EXPERT REPORT OF ALBERT M.
Gratz, et al. v. Bollinger, et al., No. 97-75321(E.D. Mich.)
Grutter, et al. v. Bollinger, et al., No. 97-75928 (E.D. Mich.)
1. My name is Albert M. Camarillo. I am Professor of History and Director of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University. I have been a member of the faculty at Stanford University since 1975.
2. I received my A.B. degree and Ph.D. degree from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1970 and 1975 respectively. A detailed record of my professional qualifications and scholarly achievements is set forth in the attached curriculum vitae, including a list of publications, awards, research grants, and professional activities.
3. I have authored and co-edited six books, published three research bibliographies, and have written over a dozen articles and essays dealing with the historical and contemporary status of Mexican Americans and Hispanic Americans in general. My current book manuscript (to be published by Oxford University Press) compares the urban histories of European and Asian immigrants, African Americans, and Mexican Americans from 1850 to 1950. My research explores how various institutions and prevailing attitudes in American society over time have created barriers to the inclusion of ethnic and racial minorities into mainstream society. Much of my work has documented how Hispanic Americans and other racial minorities -- particularly African Americans -- experienced residential, educational, and labor market isolation as they settled in cities throughout the nation since the mid-nineteenth century.
4. I have not testified as an expert witness in the preceding four years. I am being compensated at a rate of $200 per hour for my work in connection with this case.
5. At the request of attorneys with Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, I have prepared this report which outlines the historical patterns and legacies of racial isolation and separation of Hispanics in American society. My research is based on archival collections, syntheses of secondary literature, and other primary sources such as U.S. government reports including Bureau of the Census population reports. Based on my knowledge and research, this report outlines the historical developments that resulted in patterns of racial exclusion and isolation of Hispanics in the states and cities where they have settled since 1900. In prticular, this report will discuss how residential, educational and occupational isolation of Hispanic Americans developed in the century after the first group of Hispanics - Mexican Americans - were incorporated into the United States in 1848.
6. By 2005, according to U.S. Census Bureau projections, Hispanics will become the nation's largest minority group, a development that reflects the rapid population growth of this diverse sector of American society in recent decades (Current Population Reports, February 1996). Composed of many national origin groups -- Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central and South American, and Caribbean-origin people -- the contemporary status of Hispanics, especially for the two largest subgroups (Mexican-origin and Puerto Rican-origin people), cannot be properly understood without consideration of significant historical legacies in the U.S. which continue to deeply influence their social, political, economic, and educational profiles. Over the past twenty-five years, a growing volume of scholarly literature has documented extensively the historical contours of the experiences of Mexican Americans in the states of the Southwest and Midwest and Puerto Ricans throughout the United States mainland (Gutierrez 1993; Bonilla 1998). This report will focus on the historical experiences of Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans as illustrations of the broader Hispanic experience in American society. Although the individual group experiences may vary to some degree, these historical experiences have a shared context that link Hispanics in a common community.
7. The history of racial and ethnic minorities was born of ideas about group differences. Since the initial contact of Europeans with native societies in the New World, ideas held by whites about non-whites resulted in the categorization of "racial" differences which typically dichotomized people into a hierarchical order ranging from superior to inferior, from dominant to subordinate, and from civilized to savage. These and other developing ideas about racial differences in colonial America and elsewhere were codified in laws and statutes that largely determined the status of racial minorities as groups which occupied the lowest rungs of the socioeconomic ladder in society. These ideas, which set whites apart from non-whites, were institutionalized in a set of social, cultural, and political norms which, over time, help explain not only why American Indians were pushed off their native lands and increasingly forced to live on government-regulated reservations, but why African Americans were subjected to an institution of slavery and a long history of systematic exclusion from opportunities in American society. Though the ideas of the so-called "scientific racism" school of thought from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have been thoroughly debunked by scientists and social scientists in the second half of the twentieth century, the historical legacies of ideas about racial differences -which served to isolate, separate, and discriminate against "racialized" minorities in the United States -- deeply affected the status of many groups in addition to American Indians and African Americans. Immigrants from Asia and Europe also fell victim to ideas which labeled them as racially or culturally different. This was also the case historically for the nation's soon-to-be largest minority group -- Hispanics.
8. The identification of group difference spawned a set of attitudes and behaviors which tainted relations among the majority population and those they viewed as "different." How a person or a group of people were categorized or classified was a powerful determinant of one's status. Relations between various groups of people were based on ideas, assumptions, preconceptions and misconceptions, stereotypes, notions, attitudes, sentiments, and other thoughts about how people were
different. These constitute what I refer to as American ideologies about "group differentness." [The word "differentness" is used here instead of "differences" because ideologies about variations among groups were not merely descriptions about cultural, linguistic, national-origin, ethnic, or perceived racial differences. "Differentness" connotes an ascription, a value about the quality of being different.]
Never static, and always influenced by multiple factors, these ideologies changed, sometimes drastically and sometimes imperceptibly. In many cases, national influences affected these ideologies (e.g., political party agendas, economic cycles of boom and bust, and international warfare and diplomacy). In other cases, regional and local influences were more pervasive: regional economies, local labor markets, demographic concentrations of particular groups of people in particular areas of cities or states, and proximity to international borders. Historical legacies, of course, gave form and substance to ideologies about group differentness.
Among the many international, national, and regional factors which have continuously shaped Americans' conceptions of other Americans, none stand out more conspicuously in the nation's past than ideas about racial and ethnic differences. But to label the attitudes and the resulting ideologies as "racial" and "ethnic" is to miss much of the context. Americans and their European counterparts elsewhere were surely attuned to differences they observed or ascribed to groups who were different phenotypically -- especially if they were non-white -- but much more was involved. In addition to skin color, cultural (i.e., the ways in which people conduct their lives), political, religious, and economic/social class differences were all part of a complex set of factors which influenced the minds of Americans about group "differentness" in an increasingly diverse society.
Prevailing attitudes about ethnic-immigrant and racial minority group differentness often constituted a widely adopted, though changing set of ideas and beliefs among the majority population. These shifting ideas -- buffeted by the winds of scientific and pseudoscientific knowledge and influenced by American conceptions of national identity and citizenship in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries -- formed the core of what we can usefully refer to as "ideologies." As was so often the case, these ideologies about group differentness in the U.S. equated being different to being inferior. And, these conceptions of inferiority and superiority typically played a role in justifying or rationalizing a different behavior toward and treatment of racial and ethnic minorities and other groups deemed by the majority as different. The resulting
denial of many basic rights, privileges, and opportunities for large segments of the American public created life experiences vastly different from those of the majority.
Ideologies about group differentness obviously had enormous bearing on social interactions among and between groups. However, as these ideologies were institutionalized through laws and public policies, as well as through other less formal practices and customs, they did more than set the contexts for social relations -- they could largely determine the status of entire groups of people in American society. Institutional policies often codified and legitimated social practices based on racial/ethnic, gender, cultural, and social class differences. The result was a set of statutes, laws, and public policies which separated and dichotomized American people: men v. women, white v. non-white, citizen v. alien, voters v. disenfranchised, workers v. employers.
People of color and immigrants were affected negatively -- and some systematically -- by political, legal, educational, law enforcement, and other institutions in American society. From local elections to state anti-miscegenation laws to federal legislation restricting immigration of certain races and ethnicities, institutional policies established a system of disadvantageousness ranging from constraints and hurdles to impregnable barriers in people's lives. Opportunities for social, economic, educational, and political advancement were at stake. Exclusion from or marginalization within society, more often than not, was the by-product.
In addition to "formal" institutions and policies, the political-economies of regions and localities served as "informal" institutions which shaped the lives of working people. In combination with dominant political institutions, political-economics -- especially through the development of local and regional labor markets -- helped determine why certain groups of Americans remained mired at the bottom of the occupational hierarchy while others could set their sights on better employment opportunities for themselves or for their children. Labor markets were also greatly influenced by the popular attitudes and ideologies regarding racial and ethnic/immigrant minorities and their respective "places" as workers in the economy. Where people lived, the types of jobs they held, the quality of their lives and expectations for the future were dependent on their relationships to the informal and
formal institutions of the nation. For people categorized as "different," institutions in nineteenth and twentieth-century America exerted powerful forces which defined and reinforced group status. These developing and changing ideologies about "group differentness" provide a lens through which to view the history of Hispanics -- particularly Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans -- in the United States.
9. Among the many historical benchmarks that have influenced the course of history for Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans, two dates stand out with particular importance: 1848 and 1898. The war with Mexico and the Spanish-American War, respectively, set the stage for the incorporation of Spanish-speaking peoples from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Cuba into the U.S. and, at the same time, established a set of economic, political, and social conditions which resulted in Hispanics emerging as yet another "racialized" minority in nineteenth-century America. For Mexican Americans, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the war between the U.S. and Mexico in 1848, resulted in the annexation of Mexico's northern-most states and the incorporation of a new regional minority, Mexican Americans, into the American territories and states of the new Southwest (Camarillo, 1993; Griswold del Castillo, 1990).
10. Americans took control of a vast territory in the period that began with the Texas Revolution of 1836, saw the Bear Flag Revolt a decade later in California, and culminated in the cession of nearly half of Mexico's national domain to the U.S. in the wake of the Mexican War. Americans quickly established their social and cultural institutions, their political and judicial systems, and their commercial capitalism in the region. The ramifications of this societal change -- which was uneven in its effects, depending on locality, on the growth of the American population, and on one's social class -- were, in the end, catastrophic for the former Mexican citizens who became the first "Mexican Americans." The borderland societies of the Republic of Mexico (before 1821 the Spanish colonial borderlands were concentrated in New Mexico but included settlements from Texas to California) were largely self-sufficient communities only tenuously connected to the core of Mexico by the time the Americans began to travel and settle in the region. By the 1820s and 1830s, specially in Texas, large numbers of American settlers -- some welcomed and authorized to establish colonies on Mexican soil but a larger number considered to be "illegal aliens" -- were not content to live
under the flag of Mexico. Though cultural differences between Mexican and American settlers were certainly to blame in part for increasing tension, even more important were the institutional and economic considerations which eventually led the Anglo Texans -- and some Mexicans -- to rebel against the authority of Mexico and proclaim the independent Republic of Texas. Texas represented the vanguard of American interests in the region, and the Texas Revolution portended the fate of the Mexican settlements throughout the borderlands in the 1840s (Weber, 1982; Montejano, 1986).
The attitudes that many if not most Americans held toward Mexican Texans and their cousins elsewhere in the region have been thoroughly documented by various historians. For example, David J. Weber, in his important work on the Spanish-Mexican borderlands and the origins of anti-Mexican stereotypes, described succinctly the views that bred hatred and violence between the two peoples during the early decades of the nineteenth century. Mexicans were considered, he wrote, "bigoted, greedy, tyrannical, fanatical, treacherous and lazy" (Weber, 1979). These characterizations of the inhabitants of Mexico congealed especially during the decades following Mexico's independence from Spain in 1821, as more and more American travelers, adventurers, trappers, and traders ventured into northern Mexico. Here they encountered, for the first time on a regular basis, the frontier inhabitants of a nation for which they held many negative attitudes. Manifest Destiny and the designs among those who envisioned the westward march of the growing U.S. empire across the continent helped to redefine Mexico and Mexicans in the minds of Americans. Several scholars have written on the subject of American attitudes toward Mexicans during the mid-nineteenth century and these studies, taken together, illuminate the evolution of a set of ideas that justified the actions of the U.S. against Mexico and that supported the belief in the inferiority of Mexicans as a race. By the third decade of the nineteenth century, American attitudes toward Mexico and its people began to constitute an ideology, one that helps us understand not only why
Americans revolted in Texas, but to understand how this changing ideology largely determined the status of Mexican Americans in the new Southwest and, later, throughout the nation (De Leon, 1993).
Cecil Robinson, in his pioneering study of Americans who recorded their travels, explorations, and experiences in the region of northern Mexico, analyzed hundreds of published accounts that reflect an abundance of attitudes toward Mexicans. Included in these publications were novels and personal narratives as well as official reports of explorers and agents commissioned by the U.S. government. Robinson aptly described many of the themes evident in a variety of sources published before and during the Mexican War. He wrote:
In a more recent study about the characterizations of Mexican Americans in American literature, French scholar Marcienne Rocard came to a conclusion similar to that of Robinson. "Everything about Mexican-Americans went against the American mentality," she wrote, "everything thus reinforced the pioneer writers' sense of superiority and encouraged them to look down upon the Other and see him as nothing more than a 'greaser"' (Rocard, 1989). Weber, in his analysis of the development of stereotypes, reflected on the same genre of American literature and concluded that "Mexicans were described as lazy, gambling, cruel, sinister, cowardly, half-breeds" (Weber, 1979).
11. During the half century following the Mexican War, a set of racial attitudes and institutional developments resulted which relegated Mexican Americans to a second-class citizenship and widespread exclusion from opportunities in American society. Manifest Destiny in mid-nineteenth century America was an ideology of American nationalism that not only justified expansion of U.S. boundaries across the continent, it also served as a rationale to remove Indians from the path of western frontier development, and to conquer Mexico and claim its northern provinces for the American nation. Part and parcel of Manifest Destiny were attitudes that cast Mexican Americans in the second half of the nineteenth century into a widening net of inferior peoples who occupied
precarious positions in America's racial hierarchy. The prevalent attitudes of the Manifest Destiny era were reinforced and reflected in the institutions, laws, and customs of the region which, in the end, set Mexicans apart from their white American counterparts. For the most part, the large majority of Mexicans in the decades following the war, despite the rights guaranteed them by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, were dispossessed of their lands through legal and extra-legal means, disenfranchised from the new political institutions brought by Americans, relegated to the lower class of workers in the emerging labor markets, and maligned socially and culturally as "foreigners and outsiders" by Anglo newcomers to the Southwest (Horsman, 1981; De Leon, 1983; Takaki, 1993). Though the majority of Mexicans avoided contact with Americans, tensions often erupted during the post-war decades that resulted in what some referred to as "race wars" along the border stretching from Los Angeles to Brownsville, Texas.
For the approximately 100,000 Mexicans who had opted to remain in their native land after war and annexation, sweeping changes characterized the two generations of Mexican Americans who experienced a new reality as a racial minority in a dominant white society. Mexican Americans entered the twentieth century as a group that had survived -- though at great costs -- a radical transformation of their society. Isolated in their pueblos-turn-barrios (segregated Mexican American neighborhoods) in the emerging cities of the Southwest and separated into rural colonias (colonies), the majority were, to a large extent, excluded from mainstream society because of their racial, class, cultural, and linguistic differences. The racial tensions and antagonisms which had characterized Mexican-Anglo relations in the nineteenth century had reached, it seemed, a level of biracial accommodation by 1900, although social distance between the two peoples continued to define group relationships. This distance between Mexicans and whites, fueled by fears of mass immigration from Mexico, led to more stereotypes, strained relations, and continued separateness in the early twentieth century (Camarillo, 1984; Montejano, 1986; Sheridan, 1986).
12. The first great wave of immigrants from Mexico (an exodus of about a million people who fled their revolution-torn country) crossed the border between 1910 and 1928 and settled in Texas, Arizona, Colorado, and California, and later in states such as Michigan, Iowa, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Illinois (Cardoso, 1980; Valdes, 1986). As increasing numbers of immigrants from Mexico began to arrive in the Southwest and Midwest in the early twentieth century, it became quite obvious to them that their compatriots and Mexican Americans were being treated differently than were European immigrants. Immigrants from Mexico were concerned about being included in society, and they were keenly aware of how differential treatment affected them as workers. During the early decades of the century, the idea of Mexicans as a principal source of cheap labor for a growing agricultural economy became wedded to the existing racial ideology that helped justify why Mexicans worked in non-skilled jobs (work generally not attractive to white labor) and why they should be paid less than white workers. The occupations of the Southwest that came to be associated with immigrants from Mexico during the first third of the 1900s -- railroad and migratory farm work, mining and construction work, and other manual labor -- were often referred to as "Mexican jobs." As the Southwest labor market grew increasingly dependent on Mexican immigrant labor for particular types of work, a pattern of segmenting a racial minority in the regional work force developed. Racial wage differentials were a part of this segmentation of Mexican labor (Barrera, 1979).
Those who journeyed further north in search of opportunity in the large industrial cities such as Detroit, Chicago, and Gary found work largely restricted to the lowest skill jobs in the steel and auto industries, the meat packing plants, and railroad yards. By 1930, substantial communities of Mexicans dotted the urban landscape throughout the region (for example, nearly 20,000 lived in Chicago, 15,000 in Detroit, and over 9,000 in the East Chicago-Gary, Indiana area). Though the Mexican immigrants and their children in these cities did not encounter the historical legacy of anti-Mexican racism faced by their counterparts in the Southwest, they did not escape the effects [sic] discrimination and racial exclusion, especially as the 1920s came to a close. Mexicans increasingly found the environment in these northern cities inhospitable as discrimination mounted in housing, in public accommodations, and in work places (Vargas, 1993; Ano Nuevo Kerr, 1976; J. Garcia, 1996).
13. The reactions of Anglos to large-scale immigration was ambivalent. On the one hand, American employers increasingly became dependent on Mexican low wage labor but, on the other hand, they decried the problems Mexicans supposedly created. Among the reasons articulated by those who advocated restricting immigration from Mexico in the post-World War I era, the complaints cited most often included the following: Mexicans could not be assimilated into U.S. society because they were so different (i.e., racial and cultural differences); their children created problems in the public schools and made the educational process more difficult for Anglo students; their youth were inclined toward delinquency and gangs; they caused public health problems because of their propensity to live in dirty, overcrowded conditions which bred contagious diseases; and they took jobs away from American citizens (Gutierrez, 1994).
It is not surprising that responses by Americans to the so-called "Mexican problem" during the inter-war years (1918-1941) resulted in what several historians have labeled the "age of segregation" for Mexican Americans. During this period, the barriers of segregation against Spanish-speaking people rose higher and became more institutionalized. For example, sometimes by law and other times by custom, the vast majority of Mexican youngsters were forced to attend segregated Mexican schools or were concentrated in "Mexican classrooms" within schools with predominantly white pupils. De jure and de facto segregation of Mexican American school children in the public schools also reminded parents that their children were perceived as inferior to white children and somehow were seen as a threat to the education of Anglo pupils. Two of the earliest successful court cases involving desegregation of minority children in the nation's public schools did not involve African Americans in the South, but rather they involved Mexican American children in two Southern California communities during the 1930s and 1940s (i.e., Alvarez v. Lemon Grove School District in 1931 and Mendez v. Westminister School District in 1946). (Wollenberg, 1976; Arriola, 1995)
This was also the era during which Mexicans could hardly escape the notice of Jim Crow in the Southwest as signs were commonly posted in restaurants, barber shops and other store front windows indicating "No Mexicans Allowed" or "White Trade Only." These were the years when Mexican American movie fans had to sit in the side aisles or balconies of theaters because custom required that whites received the best seats and Mexicans, blacks, and other racial minorities sat elsewhere. These were the decades when Mexicans and blacks were allowed to swim in the public swimming pools but only on the day before the water was drained because whites feared that minorities contaminated the water for white patrons. And this was the epoch during which the racial restrictive real estate covenant gained widespread use in communities throughout the Southwest and beyond where Mexican Americans and other minorities sought to buy or rent property (e.g., the number of communities that employed restrictive covenants in Los Angeles County rose from about twenty percent in the 1920s to about eighty percent in the 1940s). One need only to read the print in a deed of sale during the era which often plainly stated that "No portion of the herein described property shall ever be sold, conveyed, leased, occupied by, or rented to any person of any Asiatic or African race ...nor to any person of the Mexican race" (Penrod, 1948; Montejano, 1986; Camarillo, 1984).
The consequences for Mexican immigrants and their Mexican American children during this age of segregation were disastrous. Youngsters from an early age were not encouraged, indeed they were often actively discouraged from pursuing education beyond the primary grades. High school attendance was more the exception than the rule for Mexican Americans before World War II. Relegated to jobs in the low skill, low wage sectors in which upward mobility was difficult if not impossible to attain, Mexican American workers performed the dirtiest and most dangerous jobs that other Americans avoided (e.g., migratory farm labor, railroad maintenance, construction laborers, mining, factory operatives, and domestic service work for women). See Table I.
14. The so-called "Mexican problem" of the 1920s turned into a "crisis" during the following decade, especially the worst years of the Great Depression. What had been previously a ultifaceted problem now became a single issue, one which the federal government -- in conjunction with local public and private welfare agencies -- posed as a question of "how to get the Mexican off relief"'? Mexicans, it was argued, were a drain on welfare coffers and they took scarce jobs away from unemployed American citizens. They were here as illegals, and according to many officials, including President Herbert Hoover, Mexicans were a chief source of the economic distress in the Southwestern and Midwestern communities in which they were concentrated.
The solution for dealing with the Mexican problem during the early 1930s was to deport them by any means necessary. Spearheaded by the Department of Labor, the Immigration Service, and local welfare and law enforcement agencies, a massive, repatriation/deportation program aimed at Mexicans was conducted between 1931 and 1935 (Hoffman, 1974; Balderrama and Rodriguez, 1995). While these deportation drives were centered in Southwest cities, they also took place in the Midwest, in places such as Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; and Gary and East Chicago, Indiana (Ano Nuevo Kerr, 1976; Kiser and Silverman, 1979; Vargas, 1993). Many tactics were employed, ranging from devious scare campaigns whereby federal agents made arrangements with metropolitan
newspaper editors to print articles warning of imminent immigrant sweeps to offering free one-way train travel to Mexico for those who would leave voluntarily. The results of these governmental efforts was the involuntary deportation and "coerced" voluntary repatriation of over half a million Mexican immigrants and their native born children, who were legally American citizens. This program gave rise to the largest government-initiated deportation effort in American history. More than anything else, the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Mexicans and Mexican Americans demonstrated vividly that they were "second class" citizens (for those born in the U.S.) at best, and an expendable group of foreign workers who constituted a social problem to be eliminated.
Recalling their maltreatment in the U.S., many deportees could relate to the words repeated time after time in the following corrido, or Mexican folk ballad.
Pioneer America could find little to approve of in the Mexican society it collided with, being affronted in all its major convictions by Mexican attitudes, real and alleged. Americans, in their Protestant individualism, in their ideas of spirit and hard work, in their faith in progress through technology, in their insistence upon personal hygiene, in Puritanism and racial pride, found Mexico much to their distaste because of its priestly power, its social stratification with a pronounced sense of caste, its apparent devotion to pleasure and its indifference to cleanliness, and its reputation for pervasive sensuality ... Adding to all this was the Anglo-Saxon's contempt for a people who had lowered themselves to a state of general cohabitation with the Indians and had thus forfeited the right to be considered "white." (Robinson, 1977)
15. For a different group of Spanish-speaking people in a different region of the nation, the Great Depression and reality as a segregated minority went hand-in-hand. Puerto Ricans, concentrated in New York City, faced a reality of separation and exclusion from mainstream society that paralleled that of their ethnic kin in the Southwest. However, their emergence as a Spanish-speaking minority evolved differently from that of Mexicans. For Puerto Ricans, a different war -- the Spanish-American War -- set in motion forces that later propelled hundreds of thousands of people from the island of Puerto Rico to American shores. The U.S. acquired Puerto Rico from Spain in 1898 and established a colonial relationship that not until 1917 allowed Puerto Ricans status as American citizens, just in time to make them eligible for military service in World War I. Though Puerto Rico was accorded commonwealth status in 1947, this development did not appreciably change the status of the island and its people as possessions of the United States. Interdependency and U.S. domination of the island's economy by World War I resulted in a
migration of Puerto Ricans to the mainland U.S., a movement that gained greater momentum in the decades after World War II. Poverty, unemployment, and lack of opportunity on the island, combined with cheaper transportation costs, resulted in steady migration streams of Puerto Ricans to mainland cities, especially New York City's East Harlem, or "Spanish Harlem," where a highly segregated urban experience unfolded (Sanchez-Korrol, 1983).
The migration of Puerto Ricans from the island to the mainland began in earnest during the 1920s and 1930s, as American sugar cane companies invested heavily in the island economy and contributed to the breakup of subsistence farming carried out by rural islanders. The development of agribusiness in Puerto Rico also resulted in an impoverished working class that sought opportunity by relocating to the mainland. Though the migration slowed to a trickle during the Great Depression, it resumed with greater intensity during the 1940s and 1950s as the U.S., in collaboration with Puerto Rico's governor Luis Munoz Marin, initiated "Operation Bootstrap," a program to industrialize the island, shore up a lagging economy, and increase work opportunities for the people. The program was successful in part because it opened the door to industrial development, urbanization, and greater wealth for a sector of the Puerto Rican population, but it could not stem the migration flow to the U.S., primarily because unemployment on the island remained high and poverty in the emerging urban slums increased. A population boom among Puerto Ricans, moreover, prompted hundreds of thousands of poorer islanders in the post-World War II decades to venture to the mainland in search of work and opportunity, especially during the years of growing American economic prosperity in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1940, to illustrate, fewer than 70,000 Puerto Ricans lived on the mainland, the majority of whom resided in New York City. Within twenty years the Puerto Rican population in the U.S. outside the island increased to nearly 900,000 and, by the early 1970s, had grown to over 1.7 million persons -- a third of all Puerto Ricans now lived off the island (Moore and Pachon, 1985; Rodriguez-Fraticelli, 1986).
The expectations for greater economic and employment opportunities eluded most Puerto Ricans who journeyed to and settled in the U.S. Some traveled to the rural farmlands of the Midwest and found work in the migratory farm worker streams. Some moved to the urban industrial centers of the Midwest such as Chicago and Detroit (Maldonado, 1979). The majority settled in New York City and inhabited the crowded and dilapidated old tenement districts in East Harlem, the South Bronx, and near the Navy shipyards in Brooklyn. Puerto Rican migrants to urban America found an environment and a society that cast them into a racial hierarchy which they shared in many ways with African Americans. Racial attitudes about Puerto Ricans were complicated in ways not unlike that for Mexican Americans; most were mestizo but others appeared more European. However, unlike Mexican Americans, a substantial percentage of Spanish-speaking Puerto Ricans were black, and this factor of color added yet another condition that served to isolate Puerto Ricans from mainstream society. The prevailing attitudes about Puerto Ricans in the post-war decades thus characterized them as a poor foreign-born minority of mixed racial origins. The work they performed, both before and after World War II, mirrored that of their African American counterparts in places such as New York and Chicago. Puerto Rican women labored in garment factories and worked as hotel maids and housekeepers. Men worked in unskilled jobs in factories or in the urban service industries. Though some were able to achieve upward mobility to better jobs and better neighborhoods, the great majority remained seemingly trapped in urban barrios and in a labor market that offered few opportunities for advancement (Sanchez-Koffol, 1983).
By the 1960s, the condition of Puerto Ricans in New York stood precariously close to that of their African American counterparts. The schools they attended were highly segregated and lacked basic resources. To make matters worse, large numbers of Spanish-speaking Puerto Rican children, much like their Mexican American peers elsewhere in the nation, were typically labeled, as a result of IQ tests, as "slow learners" and often placed in classrooms for the "educable mentally retarded" (Rodriguez-Fraticelli, et al., 1986). Though some inter-generational advances were made by the children of the first migrants from the island, the overall picture of Puerto Ricans in New York City by 1960 was rather dismal. Whereas unemployment for white males in the city was 5 percent and 7 percent for blacks, the rate was nearly 10 percent for Puerto Ricans. Puerto Rican family income in 1960 was only 63 percent of that for white families in the city (Glazer and Moynihan, 1963). Puerto Rican school children had the highest high school drop out rate of any group in the city (87 percent) and the lowest educational attainment rates (Moore and Pachon, 1985). From all socio-economic and educational indicators, therefore, Puerto Ricans shared a dubious distinction, together with African Americans and Mexican Americans, as one of the most impoverished and disadvantaged communities in American urban society in the immediate post-World War II decades.
16. The social and economic conditions faced by Mexican-origin and Puerto Rican-origin people in the U.S. during the first half of the twentieth century, exacerbated by both individual acts of discrimination and institutionalized forms of exclusion from opportunities, gave rise to an unprecedented development in the number and variety of self-help organizations among Hispanics. These organizations mirrored the social reality of the native-born and immigrants and illustrate the pressing issues faced by Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans in the decades between the world wars. First, an enormous proliferation of mutual aid-type organizations went hand-in-hand with mass immigration from Mexico. In adjusting to life in the U.S., Mexican immigrants organized hundreds of
new mutual aid organizations to meet their needs for sickness and death benefits and, in a broader context, to recreate their social networks in a new environment. Many of these mutual aid associations were founded as strictly local groups, while others, such as La Sociedad Benito Juarez and La Union Patriotica Benefica Mexicana Independiente, had dozens of chapters in various states of the Southwest and later in Midwestern communities (Hernandez, 1983; Camarillo, 1984; J. Garcia, 1996).
The mutual aid organizations, much like their predecessors of the previous century, often played a variety of key roles in Mexican American communities. They not only provided insurance benefits and sponsored social-cultural events for members, they also helped to mobilize for political action and helped organize workers against economic discrimination they faced in their communities. It was no surprise, for example, that many Mexican American mutual aid societies were responsible for the development of ethnic-oriented labor unions throughout the period, especially during the 1920s and 1930s. The major U.S. labor unions had made it quite clear that they had no intention of organizing Mexican workers, and some unions were adamantly opposed to the large-scale use of immigrant workers in the Southwest labor market. With little help from the national unions, Mexican Americans were particularly vulnerable to exploitation. The list of discriminatory and exploitative practices used against Mexican immigrants and Mexican American workers in the mining, food processing, construction, and transportation industries and in agribusiness have been well documented by scholars: racial wage differentials, contract labor, wages paid in script for purchases only at company stores, jobs designated for "Mexicans only," deportation of union leaders, and so forth. These and other conditions forced many mutual aid associations to take the lead in organizing Mexican American workers into unions. For example, in 1927, a federation of mutual aid societies from throughout Southern California gathered in Los Angeles to form the first Mexican American labor union in 1928, La Confederacion de Uniones Obreras Mexicanas, or the Confederation of Mexican Workers' Unions (Acuna, 1981, Barrera, 1985; Camarillo, 1984).
Although the period from the turn of the century through the Great Depression was one marked more by failure than success for unionization among Mexican American workers, it nevertheless was a period in which the foundations were laid for more significant union victories during the post-World War II era. More than anything else, the unionization efforts of the early twentieth century reflected the dire circumstances that confronted Mexican Americans and their need to join together in organizations to protect their rights and interests as workers.
The protection of workers' rights was in many ways inseparable from efforts to protect basic civil rights, a reality most Mexican American labor unionists faced during the period. Mexican Americans struggled to achieve civil and legal rights through a variety of local groups and, later in the period, through their first national civil rights advocacy organization.
Although civil rights advocacy of Mexican Americans was something articulated by community leaders and spokespersons since the mid-nineteenth century, the first formal organizations to include protection of civil rights in their agendas were products of the early twentieth century. For example, in 1911, Mexican Americans in Texas organized El Primer Congreso, a statewide meeting of local organizations, to unite for action against discrimination and repression by Anglos. The Congreso also identified a variety of other issues with regard to racial inequality, in particular the educational segregation of Mexican American children and violation of citizens' legal rights in the political/judicial system in Texas (Limon, 1974).
The culmination of civil rights advocacy for Mexican Americans and other Hispanics occuffed in 1939 with the formation of the Congreso de Pueblos de Habla Espanola (Congress of Spanish Speaking People). Indeed, in many ways the Congress represented the amalgamation of the mutual aid, labor, and civil rights advocacy movements for Mexican Americans during the first four decades of the twentieth century. Delegates attending the 1939 meeting of the Congress represented Mexican American and other Hispanic groups with a combined dues-paying membership of 874,000 people. In addition to advocacy and protection of civil rights for Hispanics and opposition to racial and class discrimination, the Congress offered Hispanics a broad platform for action: political advocacy condemning legislation adversely affecting Hispanics; promotion of labor unionization; promotion of the health, education, and welfare of Hispanics; and protection of the foreign born. The
Congress was the first broad-based civil rights national organization for Hispanics. It achieved a degree of cooperation among Mexican Americans across the Southwest and Hispanics in other parts of the nation never attained before or since. Although it did not survive much beyond 1945 for a variety of reasons, it mirrored the need for civil rights protection for Hispanics and signaled a new period of increased political action among Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans during the post-World War II period (Garcia, 1989; Camarillo, 1984; Sanchez, 1993).
17. Though the Congress was the only organization for Spanish-speaking people in which both Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans participated, the organizational development of the Puerto Rican community in New York City in the twentieth century paralleled in many ways the history of that for Mexican Americans, though no similar nineteenth century analogue existed for Puerto Ricans. In the years following World War I and as the initial migration stream from the island began to increase, Puerto Ricans in the city realized the need to develop organizations to promote and maintain their social and cultural traditions in the new urban milieu. As a result, several civic and cultural clubs developed, both for the small group of middle class professionals and for predominantly working class people (Sanchez-Koffol, 1983, Rodriguez-Fraticelli, et al., 1991)
18. In the immediate post-World War II decades, both Puerto Rican and Mexican American community organizations were becoming more explicitly political in nature, a product of growing political maturation that linked the destiny of "Nuyoricans" increasingly to city politics and Mexican Americans of the second generation to U.S. partisan politics. Most historians agree that returning Mexican American GIs expected and demanded more from U.S. society after risking their lives overseas to defend democracy at home. Yet, when most returned to their barrios and colonias, they found conditions little changed since they left the home front. Many of the returning servicemen were convinced that political power was the key to creating more and better opportunities. Several of the most important postwar organizations founded by Mexicans illustrated this new preoccupation with political participation and the potential influence of the Mexican American citizenry. Three organizations founded during the 1940s and 1950s serve as examples of this new orientation among Mexican Americans to advance the educational and political status of their ethnic communities: the Community Service Organization (CSO) in Los Angeles, the Mexican American Political Association in California, and its counterpart in Texas, the Political Association of Spanish-Speaking Organizations. These organizations sought to achieve political influence as the avenue to improve the well being of its constituents. Dozens of organizations during the 1960s and later have followed the precedent of these earlier groups (Gutierrez, 1994; Acuna, 1981).
19. In the 1960s and early 1970s, the status of Hispanic Americans and African American [sic] -- the nation's two largest racial minorities -- was at a critical turning point. The gains of the civil rights movement that resulted in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the development of a host of federally-supported programs to support educational and economic opportunity beginning in 1967 helped to open doors previously closed to most racial and ethnic minority communities. These unprecedented legislative and executive-mandated laws and acts not only made discrimination based on race and national origin illegal, they set a context for the nation to reconsider the direction society was headed with regard to the inclusion and incorporation of American
minorities who had for too long been kept outside mainstream society. In 1971 and 1972, a series of reports documented the educational isolation and schooling gap that separated Mexican American students in public schools from the achievement of Anglo pupils. The reports revealed, for example, that in 1960, 45 percent of all Mexican American school children attended schools that were predominantly Mexican American, with the greatest degree of racial isolation in Texas schools where 65 percent of all Mexican Americans attended ethnically isolated public schools. Drop-out or attrition rates for Mexican Americans in the Southwest were higher than for any other group, including African
Americans. In 1970, for every 100 Mexican American children who started first grade, only 60 graduated from high school; the high school completion rates for blacks and Anglos was 67 percent and 87 percent respectively (Mexican American Education Study, 1971; The Unfinished Education, 1971; The Excluded Student, 1972).
Compelling evidence of educational neglect, segregation in the public schools, and lack of educational opportunities for Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans into the 1970s was perhaps the most troubling socio-economic finding reported to the American nation as a result of the reports issued by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and other agencies during the decade. The problem was an enormous one with huge implications for the future of the nation's fastest growing ethnic group. In 1970, the number of Mexican Americans had surpassed the 4.5 million mark and the Puerto Rican population on the mainland reached about 1.4 million (Americans of Spanish Origin, 1974). Clearly, the issues that revolved around the inclusion of Hispanics in the institutional life of American society by the 1970s were strongly influenced by the legacies of the past.
20. The most recent report published by the Population Reference Bureau in Washington,
D.C., based on calculations from the U.S. Census Current Population Report from March 1996, provides an excellent profile of the demographic, socio-economic, and educational status of Hispanic Americans in the late 1990s (del Pinal and Singer). Upon review of the data, it is clear that some group progress has been achieved, especially among those Hispanics who were able to access educational and employment opportunities in the post-1970 decades and secure for themselves a measure of middle class stability. But there are many troubling signs that indicate that in important areas of American life, the diversity that Hispanics add to society by virtue of their large numbers is not reflected in the institutions which have historically promoted opportunity. Most educational and economic indicators in the 1990s point to the reality that the history I have described carries its consequences into contemporary society: Hispanics are still grossly under-represented in institutions of higher learning and over-represented when measures of poverty and low occupational status are considered. The lagging behind of Hispanics in education and income looms as a major challenge for a diverse American society in the twenty first century, especially as the Hispanic population continues to soar over the next several decades.
Population growth of Hispanics, largely due to high rates of natural increase and continuing immigration from Mexico and other Latin American nations, have prompted Census Bureau demographers to project that Hispanics will constitute the largest single ethnic group in America by 2005. As Table 2 indicates, the population increase of Hispanics, especially for Mexican-origin people, has been tremendous since 1960. The total population of Hispanics in 1996 exceeded 25 million (Mexican-origin persons comprised 64 percent, Puerto Ricans 11 percent, Central and South Americans 17 percent, Cubans 6 percent, and "other" Hispanics accounted for 12 percent). Projections for the first half of the twenty first century target the Hispanic population to surpass 65 million persons by 2030 (about 19% of the U.S. total population), a figure that is further projected to reach 95 million by mid-century (Hispanics are projected to comprise about a quarter of all Americans in 2050). These population figures point clearly to the fact that ethnic diversity in American society into the next century will be driven disproportionately by the increasing numbers of Hispanics. The real question is whether this growing Hispanic diversity wffl be reflected in society, or whether Hispanic Americans will continue to live separately from white Americans.
21. The socio-economic and educational profiles for Hispanics in 1996 reflect many factors that help explain why this large ethnic group in American society has shown, on the one hand, some signs of progress and advancement and, on the other hand, some persistent patterns of under-representation in the institutional life of the nation.
Though certain contemporary factors undeniably have great bearing on the economic and
educational well being of Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and other Hispanic subgroups, the influence of history continues to weigh heavily on the status of Hispanics in American society. The historical legacies of educational, occupational, and residential isolation and separation that characterize the Hispanic American past are absolutely essential considerations in understanding the nature of American diversity in the late twentieth century.
Now I go to my country (Balderrama, 1982)
Where although at times they make war [Mexican Revolution]
They will not run us from there.
Goodbye, my dear friends,
You are all witness
Of the bad payment they give.
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"Compelling Need" Table of Contents