Mexican American History Is A Patriotic History

By Salomón Baldenegro

In Tea Party Republican Arizona, teaching Mexican American history is illegal because that history is purportedly “un-American” and foments the “overthrow of the government.”

The shamelessness of people who rally under the Confederate flag — a flag of treason, whose adherents renounced their U.S. citizenship, declared war on our country, and actually tried to overthrow our government! — claiming our history is “un-American” is breathtaking.

Let’s look at a few instructive snippets from scholars regarding this “subversive,” “un-American” history:

  • Carole Christian documents how during WW I Mexican Americans enlisted in great numbers, urged on by Spanish-language newspapers that reported the “courage and sacrifice, sometimes of their lives,” of these soldiers.
  • Raúl Morín describes the immense contributions and bravery of Mexican Americans during World War II and inKorea. One chapter details how “Company E, the All-Chicano Company,” whose members won many medals for bravery, was instrumental in winning several major battles.
  • John Culhane writes of the courageous WW II-Korea exploits of 57 Mexican American young men who lived onSecond Street(“Hero Street”) in Silvis,Illinois, many of whom lost their lives and were awarded medals for bravery. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, this constituted “…the largest number of servicemen from the same ethnic group to come from any area of comparable size during these conflicts.”
  • Ricardo Santillán’s “Rosita the Riveter” describes the contributions of Mexican American women who operated the factories, manufacturing ammunition and other war materiel during WW II.
  • Christine Marín wrote about the Asociación de Madres y Esposas (Association of Mothers and Wives) who developed a network of “VictoryGardens” so that the country’s harvest could go to feed the troops, sold war bonds, collected and sold scrap metal, and picked cotton, donating the proceeds to the WW II war effort.
  • Ralph Guzmán memorialized how Mexican Americans from southwestern states were 19.4% of Vietnam War fatalities but comprised only 10% of the population in those states.

Proportionately, Mexican Americans surpass all other ethnic groups with respect to the number of Congressional Medals of Honor earned for valor in combat.

After WW II, these patriotic men and women encountered “No Mexicans Allowed” signs in public places. Robert Oppenheimer describes a typical incident of a Mexican American WW II veteran, in his medal-decorated uniform, who was refused service in a restaurant. “White” cemeteries refused to bury Mexican American veterans.

Compare the decency of these patriots to the racism they faced: In Silvis, the home of Hero Street, Mexican American WW II veterans were not allowed to join the whites-only VFW chapter, but when the “white” VFW building was later razed and the members had no place to meet, the Mexican American chapter welcomed the displaced members to their chapter.

It is a perversion and a libel of monumental proportions to categorize the history detailed above — and similar historical dynamics regarding the immense economic, labor, cultural, political, educational, social, civil-rights, etc., contributions of Mexican Americans to our country — as “illegal” and “un-American.” Especially by people who rally under the treasonous Confederate flag.

Read Salomón Baldenegro’s previous essay on anti-ethnic studies activities in Arizona.

[Photo By Carissa GoodNCrazy]

Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Must Read

How a harsh criticism turned ‘Coco’ into Pixar’s most uniquely made movie yet

Victor Landa November 17, 2017

Director Lee Unkrich was hot off the box office success and Oscar win for 2010’s “Toy Story 3” when he delved into making a movie that focused on the Mexican […]

Trump Administration Targets and then Mocks Immigrant with Prosthetic Leg

Victor Landa November 15, 2017

A 20-year-old undocumented immigrant with prosthetic leg and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status has been detained by federal immigration agents and held without charges for over a month, treated inhumanely […]

More Latinas are becoming teachers and reshaping our nation’s classrooms

Victor Landa November 29, 2017

The growth of the Latino population in the United States will have a lasting cultural and intellectual impact beyond the arts, food, and celebrations. More and more, Latinas are becoming […]

As Numbers Grow, Recognizing Generations Of Latino Veterans

Victor Landa November 10, 2017

As the nation honors its veterans, government officials point to the growing numbers of Latinos in the military, while Hispanic scholars and historians remind us of the generations of Latino […]

U.S Hispanic Chamber Leader Who Has Had Turbulent Relationship With Trump May Be Ousted

Victor Landa November 22, 2017

The US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) is moving behind the scenes to oust its prominent president Javier Palomarez over allegations that he misused the organization’s money for his personal […]

How Indie Latinx Comic Book Authors Are Capturing the Latinx Experience

Victor Landa November 13, 2017

Back in 2010, comics creator Javier Hernandez was walking around San Francisco with his friend Ricardo Padilla when he had an idea: Why don’t they build a comics convention focusing […]

Half of Latino Immigrant Characters on TV Are Portrayed as Criminals, Study Finds

Victor Landa November 1, 2017

Define American, the immigration nonprofit founded by Pulitzer-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, has released its first-ever media reference guide for writers, directors, and producers concerning Latino immigrant characters. Immigrants and […]

Could Hispanic vote push Lupe Valdez into Texas Governor’s Office?

Victor Landa December 8, 2017

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez is running as a Democratic candidate for Texas Governor after a year of speaking out on big state issues– particularly the controversial sanctuary cities ban. Experts says […]