Mass Incarceration

Mexican Americans are not seeking reparations | RUBEN NAVARRETTE JR.

Expensive California, my stunning and resilient house state. Even together with your wildfires, droughts and floods, I wouldn’t stay anyplace else.

But, as a Mexican American, I’m not blind to historical past. For greater than 150 years, my tribe has lived in “occupied” territory. Mexican People had been by no means enslaved or bought as property. However we now have been subjected — like our Native American cousins — to the indignity of being handled like second-class residents in our ancestral homeland.

For Mexican People, that homeland isn’t Mexico. It’s the Southwest, which the USA stole from Mexico in 1848 and repurposed as eight U.S. states.

The mistreatment of Mexican People who had been left behind started nearly instantly.

In 1855, the California Legislature enacted what turned generally known as the “Greaser Legislation,” which allowed for the arrest of anybody regarded as a vagrant. The legislation used the phrase “Greaser” to seek advice from these with “Spanish and Indian blood.”

Within the Nineteen Forties, in rural California cities, indicators in eating places blared: “No Canine or Mexicans Allowed.” Mexican People needed to sit within the balconies of theaters, couldn’t get haircuts in some barbershops and will use public swimming swimming pools solely on the day earlier than they had been scheduled to be cleaned.

Within the early Fifties, town of Los Angeles forcefully eliminated about 300 households — most of them Mexican American — who had been dwelling in Chavez Ravine. Town then bought the land to Dodgers baseball proprietor Walter O’Malley, who used the location to construct Dodger Stadium after he moved the workforce to Los Angeles.

The tales go on without end. I’ve the receipts.

But, my philosophy is that it’s greatest to not consider your self as a sufferer — even in case you had been victimized. After all, you need to watch out to not be too wanting to excuse wrongdoing. The one factor worse than a sufferer is a idiot.

Even so, I’m not on the market. California, I don’t need your filthy blood cash. Not that the state is providing any.

Reparations could quickly be on the agenda in California. On July 1, a first-in-the-nation process drive is meant to conclude a overview course of that lasted greater than a yr and file its remaining report back to the legislature.

The backstory could be traced to the homicide of George Floyd in Might 2020 by a Minneapolis police officer, which introduced civil unrest to dozens of U.S. cities. California lawmakers handed a invoice — which was signed into legislation by Gov. Gavin Newsom in September 2020 — that created a process drive to review reparations, hear from consultants and recommend concepts for the way the state may atone for years of merciless, unfair and discriminatory insurance policies geared toward Black Californians.

This yr, the duty drive restricted reparations to descendants of Black individuals who had been in the USA as of the nineteenth century, whether or not they had been freed or enslaved.

The duty drive is concentrated on alleged hurt finished to African People within the type of property seized by the federal government, devaluation of Black-owned companies, housing discrimination, homelessness, well being points, mass incarceration and “over-policing” — all points that Mexican People have confronted as effectively.

A few of that is smart. A few of it doesn’t.

In these circumstances the place California unlawfully usurped non-public property, a money cost is so as. State officers ought to apologize and ship a examine to the household.

Final yr, the Legislature returned Bruce’s Seaside, a beachfront property in Southern California, to descendants of the Black residents who owned it till it was taken by the state by eminent area within the twentieth century. The household not too long ago introduced that it was going to promote the parcel to Los Angeles County for $20 million.

However how can we measure “over-policing?” When police focus consideration on a Black neighborhood, is that good or unhealthy? Legislation enforcement will get criticized for allegedly failing to guard Black folks, but additionally for allegedly harassing Black people.

As I believe is true with most Mexican People, I’d be offended if California tried to purchase us off to get us to close up.

But, oddly, I’m extra offended that state officers — together with Newsom and legislators — don’t appear to assume the state owes Mexican People a nickel.

So California, in case you’re planning to settle up with different teams, it’s best to at the very least acknowledge that Mexican People even have a declare — even when we don’t pursue it.

The primary debt incurred by the Golden State was to those that lived right here lengthy earlier than the territory turned a state and earlier than gold was ever found. We’re your authentic sin.

Ruben Navarrette’s electronic mail deal with is His podcast, “Ruben within the Heart,” is on the market by each podcast app.

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