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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Mass Media And Chicanos / Chicanos And Mexicanos In The Great Depression
Program #

History, Immigration
Richard Goodman
Richard Goodman
Feb 14, 1977

Mass Media and Chicanos / Chicanos and Mexicanos in the Great Depression

In this episode, Richard Goodman first discusses how Chicanos have used the media to further the movement and how the media has portrayed Chicanos. Summarizing the research of Dr. Francisco Lewels, Goodman explains that while in the early days of print media, Chicano newspapers often failed because the target population was often illiterate and politically apathetic, in the twentieth century, Chicano activists have sought access to the mainstream media to build publicity for their cause. The media however has been unwilling to accommodate their interest and in fact has historically fostered racism perpetuated discrimination. Although some stations offer Spanish language programming from Mexico City, Chicanos want programming that reflects the concerns of their community in the United States. Moreover, they are working to combat the negative stereotypes of Mexicans prevalent in the mass media and advertising. Their protests have led to more coverage of Mexican Americans in the media and new programming at the local level. Goodman concludes that the national media has also become more aware of the problems facing minority communities.

Goodman then discusses the mass deportations and repatriations of Mexicans during the Great Depression. In the aftermath of the crash, immigrants, and especially Mexicans, became considered undesirable aliens subject to deportation. In the early years of the Depression, many returned to Mexico voluntarily. Yet by 1931, private and public welfare organizations began organizing campaigns to deport Mexicans, who they felt took jobs from Anglos. Secretary of Labor William Doak organized many sensational raids and local citizen groups offered to help the federal government deport immigrants. Eventually, the Bureau of Immigration shifted to other less sensational tactics, but they continued to pursue and deport immigrants. Their efforts dramatically reduced Mexican communities in many northern states, while states like Texas and California lost large portions of their Spanish-speaking population. Goodman concludes that this period created a long-lasting sense of alienation among Mexican Americans. This episode is based on research from Abraham Hoffman’s Unwanted Mexican Americans in the Great Depression.



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