In the Preface of Major Problems in Mexican American History Zaragosa Vargas writes, "Nearly two thirds of Latinos in the United States are of Mexican descent, or Chicanos- a term of self definition that emerged during the 1960's and early 1970s civil rights movement. Chicanos reside mainly in the Southwest, the Pacific Northwest, and the Midwest. Their history begins in the pre-colonial Spanish era, and they share a rich mestizo cultural heritage of Spanish, Indian, and African origins. The Chicanos' past is underscored by conquest of the present-day American Southwest first by the Spanish and then by the United States following the Mexican American War" (xv). When one thinks of a Chicano one thinks of the Mayans and Aztecs, the conquests, New Spain, Mexico, Spanish empire, Mexican American War, the Alamo, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, negative stereotypes, missionaries, borders, struggles, resistance, disappointments and injustice. These are some of the important issues which have deeply affected the history of Mexican American's. Vargas covers all of these issues and issues of identity, their fight for their land rights, the issue of Americanization, how stereotypes became Anglos justice for their conquest, and he also focused on the women's role throughout history.
First Person Fictional Account
It has been eleven years since we first arrived in Los Angeles, California. I can still remember the feeling I had when my father said we would be moving to place not too far away that would give us a better life. The money he and my mother made from washing and ironing other people’s clothes was not enough to support me and my five brothers and only sister. In my homeland of Mexico, poverty was very common. You were either very rich or very poor. There was not much of a “middle class” family. There were many days when we ate very little, often tortillas with butter or peanut butter sandwiches. Eating meat and vegetables was a rarity to us....