"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Librotraficante Caravan Stops in El Paso Tomorrow!!!!!

UT El Paso Student Health Services Prepares for Chipotle Grand Opening


AP Associated Pest

UT El Paso (UTEP) Student Health Services Prepares for Chipotle Grand Opening
Cholera Epidemic Imminent

by Dolores Tómago
Posted:   03/13/2012 12:17:33 AM MDT 
UTEP Student Health Services has gone into “Disaster Alert” as El Paso's first Chipotle is set to open this week across from UTEP's Don Haskin's Center.

Chipolte a national chain known for putting everything but the kitchen sink into a burrito will open on North Mesa Street this week, much to the annoyance of the local medical community.

Culinary expert, Ben B. Rito says Chipotle has not figured out how the Mexican secret to making burritos simple, so they put everything from sour cream, guacamole, rice, beans, salsa, meat, onions, all the ingredients to make the modern Mexican's stomach churn.”

“So far we don't know why Chipotle burritos have no effect on gringos,” says El Paso Medical Disaster Director, Endamundo Hoy. “But when Mexicans and Chicanos eat at Chipolte, they can expect several days on the toledo or a full-out Cholora epidemic.”

“We had to order quadruple are regular supply of Pepto-Bismol, Imodium, and Keopectate,” said UTEP's health services director Ben Preparado, “We think we are fully prepared for the impending disaster once students return to class next week.”

But rumors that the city may run out of diarrhea medicine has prompted Mayor John Cook to ask Proctor and Gamble, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Chattem, Inc., makers of diarrhea medicine, to double their production.

UTEP sets up disaster center

“We don't expect many students to be affected this week,” said UTEP president Diana Natalicio, “but once they return to school after Spring Break next week, we may call upon the Red Cross to set up a disaster site in the UTEP Student Union.”

UTEP professor Dr. Wes Studi Shicanos, an expert on Chicano and indigenous eating habits said the opening of Chipotle will have severe repercussion for Westside El Paso. “To date, Westside Chicanos have not seen this much mierda since the elections of City Rep. Cortney Niland and Beto O'Rourke.”

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Researchers draw closer to unraveling the difference between beans and tortillas, and tortillas and beans

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Rodolfo F. Acuña: The Tucson-Nogales Trip

The Tucson-Nogales Trip
Rodolfo F. Acuña
As I mentioned in previous correspondence, CSUN MEChA and students from the Asian American Studies Department visited Tucson-Nogales on February 24-26, 2012. 

It was draining because of the distance, size of the group, and the intensity. As always, the Tucsonenses were gracious and made you feel like family. 

For me, the highlight was the first night when Sal Baldenegro, Guadalupe Castillo, Raquel Goldsmith and Isabel Garcia gave their testimonies, recounting over forty years of activism, from the campaigns to get Mexican American students into the University of Arizona, the border struggles, to today’s fight against censorship and the attacks on the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies. It capped a learning experience that spans three trips to ground zero. 

The students interacted with high school students.  

As Professor Emeritus Christine Sleeter wrote about the Tucson program on February 15, 2012 in Education Week:
“Over a 13-year period, the program served 6,438 students (5,726 of whom were Latino, and 712 of whom were not Latino). On Arizona’s achievement tests in reading, writing, and math, its students also outscore students of all racial and ethnic groups in the same schools but not in that program—a remarkable record. As schools nationwide struggle to close racial achievement gaps, Tucson’s Mexican-American studies program should be one from which we are learning.”

This data puts to rest the myth that the program was limited to Mexican Americans. It is more startling because 60/70 percent of the district’s students are Latino.
According to Professor Sleeter, the MAS program works. She asks:
“Then why was the Mexican-American studies program in Tucson terminated? And why did Arizona ban ethnic studies? I believe the core issue is fear of the knowledge Mexican-American students find precious and empowering. Ethnic studies names racism and helps students examine how racism works in their everyday lives, how it was constructed historically, and how it can be challenged. For students of color, ethnic studies draws on knowledge from within racially oppressed communities, and affirms what students know from everyday life, taking the concerns of students seriously and treating them as intellectuals. In so doing, well-designed programs (like Tucson’s), taught by well-prepared teachers who believe in their students, connect students’ ethnic identity with academic learning and a sense of purpose that takes racism into account.”

The truth be told, what is happening in Arizona is orchestrated by the special interests of associations such as ALEC – American Legislative Exchange Council, that controls the state legislature, and the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, that controls southern Arizona. They have economic and political stakes in keeping Mexicans and poor people in their place, which today is increasingly in the prisons.

Sadly, educators have been complicit in keeping Mexican Americans and others in their place. At all levels of public education, there is a woeful lack of interest or knowledge of the special needs of Mexican American children.  While many classroom teachers can be singled out, the core problem rests on the shoulders of administrators who are paid to give guidance to instructional programs.

At the University of Arizona, there are 58 professors of education; only five of whom have Spanish-surnames.  In Adolescent Development, out of eleven not one is Mexican American;  AT Risk Students does not have a Spanish-surname instructor; Bilingual Education, two out of ten; Counseling, not one; Early Childhood Education, one of eight; Identity, not one; Language and Cultural Studies, one of six;  Language Learning, one of fourteen; Learning and Instruction, one of fourteen; worse of all out of fifteen listed in Teaching, not one has a Spanish surname; and in Teacher Preparation, one of 32 has a Spanish-surname.

The numbers would tend to support the notion that, although 60 percent of the students in the university’s service area are Latino, the education of Mexican American is not high on the UA’s priorities. This makes it critical that the surrounding districts have strong leadership, which is not the case.

TUSD Superintendent of Schools John Pedicone has less than two years classroom experience teaching Mexican American students, and this was in a middle-class neighborhood in Tucson. Pedicone served several years as superintendent before retiring, but there is no indication that he was interested in pedagogy for Mexican American students. Pedicone taught part time at the UA, demonstrating no interest in Mexican American students.

In my fifty-five years of teaching: two years teaching K-12 at a Yeshiva; ten years as a master teacher in the L.A. City Schools; three years at a community college; and the rest in the state university system, I have never met a superintendent so ill prepared as John Pedicone

The tragedy is that he is earning over $300,000 a year for knowing so little about the education of students who are the majority of his district.  Pedicone would make a great maître d' at an upscale restaurant, but not one in charge of the education of students who need good teaching and a good curriculum.

Worse Pedicone has brought in underlings with fewer qualifications about Mexican Americans than he has.  According to sources in Denton, Houston and San Antonio, who know Assistant Superintendent of Government Programs and Community Outreach Lupita Cavazos-Garcia, she has almost no experience in teaching Latinos in any subject but math. They described her as ineffectual and self-serving. I searched the University of Texas Library for her dissertation, there was no listing. I checked her out in the Proquest dissertation data bank, no listing.  Based on her surname, not qualifications, Garcia was put in charge of dismantling MAS.

Garcia called MEChA “anti-American” and “anti-Semitic,” offering no proof. Moreover, Garcia, originally from South Texas, denies the existence of racism.

In this context, KGUN9 reporter Valerie Cavazos asked me whether there could be a compromise.  (That is what the letter below is about).

Any compromise has to be based on reason. The starting point has to be what is best for the students, not what an individual or business group wants. Latinos have a history of compromising. From the beginning, bilingual education was bartered away in bits and pieces. Urban renewal took away the barrio land for the public “good.”
As long as Pedicone and company do not want to talk about the failure of the Tucson mainstream programs, there can be no compromise. If sixty percent of Toyotas or any other automobile brand had to be junked, that company would be in serious trouble.  American education is failing students, and those in power want to compromise? In the case of Tucson, it is like trading in a Mercedes for a jalopy.  They want to trade non-functioning schools for a program with proven results.

The first thing I learned as a teacher trainer is that students have to want to come to school. They have to like you, and value what you are teaching.  I think of John Dewey daily, and his dictum that a student failure is a teacher failure.  Using that standard, Pedicone and his gaggle of administrators are failures.

Some Americans would like Mexican Americans and other minorities to admit that racism and inequality is their problem; according to them, it isn’t an American problem. However, foreign visitors from the beginning of the Republic have laid the blame on an inchoate American culture that is easily rattled.

American xenophobia has its roots in feelings inferiority, and Americans try to justify themselves by thinking they are exceptional.

The sad part about this struggle is the lack of outrage about what is happening in Arizona: the nullification of the U.S. Constitution, Arizona’s defiance of federal court orders, the assassination of nine year old Brisenia Flores, and the disparate treatment of Mexican Americans.

That is why we are taking our students to ground zero. We don’t want them to forget, so when minorities are the majority in 2050, we won’t be the same as they are. They must remember that just because a Pedicone wears a white shirt and a tie that does not make him intelligent. Racists come in different shapes and colors.

Like my mother used to say there is a difference between schooling and education, between meanness and altruism.

I was particularly moved by the reaction of one of my students at the wall between the two Nogales’s.
“It was an odd feeling being so close to something that has sparked so many debates,” said Daniel Mulato, 22, a senior double majoring in psychology and Chicana/o studies, about the Nogales border. “It really hit me when I saw a baby shoe left right at the border. This could be someone’s little sister’s shoe,” he said.

It doesn’t matter what color the child was, it was a child. It is a lesson Pedicone should learn.

Dear Ms Cavazos [KGUN9 news segment on Sunday]:
The written summary of our interview misrepresents what I said.

First, I did not suggest that the TUSD Mexican American Studies Program compromise. As you know, I do not live in Tucson, so it would be presumptuous for me to recommend a compromise.
Rudy interviewed by KGUN9.

What we discussed was, where does a discussion begin?

In my opinion, it would be insane to begin a discussion at the point when the program has been gutted and its books have been banned. Any discussion has to begin with what is best for students.

For example, Arizona is last in the nation in per capita spending per student. The dropout rate is between 60-70 percent, depending on where the push out begins. Although 43 percent of the students are of Mexican American/Latin ancestry, they are not represented proportionately in the American story. There also has to be a discussion about the qualifications of teachers, and if they are prepared to meet the special needs of Mexican American students.

Second, we discussed escalating tuition rates in the context of financial inequalities, and how it contributes to the widening gap between rich and poor.

Third, I did not say or imply that racial issues had disappeared. I said that we have to put more emphasis on the causes of racism. In this context, we discussed the charter schools that are disproportionately white. For example, if the district is 60 percent Mexican it stands to reason that 60 percent of the charter school should reflect this reality. Racial issues have to be put into context as well as the fact that in Arizona the charter schools are owned by interests outside the state of Arizona. In California, charter schools are part of the local school districts that are responsible for their oversight.

This coupled with the fact that Arizona representatives receive more campaign contributions from sources outside the state than from inside threaten American democracy. Before racism can be abolished we have to deal with inequality. The point was also made that the barriers to getting into college in the 70s differed from today. Today the main obstacle is the refusal of corporations to pay for the cost of social production. This barrier today takes on a class dimension, and at the university level this inequality is threatening every race (although not equally).

Fourth, in my opinion a discussion on “integrating” Mexican American Studies into so-called general curriculum could perhaps occur if, let’s say, the TUSD guaranteed that 1) the State of Arizona would contribute as much per student as the top ten states nationally; 2) that it would guarantee that the dropout rate among Mexican American students would not exceed 5 percent; 3) that teachers and counselors specializing in the education of Mexican Americans be hired in proportionate numbers; and 4) that the state guarantee that the contributions of Mexican Americans be taught in all social science, humanities and art classes. Perhaps at this point, a dialogue would be possible. It would be crazy to enter a dialogue based on John Pedicone’s my way or the highway approach–he is not God, although he may think he is.

We talked at great lengths about reason. Agreements are only fair when there is respect. There can be no agreement if there is a gun pointed at your head. Reason also assumes that the facts be considered. I said that it was unreasonable to dismantle a program with proven results, and trade it for a program that fosters segregation and drops out 60 percent of its students. (Let’s face it, American education has failed)
I agreed to the interview because I thought that there could be a reasonable discussion. I was warned by many Tucsonenses not to trust you. But I wanted to break down barriers, and perhaps, not reach an agreement, but know each other’s views. This is not possible if you distort what I say.

As Mexican Americans we have the duty to be good professionals which is to seek the 

Rodolfo F. Acuña, PhD

Professor Emeritus
California State University Northridge

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Our thanks to Profe  Acuña for letting us repost is posts!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

New Chicano(a) Titles for January and February 2012: New Books by Saenz, Anaya, Gary Soto

New Chican(a) Titles for 
January and February 2012
New Books by Anaya, Saenz, Gary Soto!

Critical Race Counterstories Along the Chicana/Chicano Educational Pipeline
Hardcover Routledge; 2 edition (January 2012)
ISBN-10: 0415874548 ISBN-13: 978-0415874540
Tara J. Yosso

Chicanas/os are part of the youngest, largest, and fastest growing racial/ethnic 'minority' population in the United States, yet at every schooling level, they suffer the lowest educational outcomes of any racial/ethnic group. 

Using a 'counterstorytelling' methodology, Tara Yosso debunks racialized myths that blame the victims for these unequal educational outcomes and redirects our focus toward historical patterns of institutional neglect. She artfully interweaves empirical data and theoretical arguments with engaging narratives that expose and analyse racism as it functions to limit access and opportunity for Chicana/o students. 

By humanising the need to transform our educational system, Yosso offers an accessible tool for teaching and learning about the problems and possibilities present along the Chicano/a educational pipeline.

The Struggle in Black and Brown: African American and Mexican American Relations during the Civil Rights Era (Justice and Social Inquiry)
Paperback University of Nebraska Press (January 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 080326271X ISBN-13: 978-0803262713
Brian D Behnken (Editor, Introduction)

It might seem that African Americans and Mexican Americans would have common cause in matters of civil rights. This volume, which considers relations between blacks and browns during the civil rights era, carefully examines the complex and multifaceted realities that complicate such assumptions—and that revise our view of both the civil rights struggle and black-brown relations in recent history. 

Unique in its focus, innovative in its methods, and broad in its approach to various locales and time periods, the book provides key perspectives to understanding the development of America’s ethnic and sociopolitical landscape.

These essays focus chiefly on the Southwest, where Mexican Americans and African Americans have had a long history of civil rights activism. Among the cases the authors take up are the unification of black and Chicano civil rights and labor groups in California; divisions between Mexican Americans and African Americans generated by the War on Poverty; and cultural connections established by black and Chicano musicians during the period. 

Together these cases present the first truly nuanced picture of the conflict and cooperation, goodwill and animosity, unity and disunity that played a critical role in the history of both black-brown relations and the battle for civil rights. Their insights are especially timely, as black-brown relations occupy an increasingly important role in the nation’s public life.

No Undocumented Child Left Behind: Plyler v. Doe and the Education of Undocumented Schoolchildren (Citizenship and Migration in T)
Hardcover NYU Press (January 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0814762441 ISBN-13: 978-0814762448
Michael A. Olivas (Author)

The 1982 U. S. Supreme Court case of Plyler v. Doe, which made it possible for undocumented children to enroll in Texas public schools, was a watershed moment for immigrant rights in the United States. 

The Court struck down both a state statute denying funding for education to undocumented children and a municipal school district's attempt to charge an annual $1,000 tuition fee for each undocumented student to compensate for the lost state funding. Yet while this case has not returned to the Supreme Court, it is frequently contested at the state and local level.

In No Undocumented Child Left Behind, Michael A. Olivas tells a fascinating history of the landmark case, examining how, 30 years later, Plyler v. Doe continues to suffer from implementation issues and requires additional litigation and vigilance to enforce the ruling. 

He takes a comprehensive look at the legal regime it established regarding the education of undocumented school children, moves up through its implementation, including direct and indirect attacks on it, and closes with the ongoing, highly charged debates over the Development, Relief, and Education for Minors (DREAM) Act, which aims to give conditional citizenship to undocumented college students who graduated from US high schools and have been in the country for at least five years. 

War along the Border: The Mexican Revolution and Tejano Communities 
University of Houston Series in Mexican American Studies, Sponsored by the Cente - 
TAMU Press (January 13, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1603445250 ISBN-13: 978-1603445252 

Scholars contributing to this volume consider topics ranging from the effects of the Mexican Revolution on Tejano and African American communities to its impact on Texas’ economy and agriculture. Other essays consider the ways that Mexican Americans north of the border affected the course of the revolution itself.

The Mexican-American War (Living Through)
Paperback Heinemann-Raintree (January 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1432960075 ISBN-13: 978-1432960070
John DiConsiglio 

Why was the Mexican American War so important in the formation of the modern United States? Could Texas have survived as an independent nation or part of Mexico? This book seeks to relate the overall events and chronology of the war and shows its impact on everyday lives.

Mexican American Fertility Patterns
Paperback University of Texas Press (January 18, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0292739834 ISBN-13: 978-0292739833
Frank D. Bean (Author), Gray Swicegood (Author)

The Mexican American population is the fastest growing major racial/ethnic group in the United States. During the decade 1970–1980, the Mexican origin population increased from 4.5 million to 8.7 million persons. High fertility, not immigration, was responsible for nearly two-thirds of this growth.

Recent and historical evidence shows that women of Mexican origin or descent bear significantly more children than other white women in the United States. Mexican American Fertility Patterns clarifies the nature and magnitude of these fertility differences by analyzing patterns of childbearing both across ethnic groups and within the Mexican American population.

Using data from the 1970 and 1980 U.S. Censuses and from the 1976 Survey of Income and Education, the authors evaluate various hypotheses of cultural, social, demographic, and/or economic factors as determinants of fertility differences. Empirical analyses center on the interrelationships between fertility and generational status, language usage and proficiency, and female education. 

This timely report concludes that Mexican American fertility is closest to that of other whites under conditions of greater access to the opportunity structures of the society.

Facts of Life: Stories
Paperback Graphia; Reprint edition (January 17, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0547577346 ISBN-13: 978-0547577340
Gary Soto

What do Gaby Lopez, Michael Robles, and Cynthia Rodriguez have in common? These three kids join other teens and tweens in Gary Soto's new short story collection, in which the hard-knock facts of growing up are captured with humor and poignance. 

Filled with annoying siblings, difficult parents, and first loves, these stories are a masterful reminder of why adolescence is one of the most frustrating and fascinating times of life.

Integrating the 40 Acres: The Fifty-Year Struggle for Racial Equality at the University of Texas 
Paperback University of Georgia Press (January 15, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0820340855 ISBN-13: 978-0820340852
Dwonna Goldstone (Author)

You name it, we can't do it. That was how one African American student at the University of Texas at Austin summed up his experiences in a 1960 newspaper article--some ten years after the beginning of court-mandated desegregation at the school. In this first full-length history of the university's desegregation, Dwonna Goldstone examines how, for decades, administrators only gradually undid the most visible signs of formal segregation while putting their greatest efforts into preventing true racial integration. 

In response to the 1956 Board of Regents decision to admit African American undergraduates, for example, the dean of students and the director of the student activities center stopped scheduling dances to prevent racial intermingling in a social setting.

Goldstone's coverage ranges from the 1950 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the University of Texas School of Law had to admit Heman Sweatt, an African American, through the 1994 Hopwood v. Texas decision, which ended affirmative action in the state's public institutions of higher education. She draws on oral histories, university documents, and newspaper accounts to detail how the university moved from open discrimination to foot-dragging acceptance to mixed successes in the integration of athletics, classrooms, dormitories, extracurricular activities, and student recruitment. 

Goldstone incorporates not only the perspectives of university administrators, students, alumni, and donors, but also voices from all sides of the civil rights movement at the local and national level. This instructive story of power, race, money, and politics remains relevant to the modern university and the continuing question about what it means to be integrated.

Marginal Workers: How Legal Fault Lines Divide Workers and Leave Them without Protection  
(Citizenship and Migration in the Americas) Hardcover
Ruben J. Garcia

Undocumented and authorized immigrant laborers, female workers, workers of color, guest workers, and unionized workers together compose an enormous and diverse part of the labor force in America. Labor and employment laws are supposed to protect employees from various workplace threats, such as poor wages, bad working conditions, and unfair dismissal. 

Yet as members of individual groups with minority status, the rights of many of these individuals are often dictated by other types of law, such as constitutional and immigration laws. Worse still, the groups who fall into these cracks in the legal system often do not have the political power necessary to change the laws for better protection.

In Marginal Workers, Ruben J. Garcia demonstrates that when it comes to these marginal workers, the sum of the law is less than its parts, and, despite what appears to be a plethora of applicable statutes, marginal workers are frequently lacking in protection. To ameliorate the status of marginal workers, he argues for a new paradigm in worker protection, one based on human freedom and rights, and points to a number of examples in which marginal workers have organized for greater justice on the job in spite of the weakness of the law.

Chicano Satire: A Study in Literary Culture
Paperback University of Texas Press (February 8, 2012)
ISBN-10: 029274112X ISBN-13: 978-0292741126
Guillermo Hernandez (Author)

Geographically close to Mexico, but surrounded by Anglo-American culture in the United States, Chicanos experience many cultural tensions and contradictions. Their lifeways are no longer identical with Mexican norms, nor are they fully assimilated to Anglo-American patterns. Coping with these tensions — knowing how much to let go of, how much to keep — is a common concern of Chicano writers, who frequently use satire as a means of testing norms and deviations from acceptable community standards. In this groundbreaking study, Guillermo Hernández focuses on the uses of satire in the works of three authors — Luis Valdez, Rolando Hinojosa, and José Montoya — and on the larger context of Chicano culture in which satire operates.

Hernández looks specifically at the figures of the pocho (the assimilated Chicano) and the pachuco (the zoot-suiter, or urbanized youth). He shows how changes in their literary treatment—from simple ridicule to more understanding and respect — reflect the culture's changes in attitude toward the process of assimilation.

Hernández also offers many important insights into the process of cultural definition that engaged Chicano writers during the 1960s and 1970s. He shows how the writers imaginatively and syncretically formed new norms for the Chicano experience, based on elements from both Mexican and United States culture but congruent with the historical reality of Chicanos.

With its emphasis on culture change and creation, Chicano Satire will be of interest across a range of human sciences.

Aging, Health, and Longevity in the Mexican-Origin Population
(Social Disparities in Health and Health Care) Hardcover
Springer; 2012 edition (February 9, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1461418666 ISBN-13: 978-1461418665
Jacqueline L. Angel (Editor), Fernando Torres-Gil (Editor), Kyriakos Markides (Editor) 

As the nation’s largest Latino group, the Mexican-origin population will play a major role as America grows older: their situation is vital to understanding our aging, diverse society as national health care policy comes into a new era of analysis and revision. Aging, Health, and Longevity in the Mexican Origin Population identifies current and emerging health issues affecting this demographic, from health care disparities to changing family dynamics to the health implications of the United States’ relationship with Mexico. 

Contributors test the Hispanic Paradox — that Latinos live longer than other Americans despite socioeconomic stresses — as it relates to various aspects of aging. Disability is discussed in social context, in terms of acculturation, family coping measures, access to care, and other key factors. 

And concluding chapters offer strategies for bringing the Mexican-American elder experience into the ongoing debate over health care. Throughout, coverage balances the heterogeneity of the community with its status as emblematic of minority aging and as a microcosm of aging in general. Included among the topics: ·         
  • Immigration, economics, and family: contextualizing disability. ·         
  • Diabetes and employment productivity. ·         
  • The “healthy immigrant effect” and cognitive aging. ·         
  • Nursing home care: separate and unequal. ·         
  • Challenges of aging in place. ·         
  • Estimating the demand for long-term care. 
This book issues, answers, and a clear direction to those studying and working with this dynamic group, including policymakers, social workers, gerontologists, the academic and research communities, and health care professionals.

Lord of the Dawn: The Legend of Quetzalcóatl
Paperback University of New Mexico Press (February 15, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0826351751 ISBN-13: 978-0826351753
Rudolfo Anaya (Author), David M. Johnson (Introduction)

The legend of Quetzalcóatl is the enduring epic myth of Mesoamerica. The gods create the universe, but man must carefully tend to the harmony of the world. Without spiritual attention to harmony, chaos may reign, destroying the universe and civilization.

The ancient Mexicans, like other peoples throughout the world, wrestled with ideas and metaphors by which to know the Godhead and developed their own concepts about their relationship to the universe. Quetzalcóatl came to the Toltecs to teach them art, agriculture, peace, and knowledge. He was a redeemer god, and his story inspires, instructs, and entertains, as do all the great myths of the world.

Now available in paperback, the Lord of the Dawn is Anaya's exploration of the cosmology and the rich and complex spiritual thought of his Native American ancestors. The story depicts the daily world of man, the struggle between the peacemakers and the warmongers, and the world of the gods and their role in the life of mankind.

Mexican Folk Narrative from the Los Angeles Area: Introduction, Notes, and Classification  
(English and Spanish Edition)
Paperback University of Texas Press; Bilingual edition (February 8, 2012)
Language: English, Spanish
ISBN-10: 029274143X ISBN-13: 978-0292741430
Elaine K. Miller (Author)

Urban Los Angeles is the setting in which Elaine Miller has collected her narratives from Mexican-Americans. The Mexican folk tradition, varied and richly expressive of the inner life not only of a people but also of the individual as each lives it and personalizes it, is abundantly present in the United States. 

Since it is in the urban centers that most Mexican-Americans have lived, this collection represents an important contribution to the study of that tradition and to the study of the changes urban life effects on traditional folklore.

The collection includes sixty-two legendary narratives and twenty traditional tales. The legendary narratives deal with the virgins and saints as well as with such familiar characters as the vanishing hitchhiker, the headless horseman, and the llorona. Familiar characters appear in the traditional tales — Juan del Oso, Blancaflor, Pedro de Ordimalas, and others. Elaine Miller concludes that the traditional tales are dying out in the city because tale telling itself is not suited to the fast pace of modern urban life, and the situations and characters in the tales are not perceived by the people to be meaningfully related to the everyday challenges and concerns of that life. 

The legendary tales survive longer in an urban setting because, although containing fantastic elements, they are related to the beliefs and hopes of the narrator — even in the city one may be led to buried treasure on some dark night by a mysterious woman.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Hardcover Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers (February 21, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1442408928 ISBN-13: 978-1442408920
Benjamin Alire Saenz (Author) 

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship — the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

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Thursday, March 01, 2012

Felipe Ortego y Gasca: If George Washington Was My Father, Why Wasn't He CHICANO?

Presented at the Forum on Confronting Race and Ethnicity, Western New Mexico University, February 21, 2012.

By Felipe de Ortego y Gasca
Scholar in Residence, Department of Chicana/Chicano and Hemispheric Studies, Western New Mexico University

The title of this piece are the last lines of a poem by Richard Olivas penned some years ago. Sitting in his history class, Olivas asked: “If George Washington’s, my father, why wasn’t he Chicano? The question raised in the poem embodies the reason for the emergence of Mexican American/Chicano Studies.

Indeed, the White Studies curriculum of American schools indoctrinates students in American classrooms in the apodictive historical perspective of the nation—myths and all. Until the advent of the Chicano Movement Mexican Americans knew little about their history in the United States as a colonized people.

Mexican America as an internal American colony

Blame it on Manifest Destiny! By hook or crook, the United States was determined to extend its domain from sea to shining sea. But Mexico was standing in the way. In 1846, President James K. Polk declared war on Mexico on the pretext that Mexico had invaded the United States by crossing into Brownsville, Texas, with armed troops. Only the year before, the United States had admitted Texas into the union even though Mexico had never acknowledged the break-away independence of its Texas province. Despite this international state of affairs with Texas, dead-set on adding Texas to the union, the United States annexed Texas in 1845.

The U.S. War against Mexico lasted less than 2 years, after which per the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo signed on February 2, 1848, the United States dismembered Mexico and annexed more than half of its territory, permitting Mexicans (by choice) to remain in the American acquired territory of Mexico or to relocate to the new boundaries of Mexico. My father’s family chose to relocate to Guanajuato, Mexico; while my mother’s family chose to remain in San Antonio, Texas, where they had settled in 1731, some 45 years before the break-away American colonies of England in 1776. Most Mexicans opted to stay with what they considered their homeland.

As an internally colonized people, Mexicans—now Americans by fiat—had to learn English, how to navigate the American political system, and how to survive the American schools. I wrote about that survival in 1970 in a piece entitled “Montezuma’s Children,” published as a cover story by The Center Magazine of the John Maynard Hutchins Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. The piece was read into the Congressional Record by Senator Ralph Yarbrough of Texas in 1970 and was recommended for a Pulitzer. 
Mexican America comes of Age

For 162 years—from 1848 to 1960—Mexican Americans sought to become the citizens the United States expected them to be: They fought in every American war since then, distinguishing themselves in World War II as the only group to win more Medals of Honor than any other group. Of the 16 million Americans who served in that conflict, 1 million were Mexican Americans. When the United States called on Americans to defend the nation, Mexican Americans have responded overwhelmingly.

Mexican American loyalty and allegiance to the American flag has not waned. What changed was Mexican American expectations of equality for their service to the nation. Those expectations surfaced in 1960 with the Chicano Movement—a groundswell of patriotism in search of recognition. Out of that groundswell emerged the Chicano Renaissance: a literary recognition of their evolution in the American mosaic. In the Fall of 1969 I taught the first course in Mexican American/ Chicano literature at the University of New Mexico. In 1971 I completed Backgrounds of Mexican American Literature (University of New Mexico, 1971), first historical and taxonomic study in the field. In 1960, only 10 novels by Mexican Americans had been published in the United States. Since then, the count has swelled to hundreds. Overall, the count of books by Mexican Americans in the American publishing arena is in the thousands. Mexican Americans realized that if America is to know who Mexican Americans are, then Mexican Americans must write their own stories. Mexican Americans are not who mainstream America says they are; Mexican Americans are the only ones who can say who they are.

Today, the most egregious example of prejudice and discrimination based on ethnicity and ancestry is the situation in the Tucson Independent School District where Mexican American Studies has been eliminated as a program of study and a list of particular books bans their use in classrooms. These are books by eminent Chicano and Native American scholars. Banned also are Civil Disobedience, Brave New World and Shakespeare's The Tempest. The logic defies understanding except that it seems to be based on ethnicity and ancestry.

All of this hullaballoo is the result of Arizona House Bill 2281 signed by Governor Jan Brewer banning Ethnic Studies Programs (which includes Chicano Studies) on the grounds that these Programs advocate ethnic separatism and encourages Latinos to rise up and create a new territory out of the southwestern region of the United States. Perhaps those Xenophobes need a history lesson on how the Hispanic Southwest came into the American fold. They also need to look at school textbooks to see how under-represented Asian Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, and Mexican Americans are in those textbooks. Which is why we need Asian American Studies, African American Studies, Native American Studies, and Mexican American Studies. What are white Arizonans really afraid of? HB 2281 has come to the attention of the United Nations which condemns the Bill, citing Arizona’s rage against immigration and ethnic minorities as “a disturbing pattern of hostile legislative activity.” The better word would be “racism.”

Chicano Studies as the Voice of Chicanos

Forty-eight years ago when I began university teaching after some years as a high school teacher of French, there was no Chicano Stud­ies. That is, no Chicano Studies as an organized field of study. To be sure, there were Mexican American scholars working on various aspects of Mexican Amer­ican life and its cultural productions, scholars like Aurelio Espinosa, Juan Rael, Arturo Campa, Fray Angelico Chaves, George I. Sanchez, Americo Paredes, and others. Important as this scholarship was, it emerged amorphously, reflecting independ­ent intellectual interests rather than a scholarship reflecting a field of study. This is not to say that some of these scholars may not have considered their work as part of a field of study conceptualized as Mexican American Studies. Despite its lack of an under-pinning, it was a field of Mexican American Studies, its constituent parts subsumed as American folklore. 
This situation created a critical barrier to the public discussion and dissemination of information about the presence of Mexican Americans in the Unit­ed States and their contributions to American society. Until 1960 and the emergence of the Chi­cano Movement, Mexican Americans were charac­terized by mainstream American schol­ars–-principally anthropologists and social work­ers–-in terms of the queer, the curious, and the quaint. That is, Mexican Amer­icans were categorized as just another item in the flora and fauna of Americana.
The Chicano Movement–that wave of concientizaci­on that came to bloom among Mexican Americans in the 60's transforming them into Chica­nos– help­ed to change American perceptions about Mexican Americans. While Mexican Americans knew much about Anglo Americans, Anglo Ameri­cans knew little about Mexican Americans.

In 1970 I was recruited to be founding director of the Chicano Studies Program at the University of Texas at El Paso, first such program in the state (and still there). By this time, I had become “conscien­tized” as a Chicano. From 1967 on, I had become identified as a Quinto Sol Writer, that is, among the first wave of Chicano writers of the Chi­cano Renaissance which had its beginning in 1966 with the creation of Quinto Sol Publica­tions.

The Arizona Challenge

Mexican American accounts of who they are are being challenged in Arizona. The Tucson Unified School District in Arizona made headlines in recent weeks when it eliminated its Mexican American Studies program. John Huppenthal, the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, declared the program illegal under a state law that bans racially-divisive classes. Books by Mexican American authors have been yanked from TUSD classrooms: Message to Aztlán by Rodolfo Corky Gonzales (2001) and Chicano! A History of the Mexican Civil Rights Movement by Arturo Rosales (1997).

Everywhere, there are xenophobic and fas­cist forces that threaten the existence of Chicano Studies. Mainstream suspicions about the ideological agenda of Chicano Studies has become paranoiac. In Arizona there are legislative initiatives to remove from the schools programs deemed to be seditious, programs that promote divisiveness and breed revo­lution, programs like Chic­ano Studies–any ethnic studies program that challen­ges Western values. One Arizona legislator believes that such an initiative will restore the image of the United States as a “melt­ing pot”—that relic salvaged from the reliquary of dystopic America.

Tony Diaz, founder of the literary nonprofit Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say is organizing a caravan from Houston to Tucson over spring break to raise awareness about the situation and taking Hispanic books to Tucson students. He calls it the Librotraficante movement. It begins in Houston on Monday, March 12 and ends in Tucson on Saturday, March 17. Along the way, the caravan will stop in San Antonio, El Paso and Albuquerque, for read-ins and other activities. The caravan will be filled with authors and activists, accruing people as it proceeds toward Tucson.

Como una hija querida, tenemos que defender Chicano Studies porque si no, perderemos nuestro futuro. That’s too important a future to lose, too ex­acting a price to pay. This is the exact moment of history for Chicanos to rise to the occasion. Inaction sustains the status quo. Now, more than ever, we must band together in common cause. Chicano Stud­ies deserves no less. Actually, all Americans must stand up to this current wave of xenophobia.

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American Government/Social Justice/Education
  • Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years (1998) by B. Bigelow and B. Peterson
  • The Latino Condition: A Critical Reader (1998) by R. Delgado and J. Stefancic
  • Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (2001) by R. Delgado and J. Stefancic
  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed (2000) by P. Freire
  • United States Government: Democracy in Action (2007) by R. C. Remy
  • Dictionary of Latino Civil Rights History (2006) by F. A. Rosales
  • Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology (1990) by H. Zinn
American History/Mexican American Perspectives
  • Occupied America: A History of Chicanos (2004) by R. Acuña
  • The Anaya Reader (1995) by R. Anaya
  • The American Vision (2008) by J. Appleby et el.
  • Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years (1998) by B. Bigelow and B. Peterson
  • Drink Cultura: Chicanismo (1992) by J. A. Burciaga
  • Message to Aztlán: Selected Writings (1997) by R.  Gonzales
  • De Colores Means All of Us: Latina Views Multi-Colored Century (1998) by E. S. Martínez
  • 500 Años Del Pueblo Chicano/500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures (1990) by E. S. Martínez
  • Codex Tamuanchan: On Becoming Human (1998) by R. Rodríguez
  • The X in La Raza II (1996) by R. Rodríguez
  • Dictionary of Latino Civil Rights History (2006) by F. A. Rosales
  • A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present (2003) by H. Zinn
English/Latino Literature
  • Ten Little Indians (2004) by S. Alexie
  • The Fire Next Time (1990) by J. Baldwin
  • Loverboys (2008) by A. Castillo
  • Women Hollering Creek (1992) by S. Cisneros
  • Mexican White Boy (2008) by M. de la Pena
  • Drown (1997) by J. Díaz
  • Woodcuts of Women (2000) by D. Gilb
  • At the Afro-Asian Conference in Algeria (1965) by E. Guevara
  • Color Lines: "Does Anti-War Have to Be Anti-Racist Too?" (2003) by E. Martínez
  • Culture Clash: Life, Death and Revolutionary Comedy (1998) by R. Montoya et al.
  • Let Their Spirits Dance (2003) by S. Pope Duarte
  • Two Badges: The Lives of Mona Ruiz (1997) by M. Ruiz
  • The Tempest (1994) by W. Shakespeare
  • A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America (1993) by R. Takaki
  • The Devil's Highway (2004) by L. A. Urrea
  • Puro Teatro: A Latino Anthology (1999) by A. Sandoval-Sanchez & N. Saporta Sternbach
  • Twelve Impossible Things before Breakfast: Stories (1997) by J. Yolen
  • Voices of a People's History of the United States (2004) by H. Zinn
  • Live from Death Row (1996) by J. Abu-Jamal
  • The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven (1994) by S. Alexie
  • Zorro (2005) by I. Allende
  • Borderlands La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1999) by G. Anzaldua
  • A Place to Stand (2002), by J. S. Baca
  • C-Train and Thirteen Mexicans (2002), by J. S. Baca
  • Healing Earthquakes: Poems (2001) by J. S. Baca
  • Immigrants in Our Own Land and Selected Early Poems (1990) by J. S. Baca
  • Black Mesa Poems (1989) by J. S. Baca
  • Martin & Mediations on the South Valley (1987) by J. S. Baca
  • The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, and the Attack on America's Public Schools (1995) by D. C. Berliner and B. J. Biddle
  • Drink Cultura: Chicanismo (1992) by J. A Burciaga
  • Red Hot Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Being Young and Latino in the United States (2005) by L. Carlson & O. Hijuielos
  • Cool Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Growing up Latino in the United States (1995) by L. Carlson & O. Hijuelos
  • So Far From God (1993) by A. Castillo
  • Address to the Commonwealth Club of California (1985) by C. E. Chávez
  • Women Hollering Creek (1992) by S. Cisneros
  • House on Mango Street (1991), by S. Cisneros
  • Drown (1997) by J. Díaz
  • Suffer Smoke (2001) by E. Diaz Bjorkquist
  • Zapata's Discipline: Essays (1998) by M. Espada
  • Like Water for Chocolate (1995) by L. Esquievel
  • When Living was a Labor Camp (2000) by D. García
  • La Llorona: Our Lady of Deformities (2000), by R. Garcia
  • Cantos Al Sexto Sol: An Anthology of Aztlanahuac Writing (2003) by C. García-Camarilo et al.
  • The Magic of Blood (1994) by D. Gilb
  • Message to Aztlan: Selected Writings (2001) by Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales
  • Saving Our Schools: The Case for Public Education, Saying No to "No Child Left Behind" (2004) by Goodman et al.
  • Feminism is for Everybody (2000) by b hooks
  • The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child (1999) by F. Jiménez
  • Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools (1991) by J. Kozol
  • Zigzagger (2003) by M. Muñoz
  • Infinite Divisions: An Anthology of Chicana Literature (1993) by T. D. Rebolledo & E. S. Rivero
  • ...y no se lo trago la tierra/And the Earth Did Not Devour Him (1995) by T. Rivera
  • Always Running - La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. (2005) by L. Rodriguez
  • Justice: A Question of Race (1997) by R. Rodríguez
  • The X in La Raza II (1996) by R. Rodríguez
  • Crisis in American Institutions (2006) by S. H. Skolnick & E. Currie
  • Los Tucsonenses: The Mexican Community in Tucson, 1854-1941 (1986) by T. Sheridan
  • Curandera (1993) by Carmen Tafolla
  • Mexican American Literature (1990) by C. M. Tatum
  • New Chicana/Chicano Writing (1993) by C. M. Tatum
  • Civil Disobedience (1993) by H. D. Thoreau
  • By the Lake of Sleeping Children (1996) by L. A. Urrea
  • Nobody's Son: Notes from an American Life (2002) by L. A. Urrea
  • Zoot Suit and Other Plays (1992) by L. Valdez
  • Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert (1995) by O. Zepeda
UPDATE, Monday, January 16, 2012
Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
  • Yo Soy Joaquin/I Am Joaquin by Rodolfo Gonzales
  • Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
  • The Devil's Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea