The 19th century is one of the darkest centuries to many slaves who existed by that time. Europe was experiencing an economic problem, and immigrants were moving to an economically stable nation such as the US. It was this particular time that the immigrants found themselves in unfamiliar territories characterized with forced labor, discrimination among other forms of oppressions (Patricia). The author of the poem uses different literary devices such as imagery, rhetorical question to show on how the Mexican immigrants are oppressed while in the United States. Slavery, discrimination, and gender inequality are the main themes that can be seen dominating the entire poem.
The author slams the Americans racial stereotype that they have against the Mexican immigrants. In the poem, So Mexicans are taking jobs from Americans by Jimmy Baca, the tone that prevails is a bitter tone from the author that exposes the American stereotype and condemn it. To portray the stereotypical view of the American, Baca utilizes some literary devices such as rhetoric questions and imagery so as to narrate what is happening in his unique way. The author shows an image that is false and overstated yet could be construed by the way the Americans look at it and clarify their speculation that it is the Mexican immigrants who are taking away their job. Here Baca addresses racists Americans and demonstrates to them their silliness. The author continuous to use imagery inside the poem to demonstrate the absurdity of Americans wrong conception and racism.
Baca in this poem challenges Americans with questions "Do they sneak into town at night, \ and as you're walking home with a whore, \ do they mug you, a knife at your throat, \ saying, I want your job?" (8-11). He paints situations with his words that make you imagine how ridiculous the scene is. The American knows that the jobs they are claiming to have been are taken from them actual are labor intensive jobs and work for pennies. According to Americans, these jobs are meant for the immigrants'. The way Baca has used the rhetoric questions and statements attracts a reader who is Americans to think and question the scenario. The Americans have left the women and children to die with their relentless misinterpretations."We are killing them," is the way he depicts what we are doing to the youngsters. This utilization of obtuse words affects the reader and diverts them to see his perspective. Imagine the crazy nature of the scene. By specifying and utilizing the expression, The author makes it apparent that the mentality of Americans is that the entire population is not the same and is differentiated by class and race. As the poems advance he quits utilizing questions to make us think and proceeds onward on a mocking method for discourse, he plainly satirizes the stereotype with his closure line, "What they say is, let them die, and the children too."
According to Robert Assagioli in his article, every generation has bad and good qualities, and it is essential to keep in touch and develop all ages so as to be fully functioning human being. The conflict between the generations has now achieved an intense, and it is being experienced in every walk of life with a high frequency thus creating a lot of tensions. It is now a matter of agency to examine its real nature, its causes and what strategies must be adopted to reduce the conflict. Assagioli states that the endless conflict is practicing itself in an assortment of auxiliary conflict and struggles; however these can be gathered under two broad heads which ought to be apparently separated. First of all, there is the conflict that is created as a result of tension between adults and young and mostly between parents and children, and it renews itself in every generation. This is a part of the more significant and enduring conflict amongst authority and control and on the other hand freedom and independence. Assagioli further explains that conflicts of the second type may take place when a particular culture and civilization is declining towards its end, and another, new and diverse, is starting.
These kinds of conflicts have been experienced in the past centuries in some regions and to specific sectors of humanity. The present crisis of humankind, by differentiation, includes the whole of humanity because of the total planetary scope of the advanced method for communicating information. Each circle is seeing an inclination, a tenacious demand for redesign and explicit denial of the past. The author through the poem has shown the tension that existed during civilization and culture decline in a 19th century. In the poem, Baca state," I see poor marching for little work."(Line 25). There are some differences in this generation that the author is refereeing to. The society is already divided on economic ground whereby we see the reach employing the poor who works for them and earns very less.
Various lessons are learned from the preceding generation as compared to the previous generation. The first lesson learned is that we should avoid racism and discrimination. The older generation as shown by Baca in the poem was characterized by racism and discrimination. For example, the Mexican immigrants and other black Americans were discriminated while working in white settlers plantations. The blacks were given hard jobs with poor working conditions plus low wages as compared to Africans. Without all this, the preceding generation is doing so well as compared to the older generation. Secondly, we should not be gender discriminative. The older generation was characterized by sex inequality whereby women were less recognized as compared to men. Some jobs were preserved for men and females were given fewer jobs in the society and did not participate in major decision-making processes. Various cultures with different norms do exist in every generation. An individual culture may affect the way he or she interact with his/her family members.
According to Neyer, Anne-Katrin, all cultures have values, beliefs, styles and traditions that guide every person on how he or she should behave. The culture that an individual lives in can describe the first impression on that particular person even if you had no or little information about him/her. In their research, they found out that for a culture to have an effect, there should be a condition such as weak situations under which specific cultural differences influence cultural differences. The weak situation is portrayed by having exceedingly uncertain behavioral cues giving a couple of constraints on behavior, and consequently don't prompt uniform expectations. Individuals tend to have considerable discretion as how to react to circumstances in the weak situation. This means that weak situation paves the way for differences among individuals, such as different background play a significant role in determining behavior and goes all the way in determining on how such individuals interact with their family members.
How dominant culture influence and shape other cultures.
Dominant cultures are those economically influential cultures that determine the up certain extend the existing of less powerful cultures. The author of the poem shows the existence American dominant culture in the 19th century that was heavily relied on by the immigrants who came from other cultures (James). Culture assimilation has shaped the dominant culture whereby in this case the immigrants come and abandon their cultural belief and becomes part of the dominant society. The dominant culture can be affected either negatively or positively, for example, upon settlement of this other cultures, they do multiply and end up bringing the expertise and knowledge they came with which can be shared and be influential to the dominant culture. As much as the other cultures abandon their culture during assimilation, there may still have some behaviors and beliefs that still exist in most of the people who can be adopted by the dominant culture. Minorities use various tactics in trying to adapt to the dominant culture. These individuals decide to abandon their culture first and start looking for ways on how they can be part of the dominant community. According to William, Tyrone, the Mexican immigrants jumped the border to come and work in the United States. They abandoned their respective culture in Mexico, and most of became the part of US society. Most minorities at the beginning do accept every responsibility that is assigned to them without disputing. This is the tactic was used by most slaves while settling in the United States whereby they agreed on the hard jobs in plantations even though these jobs were not paying, is they could have resisted; they could have found it difficult in settling in the US. The minorities also try to adapt and get used to the language that is mostly used in dominant culture to facilitate interactions with the local community. This was the first task the immigrants were exposed the moment they arrived in the US so as to facilitate secure communication with their employers.
How to empower the oppressed and sources of strength
According to Judith A., B. Lee, empowerment is the restoration of individuals of a sense of their value and power and the capability they have so as to handle challenges. The author states that providing opportunities is a good way of empowering the oppressed. This will make them fell sense of control over the situation they have been going through with the oppressor and at the same time feel their behavior in the conflict. The oppressed individuals will start being in charge of something they have been before and in this way feel empowered. In the poem, it is clear that the immigrants are oppressed, and even their children don't have access to school, "We aren't giving the children a chance to live" (line 40). There are various sources of strength to the oppressed individual. These people should be provided with education. The oppressed individuals will empower themselves by taking responsibility for their learning by increasing their understanding of the community they live. Formation of the group is a good source of strength to the oppressed individual. The individuals come together; they share their ideas and problems the experience and how to move forward. The decisions made through a collective agreement stand a chance of being strong as compared individually made agreement (Judith A. B. Lee)
Difficulties in living in more than one culture.
Individuals face a lot of emotions while living in more than one culture. There is always an instant change from interest and excitement in the new culture to depression and fear of unknown. The other difficulty that people face is the language barrier; different cultures speak different languages and individually find it difficult in trying to understand that language. These difficulties experienced while associating with the new culture is referred to as culture shock. The attitudes individuals go within the new culture and those that you form once you are there will have a significant effect on your perception of persons and ways of your host country (Hug).
Wiliam, Tyrone. "Ratio Stereotypes from Days of American Slavery." A Continuing Legacy (2008):5-56.
Judith A. B. Lee. The Empowerment Approach to Social Work Practice. Florida: Colombia University Press, 2013
Hatch, Patricia. "What motivates immigration to America?." LWVUS Immigration Study
Hug,Dr Rozana."The Psychology of Employee Empowerment." Concepts, Critical Themes and Framework of Implementation 26.6 (2015): 40-78 (2007):1-20
Oakes, James. Freedom National. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2013
Neyer, Anne-Katrin, and Anne-Wil Harzing. "The impact of culture on interactions: Five lessons learned f...
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