Monday, April 23, 2018

The Struggle for Mexican-American Studies Continues

In the past several weeks I have been especially conscious of including the hyphen when referring to a group that identifies as a hyphenated American. Who knew the Texas State Board of Education would make the hyphen a symbol of ethic pride and American patriotism? 

In my OpEd that appeared April 23rd in the Texas Tribune (Too Dangerous to be Called Mexican-American Studies), I describe how at the April meeting of the Texas State Board of Education, the SBOE voted in favor of changing the name of Mexican-American Studies courses taught in public schools to Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent. 

Members Bradley and Hardy claimed they do not identify as Irish-Americans or Italian-Americans as they framed the hyphenated identification as ridiculous. We should all just be American right? (We actually are all American but for some board members this seems to be in question). 

These school board members do not identify as Irish-Americans or any other group, not because they are American, but because they are White. They identify as White because there is privilege tied up in being White, privilege not afforded Irish-Americans or any other group. It must be nice for some board members to insist that a hyphenated group identify only as American, while they themselves have dismissed their respective hyphenated identities to assume the privilege derived from identifying as White. 


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