The legal question probed in the 1950s Texas Hernandez case was not one of guilt or innocence, but rather, was entirely concerned with whether Latinos were entitled to trial by juries that included any Mexican-Americans members. This was somewhat ironic in that unlike African-Americans, Mexican-Americans were considered legally "white" and without 14th Amendment protections. Local laws simply forbid them the many rights that might have been protected if they had special status.
Lisa Ramos (historian): Mexican-Americans were afraid. What would happen if they weren't considered "white?"