American shops from Oklahoma (called Okies) were often hostile toward Mexicans because they felt they were taking away their jobs. Mexican migrant laborers would work for much lower pay, so employers would much rather hire them. There was also much tension between the migrant workers on the fields. Some felt that their conditions were unlivable, and they deserved much better, so they began to protest and fight for what they believed. Still, others refused to join the protest in fear that they would be fired. In the 1920s and 1930s (about the time story takes place) California remained about 88% white. Most of these people were those who owned the land, while the 36,800 workers, many of whom were Mexicans, did not.
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