8 Hous. L. Rev. 929 (1970-1971)
Mexican-Americans and the Desegregation of Schools in the Southwest

handle is hein.journals/hulr8 and id is 963 raw text is: MEXICAN-AMERICANS AND THE DESEGREGATION OF
SCHOOLS IN THE SOUTHWEST
I. INTRODUCriON
On June 4, 1970, Federal District Judge Woodrow Seals, in Cisneros
v. Corpus Christi Independent School District,' held that Mexican-Americans
are an identifiable ethnic minority group for the purpose of public school
desegregation2 Because Mexican-Americans are an identifiable group and
have been subjected to discrimination in the Corpus Christi, Texas area,
Judge Seals stated that Mexican-Americans are entitled to the same protec-
tion afforded Negroes under the landmark decision of Brown v. Board of
Education.3 The court found that the school district segregated Mexican-
Americans, as well as Negroes, to such an extent that a dual school system
resulted.4 The parties were then asked to submit a desegregation plan which
considered the three major ethnic groups: Negro, Mexican-American, and
Anglo, that is, other whites besides Mexican-Americans.5
Cisneros is unique in that it is the first case in which a court officially
recognized Mexican-Americans as an indentifiable ethnic minority group
for purposes of public school desegregation. Before proceeding with a dis-
cussion of the significance of being an identifiable ethnic minority group, a
definition of the phrase may be conducive to a better understanding of the
court's holding. Mexican-Americans are considered by some to be a non-
white racial group. However, the predominant view is that Mexican-Ameri-
cans are white, even though many are mestizos (a hybrid of white and
Indian). Nevertheless, like other white nationality groups who have been
victims of discrimination, for example, the Jewish and Italian-Americans,
Mexican-Americans have inherent characteristics which make them easily
identifiable and susceptible to discrimination. Among these characteristics
are brown skin color, a Spanish surname, and the Spanish language. The fact
that this group is of Mexican descent and has certain inherent characteristics
makes it an identifiable ethnic group.
Judge Seals characterized Mexican-Americans as an ethnic minority
group. Mexican-Americans definitely are a numerical minority in the United
States, representing about 2.5 percent of the population. In Texas, this
ethnic group comprises 14.5 percent of the population.7 In Corpus Christi,
1. Civil Action No. 68-0-95 (S.D. Tex., June 4, 1970) [hereinafter cited as
Cisneros], noted, 49 TEX. L. REv. 337 (1971).
2. Id. at 9-10.
3. 347 U.S. 483 (1954). See also Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bd. of Educ.,
91 S.Ct. 1267 (1971).
4. Cisneros at 13-14.
5. Id. at 20-21.
6. See ThE NEW YorK Tnirs ENcycLoPExc Ai2m-ANAC 35, 288 (2d ed. 1970).
7. Id. at 245, 288.

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