Racism’s Dark Shadow: World War II and its Impact on Racial Prejudice

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During the year 1941, America was still trying to recover from the great depression. Many people had no jobs. When the United States entered the war, it changed the nation. The war created many jobs and opportunities to have a better economy for citizens. Soldiers enter and join the war in hopes of having a better future and helping their families.


Mexican American Contributions, Challenges, and Impact during World War II

Leaving behind farming and agriculture jobs. Programs like the Bracero program also had a big impact on the economy of war. The Mexican American society helped the nation’s economy by providing cheap labor and agricultural goods during the war. The Bracero workers faced many challenges, like discrimination and racism. The Braceros program changed the United States. Mexican American workers fought and persevered through racism and discrimination.

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The war had made the united states very scarce in resources. Many men and women work to try to help the nation. Farm laborers went looking for higher wages and joined the soldiers. This left United States farms with no workers.

Latinos had a big impact on world war two. More than 300,000 Mexican Americans workers participated. The participation that Latinos contributed during the war was very well needed due to the lack of workers. The Bracero Program is a program that contributed to the nation during world war two. “The Bracero program was an agreement between the U.S. and Mexican governments that permitted Mexican citizens to take temporary agricultural work in the United States” (Marentes pg.1). This agreement helped the united states face the challenges that the war had brought.

The braceros’ program was predominantly Mexican citizens as well as Mexican Americans. The braceros’ program helped the United States meet the economic need that the war brought upon the country. The Bracero program impacted not only the United States during World War two but also after the war. “The braceros converted the agricultural fields of America into the most productive on the planet.” (Marentes pg 23). Even with the program, many Latinos faced discrimination after the war ended. The braceros were not the only ones faced with discrimination; so were the Latino soldiers that fought in the war.

Bracero Program’s Influence

The Bracero program had an agreement that protected the workers from being discriminated against. “Mexican workers shall not suffer discriminatory acts of any kind.” (Campbell Pg. 2) The Mexican government wanted to ensure that the people were safe, but even with the agreement, the conditions were disregarded by the government and the landowners. When the war was over, the agreement was that the workers were set to go back to Mexico. It took about fifteen years later for the program to end. This creates a sense of resentment among many American workers who came back from the war and had no jobs in the fields.

A letter to a Dallas newspaper explains why people were opposed to Mexican labor. The language that is used to describe the worker is degrading and insulting. “the wetback labor was no recourse to law or this country” (Idar pg.1). In the interview of a father who worked as a bracero in Arizona, he is reminiscing about the times he works in the fields. “I used to get paid $1.25 an hour.” (Marquez 11). The agreement of the braceros’ pay was at least $3.00 an hour. Due to necessity, the workers would stay and work for less than minimum wage. The discrimination made the Mexican government forbid the workers from working in states like Texas.

Not only was discrimination a problem in the field but so was racism against the workers. The braceros would deal with different types of racism. “The workers would not only experience the abuse from racist extremists but the average American as well.” (Marentes pg. 26). Even though many Mexican braceros were Mexican Americans and the contribution they had to help during the war. The farmers still faced abuse. A simple act of getting a cup of coffee would become difficult for a worker.

In a journal, a worker writes a time when he wanted a cup of coffee and was denied because of his race. “The owner stated flatly: I’ll serve you, but I don’t serve Mexicans.'(Kibbe pg.2). The racism against the braceros was very notable. The braceros had to live through it because there were always more people that could take their place.


The Bracero Program is a very criticized program. The war ended, and the program continued, which caused a lot of controversial discussions. Having the braceros work on farms during the war helped the United States achieve a better economy. Having the braceros work after the war ended created segregation within Mexican American societies. Understanding what the Braceros’ program was and how it impacted the nation during world war two and after the war is important. By understanding the program, it allows people to see the impact it had in the United States.

Understanding the downs sides of the program, such as discrimination and racism, is a part of how the nation was affected. Especially the Mexican American people who were working in the field or who came back from the war. The Braceros Program created a gateway for the Chicano movement and the laborer activist to fight for the civil rights of farm workers in the united states.


  1. Abbott, Franky, and Hillary Brady. “Mexican Labor and World War II: The Bracero Program.” Mexican Labor and World War II: The Bracero Program | DPLA, dp. la/primary-source-sets/mexican-labor-and-world-war-ii-the-bracero-program.
  2. Franky Abbott, Hillary Brady. Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America https://dp.la/primary-source-sets/mexican-labor-and-world-war-ii-the-bracero-program/additional-resources#tabs
  3. Idar, Eduardo, Jr., “Press statement and telegram from Ed Idar, Jr., to E. M. Dealey,” Digital Public Library of America, http://dp.la/item/46389f80435feed6d6da4cfda727261d.
  4. Marquez, Luis and José Marquez, “Oral History with Luis Marquez and José Marquez,” Digital Public Library of America, http://dp.la/item/810aad4d4402c50919a1a31af41ea729.

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Racism's Dark Shadow: World War II and its Impact on Racial Prejudice. (2023, Aug 14). Retrieved from https://edusson.com/examples/racism-s-dark-shadow-world-war-ii-and-its-impact-on-racial-prejudice

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