Braceros

These primary sources accompanied by the reading from Ngai have provided great and tragic insight into the lives/experiences of the Braceros. Starting with accounts from Juan Loza, in his interview he speaks on his time as a Bracero and the torment he was put through. He recalls “I made 55 cents an hour, but I worked 24 hours, 7 days a week”(Loza, 2005). While this speaks volumes on just how little they were compensated for there back breaking work, it completely falls in line with Ngais accounts in his article. With in it Ngai reveals there was anĀ  “established minimum (30 cents an hour during the war and 50 cents throughout most of the 1950’s)”(Ngai, pg.140). These were not the only hardships faced within the Bracero program however as Loza in his interview recalled a time in which he tried to buy a coffee from a shop but was denied and promised physical harm because of his ethnicity. True to form his recount of that incident plays into Ngais analysis of the Bracero program and its harsh treatment of Mexicans. In Ngais article he speaks on the racial and human deprecation suffered under the Bracero program. “But as a bracero, I am only a number on a paycheck …… and I am treated like a number ……. not a man”(Ngai, pg.146). Most if not all Braceros were treated as agricultural tools and nothing less and most were provided with the bare necessities and that was it. Through Ngai’s article and the personal accounts/testimony of Juan Loza I was provided a first hand account of the morbid side of the U.S. and its agricultural world. It has provided me with a unique and innate respect for those who openly chose to join the Bracero program knowing what lied ahead of them. The fantastic promises of respect, money and freedom were merely a shiny gloss coated over the enormous pile of shit that was the Bracero program.

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