Is the use of another’s history of oppression and dispossession as a means of promoting a cause we hold dear, in opposition to the clearly unjust and hurtful stance of those we see as opposing us, just? Do two wrongs make a right?
This meme makes a valid point, but the map itself inflates the facts quite a bit, and is problematic in other ways…
Large portions of the area shown here were never part of Mexico, and most were actually administered remotely with no actual Imperial Spanish (and in some places/times French) presence “on the ground,” and were ceded to the U.S. in the first few decades of the 19th century.
Even so, it is true that the Texas Revolution, the war of 1845, and the Gadsden purchase reduced the land area the nation of Mexico to less than half of the size it had at the time Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1808.
I know some folks (descendants of the original Spanish settlers in Colorado), who are still (rightfully) bitter at how their family was dispossessed by Anglo settlers who forcibly took the land they’d lived on and farmed (or ranched) for generations under Spanish rule.
So yes, Mexico would love to build that wall, and so might many of the descendants of the original Spanish settlers still living here in the U.S. today; but we haven’t even begun to talk about the original “First Nation” settlers of these areas, such as the Apache, Navaho and Comanche (to name a few). What do they have to say about all of this?
And finally, the fact that it is (mostly) Liberal Anglos who respond positively to this meme shows that we’re equally guilty of not seeing those who lost so much: Spanish-Americans, Mexicans, and Native Americans alike; even if we feel that our use of their history to promote our cause is more “just” than the motives of our opponents.
So, is it justice when we do it too?