Analysis Of Los Vendidos And Exploitation Of Mexican Americans
Analysis of Los Vendidos and Exploitation of Mexican-Americans
The short play Los Vendidos portrayed by el Teatro Campesino shows the history of Mexican-Americans. It shows racist perceptions and actions towards Mexican-Americans. The title itself implies the exploitation of Chicanos. In translation from Spanish "Vendidos" can mean either those who sell-out others, or those who are sold. In the play either meaning can be applied. Those who are sold would be the eleven different characters that Sancho describes. But, the "sell-out" could be Ms. Jimenez, a main character, who is the exemplary "white-washed" Mexican-American.
The Teatro Campesino was a theater group that originated on the picket-lines in Delano in 1965. They were improve actors who cleverly mocked the large business owners that were exploiting the invaluable Mexican-American labor force. In fact, they were such an important factor in the American economy that when the Mexican-American youth were so quickly drafted for the Vietnam War the business owners of the plantations where these youth had been working were resentful, "Local rural youths were being drafted so fast…that…owners of large farms and ranches…voiced stern protests with the local draft boards." ( Vargas, Zaragosa, Major Problems in Mexican American History. Houghton Mifflin Co., 1999. P 304)
The play takes into account the major personalities and characters of Mexican-Americans in history. The Mexican peon, farm worker, pachuco, vato, zoo-suiter, boxer, barrio family, militant student, Vietnam veteran, cowboy-type bandit, and the gringo or "white-washed" Mexican-American are major figures in American history. In the play these figures are "items to be sold." The selling of these figures shows the exploitation of Mexican-Americans in American history by those who believe Mexicans to be inferior to Anglos. The buying and selling of these people shows the perception of Mexican-Americans as property that can be abused and manipulated.
Ms. Jimenez is the "sell-out" or white-washed Mexican-American. This is displayed just as the play begins when she introduces herself. Sancho hears her say her name as "Ji-mi-nez" and realizes she is a Chicana. Excitedly, he starts to speak Spanish to her and pronounces her name in Spanish, "Hee-me-nez," stressing the second syllable. She corrects him saying that the Spanish pronunciation is not how her name is pronounced. She quickly makes it apparent that she does not speak Spanish and does not even want to be know as a Chicana. She rejects her own ethnicity, which is one example of how she is a "sell-out." In any instance of such widespread oppression there has always been people who attempt to hide or reject their own identity so that they might succeed or better survive in the environment of their oppressors. Many times the oppressed people are taught to feel shameful of their heritage because the racism is so ingrained in everyday life and culture. In 1924...
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Beyond a lively and comical playwright, Luis Valdez’ "Los Vendidos" can be an exact reflection of the modern American society, focusing on how Mexicans are perceived in this contemporary society. The play abounds in stereotypes about Mexicans, which explains why the main topic of "Los Vendidos" is definitely stereotyping. Stereotypes come in societies as the dominant majority has difficulties in understanding the specificities of particular minorities, since it is the circumstance of the Mexicans, portrayed in "Los Vendidos". Nevertheless, stereotypes will be nurtured as a modality of keeping minorities socio – economically repressed and inferior compared to the dominant competition in the world (Escobar p. 562). By portraying the main stereotypes that are being used to make reference to Mexicans in United States, such as farm workers, gang participants or revolucionarios, Valdez describes the identification crisis experienced by Mexicans, who want to resist to the cultural assimilation to become Americans.
The plot of this take up revolves around an designed sales, wherein Miss Jimenez, a secretary of the Presidential administration is on a mission to buy a Mexican model, to be able to appeal to the Mexican electorate. Honest Sancho, who owns the shop that sells Mexican styles, introduces to Miss Jimenez three types of Mexicans that she can purchase: the farm employee, the gang member and the brand new, exemplifying like this the main stereotypes with which Mexicans happen to be associated in United States. The sole proven fact that the customers of a competition can relate with an individual model, a robot that is believed to encompass the distinctiveness of an entire race is based on a prejudice (Kassin, Fein & Markus p. 155).
Another issue that the take up raises in relation with the stereotypes designed for Mexicans in USA, is certainly that Mexicans themselves found determine with the stereotypes that the American contemporary society created to establish them. As such, Honest Sancho admits the primary types of stereotyping existent in the American society and promotes them for sale. Although Honest Sancho seems to be considering his business, exploiting the American tradition of stereotyping in order to be profitable, there is, however, a truth in the actual fact that Mexicans stick to the stereotypes designed for them and transmit them from a technology to another.
"The fact that the normal Mexican people moving into United States will be represented through robots implies the theory that Mexicans are not seen as humans, but as machines, consequently the objectification of the people" (Belkin p. 17). Honest Sancho’s robots happen to be seemingly created to serve the American culture through their hard work, as exemplified by the farm worker, who is "built close to the bottom", tough, friendly and "loves his patroness" (Valdez pp. 41-42). Alternatively, the other machines that explain the stereotypical functions of Chicanos in U.S., respectively the gang member and the brand new. Yet, the roles of the Mexican models are likewise well – justified, because they provide as criminals that obtain arrested (Valdez 44). In this feeling, they are fulfilling the social role of criminality, serving as the scape goats for the malfunctions of the American culture. Through the Mexican robots held in – store to be offered, Valdez demonstrates that the stereotypes include an operating role in society, serving as the servers or the persons to get blamed by the dominant race. This reinforces the idea that stereotyping is a sort of racism that generates thoughts of superiority from the dominant race towards minorities (Escobar 562).
Although she is as well a representative of the Mexican people in United States, Miss Jimenez identifies considerably more with the dominant Americans than with Chicanos. Only as the white People in america, Miss Jimenez does not admit the individuality of Mexicans, although she too, is usually a Mexican – American, or "una chicana" (Valdez 41).
On the other side, she seems to end up being ignorant of the stereotypes and prejudices that Mexicans encounter in United States. As such, when Honest Sancho describes to her that the farm worker is reducing grapes, she responds "Oh, I wouldn’t understand" (Valdez 42). This picture raises the question of whether one needs to dissociate of his countrywide identity as a way to escape the stereotypes associated with one’s race. As such, Miss Jimenez insists that her brand should be pronounced using English and not Spanish pronunciation, correcting Honest Sancho and admonishing him for his insufficient good English abilities, when he addresses her in a Mexican design: "My name is Miss JIM-enez. Don’t you speak English? What’s wrong with you?" (Valdez p. 41).
Although the play critiques the American world for its insufficient cultural sensitivity to Mexican persons, arguing that Us citizens consider all Mexicans as either farm employees, gang members or groundbreaking, Miss Jimenez may be the exception that deconstructs this myth. She is a Secretary in the U.S. government, consequently, she actually is educated, urban, modern day, possessing all of the features of the everyday American. As Belkin (p. 18) observes, she actually is assimilated. On the other hand with her, the rest of the Mexicans, who neglect to become Americans and adhere to their Mexican identities are believed stupid, uneducated or violent (Valdez p. 48; Belkin p. 18).
Nevertheless, the take up transmits mixed impressions in what the American culture expects from the Mexicans, which further perpetuates the racial stereotypes directed at this nationality. As such, Miss Jimenez, as the representative of the American federal government, seeks a Mexican style that’s educated, knows great English and a romantic figure to attract the ladies electorate. "These values do not describe Mexican stereotypes, however the merchandise of cultural assimilation" (Belkin 18). On the other hand, through the type of Miss Jimenez, the play writer transmits the idea that the American world expects the Mexicans to become cheap. The constant query of Miss Jimenez "is he economical" (Valdez pp. 42 – 49) acts just like a leitmotif in the play, putting an equal sign between Mexicans and inexpensive labor force.
Cheap labor force can be a stereotypical representation of Mexicans, one which is usually desired and expected by the white colored Americans, possibly from the educated and acculturated Mexicans. As such, speaking for the U.S. federal government, Miss Jimenez appears shocked to hear that the price for the educated Mexican is definitely $ 15,000, requesting "Fifteen thousand us dollars? For a Mexican!!!" (Valdez 50). Quite simply, while the American society expects the Mexicans to become acculturated and integrated, performing and behaving like regular Americans, they nonetheless expect them to come to be cheaper, hence perpetuating the socio – cost-effective oppression of this people through prescriptive stereotypes (features broadly accepted as defining functions or behaviors) (Corell and Benard 5).
What started as a comical take up developed complex sociological ideas of assimilation, acculturation or stereotyping. Stereotyping may be the central motif of the play and it is vividly represented through all of the individuals presented in the take up (Honest Sancho, Miss Jimenez and the robots). In addition, the social anticipations from the Mexicans likewise perpetuate the stereotypes that maintain this people in socio – cost-effective oppression to the dominant competition in U.S. "Las Vendidos" teaches audiences about the danger that lies in stereotyping, that may take the type of monetary oppression or riots. Stereotyping is normally more than a kind of social discrimination; it is a lifestyle by which the dominant bulk and the vulnerable minority live, abiding to the socially formed misconceptions about how minorities should be or how they should take action.
Belkin, Elena. Changing Fronts in La Lucha Chicana: Cultural Construction of Class, Race, and Gender in Chicano/a Literature. Ohio: Ohio State University. 2008. Print.
Correll, Shelley, J. and Benard, Stephen. Gender and Racial Bias in Hiring. [Online] 21 March, 2006. Offered by http://provost.upenn.edu/uploads/media_things/gender-racial-bias.original.pdf. 7 March, 2017.
Escobar, Angela Sanchez. Chicanos: Stereotypes and Search for Self – Identification as Seen through Literature. CUACE 14-15: 561-571. 1992. Print.
Kassin, Saul, Fein, Steven & Markus, Hazel Rose. Social Psychology. Belmont: Wadsworth. 2014. Print.
Valdez, Luis. Luis Valdez – Early Functions: Across, Bernabe and Pensamiento Serpentino. Texas: Arte Publico Press. 1994. Print.
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