Secession is a mighty big gamble. It didn’t work the first time for segregationists and it won’t work this time for racists. In Texas, the Textbook Massacre is actuated by the mentality found in Arizona—“we know what belongs in the textbooks our kids read,” say white Texans. Never mind that the majority of kids in Texas schools are Latinos and that their history ought to be represented in those textbooks—but isn’t. What are we to do when the governor of Texas thumbs his nose at public opinion and retorts that Texans know better? Where does that leave Tejanos? And when the governor threatens to secede from the Union if he doesn’t get his way, does he really think that Tejanos (Texas Latinos) will follow him like lemmings into that abyss of raging hyperbole? Na, na, na, na, na!Ortego, Texas Textbook Massacre
Nevertheless, Val Benavides, TFN Outreach and Field Director, posted:
Today we’re celebrating a historic vote at the State Board of Education: the creation of an elective course in Mexican American studies for Texas public schools. The board also voted to create a process for approving other ethnic studies courses in the future.
These courses will help students across the state learn that the story of Texas and our nation includes the experiences and contributions of Mexican Americans and other people from diverse backgrounds. For too long those stories have been excluded from our classrooms.
Let’s be clear: This victory came after years of tireless work by scholars and activists who educated the public and policymakers, rallied supporters, and testified and lobbied at the state board. They faced setbacks along the way, but they kept their eyes on the goal and demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to bring important change.
We at TFN have been proud to stand with and support these leaders and advocates. And we will work with them as the state board approves curriculum standards for Mexican American studies and other ethnic studies courses.
¡Sí se puede!
It appears, however, that the Texas School Board sees the handwriting on the wall and while not capitulating entirely on this issue at this time, they’ve reserved the right to designate the title of the course—Americans of Mexican Descent, a throwback to the designation for Mexican Americans used by the Library of Congress 50 years ago. Here again, the white majority telling us who we are. But Dennis Bixler-Marquez, Director of Chicano Studies at UT-El Paso sees a glimmer of an unintended outcome in the decision of the Texas Board of Education’s approval of the Mexican American Study elective course when he said that the MAS course was not only for Mexican Americans (El Paso Times, 4/15/18, Borderlands, 1B/2B) but for everybody. Indeed, all Texans, nay, all Americans should know the Mexican American story. We should all know each other’s story—in their aggregate is the American story: immigrants and indigenous.