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Chicanos in the United States and the Legal System

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For a long time, I have assumed that Chicanos are mostly Americans of Mexican origin who were citizens as a result of the peace that was long concluded between the United States and the Mexican government after the US-Mexican war, which lasted from 1846 to 1848. To clarify, the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 will pave the way for the demarcation of the Mexican frontier with the US, allowing the US to claim almost half of Mexican territory. Apparently, I have come to realize that most Mexican Americans to consider the treaty’s provision as a tool that would preserve and uphold their cultural integrity. The treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo would eventually mark the beginning of the definition and establishment of a political relationship between the US and the Mexican American legal systems.

Experience of Chicanos in the Us In Relation To the Constitution and the Legal System

One of the things that provoked my conscience despite the promulgation of the US-Mexican treaty and the constitution that accepted to accommodate and accord Mexican American full rights, was the relationship between the US and the Mexican Americans would develop to become a frosty one based on suspicion, discrimination and stereotyping along racial lines. Tentatively, I also figured out that the relationship between Mexican Americans and the US was a mixed one at its best with several Mexican Americans suffering oppression and discrimination from the legal system in the United States (Mexican Americans and the Law). Accordingly, I came to realize that the history of the relationship between the Mexican Americans and the legal system documents violence and abuse at the hands of the law enforcement agencies and the courts. According to Manuel Gonzales in his book “Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United states,” he highlights an evidence of the chronicled abuse and violence that the Mexican Americans would subsequently endure at the hands of the primitive legal system that characterized the southwestern United states. Gonzalo further highlights the circumstances two Mexican American women in California Gold mining fields in 1851 and in south Texas in 1863 respectively. Both women would suffer extreme racial abuse when they were both shot and killed by Anglo males who had attempted to sexually assault them. Mexican Americans would continue to suffer various forms of social evils under the US legal system because the system in itself did not offer any kind of reprieve as violence against the Mexican American escalated with brutality being a common place occurrence.

How have their daily lived experiences been shaped by the legal structures set in the US?

According to Gilbert Gonzalez in his book, “Culture of Empire,” Mexico’s economic subordination to the United States fostered the construction of colonial strategies earlier on and expressed through popular writings. According to the imperialist Turnbull White, for instance, described the subsequent development of a knowledge base for effectively governing the new possessions with Mexico becoming a target for the American economic expansionism into Mexico. The aftermath would see Mexican immigrants emerge as a reliable workforce for the American economy however subjected to deplorable, discriminatory and abusive working conditions in the mining and industrialization sectors. In the article “Mexico under siege,” by Alfredo Carlos, he rather highlights the perceived silent war that the US is waging against Mexico by questioning the rationality of US imperialism especially in fighting drug cartels. Alfredo says that stereotyping Mexico as a failed state based on the drug menace only victimizes every Mexican American and other Mexican immigrants who continue to be victims of drug, gang or random violence depicted in the most recent onslaught of mass shootings targeting Mexican Americans. The legal system is kind of skewed against the Mexican Americans who in most instances get incarcerated for various offenses especially those related to drug trafficking. In the book “Crucible of Struggle” by Zaragosa Vargas, chapter 11 highlights the fact that constitutionally protected rights were cut back during the time and presidency of Ronald Reagan that also criminalized affirmative action among the minority groups.

Why the legal structure in the US was created this way and the role have Chicanos played in this system?

The legal structure in the United States was created in a manner that made it dominant over other cultures and civilizations just as in the case of Mexico. The independence and of from the Great Britain and the subsequent promulgation of the American constitution led to the legal structuring of the US which provided in some way a methodology through which power would be decentralized from the federal government right to the local authorities. Imperatively, the aim was to make the United States wield a significant amount of control over its states on policy and constitutional issues that made the US influence even the international communities based on its role as a patron of other affiliated countries such as Mexico.

After the great Mexican war and the signing of the Guadalupe Hidalgo treaty, the US continued to wield significant influence over Mexico, a fact that would subsequently be replicated on the Mexican Americans who found themselves in the US after the border portioning. The US legal system therefore, served to control Mexico as a country because of its perceived insignificance and the fact that there were several members of the Mexican society in the US that did not at least meet the criteria to be regarded as a complete humans due to racial and cultural prejudice created by the constitution which did little to protect the Mexican Americans. The ultimate reason aimed at making the US the superior entity and therefore in an advanced role to steer the progress of its inherited population of the Mexican Americans where they have continued to face various forms of discrimination because of their minority status. According to the article “Mexican American and the Law,” it states that the relationship between Mexican Americans and laws of the United States continued to be intertwined with the issue of racial identity.

How the creation of whiteness and the ideology of white supremacy as well as primitive accumulation impacted Chicanos throughout the 20th century

The construction of the white race identity has impacted the Mexican Americans negatively for several years now though there have been attempts to create a level playing fielding according to Alfredo Carlos in his book “Mexico under Siege.” In the book, he highlights how attempts have been made to reduce discrimination and how the malignant nature of the problem still remaining a disturbing reality even to the present day with numerous challenges in cultural integration of minority groups into the legitimate and socially accepted American elite. Mexican Americans are still discriminated in every sphere of life with little help coming from the American government. The election of Donald Trump, for instance, has compounded the misery of the Mexican Americans who have often been the target of the white supremacists and the unforgiving government of anarchies. It would appear that being Mexican American is a crime in itself while being a white Caucasian lends legitimacy to enjoy the complete package of human rights enshrined in the constitution.

The role whiteness and the law play in the bracero program and the educational system for the Chicanos

The Bracero program came in the aftermath of Mexico declaring war on the Axis powers during the World War II upon the request by the US department of state to import foreign labor. In providing the necessary labor requested by the US, Mexico felt that they were contributing significantly towards the allied war efforts and hence could benefit economically as a state. The Bracero program would continue to highlight labor issues that would become contentious over the years between the US and Mexico. Those Mexicans who did not receive permits would then choose to enter the US illegally creating the beginning of an inflated immigrant population that would mark US-Mexico tensions based on the threat they portended to the US economy. The labor market also faced renewed discrimination as the workers who were entitled to equal wages and better working conditions did not receive them and were also forced to work for longer hours against the terms outlined in the Bracero agreement. The issue was further compounded by the failing educational system which did not accommodate Chicano students while creating a hostile learning environment based on high rates of inequalities and discrimination. Chicanos are pushed from the educational pipeline in higher numbers than any group in the US based on educational biases and lack of adequate opportunities for them.

Purpose of the legal structures that were created in the US according to theme of the class

According to chapter two of the article “Democratic Aspirations,” the laws of the United States was formulated to comprise many legal structures which were meant to function in tandem to in incorporate several purposes within the legitimacy of a legally constituted constitution. Both the codified and uncodified forms of laws which the government considered very important became the foundation of the United States of America. The legal structures were bound by the constitution and set out boundaries in accordance with the federal laws which would include acts of the congress and ratified treaties by the senate subject to regulations promulgated by the executive branch and the federal judiciary. The primary purpose of the legal structure was to preempt conflicting state and territorial boundaries within the US and its territories. The legal structures also outlined how the US government would relate with other sovereign territories such as Mexico which had immigration issues with the US. The legal structures therefore aimed at defining the civil rights for its citizens but which in my opinion strangely empowered the predominantly white community compared to the Mexican Americans.

October 20, 2021
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