The film Cesar Chavez covers a currently relevant theme of mistreatment of immigrants in the United States. The movie’s central conflict revolves around the titular hero’s struggle to establish non-exploitative labor contracts from farm owners in California (Luna, 2014). As Cesar Chavez and his agricultural coworkers are predominantly immigrants, they are maltreated and exploited by their employers with near impunity, reflecting the lack of protections for temporary migrant workers. As an immigrant, Cesar Chavez is mistreated by local authorities who view most migrant workers and families with suspicion (Luna, 2014). Immigrants, particularly those who do not have the local ethnic majority’s skin color, are presented as at risk from the native population. The Californian community and authorities see themselves as superior to Hispanic immigrants, which they consider to be a reason for justifying much of their exploitation and ill-treatment of non-natives.
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Immigrants all around the United States and globally have often been treated with disrespect, suspicion, leading to subsequent separation. The book gives an example of various European nation-states in the early 19th century, where immigrants were particularly discriminated against and inappropriate behavior was shown towards them (Rattansi, 2007). In the case of Britain, Irish people fleeing from famine were portrayed as “ape-like and innately fond of living in filth, just like their pigs” (Rattansi, 2007, p. 38). Thus, many local individuals would attach negative stereotypes to newcomers when immigrants come from economically-developing countries. Therefore, prejudice is not only portrayed verbally; it is also inherited by the United States’ judicial system. For example, the 1790 Act of Congress declared legal rights exclusively to white people, as discrimination is often deeply rooted in laws (Rattansi, 2007). Therefore, the theme of mistreatment in the movie is especially apparent aftein-lawsing more about the impact of injustice on the US’s laws, affecting employment procedures.
Luna, D. (2014). Cesar Chavez [Film]. Canana Films.
Rattansi, A. (2007). Racism: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press.