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Blacks, Browns, Whites and Political Power

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By Sylvester McGill

In the early 1950s there were a very few Black voters. In the Mexican community the vote was almost non-existant. Mexicans were barely surviving on starvation wages as they were only hired to perform stoop labor in California’s vast Agri-business.

Mexicans were very important to this country, yet they were treated like slaves or worse. However, the Mexicans paid this price with dignity. Mexicans were admired by most Blacks for their steadfastness.

They kept coming and growing in numbers. It must have been determined by their leadership that they needed some help. The call was made for support in a grape boycott. This was a very bold step to be taken against such a powerful enemy as The Growers. Surely the growers expected this boycott to be an immediate flop.

They did not know that the Black people would support the Mexicans to the extent that we did. The grape boycott was an overwhelming success. At this point the Blacks and the Mexicans had established a bond that many were proud of. The Mexicans and the Blacks were calling each other partner. The coming together of these two groups put fear in the hearts of this country’s leadership.

This caused the leadership to take actions that would divide these two potentially powerful communities and prevent them from ever coming together in unity. For they foresaw their loss of power with the unification of these two groups whom they had so badly mistreated. The establishment introduced their old standby tactic of divide and conquer.

To make sure we would be forever divided they caused blood to be shed among us and that we would blame each other. History tells us that these people painted their faces red, committed heinous crimes and the Indians were blamed and slaughtered. During your lifetime, you have seen these people in blackface doing things to ridicule the Black people in this country.

They commit murder and the first thing that comes out if their mouth is “a Black guy did it” which is always a lie, a white lie. Is it too far fetched to think that the first time someone drove a vehicle through the Mexican community firing weapons and shouting bloods and crips that these were not White people.

Black man do you find it too hard to believe that the people who drove through your community at night firing weapons and shouting out words in Spanish were actually Mexicans? Could not it have been White people who wanted to make sure the Blacks and the Browns never come together in a voting block?

Can you see how that would change the political structure of this State and this Country? There is a vicious feud between the Mexicans and the Blacks that they did not cause. The Blacks and the Browns who were living doing the early 1950s have mostly passed on without teaching the younger people about the unity that was shared between the two groups.

Now it is as if we never called each other partner. We called each other partner because we in fact were partners. Now we are fighting each other in the streets, on the school campus, in juvenile hall, in jail and in prison. We must stop the bleeding.

We can only stop the bleeding by coming together for a common cause. As enemies to each other we lose. When we lose, who wins? We do not learn in school because our time is spent trying to watch our back. We can’t relax around each other because our mind has been poisoned against each other by a benefactor standing in the wings orchestrating this silliness.

Let us all think back in time and recall a picture in our mind of the first person that came to us and made a derogatory statement to us concerning a member of the other group. Who was the person that told you that you were hated by members of the other group? How can we come out of this condition that we are in? Our leaders should come together and develop strategies and provide guidance at all levels of communication among the two groups.

They will not need any outsiders in any of these meetings. The history of these two groups needs to be taught to each other before all of those of us who know passes on because it was not put in the history books. We must make a commitment to vote for each other. That is how San Bernardino and Rialto elected Hispanic mayors. Los Angeles would have a Hispanic mayor if the Black voters had not felt that they owed a certain person their vote because of what they thought this man’s father did for them.

That man’s father did not do anything for them. He knew the demographics of his district. Had the demographics been different they would have been treated differently. Surely, they saw the real person very soon after he was sworn into office. Hopefully those kinds of mistakes will never be made again. When we put each other in office of course there will be certain expectations.

All of this could be ironed out beforehand. That is the way it has always been done. That is why so few of either of us are appointed to high powerful positions. If we elect each other then turn against each other, there is always the recall procedure and subsequent elections to keep us honest. For our own survival we must come to understand that we are more friend than foe.

A better relationship is a must.

Mexicans/Hispanics do not make the same types of mistakes that the Blacks made when Tom Bradley ran for Governor a few decades ago. You have a golden opportunity to get your candidate into the Governor’s mansion.

However, you will need help. The political future of the Blacks and the Browns will be determined by our ability to get along with each other.

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