Phoenix Arizona Casual Racism (2011 Article)

Casual racism

KNXV Desert Vista

In 1920, the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce advertised the city as “a modern town of 40,000 people, and the best kind of people, too. A very small percentage of Mexicans, Negroes or foreigners.”

You can’t go far in looking at the early history of the Valley without encountering that kind of casual racism.

And, like much boosterism, it wasn’t exactly true. Minorities made up a significant portion of the population from the very earliest years. When Phoenix had fewer than 500 residents, half of them were Mexican. (In the early records and accounts, the word stood for all Hispanics, with little distinction made between those born here after 1848, those born here when Arizona was still part of Mexico, those who immigrated from the political and economic troubles in Mexico to find peace or opportunity in Phoenix, or those who moved here with Hispanic names from Texas or California. “Mexican” was a generic descriptor.)
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