Race as a Social Construct
Racialization, to differentiate or categorize according to race, is still prominent in today's society. Race, a social construct, was created by society. There is no gene in the human body that defines what "race" you are, therefore, it is only an idea that individuals came up with. Yet, people in today's society still categorize individuals by their race and stereotype individuals by what race they most resemble. People grow into this society with the idea embedded into their heads that the whiter you are, the better off you will be in life. People who are lighter skinned are more socially acceptable, will be treated differently, and will be respected more than those who appear more Indian or are darker skinned.
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Internal Racialization is another huge problem in the Mexican-American community. The past history that America has had with racialization has instilled this idea that the lighter one is the better off they are in society. This has brought about internal racialization among Mexican-Americans. Lighter skinned Mexican-Americans look down upon the darker, more Indian looking Mexican-Americans. The more white looking Chicanos may make fun of darker skinned Chicanos and forget that we are all one people and skin color should not matter. Also, culture may be lost when these white Chicanos tend to try too hard to assimilate into today's white society. I have met Mexican-American individuals that cannot speak a single word of Spanish and do not seem to mind at all. I find that very depressing and discouraging. Our culture and language are slowly being assimilated out of our people's system. The continuous racialization of the Mexican-American people by the White people has caused this internal racialization that is still very prominent up to this day.
In 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed and the Mexican-American War was ended. It declared that Mexicans who lived within the newly acquired southwest territory would be incorporated into the U.S. and would be given all the rights of its citizens. [Menchaca 3] But it