Where are you comingfrom?In “Exile: El Paso, Texas”Benjamin Saenz describes the racial profiling of Mexican Americans through hispersonal experience. Living in border town El Paso, being questioned by borderpatrol complicates Saenz’s life and creates concern in his inner world. “Whereare you coming from” seems as an innocent question for the first time, butgradually it grows bigger and makes the author doubt about his status ofbelonging to his birthplace. Saenz designs the tone of the essay as the readercan follow his feeling solidified and understand the underlying issue of beingsegregated from white citizens. The author’s message is related to dysfunctionof categorical imperative ethical system when people should treat humanity ineach other and not cross the fine line of personal dignity. Saenz’s symbolismof color is the demonstration of his attitude to the reality.
In the beginning apurple view of Juarez Mountains signifies beauty, then it gets darkened byugliness of ‘green’ color which signals the authority. Furthermore, the’unnatural’ action of policeman whistling Saenz over and calling him as a dogpresents the breakdown of natural law ethics and reveals the discrepancy ofmorality. Saenz acknowledges that to some extenthe would always be treated differently because he was born “on a particularside of a fence”, which compels him to be separated from the country ofgenesis. In light of this matter “‘Where are you coming from?” is turned outmore as a lasting barrier between American Mexicans and their light skincounterparts rather than a simple question.
The film “A Class Apart” tells astruggle of Mexican Americans’ for civil rights through Pete Hernandez v. Texas case. An ordinarymurder in the small town of Edna whenfield worker, offended by the tenant farmer’s words killed him arises in anational critical moment for Hispanics. Mexican American lawyers admitted Hernandez case appear to bediscriminatory and decided to question the issue of equal treatment in a largescale. Lationo lawyers and activists in head of well-known attorney Gus Garciaargued on behalf of Hernandez in a state level but then perfectly understoodthat only the US Supreme Court could give the real change to equality ofMexican Americans with their white skin counterparts. The powerful attack fromHernandez lawyers made the Court to announce legal reasoning that MexicanAmericans were protected under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment andaccepting that they were indeed “a class apart”.
It was a victory for majoritywho had suffered from discrimination for generations. With the decision and thepower of the United States’ Constitution behind them, Mexican Americans challengeda second rate attitude due to their origin. This case played a vital role as acivil rights movement in Mexican American history and altogether in the historyof America.Both the essay and the filmdemonstrate deep influence of discrimination in face of Mexican Americans whoproved that being treated differently was intolerable in the end. Despite the nationalrecognition of Supreme Court advocating equal opportunities for all in Hernandez v. Texas case, Saenz’spersonal experience indicated that inequality was still be continuing later. Judgingfrom categorical imperative theory of ethics both the film and reading alludethat the question “Where are you coming from?” is a first sign to destroyethical system in the society and discrimination is a stigma that human beingcan’t get rid of and at the same time can’t live with.