Friday, June 02, 2023

"The Rise of Latino White Supremacy," At a time of increased racial violence, Latinos are potential perpetrators and potential victims," by Geraldo Cadava

Here goes again. Another piece on Latino White Supremacy that maps on well to my earlier post titled,The allure of fascism: why do minorities join the far right? by Edwin Rios, May 22, 2023, but authored this time by Geraldo Cadava with the New Yorker. One thing for sure, our community is highly armed. I wonder how many of these violent perpetrators themselves have a background in the military? How many of them have a vexed relationship to schools and education? To what extent are they getting targeted by right-wing organizations? There are more questions to ask.

The analysis points to assimilation into a white supremacist vision of the world. Nature hates a vacuum. If these individuals aren't learning about their own heritage and how their ancestors sought the path of family, hard work, sacrifice, and education, the outcome would be different. Sadly, these people have taken the path of hate and are woefully lost and dangerous. 

As Arnold Schwarzenegger eloquently says, these folks are "losers" for taking the path of hate, Do listen to Schwarzenegger's "Powerful Message for Those Who Have Gone Down a Path of Hate [Youtube Video]."

Every concerned white and Latina/o parent or guardian should share this with their boys and young men. Young women, too.

-Angela Valenzuela

The Rise of Latino White Supremacy

At a time of increased racial violence, Latinos are potential perpetrators and potential victims.

By Geraldo Cadava | The New Yorker | May 30, 2023

Two people stand at a makeshift memorial for the eight people who were fatally shot at a mall in Allen, Texas, in early May.Photograph by Joe Raedle / Getty 

May 6th, a thirty-three-year-old Mexican American man named Mauricio Garcia shot and killed eight people at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas. Then he was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer. Because of the white-supremacist views the shooter expressed in a diary and online, many were shocked that he was Latino. In fact, Latino white supremacy isn’t an oxymoron, and carrying out a premeditated mass shooting in the United States is one of the more American things a Latino could do. We’re only five months into 2023, and in that time seventeen thousand people have been killed by guns in this country. Meanwhile, there are more than sixty million Latinos in the United States, and, motivated by extremism or a sense of fear, they’ve bought a lot of guns in the past few years.

In his 2004 book, “Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity,” the late political scientist Samuel P. Huntington fretted over how Mexican immigration was changing the “Anglo-Protestant mainstream culture” of the United States. He worried that Mexican immigrants weren’t assimilating as earlier European immigrants had done. “The criteria that can be used to gauge assimilation of an individual, a group, or a generation include language, education, occupation and income, citizenship, intermarriage and identity,” he wrote. Huntington believed that the descendants of Mexican immigrants weren’t hitting these markers, but he was wrong. They assimilated like others did. They learned English, intermarried, became loyal Americans, and adopted American politics, including its most extreme and violent forms.

We don’t know a lot about Garcia, but the diary he kept in the years leading up to the shooting made clear his growing persuasion by white-power ideology. He wrote about the superiority of non-Latino white people and claimed they would lose their edge if they continued to let nonwhite immigrants into the country. Reports on Garcia’s self-presentation have focussed on his misogyny, Nazi tattoos, racist statements against pretty much every group, and the patch on his vest that read “RWDS.” The patch, which stands for Right-Wing Death Squad and refers to anti-Communist and anti-Indigenous paramilitary groups in Central and South America during the nineteen-seventies and eighties, has become popular among right-wing groups in the United States today, particularly the ultranationalist Proud Boys.

But Garcia continued to see himself as Latino, which he never equated with whiteness, and at moments he manifested pride in his nonwhite Latino identity. It is a confusing set of ideas that nevertheless has a long history among Latinos, in part because the category “Latino” itself has been fiercely contested—with some arguing, for example, that it should be classified as a race rather than an ethnicity. A New York Times Op-Ed by the historian Cecilia Márquez focussed on the lineage of Latino white supremacists before Mauricio Garcia, including Pete Garcia, a Mexican American segregationist in Dallas in the nineteen-fifties; George Zimmerman, who killed Trayvon Martin, in Florida, in 2012; Alex Michael Ramos, who beat a Black protester at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville; Enrique Tarrio, the Proud Boys leader recently convicted of seditious conspiracy; and Nick Fuentes, a white-nationalist live streamer. Most of these Latinos said they were nonwhite, even though the protests they joined, the groups they belonged to, and the violence they committed defended whiteness and white-power ideology.

Scholars and journalists have described these Latino white supremacists in different ways. Some Latinos, they’ve argued, are also afflicted by “aspirational whiteness,” or the desire to be white in order to fit into the racial and capitalist order of the United States, to avoid the discrimination that Black Americans experience, or to justify the pursuit of individual wealth and belonging. They ascribe to “multiracial whiteness,” which the political scientist Cristina Beltrán defines as an identity that people from all racial backgrounds can participate in. It is rooted, she writes, “in a discriminatory world view in which feelings of freedom and belonging are produced through the persecution and dehumanization of others.” Such concepts help to explain how, in a country with rising racial violence, Latinos can be both potential perpetrators and potential victims.

Many Latinos, like other Americans, have responded to their sense of victimhood by buying weapons. Latinos armed themselves after the August, 2019, massacre by a white-power shooter at a Walmart in El Paso, which left twenty-three people dead, almost all of them Latino. As the coronavirus pandemic spread across the country, Latinos reported fears of violent crimes; this was again followed by a spike in gun purchases by Latinos. A survey conducted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry, found that Latinos purchased guns at a forty-nine-per-cent higher rate in 2020 than in 2019. It also found that forty per cent of gun retailers reported an increase in sales to Latinos in 2021. Last year, another Latino shooter used an AR-15 he bought himself for his eighteenth birthday to kill twenty-one people and injure seventeen others at Robb Elementary School, in Uvalde, Texas.

According to Harel Shapira, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of a forthcoming book on American gun culture which focusses on Texas, the fact that gun ownership in the United States has become increasingly diverse is “something that people love to talk about, especially conservative groups like the N.R.A. and gun organizations. No one throws out the flag of diversity more than them.” Shapira thinks that, when the N.R.A. says it cares about diversity, “they are being at once cynical and genuine. They are being cynical when they express concern only in the context of supporting gun rights, but not, for example, affirmative action or other policies that benefit nonwhite Americans. They are being genuine in so far as they truly believe that the best way for minority populations to obtain equality is by being armed.”

In Texas alone, there have been twenty-one mass shootings so far this year. They’ve left thirty-four people dead and another eighty-two injured. (I had to update these numbers three times while writing this essay.) In at least four of them, the shooters were Latino. We live in a country where everyone from university deans to corporate executives extolls the virtues of assimilation and diversity, but the growing diversity of gun owners who inflict mass death should cause us to rethink inclusion’s underlying assumptions. So, too, should Latino white-supremacist thinking—another marker of Latino assimilation at a time when white-power ideology is spreading rapidly at home and abroad. Expressing surprise or disbelief at the fact that Latino white-supremacist shooters exist marks them as outsiders, as many Latinos before them have been marked. But it should be the shootings that we see as un-American, not the shooters themselves. ?

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

MEDIA ADVISORY: Aztech Kidz Code 3rd Annual Summer Camp—an Initiative of Academia Cuauhtli—Begins Soon!

Students, Friends & Colleagues:

Yes, the legislative session was devastating in so many ways and on so many levels. Hopefully, most of us still have an awesome life outside of the legislature where God's work is still getting done.

Accordingly, a number of you have followed our local community work at Academia Cuauhtli in Austin, Texas. Academia For the last couple of Summers, we have held our marvelous Aztech Kidz Code Summer Camp (see Press Advisory below).

Todos mis respetos, much respect, to founder Azteca Sirias, as well as to project manager, Maria Unda, who is a doctoral student in our Education Policy and Planning program in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy in the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin. Same for all our outstanding teachers shown in the photo below.

Seated left to right: Dr. Chris Milk, Santiago Sirias Angel, Azteca Sirias, Drs. Angela Valenzuela and Emilio Zamora, Maria Unda, Jenna Jacob. Katya Guzman, Irving Maldonado Salinas, and Mario Ramirez.

In its third year of existence—and with significant help from the City of Austin—AKC will serve over 180 students in three, 3-week summer programs throughout the summer, serving mostly immigrant, working class children in the district’s bilingual/dual language program. 

A few extra shout outs to Katya Guzmán, our newly-hired, full-time Academia Cuauhtli Coordinator, ESB-MACC Culture and Arts Manager Michelle Rojas, Division Manager of the Museums and Cultural Programs Division for the Austin Parks and Recreation Department Laura Esparza, and AISD Superintendent Matías Segura and his many amazing staff, together with Yvette Cardenas and Cody Fernandez in the AISD Multilingual Department.

At the city level, special thanks to City Council Members Vanessa Fuentes and Chito Vela for their incredible support for everything Cuauhtli.

Abundant thanks, as well, to Gerardo Gandy and our many friends at Gensler Architects for your books donation and our budding partnership. Last, but not least, abundant thanks to both Dr. Victor Saenz and UT College of Education Dean Charles Martinez for supporting our efforts over the years. It definitely takes a village.

Like us on Facebook and treat yourselves to this explanation of "Non-Fungible Tokens," or NFT’s, by Azteca Sirias here

Geez, I need to take this class! Just listening to this makes me feel both excited and lost. This, despite our young people being more than ready for this AP preparatory, Computer Science curriculum. 

Academia Cuauhtli and AKC come out of the Ethnic Studies Movement, the latter of which tends to focus on secondary and college level teaching, instruction, and curriculum development. Given this lack of focus on children and adolescents, both our regular and Summer programming helps fill this yawning gap. 

My heart is full.                                                                                                                                                                

-Angela Valenzuela

P.S. Emilio and I will be with another Academia Cuauhtli initiative, namely, La Colaborativa Cuauhtli—this June in Guanajuato, GTO, Mexico. Thanks to funding support from LILLAS at UT, we are bridging our work involving Central Texas bilingual/dual language education teachers with an initiative of the University of Arizona Tucson. Specifically, Emilio and I are this years' Richard Ruiz Scholars in Residence at Resplandor International, a special needs rural school for the rural children of  Guanajuato, GTO. Thanks to University of Arizona Professor Emeritus, Dr. Todd Fletcher, for honoring us with this invitation. More to come soon on La Colaborativa Cuauhtli.




May 31, 2023 


CONTACT: María Del Carmen Unda


Austin, Texas - On June 5th, 2023, Academia Cuauhtli, the Austin Independent School District, and the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center are hosting its third Aztech Kidz Code Summer Camp. As an initiative of Academia Cuauhtli, the camp consists of three, three-week camps serving 180 Black, Indigenous, and Latina/o low-income youth in the district’s bilingual/dual language education program. Youth of all ages will learn about coding, blockchain, gaming, and Artificial Intelligence, much of this from an Indigenous perspective that additionally involves Aztec ceremony and ancestral funds of knowledge. 

Azteca Sirias, a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and founder of Aztech Kidz Code, expresses the following, “Indigenous pedagogies are a vital component of computer science education for our communities. By teaching about the rich algorithmic history and culture of our ancestors, we can help them to see themselves in the field and to develop a sense of belonging. It is also important for kids at 1-8th grades to be exposed to current technology trends because it helps them develop critical thinking skills, engage in the expanding tech landscape of Austin, and integrate positive forms of transformation in their everyday lives.”

Managed by Dr. María Del Carmen Unda, the camp takes place at Sanchez Elementary School and is offered bilingually in English and Spanish. With funding support from the City of Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department, Academia Cuauhtli co-founder Dr. Angela Valenzuela expresses, “There is tremendous demand in our city for exactly this kind of free, Summer programming for low-income, mostly immigrant youth who otherwise would not have access to opportunities like this. We are so grateful to our partners, and most especially to our staff and teachers, for carrying out this beautiful vision that merges the modern and postmodern with the ancient ancestral knowledge.”

We invite the press and public to any of the three following graduation ceremonies we are holding this Summer where we will engage in both ceremony and a sharing of the students’ creations as follows: Saturday, June 24; Saturday, July 15, and Saturday, August 5, 2023.