Racism On Trial: The Chicano Movement

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Since the inception of the United States, all nonwhite citizens have been marginalized and discriminated against by a nation that was essentially founded on, “a conviction that race destined certain peoples to inferiority...and a belief in...[white]...racial greatness,” (Racism on Trial, 61). A national structure based upon the deprivation of racial groups’ basic rights sends a concise message to these oppressed people that the system is not willing to work for them. When these groups are fully cognitive of their perceived inferiority, it is only natural that revolutionary behavior will soon follow; this is precisely what brought about the Chicano movement of the 1960’s. Ian Haney López, in his captivating book, Racism on Trial: The Chicano…show more content…
There were various factors that sprang the Chicano movement to life, although the initial motivation was rooted in, “increasing frustration with the limited success of Mexicans’ efforts to assimilate [which] created fertile space for a new approach to Mexican identity,” (Racism on Trial, 157). This new approach was created by the Chicanos, who were Mexican youth that, “came of political age in the movement,” (Racism on Trial, 163). This generation of Mexicans realized their everyday interactions with prejudice and this led to, “the awakening of Mexican youth to a political consciousness of themselves and of their ability to fight for equal treatment,” (Racism on Trial, 23). Before the Chicano movement gained notoriety, African-American insurgency efforts, “had held the attention of the nation for decades,” (Racism on Trial, 165) and because of their empowering and successful efforts to protest unequal treatment, there is no doubt that, “the Black Power movement’s explicit celebration of non-white identity directly influenced activism in East Los Angeles,” (Racism on Trial, 164). In the East Los Angeles area, educational institutions were extremely underfunded in infrastructure and classroom amenities and held to far lower standards than schools in “white” parts of the Los Angeles area. These evident discriminations led to…show more content…
And even though, “there is very little difference in crime rates between the white and Mexican areas of Los Angeles,” (Racism on Trial, 139), the bigots running the department (led by Chief of Police William Parker) and the police on the street involved in racial profiling, made it, “an accepted and expected part of the job,” (Racism on Trial, 145) to virtually terrorize, intimidate, assault, and arrest mass quantities of Mexicans in East Los Angeles. And, although there were low discrepancies in crime rates, there were high disparities in arrest rates--which seems inevitable considering there were, “375 law enforcement officers operat[ing] in East Los Angeles compared with 151 in the West Valley region”, (Racism on Trial, 139). It isn’t that there was more crime taking place in Mexican communities, it was simply the prerogative of the LAPD to, “arrest Mexicans for conduct they overlooked in the white community” (Racism on Trial, 141) and the discretion of each police officer how he/she went about making these arrests--which usually resulted in unnecessary force. Because the LAPD perceived Chicanos as being, “a special threat warranting close scrutiny,”

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