexican Hispanics consider it an insult to be called "Mexican."  Perhaps you can point out where he addressed any discussion of your theory involving self-hatred.  

whhackett3
whhackett3

@BillxT  I presume you're referring to the terms "Hispanic" and "Latino."  They seem clear to me.  Hispanic would indicate someone from a Spanish-speaking country or region whereas Latino would indicate someone from a country or region where any of the Romance languages is spoken.  Ergo someone from Portugal or Brazil would be "Latino" but not Hispanic whereas someone from Spain, Mexico, Central America and South America other than Brazil would be Hispanic.

whhackett3
whhackett3

@sweetliberty17761776  While I've seen some evidence of this I don't believe it's universally true.  Everyone takes exception with someone who "gives us a bad name."  

whhackett3
whhackett3

Eva Longoria can cry on my shoulder anytime.  Heck, I'd be happy to just cuddle with her for a few hours.  

whhackett3
whhackett3

The problem has never been and will never be what you label yourself.  It has always been and will always be what others label you.

whhackett3
whhackett3

@markjohnson289  While he doesn't explain it I think he makes a fair point.  Consider how Sikhs were presumed to be Muslim after 9/11 or that all Arabs are Muslim as happened when a Coptic Christian was killed in LA County shortly after 9/11.  I believe, as a society, the US tends to paint with broad strokes.  Editorial cartoons that were published during the potato famine in Ireland showed alligators with Bishop's Mitres landing on US shores and viewed the influx of Irish as a de facto attack on Protestantism.  

DiMaria
DiMaria

@armandocdll81 @whitefear  This coming from Uncle Tom A.K.A Armando. Stop hating on the Mexican people who are hard workers and come to the state's to better their lives. They got more DIGNITY and Pride than you do. You poor soulless racist men.

BillxT
BillxT topcommenter

Hey, no fair asking that people back-up their statements, their out-rage should be proof enough.

BillxT
BillxT topcommenter

"...  ethnic identity in a country that, outside of Washington, D.C., Florida, and parts of the East Coast, is almost exclusively Mexican ". There is a definition of ethnicity, but it's very hazy and hard to pin down. I have no doubt that you know what you mean by it, but when attempts are made to give a rigorous definition to what is meant (where do you draw the line between one ethnic group, and another), they all have fallen short.

sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

@whhackett3 @sweetliberty17761776  





"everyone"?


then LEGAL LATINOS ARE SURE FIRED PIZZZED AT ILLEGALS AND WILL STATE AS MUCH


and not vote for politicians WHO HELP GIVE LEGAL LATINOS A BAD NAME


by allowing in illegals



right??

markjohnson289
markjohnson289

@whhackett3 @markjohnson289  I agree with what you say, but travel to other countries and you'll see as bad or worse. Your Coptic Christian reference is perfect: Check out how they are treated in Egypt. I was in Mexico City watching a Jai Alai game and the black player was catching racist comments like crazy down there..nothing to do with the U.S.'s policies..

armandocdll81
armandocdll81

@DiMaria  Thank you for your earnest reply, Maria. Mexicans who illegally immigrate to the United States bring shame and embarrassment to the Latino community. There is no honor in sneaking across a border, stealing someone else's social security number and having more kids than you can afford to feed. 

whhackett3
whhackett3

@vivamehico  I'd guess you know virtually nothing about the rise of "Mexican" gangs beginning in the 1930s.  None of them were "offspring" of illegals.  While there certainly are gangs that were imported from countries in Central America they are relatively recent arrivals.  The 12th Street Sharks in Pomona were born largely out of the mistreatment of American citizens of Mexican descent.  When I was a kid living on Grand Ave., a block south of 12th street, I never met anyone whose parents (and usually grandparents) hadn't been born in the US.  

vivamehico
vivamehico

@whhackett3 @sweetliberty17761776  


did these gangbangers spring from the ground? these are the offspring of the "hardworking" illegals who do not have the time to raise their kids properly.. so next time you hear "hardworking" illegal aliens, remember, it is much harder to actually raise your kids right than to labor at a menial job...thats why we hate them so...

whhackett3
whhackett3

@sweetliberty17761776 To an extent.  I personally am much more concerned about multi-generational gang affiliations.  Most "illegals" I've met, including from every other Country on Earth, tend to be hard workers.  Gang-bangers however are not.

whhackett3
whhackett3

@markjohnson289  Unfortunately I'm sure you're right however the US is supposed to be the great shining beacon of equality.  Despite my appearance I was in a LOT more fights with the "Mexican" kids in my neighborhood because they didn't like my last name, the fact I didn't speak Spanish or that I did well in school.  Of course there was a difference between them saying "you're not one of us" and a white kid calling me a wetback but prejudice is prejudice regardless of the words used.

 
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