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In a well-written and well-organized essay consisting of 3-4 paragraphs (and approximately 200-250 words), answer the question below about the assigned primary source document. Your essay should have: 1) an introductory paragraph that begins with a thesis statement and provides a brief overview of the document in historical context, 2) one or two main paragraphs that directly address the question shown below, and 3) a brief concluding paragraph in which you explain your thoughts about the document. Also, your essay should include one or two quotes from the document. Be sure to proofread and spell check your essay so that your writing is clear and crisp!
Your answer must respond to the question below and refer specifically to the primary source document that is available through the link below
Using this document as a reference, write an essay that explains the challenges and controversies of policing in the United States.
Annotation: On August 29, 1970 more than twenty thousand Mexican
Americans marched in East Los Angeles to protest the war in Vietnam and the
disproportionately high casualty rate of Chicano troops. Among American
soldiers from the Southwest, nearly twenty percent of the casualties were
among Mexican Americans, almost twice their proportion of the population.
Demonstrators also protested against the denial of equal rights at home. At rally
at Laguna Park was disrupted when 1,500 police officers shot tear-gas canisters
into the crowd. Three Mexican Americans were killed; more than four hundred
were arrested. Among the dead was a Los Angeles Times columnist, RÃƒÂºben
Salazar, who was killed by a tear-gas projectile.
This incident had far-reaching consequences. It led many Mexican American
activists to focus on the issue of police brutality and unequal justice.
In this selection, RubÃƒÂ©n Salazar explains to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
why many Mexican Americans distrust law enforcement.
Document: Justice is the most important word in race relations. Yet too many
Mexican Americans in the Southwest feel with David Sanchez, Los Angeles
Brown Beret leaders, that “to Anglos justice means ‘just us.’
La Ley or the Law, as Mexican Americans call the administration of justice, takes
forms that anglos–and even Negroes–never have to experience. A Mexican
American, though a third-generation American, for instance, may have to prove
with documents that he is an American citizen at border crossings, while a blue-
eyed blond German immigrant, for example, can cross by merely saying
Besides the usual complaints made by racial minorities about police brutality and
harassment, Mexican Americans have an added problem: sometimes they
literally cannot communicate with the police….
One of the many reasons a Mexican American cannot relate well to la Ley is that
he doesn’t see many of his own in positions of authority serving on agencies
which administer justice. The 1960 census indicated that Mexican Americans
represent about 12 percent of the Southwest’s population. In 1968, only 7.4
percent of the total uniformed personnel in law-enforcement agencies in the
Southwest were Mexican Americans…. Only ten law-enforcement agencies are
headed by Mexican Americans and eight of these are in communities of less than
ten thousand in population.
(A commission study of the grand-jury system of twenty-two California counties
concluded that discrimination against Mexican Americans in juror selection is “as
severe–sometimes more severe–as discrimination against Negroes in grand
juries in the South.”)…
A commission staff report said that “one of the most common complaints
(throughout the Southwest) was that Anglo juvenile offenders were released to
the custody of their parents and no charges are brought, while Mexican
American youths are charged with offenses, held in custody, and sent to a
The commission’s report further stated that it is felt throughout the Southwest
that “the most serious police harassment involves interference with attempts by
Mexican Americans to organize themselves in order to assert their collective
To the advocates of brown or Chicano power, the Texas Rangers, or Los Rinches,
are symbols of this repression…. At the time of the hearing, there were sixty-
two Texas Rangers, none of them Mexican Americans….
Farm workers, labor organizers, and civil-rights workers testified before the
commission that the Texas Rangers break agricultural-worker strikes in the Rio
Grande Valley through force and intimidation. The unionization of farm workers
is seen as a holy war in Texas, where farm hands get no workmen’s
compensation, no state minimum wage, no unemployment and disability
insurance, and where there are no mandatory standards in farm-worker housing.
(In contrast, California requires by law all of these things.)…
Pete Tijerina, executive director of the Mexican American Legal Defense and
Educational Fund, had noted that the U.S. Attorney General had intervened on
behalf of Negro cases throughout the South, but that “not once, not once, has
the Attorney General…intervened in any Mexican American case.”..
Source: Strangers in One’s Land, Publication No. 19. U.S. Commission on Civil
Rights Clearinghouse. May 1970.
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