Consider the states you associate most with anti-Latino sentiment.

You might first think of Arizona, of Maricopa County in particular, where Sheriff Joe Arpaio was accused and found guilty of racially profiling Latinos.

Or perhaps you might think of Texas, the state where, according to conservatives, Mexicans are diluting American culture by refusing to learn English and turning San Antonio into a Mexican metropolis.

California might also enter your mind – Latinos are now the majority there, a fact that, when it was reported, royally freaked out conservatives. It’s as if they know that minorities are typically mistreated or something.

The point is, the anti-Latino word bank of your typical xenophobe will likely include: “border, undocumented, alien, illegal, fence,” etc. So it makes sense that the states most associated with anti-Latino sentiment would be Border States.

But these states have something else in common too. They all used to be Mexico.

I say this not as a scary Mexican seeking Reconquista. I’m not advocating that we give these states back to Mexico.

No, I say this is as someone who has looked at a map, and as a Latino who is tired of hearing conservatives say “go back to Mexico” while standing on land that used to be Mexico.

It’s hypocritical.

The story of the land you and I call America is more complicated than your high school history books probably suggested.

Conquest, mixing of the races, genocide, independence movements, separatist movements within those independence movements, annexations, boundaries that were drawn and redrawn – it’s enough to make your head spin.

Which is why we must approach these issues with nuance and with a clear grasp of history.

But telling a Mexican-American that they are “diluting” American culture in Texas, for example, and telling them to “go back to Mexico” is ignorant of this history.

Because in that case, and I really hate to break this to you… you’re the one who showed up and diluted the culture.

Adios.

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