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Quien somos who are we?

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History on the identity of Texas Hispanics.

History on the identity of Texas Hispanics.

Published in: News & Politics

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  • 1.  The media wants to portray us as a monolithic homogenous group like the Japanese or Scandinavians. We are often referred to us as the “sleeping giant” and they all wonder when we are going to wake up.
  • 2.  When Mexico became independent in 1821, Texas became a part of Mexico. Some will say that Texas was once a part of Mexico. Texas was a part of Spain for over 300 years. It was a part of Mexico for fifteen, in historical terms an insignificant period of time. Mexican Historian Justo Sierra, states that Texas was a part of Mexico in name only. It is easy to agree with Justo Sierra.
  • 3.  The original Tejanos, now called Hispanics, were Spaniards, soldiers, missionaries, mestizos and friendly Indians sent to populate and protect Texas from intruders such as the Americans and French who had their eyes on Texas.
  • 4.  When Texas became independent in 1836, these early Tejanos were part of the property that came with victory over Santa Anna. Can you imagine this: Texas got its independence 176 years ago. Some Hispanics have been in Texas over 300 years.
  • 5.  In 1821 there were 2240 Tejanos. In 1836 there were over 4000. In 1836, Whites outnumbered Tejanos, ten to one. Between 1836 and 1900 there was a trickle of migration from Mexico to Texas. In 1900 there was a small spike and a much larger one between 1910 and 1920. I refer to this spike as the “Children of the Revolution”.
  • 6.  While it may appear as if the Hispanics have never assimilated into the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) Culture, the original Tejanos over a 300 year period have fully assimilated into the dominant WASP culture. This can also be said about the 2d generation of the children of the Children of the Revolution. Over 100 years have elapsed since the Mexican Revolution. This is sufficient time for assimilation to occur.
  • 7.  As an example, up until 1900 the Chapa family was Tejano. In 1900 a young man by the name of Anastacio Alvarado arrived in Texas from Durango, Mexico. When he married Victoria Chapa, there was a fusion of Tejano-Mexicano. Between 1910 and 1920 the Mexican Revolution caused millions of Mexicans to migrate to the US to escape the ravages of the war. This migration is what made us all Mexican.
  • 8.  The migration did not stop with the end of the Mexican Revolution. Political and economic conditions caused millions of Mexican to migrate to the US. By 1930 there were 700,000 persons of Mexican descent in Texas. This compares to a total population of 5824715.
  • 9.  Fast forward to 1970 and the United States opened its border to Central Americans. Millions came, legally and illegally. The number of Hispanics not of Tejano- Mexican origin is over 30%. There is a melding of all Hispanics in Texas at the current time. Over the next generation or two, perhaps three, assimilation between Tejano-Mexicano and other Latinos will have occurred and we will have a Tejano-Mexicano-other Hispanic race.
  • 10.  As you can see we are not a sleeping giant. Some Hispanics have been fully assimilated into the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture. Some Hispanics are still going through an acculturation process. There are Hispanics who speak no Spanish and there are Hispanics whose only language is Spanish. We all have different levels of political sophistication. There are those that fully participate in the political process and there are those that do not really understand our political system.
  • 11.  As you can see, how can we be a sleeping giant when we all have different levels of political sophistication? There are many Hispanics who only want to be recognized as:
  • 12. The Tejano Community, 1836-1900, ArnoldoDe Leon.The Political Evolution of the Mexican People,Justo Sierra.
  • 13.  This presentation was created by Felix Alvarado, fdk9@hotmail.com. Any disagreements can be directed straight to him.