During the time of the Spanish conquests in South America, Spanish explorers had a certain disdain toward the indigenous people. There was the perpetual view that they were subhuman and were more equal to that of animals which the Spanish used to justify their cruelty and torture. While looking back on these actions, one could easily tell the injustice that had taken place, it is a bit more difficult to discern in more recent times. Roberto Cintli Rodríguez demonstrates this in his book Our Sacred Maíz Is Our Mother: Indigeneity and Belonging in the Americas.
“The primary media images to emerge from this era of Mexicans running across the border, including traffic signs that project illegality and illegitimacy of human beings. All this amounts to a metaphoric mapping. What is projected is that all Mexicans and Latinos are illegal and that immigrants are to be equated with animals.” (44-45)
Even today, there are many antagonistic views toward Mexican and Latino people. The main tensions which exist in the U.S. is over the matter of immigration. The idea that people themselves are illegal is damaging and dehumanizing toward people who have traveled to America by illegal means. It becomes easier to dislike or even hate the immigrants without having to go through the process of understanding or empathizing with the obstacles they face. This is why it is important to see each person as an individual with their own life and everyday troubles rather than lumping everyone together into a big population that should merely be dealt with.
Rodríguez Roberto Cintli., and Hernández Verónica Castillo. Our Sacred maíz Is Our Mother: Indigeneity and Belonging in the Americas. The University of Arizona Press, 2014.