“Where have you been, my darling young one.”
– A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall by Bob Dylan
U.S. anti-Mexicanism is a race premised set of historical and contemporary ascriptions, convictions and discriminatory practices inflicted on persons of Mexican descent, longstanding and pervasive in the United States.
This essay conceptualizes, historicizes, and analyzes anti-Mexicanism, past and present, concurrent with some references to sources. Here, the emphasis is conceptual, not historiographical. Anti-Mexicanism is a form of nativism practiced by colonialists and their inheritors. Mexicans, being natives, became targets of aggressive practices inclusive of the violence directed at Indigenous and African peoples. The words “Mexican” and “Mexico” speak to Indigenous heritages. The origins of the thought and meaning of “Mexican and “Mexico” speak to historical native roots. White supremacist ideologues have understood this.
When anti-Mexican rhetoric is used by white supremacists, those who proclaim rights to rulership, the public resonating response — violence and micro-aggressions — indicates the presence of this phenomenon.
This anti-Mexicanism practice is beyond crude prejudice or uncivil, ethnocentric chauvinism. To be sure, for some articulators, anti-Mexican words are such expressions. When anti-Mexicanism is articulated as a publically broadcasted set of negative evaluations that target Mexicans, recommends actions, and used as a means to a set of political goals, it is an ideology. Through broadcast, this ideology is validated as such by a collectivity of endorsers and enactors. This broadcasting does not parse its targeting — it is inclusive — women and men, gay and straight, disabled and able bodied — all of Mexican origin are encompassed. To be sure, the deep concern in this analysis is about the future, not the past. It aims to free the children of future generations from deeply hurtful practices and a set of imagined, negative denominators impacting their self-consciousness and personal freedom.
The large majority of people during the evolution to what became Mexicans and Mexico were and are Indigenous and of indigenous descent. Antipathy toward Native Americans is incremental upon English-speaking colonialists arrival. Their actions generate the initial steps leading to racists and white supremacy practiced in what came to be the United States. Disrespecting Indians politically is a step toward white supremacism and the eventual subordinating of Mexicans.
The hostility of European, English-speaking whites to Native Americans begins with the European arrival in what is now New England, Groton Connecticut. In 1637, over seven hundred Pequot men, women and children were attacked by white “colonists,” as the Pequot celebrated their annual Green Corn Dance. Those who were not shot were burned alive in their ceremonial space. The next day, the Governor of Massachusetts declared a day of “Thanksgiving.” This real episode is documented in the Holland Documents and the 13th volume of Colonial Documentary History. It’s also found in the private papers of Sir William Johnson, Royal British Agent of the Colony [of New York], circa 1640s. The core of this and other contentions is land possession or territorial dominance.