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Mexicans included


Since I don’t have Y10nerd’s email this post is a request to them to send me a guest post on ethnicity in south Texas so it can be front paged.

A few quick notes of my own on the more general topic of the extent to which Mexicans, Tejanos, Chicanos, Hispanics, Latinos, etc. are or are not white, or more properly are or are not becoming white.

((1) A weird thing I see among a lot of liberal/leftist Anglos is that in theory they totally agree with the idea that whiteness is nothing but a social construction, that you’re white if the society thinks of you as white and there’s no there there beyond that, and so forth, yet these same people will often betray a tendency to reify whiteness into something much more metaphysical when talking about whether Mexicans or Cubans or what have you are “really” white. And this isn’t just “conservative Latinos in Florida or Texas think they’re white but the white people there don’t think they are.” It’s more a reflexive falling into the mindset that some people are really white and others aren’t, even if they think they are (of course any good liberal/leftist Really White person will deny thinking this way when it’s pointed out to them but it’s super obvious they DO think this way when they’re talking about the subject unreflectively. Which is not an accusation — everybody thinks this way unreflectively because structural racism duh).

(2) I’ve been looking at Census stats from the first half of the 20th century, and here’s the racial classification of the entire US population used at that time:






Other colored

What’s striking is that the numbers in the last four categories are TINY — less than one percent of the total population, combined.

For three years in the early 1930s, “Mexican” is listed as a separate category, but after that “Mexican” is submerged back into white, via a recurring footnote accompanying the “White” stats that says “Including Mexicans.”

(3) Race and ethnicity in Mexico itself is a super complicated and interesting topic, which people in the United States know nothing about, because people in this country know nothing about Mexico, period.

(I hate using the phrase “As a Mexican-American,” but as a Mexican-American it annoys the hell out of me that the politics and culture of England, France, Israel, and some other countries too get about 1000 times more coverage in the media than that of Mexico — a country whose politics and culture might just have slightly more relevance to what’s going on in the USA right now).

I have a lot more to say on all this but for now I look forward to Y10nerd’s thoughts.

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