During the Mexican-American war, between 1845 and 1847, it is said that the American soldiers that invaded Mexico would sing the song Green Grow the Lilacs. Upon hearing the lyrics “Green grow the lilacs, all sparkling with dew”, Mexican soldiers would mishear the words “green grow” and created the single word “gringo”, giving that nickname to American soldiers. In our present day, “gringo” simply refers to any white North American from the United States.
It should be mentioned that the word “gringo” also dates back to 18th century Spain and Portugal, where it meant “foreigner”, and is not related to the Mexican neologism.
The lynching of persons of Mexican origin or descent has been largely overlooked by historians of American mob violence. This essay offers the first attempt to construct a systematic set of data on the subject. The authors contend that between 1848 and 1928, mobs lynched at least 597 Mexicans. Traditional interpretations of western violence cannot account for this phenomenon. The actual causes of mob violence against Mexicans were several-fold: race and the legacy of Anglo American expansion, economic competition, and diplomatic tensions between Mexico and the United States. Throughout this era, Mexicans formulated numerous means of resistance against Anglo mobs. These included armed self-defense, public protest, the establishment of mutual defense organizations, and appeals for aid to the Mexican government. The central aim of this essay is to broaden the scholarly discourse on lynching by moving beyond the traditional limitations of the black/white paradigm. Placing the experience of Mexicans into the history of lynching expands our understanding of the causes of mob violence and the ways in which individuals and groups sought to resist lynching and vigilantism. The essay is based on numerous archival sources in both Spanish and English. These include diaries, letters, memoirs, folk culture, newspapers, government documents, and diplomatic correspondence.
Absolutely disgusting. Young Chican@, become aware of the hatred and abuses your people have endured in this country. Let that knowledge propel you to succeed because that’s the only way you can bring justice to your people. Everyone can read more about Mexican lynchings in American history in this article.
— Roger Silverman, Class Struggles in Greece (via spittingonhegel)