According to George Sánchez, the influx of the immigrant Mexicans to Los Angeles can be traced to the period between1880-1930. They would come in large numbers because there was no hindrance to this movement. As Sanchez records, this was not different in Los Angeles where historians agree that they were in large numbers. However, things later changed particularly after the enactment of the immigration Act in 1917 when more restrictions were enforced to guard against this practice. However, it still persisted due to the existence of fluid borders that could not bar them from crossing over.
As a result of this mixture, two distinct groups emerged: the privileged natives and the downtrodden immigrants. There was a racial segregation in which people were classified as the native whites and the immigrant groups. It is only the Americans who were legally entitled to social, political and economic privileges. As a result of this, there emerged two classes of people in which each of these groups were united against the other. The Americans perceived the immigrants as enmity group that was out to enjoy their rightful benefits and in turn derail the process of their development.
Therefore, by 1930s, a new group of people emerged as a result of the intermarriages between the Americans and the immigrant Mexicans. This was intensified after the great depression that led to lots of repatriations of many of them. So, it was necessary for this group to look for a way f identifying them in order to know whether to be classified as Americans or Mexicans. I think this would be useful in helping them to survive the repatriation back to Mexico. This is the challenge that faced people like George who was a half cast. Just like many others, he was born of a Mexican American father together with a Spanish mother. So, it became inevitable for this young second generation Mexican Americans to look for how they could build an ambient Americanism as a hybrid trait to identify them.
The middle class American white reformers joined them in this war. They helped to Americanize them by getting them acquainted with the American way of life. As we all know, language is one of the ways of identifying people’s ethnicity or race. Hence, they were taught how to speak and write the English language which was then the main mode of communication in this place. At the same time, these reformers taught these youths on the various aspects of American cultural practices. This would help people like George and his colleagues be identified as a distinct class of people from their immigrant parents. This movement succeeded because these well minded social scientists and academicians focused on the Mexican women who were bound by the culture to remain at home. However, this was done despite the government’s imposition of the nationalization of the use of Spanish just to coax the people to identify with in to make it easier for them to be expatriated.
The Mexicans also resorted to the use of music in helping to assert their identity. The youths formed music bands that would be playing a distinct class of music not similar to the traditional Mexican rhythms, lyrics and tones. It was mainly appealing to them, but not the old folk who were seeing it as a new fashion not identified with them. As events unfolded, this made it possible for them to escape the deportations and repatriations done to nearly a third of this population. So, people like George would not be Mexicans because they had adopted this kind of music that had borrowed a lot of elements from the Americans.
Another way through which this identity was formed is through religion, assimilation and consumption. The American Catholic played a very crucial role in helping to shape this identity. It would change people’s belief, world view and the general perception towards life. Their experimentation made a great contribution in helping to form this new identity which would later gain a permanent residential status in this place. This was so complex and went beyond a mere an assimilation of these groups into the new way of life. Hence, George and his fellows who had been fused into this clique would easily enjoy the new identity.
Like wise, racial segregation is also witnessed in the Paul Espinosa’s produced Ballad of an Unsung Hero movie that stages an account of Pedro Gonzalez a hero who was finally expatriated back to Mexico after making imminent contributions in America. Even after seriously contributing to the Mexican Revolution, working in various capacities and participating in various civil right activities, he was finally sentenced to 50 years imprisonment. Because of his race, he could not benefit much even after the lady accepting that she had wrongfully lied in the court of law.
Just like other people who had made significant contributions to the American society, Pedro becomes an unsung hero. I think their agonies can be attributed to their origin. If they were original white Americans, they would not be discriminated upon. Instead, they would be fully protected by the law.
Based on the above, I would like to say that George was an American. Despite the fact that he was born of a Mexican American, he enjoys birth right citizenship. After all, the American law had been amended several years ago to guarantee this right to the people. In addition, given that he was in the new generation that had made remarkable steps in liberating themselves, made it him be classified as an American.
He must have been among the few who managed to adopt the new way of life that would be used to identify the non Mexicans. He must have learnt the preferred English language and gone beyond mere assimilation, which in his opinion was not the only determining factor in this progressive change. So, I accept that he should have not been deported back to Mexico because he does not belong there. Unlike the unsung Pedro, George was to be grated a citizenship entailed to all the rights and privileges.