Presentation Title

The Golden Gate has Iron Bars: Challenging California's Progressive Reputation

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Alicia Gutierrez-Romine

Start Date

23-11-2019 9:45 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 10:00 AM

Location

Markstein 101

Session

oral 1

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

Though widely regarded as one of the more progressive states in the country, California actually has a long history that says otherwise. From the days of labor leader Denis Kearny’s severe anti-Chinese sentiment and the popular slogan “The Chinese Must Go!” to the Mexican Repatriation movement of the early 20th century, California has a long history of racism and violence towards immigrants and people of color. These racists sentiments led to the passage of laws that specifically targeted communities of color like the Foreign Miners Tax, laws that forbade non-whites from testifying against whites in court, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and the California Alien Land Law of 1913, among others. Whenever a large influx of people of color migrate to California, historically, they have been, and continue to be, met with pushback from their white counterparts: leading to racial violence, the passing of discriminatory laws and over-policing of communities of color.

In this paper I will examine the socio-economic and political landscape of California from the 1940s through the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. During this period, demographic changes and a recognition of democracy’s shortcomings set the stage for this cataclysmic movement. Specifically I will examine how and why two particular organizations, The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPP) and the Brown Berets were formed as a result of the material conditions in California. The fact that these two organizations formed on opposite ends of the state proves that the problems I will discuss are not just anecdotal or regional but a systemic issue that specifically targets working class people of color.

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Nov 23rd, 9:45 AM Nov 23rd, 10:00 AM

The Golden Gate has Iron Bars: Challenging California's Progressive Reputation

Markstein 101

Though widely regarded as one of the more progressive states in the country, California actually has a long history that says otherwise. From the days of labor leader Denis Kearny’s severe anti-Chinese sentiment and the popular slogan “The Chinese Must Go!” to the Mexican Repatriation movement of the early 20th century, California has a long history of racism and violence towards immigrants and people of color. These racists sentiments led to the passage of laws that specifically targeted communities of color like the Foreign Miners Tax, laws that forbade non-whites from testifying against whites in court, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and the California Alien Land Law of 1913, among others. Whenever a large influx of people of color migrate to California, historically, they have been, and continue to be, met with pushback from their white counterparts: leading to racial violence, the passing of discriminatory laws and over-policing of communities of color.

In this paper I will examine the socio-economic and political landscape of California from the 1940s through the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. During this period, demographic changes and a recognition of democracy’s shortcomings set the stage for this cataclysmic movement. Specifically I will examine how and why two particular organizations, The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPP) and the Brown Berets were formed as a result of the material conditions in California. The fact that these two organizations formed on opposite ends of the state proves that the problems I will discuss are not just anecdotal or regional but a systemic issue that specifically targets working class people of color.