Indigenous Peoples’ Day: Why Mexicans Have Always Been Exploited in the United States
Thousands of indigenous Mexicans march through the streets of the capital demanding more rights, respect and democracy on the 506th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New World. (AP Archive)
As many US states and municipalities have begun to eschew the colonial tradition of "Columbus Day" in favor of adopting Monday's holiday as "Indigenous Peoples' Day," one might wonder where people of Mexican heritage fit in.
For some, this is a controversial question due to hundreds of years of mestizaje, or mixture, and also due to hundreds of years of colonialism and colonized thinking. For others, this is not controversial at all, because with few European women brought to this continent, the mixture was not co-equal and consensual, and thus, most Mexicans essentially remain Indigenous or are de-Indigenized peoples as a result of colonization.
All answers are complex because the category of mestizo/mestiza is actually a non-scientific term born of a racial caste system of exploitation, designed primarily not as a racial descriptor, but to deprive people of their full human rights. If it were simply a racial designation, in all likelihood, most Mexicans would be considered mestizo or Indigenous; in Canada, a metis or person of "mixed-blood" is considered a First Nations person. In Mexico, very few Mexicans are considered "white."
One of the primary answers also gives us a clue as to why Mexicans have always been exploited in the United States.
Read the rest at Truthout
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