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Whitewashed Adobe: The Rise of Los Angeles and the Remaking of Its Mexican Past Revised ed. Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Whitewashed Adobe takes a harsh and revealing look at prejudice, control, political power plays by the "conquering heroes," of the day. In light of how our society has evolved into awareness of individual contributions, this is a sobering account of the inequities of racism, prejudice in the early history of Los Angeles and surrounding communities.
My mother-in-laws' relatives worked in the brickyard. Chapter 3 of this book goes into much detail of the rigors of the work and how the Mexicans were treated. Simons was almost paternal in his caretaking and providing for these laborers. But they served a larger purpose for this growing city. A purpose that left their humanity and their legacy out of the picture of what Los Angeles was destined to become. There is still prejudice in this place. Until we learn to view the contributions of all its citizens as a plus, we'll never be a real community. There were times when I was reading this intricate weaving, when I had to put the book down because of the overwhelming anger at the "pillars" of this illustrous city, for their insensitivity, their absolute ignorance in their shortsightedness of these valuable contributions.Read more ›
Example: in discussing the role of Mexicans in brickmaking in the 1920s, he mentions that the company owner gave a $5 gold piece for each child born of his workers. The author surmises (without any evidence) that the employers motivation was to encourage more births to produce more workers. Considering the long time before these infants were of working age and the ready availability of more Mexican immigrants this hardly seems logical.
2nd Example: in discussing the outbreak of plague, he seems incensed at the idea of quarantine in the Mexican neighborhood where the plague originated. He seems not to be aware of the fact that in the early years of the 20th century before antibiotics, quarantine was about the only way to halt the spread of such highly contagious diseases. The quarantine may have saved many lives, and it seems ridiculous to assume this was solely the result of racism. During my college years as a history major, I'm sure no professor of mine would have accepted such wild assumptions as the author presents without documentation. There is an old saying that when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Apparently all the author had was his perception of prejudice and he filters everything through that prism.
This book irritated me to no end; it's the classic liberal, "... everybody feel sorry for the Mexicans and make sure you hate the whites while your at it". Yaaaaaawn. I'm so tired of this approach to historical analysis; clearly the author has an agenda. The reality is that just about anyone who was poor back then was exploited. Remember, this was in the day before labor laws existed, min. wage, etc. It didn't matter if you were: black, hispanic, Jewish, Italian, Irish, German, etc .... all were equal candidates for exploitation by the powerful and elite (something the author fails to mention). True, the powerful were almost always white back then, but they nevertheless exploited whites (Irish, Germans, Italians, Jews, etc) just as they exploited hispanics and blacks. Anyone was fair game. Further, exploitation is hardly a "white thing"... just take a cursory look at Latin American history, Asian history, African history, and you'll see that exploitation is colorblind on the side of the exploiter and exploited.
This book will reinforce the victimhood feeling amongst hispanics; it will fan the flames of hatred against the "evil white man". Any hispanic activist who engages in ethnic politics will love this book since the book's message will give them that cozy, warm feeling of being an oppressed people, hence allowing them to falsely cast the blame of their peoples shortcomings on someone else (ie. whites).Read more ›