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Chicanx Movement Analysis: Equal Rights and Freedoms for the Respective Marginalized Racial Groups

Chicanx Movement

Also widely known as El Movimiento, the Chicanx, or Chicano, Movement was aimed at liberating people of Mexican descent from the clutches of structural racism in the 1940s and 50s (Ruiz 101). The Chicanx Movement is often compared to the Black Power Movement. Indeed, both originated roughly at the same time. In addition, each pursued similar goals of trampling the ideas of racism to fight for equal rights and freedoms for the respective marginalized racial groups. Starting in Colorado, the Chicanx Movement quickly spread across the globe, gaining them worldwide status. However, the tendency to center traditional gender roles relevant to the Mexican culture weakened the movement. It minimized the role of women and LGBT Chicano people, which eventually led to the movement’s demise (Ruiz 103). Nevertheless, the Chicanx Movement contributed to a noticeable change in the treatment of Mexican people in the U.S., as well as globally.

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Due to the internal contradictions described above, the Chicanx Movement was rather short-lived. However, it spawned a plethora of other initiatives, one of which centered on the political agency of Mexican people specifically. MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, or “Chicano Student Movement of Aztlán,” which the Chicanx Movement spawned, was supposed to enhance the role of Mexican people in political activities in their respective communities (Ruiz 105). The MEChA movement did not focus on gender issues specifically. Nonetheless, Chicana Feminism, which is frequently referred to as Xicanism, was also quite prominent in it (Ruiz 105). At the same time, MEChA focused mostly on the issue of education and power balance as general concerns. Thus, it paid only minor attention to gender conflicts within the Mexican community (Ruiz 106). As a result, the Xicanism movement detached itself from the Chicanx one.

As an organization, MEChA focused explicitly on the promotion of literacy and general knowledge among members of the Mexican community. According to Ruiz, “students stressed the importance of applying their education for the benefit of their communities” (105). It emphasized the role of education and literacy as a tool for providing Mexican people with greater political and economic power. The specified focus played a crucial role in shaping the movement. Connecting the specified changes to the existing historical documents on the subject matter, one might want to include the source mentioned by Vargas, namely, “A Franciscan Friar Describes the Land and People of New Mexico” (31).

Immigration-Related Myths

Being based on a series of prejudices and biases, the fears of immigrants disrupting the life of a community, particularly, are largely unsubstantiated. However, due to the persistent nature of said stereotypes, the fear of adverse changes that immigrants will supposedly bring along with them thrives in a range of communities (Chomsky 61). In his book “They Took Our Jobs,” Aviva Chomsky dismantles a number of stereotypes that cause the fear of immigrants to emerge in communities. However, of all stereotypes that Chomsky dissects in his work, three appear to have particular resonance in the American community, being absolutely absurd yet having a tremendous impact on how immigrants are perceived.

Fearing the effects that immigrants ostensibly have on the economy, a range of people tend to presume that immigrants evade taxation, thus draining the state economy. According to Chomsky, the specified assumption is completely unsubstantiated, yet it remains one of the pillars of anti-immigrant attitudes in American society. The described belief has originated from the idea that immigrants tend to occupy informal job positions, which used to be true in the past (Chomsky 63). However, nowadays, most immigrants tend to search for formal job opportunities, which means that they join the ranks of official taxpayers along with the rest of American citizens. Chomsky explains that “Many immigrants work in the formal economy, in which case they have all of the same tax deductions from their paychecks as citizens do” (64). Therefore, even though the informal sector used to be the major focus of immigrant workers, most of them contribute to the economic development of the U.S. along with the rest of American citizens nowadays.

The opponents of more charitable immigrant policies have also scrutinized the legal aspect of providing immigrants with opportunities for living in the U.S. thoroughly. Specifically, Chomsky points out that many Americans support the following myth: “The United States has a generous refugee policy” (64). However, as the author explains, the idea of American laws being welcoming of immigrants and refugees is quite removed from reality. Particularly, the current state of American laws for immigrants and refugees set rather rigid requirements for entering the U.S. Namely, the requirements for proving the “well-founded fear” of repercussions in the home state are presently very demanding, with a minuscule number of cases involving a positive outcome for potential immigrants (U.S. Department of Homeland Security). Therefore, people claiming that refugees have easy access to opportunities for setting in the U.S. are, at best, misinformed, and, at worst, very prejudiced against refugees from other states.

Finally, addressing the myths associated with race, one should consider the popular misconception that Chomsky mentions in her book under the section of “Immigration and Race” (77). According to the author, the myth that all community members, including locals and immigrants, “start on equal footing” since the former are the descendants of immigrants as well, is a major misconception of how cross-cultural relationships are built in modern society. Specifically, the proponents of this statement do not make the difference in time and history that was shaped as they colonized America. In addition, the fact that the laws affecting the current power structure within American society were created and reinforced by the formal descendants of immigrants from Europe proves that current citizens of the U.S. still retain their status quo as the dominant power. However, even though the described myth is very easy to disprove, it remains a very powerful mechanism for discriminating against immigrants in the U.S.

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Black Lives Movement, Chicanx Movement, and Latinx Movement

Every liberation movement has the goal of a particular marginalized group gaining freedom at its core. As a result, there are a lot of similarities to be found between different movements for equality. For instance, the Black Lives Movement, Chicanx Movement, and Latinx Movement share a clear common goal. Namely, they strive to provide the specified vulnerable populations with equal rights and opportunities. The latter two need to align with those enjoyed by the white population (Cuevas 121).

However, there are more coincidences to find between the specified movements. For example, the Black Lives Movement, the Latinx Movement, and the Chicanx Movement strived to attain social justice along with alterations on a legal level. The simultaneous focus on two aspects helped to build the premise for change. Arguably, the social change and the plight for acceptance of the specified marginalized groups were of greater importance. Indeed, without it, legal alterations to the laws against immigration would be impossible.

In addition, similarities between the movements could be observed on the internal level as well. Specifically, one should pay attention to the propensity toward addressing gender inequality within the Chicanx Movement. The specified trend aligned with the Black Lives Movement and its gradual shift in focus toward the needs of LGBT representatives (Cuevas 102). Furthermore, the needs of women as an oppressed class were brought up in each of the three movements. Consequently, the outlined changes gave spur to the feminist ideas in each movement.

Both groups have faced racism and discrimination, as well as violence and excruciatingly unfair treatment both from officials and prejudiced civilians. Therefore, it is crucial to bridge together the struggles of minorities in the U.S. rather than divide them. One needs to connect the hardships and challenges experienced by each group. By making the specified link, one will be able to dismantle the system that supports systemic oppression of ethnic and racial minorities. As a result, social progress will be achieved and the basis for equal rights will be built.

Prop 187, SB 1070, the 2006 Immigration March, and Border Violence

A range of regulations infringing upon the rights of immigrants and ethnic minorities have been issued in the U.S. over the course of the state’s history. 1994 California Proposition 187, also known as Prop 187, did not allow illegal immigrants to use healthcare services. Namely, it prevented them from receiving immediate medical assistance in case of need (DeSipio and Rodolfio 164). In turn, the Arizona SB 1070 regulation stated that an illegal immigrant has to carry appropriate documents whenever entering a public space. Otherwise, an immigrant will be arrested for a misdemeanor (DeSipio and Rodolfio 165). The described regulations were highly inappropriate. Indeed, they targeted illegal migrants and deprived them of their basic human rights. The 2006 Immigration March was an adequate response to this situation (DeSipio and Rodolfio 166). The march was organized to protest against the further reinforcement of penalties for illegal immigrants, particularly, those against the Latino population. The protest was supported by people from all backgrounds and organized mainly by representatives of the Latino population. As a result, the 2006 Immigration March became the symbol for fighting for the rights of immigrants.

However, the surge in the fight for the rights of immigrants was also confronted by the response from a more conservative and prejudiced part of the U.S. population. This caused a rapid increase in border violence. The phenomenon of border violence implies that illegal immigrants are heavily persecuted and face potential death at the hands of border patrol when fleeing to the U.S. Thus, border violence is an atrocious concept that dehumanizes illegal immigrants. Furthermore, border violence contributes to ethnic tensions within the American community. The observed trend of hostility toward Latino immigrants remains a part of modern reality. Even after the end of the Chicano Movement, it persists in the US context. Thus, it indicates that the deeply rooted prejudices and biases against Latino people persist in American society. Given the described issues, it would be an overstatement to claim that the U.S. has reached the state of inclusivity in its treatment of people of different races and ethnicities.

Works Cited

Chomsky, Aviva. “They Take Our Jobs!” and 20 Other Myths about Immigration. Beacon Press, 2018.

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Cuevas, T. Jackie. Post-Borderlandia: Chicana Literature and Gender Variant Critique. Rutgers University Press, 2018.

DeSipio, Louis, and O. Rodolfo. US Immigration in the Twenty-First Century: Making Americans, Remaking America. Westview Press, 2015.

Ruiz, Vicki L. From out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America. Oxford University Press, 2008.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “Refugees and Asylees.”, 2020, Web.

Vargas, Zaragosa, ed. Major Problems in Mexican American History: Documents and Essays. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999.

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