Monday, November 5, 2007

Takaki Chapter 7 “Foreigners in their native land: Manifest Destiny in the Southwest.”

1. How did this group come to be in the U.S.? How much of this was “by choice” and how much as a result of pressure or force? Identify drivers or motivations for coming to be in the U.S.
• This was not a group of people that chose to become part of the United States. It was the U.S. that decided to come over to California and take what they felt should be theirs. Americans felt they were able to benefit and better utilize the resources that California provided than the Mexicans were able to do. It was also said that the Americans were “driven there by dreams of wealth and landownership generated by pamphlets and books about California. Determined to transform the territory into their own image.” (171) Meaning Americans became greedy and wanted more than what they already had and wanted to continue to expand the U.S. as much as they could. But only if it benefited them in someway; other non-Americans didn’t matter.

2. What is the significance of the title of the chapter?
• The significance of the title of this chapter is simply stating how the Mexicans felt during these transitions. Mexicans no longer felt like citizens of their lands and countries anymore. Instead they felt like foreigners in their own lands or rather as the title states, “Foreigners in Their Native Lands.” “Political restricting lessened the ability of Mexicans not only to claim their rights as citizens, but also to protect their rights as landowners.” (179) In other words, in the lands that once belonged to the Mexicans they were no longer considered citizens based on laws Americans placed.

3. What mechanisms of social construction are discussed in the chapter?
• In the beginning of this chapter, Takaki discusses that many Mexicans were slave owners and there slaves or laborers were the Indians. “Of ‘Pure Spanish blood,’ they formed the upper class. Below them was the laboring class. Racially, the laborers [went] down by regular shades, growing more and more dark and muddy with ‘pure’ Indians at the bottom rung.” (169) Takaki is saying that just like the how the white people were in America with their “majority” being the upper class and anyone who was not like them was lower or laboring class.

4. How did these groups resist discrimination and racialization?
• These groups resisted discrimination and racialization by repeatedly going out and going on strike in hopes to improve wages and being replaced “with lower-paid workers recruited from Juárez, Mexico.” (187) Because of these strikes some Mexican workers actually “won strike demands for a pay increase” (187) and more hours of work. These strikes were also a way for the Mexicans to prove the stereotypes which were placed on them as being wrong.

5. Give one example in the chapter of “race” and one example of “ethnicity.” What is the difference between the two as they are discussed here?
• One example of racial would be the “West Coast version of the ‘giddy multitude.’” Within this giddy multitude the Japanese and the Mexicans formed a union or organization together to better the lives of their people and their families. “Their strike, however, has demonstrated that Mexican laborers were ready to stand with fellow Japanese in movement based on interethnic class unity.” (189) This states that two different races can come together and fight for a justice they believe in without their race being an issue.
• One example of ethnicity would be Mexicans being discriminated against as far as wages or payment for their labor as well as being social. “Mowry declared, ‘[Mexicans] are docile, faithful, good servants, capable of strong attachments when firmly and kindly treated… They will always remain so, as it is their natural condition.” (187) In other words, Mowry was stereotyping all Mexicans as being a certain way or carrying a certain type of people. So anyone who looked to be of Spanish or Mexican descent was looked upon as being this way.

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