The anti-Latino sentiment in the states that border Mexico has reached an uncomfortable climax. Republicans are using their racist propaganda to vilify and alienate an entire group of people (who make up the state majority in some cases) in order to further their xenophobic agenda. What makes the Republican condemnation of Mexicans as “illegal” especially ignorant is the fact that the states with the most anti-Latino sentiment used to be Mexican territory.
Through conquest, genocide and annexations, the US became what it is today. In 1848 the US took California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and, of course, Texas. It is only in the last two hundred years that these states have belonged to America— recent enough that one could argue that the cultural essence of these states is still that of Mexico.
Think of the states with the highest anti-Mexican sentiments—they are all border-states that belonged to Mexico. Arizona stands out as a blatant offender- where Sheriff Joe Arpaio was convicted of racially profiling Latinos.
However, the best example of the hypocritical nature of the American attack on Mexico is in Texas. In Texas, conservatives are arguing that Mexicans are “diluting the culture” by not learning English, thereby turning San Antonio into a “Mexican bastion”.
What this ignorant and reactionary thinking fails to grasp is that Americans have diluted the Mexican culture, in territory that was culturally dominated by Mexico for hundreds of years. The neo-colonial argument that “they” need to get off of “our” land is even more ridiculous when viewed through the factual lens of history. It really highlights the foolishness of competing claims to territory- borders are nothing but arbitrary constructs no matter how you look at it. A line on a map doesn’t make a person on the other side any less human, or create any differences other than the ones we assign in our prejudiced minds.
h/t to John Paul Brammer at Blue Nation Review
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.