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Just don’t call it “Mexican-American studies”

The SBOE does its thing.

Marisa Perez-Diaz

Texas advocates for Mexican-American studies classes won a bitter victory Wednesday, gaining approval to move forward with the class they wanted but losing the course title.

The State Board of Education had been debating more than four years over how and whether to offer teachers materials and guidance to teach Mexican-American studies. In a preliminary vote, the board voted nearly unanimously to create curriculum standards for the elective class. But now it will be called “Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent.”

A final vote on the issue [was] scheduled for Friday.

The class will be based on an innovative course Houston ISD got state approval to offer in 2015. Texas Education Agency staff will make any needed changes to that set of curriculum standards and then bring it back for the first of two public hearings and votes in June.

Lawrence Allen Jr., a Houston Democrat, was the only member to vote against the newly named course, expressing support for Mexican-American studies but criticizing the new title.

Starting a fierce debate with Democrats on the board, Beaumont Republican David Bradley proposed the new name for the course. When asked why he didn’t want to keep “Mexican-American studies,” he said, “I don’t subscribe to hyphenated Americanism. … I find hyphenated Americanism to be divisive.”

“As someone who identifies as Mexican-American, your experience is unlike my experience,” San Antonio Democrat Marisa Perez-Diaz retorted. “I’m asking you to be inclusive.”

See here for more about the HISD course that was the model for this, and here for more about David Bradley, who has done this kind of crap before. The final approval was given Friday, but not without further controversy.

Tension continued to mount Friday even after State Board of Education members gave final approval to going forward with a new Mexican-American studies high school elective but refused to keep the class’ original name.

“Discrimination.” “Cloaking bigotry.” “Bull.” Those are words Marisa Perez-Diaz of the Texas Board of Education used in a statement to describe the board’s decision to rename a long-sought-after “Mexican-American Studies” elective course “Ethnic Studies,” a decision that has touched off a new wave racial tension.

While members of the board voted unanimously to create a high school elective that delves into Mexican-American studies Friday, nine Republicans on the board insisted on renaming the course “Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent” after David Bradley, a member from Beaumont, said he rejects “hyphenated Americanism.”

“Today was not a victory, but a slap in the face,” said Perez-Diaz, a Democrat from Converse who is Mexican-American, said in a statement Friday. “The time has finally come to call this what it is … DISCRIMINATION!”

In a long press release she posted on Facebook, Perez-Diaz said the board’s vote told her and the state’s Mexican-American students to identify themselves as “Americans of Mexican Descent.”

“The time for cloaking bigotry and/or fear of diversity under the guise of ‘patriotism’ and ‘Americanism’ is over,” she said. “My experience is as American as apple pie, because guess what, my ancestors were on this land well before it was conquered and named America.”

You can read her full statement here. Among other things, she notes that the courses African American Studies, Native American Studies, Latin American Studies, and Asian Pacific Islander American Studies were all approved. Just not “Mexican American studies”. You do the math. TFN has more.

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10 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    A course called ‘Mexican-American studies’ is racist on its face. What a way to say “screw you” to Honduran-Americans, Guatemalan-Americans, El Salvadorian-Americans, etc. What about them? This is just pandering and continuing the stereotype that all brown people are Mexican.

    Not all brown people are Mexican!

  2. Jules says:

    Bill, no. The course is specifically Mexican-American studies. It is not about the others you list. The new name also does not list the other countries you list.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    “As someone who identifies as Mexican-American, your experience is unlike my experience,” San Antonio Democrat Marisa Perez-Diaz retorted. “I’m asking you to be inclusive.”

    Asking Marisa Perez-Diaz to be inclusive of Honduran-Americans, Guatemalan-Americans, El Salvadorian-Americans, and other Hispanic hyphen Americans is just a bridge too far, it seems. What about their experiences? Are they not deserving of study? I guess they aren’t.

  4. Jules says:

    That’s not the class. The class is Mexican-American studies. They probably don’t teach algebra in the class either, it doesn’t mean they are anti-math. Using your logic, all classes would be called “class” and would teach nothing.

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    No other specific country gets a class. Not one. What is it about, La Raza is better than Americans from every single other country on Earth that is OK with you? It’s Mexican supremacist theology politics at work, and just another plank in the ‘reconquista’ platform.

  6. Manny Barrera says:

    Mexican American because ignorant people don’t know or they forget that the Mexican/Spanish were here before the Protestants arrived. The studies are about the contributions to the United States by people that were detested by the Protestants. I use that Religion because it was the dominant one at the time, of course there were others religions that came from Europe.

    Cowboy – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowboy

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/history/2016/05/texas_finally_begins_to_grapple_with_its_ugly_history_of_border_violence.html

    But if it ain’t white it ain’t human right Bill?

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/history/2016/05/texas_finally_begins_to_grapple_with_its_ugly_history_of_border_violence.html

  7. Joel says:

    Theology, Bill?

    Cue my previous comment.

  8. Bill Daniels says:

    Joel,

    When I read Marisa’s diatriabe, the first person to come to mind was Reverend Wright, Obama’s spiritual adviser and black liberation theology instructor. Wright and Perez-Diaz are two peas in a pod. I stand by my assessment. Marisa is a bitter, angry woman with an agenda.

  9. mollusk says:

    “African American Studies” is a thing…

    (and before the tediously literal comment comes up, slave traders didn’t keep particularly useful records on specifically where the people they were selling came from, and couldn’t know what we call those countries today)

  10. Manny Barrera says:

    Not that the study of Latin-America- Mexico and countries south of there should not be studied in history. Our education is lacking in the studies of other cultures besides European. Finding good books on the history of China, Korea, Japan, India, and others that are in English are difficult to find.

    Britain goes to war with China because China wanted to stop the sale of opium by the British, http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-war-made-asia-how-the-opium-war-crushed-china-19476

    For those that like to read, maybe this short youtube video will do, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlZpo580bA8

    For those that think like the Russian puppet, there have been great civilizations beside the European and have contributed to advancing humanity.