FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Mexicans in the Photos

By now most of you are getting the message that there will be a photo exhibit at Chicana/o Studies at California State University at Northridge on Saturday, April 27, 2012 from 5 to 10 PM. – free of charge. I consider this to be an important event – not just because it brings alumni, students and community together — but because we are recovering lost memory and casting a bright light on how much we as a people have achieved in the past fifty years. We often lose sight off the fact that most of us are first generation college students – first in our families to go to college.

A lot of us will be passing on – we are getting up in age. A friend and a giant in the Chicana/o Movement – Sal Castro — just passed away. He was a year younger than I am, and I knew of him since high school when he haunted the Cathedral High basketball gym. As long as there is a historical memory, Sal Castro will be presente.

I consider my time at California State University Northridge very special. This is not because of the university; I still harbor resentment toward it and most white faculty members because they looked down and hampered the progress of Chicana/o-Latino students. What I value is that it brought a lot of you together and changed your lives, and that in turn, you made life better for those around you.

Every time I visit Ventura County I encounter someone who graduated from CSUN. The communities in that Valley have benefited materially from your presence. Increasingly those who followed you are going into fields other than Chicana/o Studies and into graduate studies – which is what we wanted and hope for.

What makes your experience so special is that many of you made it despite the public schools. You are in the majority immigrants or children of immigrants. We as a people went from work class to university grads in one generation. Other immigrant groups took at least three generations to achieve this in mass numbers.

Moreover, conditions were different for them; they had a lot more opportunities.

For this progress to continue, it is going to take a community. Like the Texas Raza Unida Party used to say, “Una mano no se lava sola.” (One hand doesn’t wash itself!) A community comes about when you think of others; it matures when its members remember that they did not make it on their own –someone came before them.

Looking back I can remember that I had my doubts about many of my first students making it through college. One of them told me that he only intended to stay a year and then move on. He enrolled because of financial aid and to get away from his probation officer – he stayed and today he is a probation officer. Hopefully, he is extending a hand to others.

Our communities are still under siege. A war is raging in Arizona. The prison industry is still agitating, and the tea partyers and the minutemen types are still terrorizing Mexicans.

The fight for education and the right to learn about Mexican American heritage has not let up in Tucson. And it shouldn’t because it is an important. We knew from the beginning that it was not just about Arizona or just about Tucson – it was about justice.

Everyone has to know that they are somebody – children cannot learn without respecting themselves. As three-year olds they already love to look at photo albums, and ask where am I?

The teaching of history is a pedagogical srategy, it is a healing process that tells people, “I am somebody, and I am here because of somebody.”

Arizona SB 1070 that profiles Mexican and Latin American undocumented workers has been copied in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah. It is spreading to other places. However, the people there benefit from the war in Arizona, and we all know that the assault on our history and education does not end in Arizona.

Returning to the basics – nothing happens by accident. We all learn from our experiences.

Because of Arizona, more people today know about the Koch brothers and ALEC — American Legislative Exchange Council – and their role in the war to privatize Arizona than they did three years ago. More of us know that the tea party and the minutemen are not aberrations, and that they are not democratic or grassroots. They are products of the privatizers. They are the product of hate.

The minutemen’s assassination of nine-year old Brisenia Flores did not happen by accident in 2009. It was the inevitable result of a hate campaign.

The only thing that has prevented the prairie fire from spreading is the numbers that make up a Chicana/o-Latino community, and the fact that we fought back and will continue to fight.

An even bigger threat than Arizona is Texas. In 2007 Texas State Board of Education waged war on anyone who did not see God as they do. The standard was the creationist paradigm. Texas became associated with the ridiculous notion that the earth is 6,000 years old.

In 2012 members of the Texas Board set standards for public school textbooks that purged historical figures suspected of “subversive” religious views. The list included Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and Benjamin Franklin and political figures such as Dolores Huerta.

Presently, Texas has gone one step further, and it has sponsored bills copying Arizona’s HB 2281. Senate Bill 1128 and HB 1938 are currently making their way through committees. The bills attack Mexican American and African American history in Texas public universities, eliminating their credits from counting toward college graduation.

It is getting its cue from Arizona Gov. Janet Brewer and the National Academy of Scholars, an organization supported by John Birch type foundations.

The advantage that the Tejanos have over Arizona is that they benefit from Arizona. Because of its size, it is also more difficult to buy the state.

Led by students and University of Texas historian Emilio Zamora who has rallied the Tejas Foco of the National Association for Chicana/o Studies, the Tejanos are fighting back and have begun a letter writing campaign. Texas also has a critical mass of elected officials who support the fight back effort.

What dismays me is that that despite gains made in the education of Mexican American children in the Lone State, they continue to lag behind white and Asian children. It does not have to be that way.

The preponderance of evidence for the past 70 plus years is that a major cause of functional illiteracy and dropping out of school is racism and the stereotyping of Mexicans. The evidence shows that a positive history plays an important role in combatting negative self-images.

Just today I read a report from social psychologists at Indiana University Bloomington that suggests that negative stereotypes have debilitating effects on women. According to University of Indiana social psychologist Katie Van Loo, these stereotypes hinder women’s learning of mathematics. “If you can make women feel powerful, then maybe you can protect them from the consequences of stereotype threat” that makes them conclude that “women can’t do math.”

The preponderance and a much larger body of research also show that people of color are harmed by negative stereotypes and negative self-images. Forty years ago, people of color were nowhere to be found in textbooks. Educators pointed out that the basic first grade reader Dick and Jane only had one creature of color — Spot, the dog.

Just seeing themselves in photos gives a child a sense of belonging to a family and community. When they don’t see themselves in history books, it as if they did not exist. The results are disaffection and alienation.

The greatness of Sal Castro is that he always communicated with students through history. Often when he would go off to speak he would call me as well as others and ask us if we knew of any Mexican historical figures in that region. Sometimes I would shake my head and say, “Sal, does it matter if we had Mexicans fighting in the confederate army?” For Sal it was important for us to be in the photo.

His hero was Joe Kapp. He was bad (good), the best, according to Sal. Sal breathed and lived Chicano.

Sal will always be presente for as long as we remember our history and remember that we are the people in the photo.

REMEMBER APRIL 27, 2012 CHICANA/O STUDIES @ JEROME RICHFIELD HALL, THE ENTIRE FIRST FLOOR, 5 PM-10 PM. Take back our history!MEMORY rudy3

There will also be tables available for those who want to bring photos of their own to display their own pictures. It is a family gathering.

WHERE ARE THE MEXICANS IN THE PICTURES? DICK AND JANE FIRST GRADE READER. BLACK VERSION IN LATE 60s:

DickJane black dick and jane

RODOLFO ACUÑA, a professor emeritus at California State University Northridge, has published 20 books and over 200 public and scholarly articles. He is the founding chair of the first Chicano Studies Dept which today offers 166 sections per semester in Chicano Studies. His history book Occupied America has been banned in Arizona. In solidarity with Mexican Americans in Tucson, he has organized fundraisers and support groups to ground zero and written over two dozen articles exposing efforts there to nullify the U.S. Constitution.

More articles by:

RODOLFO ACUÑA, a professor emeritus at California State University Northridge, has published 20 books and over 200 public and scholarly articles. He is the founding chair of the first Chicano Studies Dept which today offers 166 sections per semester in Chicano Studies. His history book Occupied America has been banned in Arizona. In solidarity with Mexican Americans in Tucson, he has organized fundraisers and support groups to ground zero and written over two dozen articles exposing efforts there to nullify the U.S. Constitution.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
March 27, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us
Louis Proyect
Life and Death in the Epicenter
Paul Street
“I Will Not Kill My Mother for Your Stock Portfolio”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Scum Also Rises
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts
Jefferson Morley
Could the Death of the National Security State be a Silver Lining of COVID-19?
Ruth Hopkins
A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman
Kathleen Wallace
The End of the Parasite Paradigm
Anthony DiMaggio
Misinformation and the Coronavirus: On the Dangers of Depoliticization and Social Media
Andrew Levine
Neither Biden Nor Trump: Imagine Cuomo
David Rosen
God’s Vengeance: the Christian Right and the Coronavirus
David Schultz
The Covid-19 Bailout: Another Failed Opportunity at Structural Change
Evaggelos Vallianatos
In the Grip of Disease
Edward Leer
Somebody Else’s World: An Interview with Kelly Reichardt
Robert Fisk
What Trump is Doing in the Middle East While You are Distracted by COVID-19
Daniel Warner
COVID-19: Health or Wealth?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
Corona in Germany: Hording and Authoritarianism
Ramzy Baroud
BJP and Israel: Hindu Nationalism is Ravaging India’s Democracy
Richard Moser
Russia-gate: the Dead But Undead
Ron Jacobs
Politics, Pandemics and Trumpism
Chris Gilbert
Letter From Catalonia: Alarming Measures
Richard Eskow
Seven Rules for the Boeing Bailout
Jonathan Carp
Coronavirus and the Collapse of Our Imaginations
Andrew Bacevich
The Coronavirus and the Real Threats to American Safety and Freedom
Peter Cohen
COVID-19, the Exponential Function and Human the Survival
César Chelala - Alberto Luis Zuppi
The Pope is Wrong on Argentina
James Preston Allen
Alexander Cockburn Meets Charles Bukowski at a Sushi Bar in San Pedro
Jérôme Duval
The Only Oxygen Cylinder Factory in Europe is Shut down and Macron Refuses to Nationalize It
Neve Gordon
Gaza Has Been Under Siege for Years. Covid-19 Could Be Catastrophic
Alvaro Huerta
To Survive the Coronavirus, Americans Should Learn From Mexicans
Prabir Purkayastha
Why the Coronavirus Pandemic Poses Fundamental Challenges to All Societies
Raouf Halaby
Fireside Chatterer Andrew Cuomo for President
Thomas Drake
The Sobering Realities of the American Dystopia
Negin Owliaei
Wash Your Hands…If You Have Water
Felice Pace
A New Threat to California’s Rivers:  Will the Rush to Develop Our Newest Water Source Destroy More Streams?
Ray Brescia
What 9/11 Can Teach Us About Responding to COVID-19
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Covid-19 Opportunity
John Kendall Hawkins
An Age of Intoxication: Pick Your Poison
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Propaganda Virus: Is Anyone Immune?
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 1: Dispatches From a Terrified Heartland
Nolan Higdon – Mickey Huff
Don’t Just Blame Trump for the COVID-19 Crisis: the U.S. Has Been Becoming a Failed State for Some Time
Susan Block
Coronavirus Spring
David Yearsley
Lutz Alone
CounterPunch News Service
Letter from Truthdig’s Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer to the Publisher Zuade Kaufman
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Striking Truthdig Workers
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail