I’ve been waiting for this all week!
Friday, Jazz de México day at NesTaco. It’s here!
Click back, click below, and listen.
This program was first broadcast on KRTU.
[Photo by malojavio. El Saucejo]
I’ve been waiting for this all week!
Friday, Jazz de México day at NesTaco. It’s here!
Click back, click below, and listen.
This program was first broadcast on KRTU.
[Photo by malojavio. El Saucejo]
By Rocio Gonzalez, Voxxi
Third time’s the charm. President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Labor Department, Thomas Perez, was finally approved by the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, after this vote was postponed two other times.
Republican opposition was not enough to stop Perez’s nomination. This was the third time a vote had been scheduled, since the first time the vote was postponed at the request of Republicans, who said they needed more time to evaluate the candidate, or else. The second time, a Republican member of the Senate invoked an infrequently used procedural tactic that prevents committees from meeting on days when the Senate meets, a rule that is usually ignored.
This time around, the committee approved Perez while sticking to party lines in a 12 -10 vote. All Republicans voted against the Dominican’s appointment. That’s enough indication that this won’t go smoothly when it is time for the entire Senate to vote, especially with the controversy the Department of Justice is currently involved in. Perez is currently the assistant attorney general for the department’s Civil Rights Division, and would become the first Hispanic to join the Obama cabinet for the president’s second term, after Hilda Solis left her post at the Labor Department and Ken Salazar stepped down at the Interior Department.
“Republicans have accused Perez of making decisions guided by left-wing ideology rather than the pursuit of justice,” writes Sam Hananel for the Associated Press. “His supporters call Perez a consensus builder who is the target of politically motivated attacks.”
For now, it’s a small victory for the majority. Sen. Bob Menendez released a statement saying he was pleased with today’s development, although not with the fact that there wasn’t a bi-partisan effort to pass Perez.
“Republicans continue to try and block Mr. Perez’s confirmation for no reason, without any real objection — only an ideological objection to allowing this President or this Congress to govern, or at least to select a Cabinet that will help us do so.
“At a time when Republicans should be reaching out to Hispanic Americans rather than reverting back to the same-old political strategies that failed them during the last election, it is unfortunate that the President’s first Hispanic choice for his second-term cabinet continues to be under attack. I urge my Republican colleagues to stop the obstructionism and do what’s right for the country: vote to confirm Tom Perez as the next Secretary of Labor when his nomination comes before the full Senate for consideration.”
Rocio Gonzalez is a multimedia editor for VOXXI. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, she is an avid reader, amateur baker and a journalism graduate from American University in Washington, D.C.
[Photo by Center for American Progress]
By Ashley Parker, New York Times
A bipartisan group in the House working on an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws reached a deal in principle Thursday evening, aides said. The group plans to introduce its bill in June.
Details of the compromise were not released, but, much like a bill introduced in the Senate, the House legislation will include a path to legalization for the 11 million undocumented workers already in the country, as well as increased border security measures. The House version, though, is expected to be more conservative in its approach to granting illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, among a number of central issues.
Click HERE or on the picture to read the full story.
[Photo by Glyn Lowe Photoworks]
By Sandra Lilley, NBCLatino
“The biggest problem is we are not asking them for their vote,” said Dr. Julie Martinez Ortega, vice president of policy and advocacy for PowerPac, a progressive political action committee. Ortega conducted a poll of over 2,600 randomly selected Hispanic registered voters. According to the poll, 57 percent of Latino registered voters said Democrats best represent their views on social issues like same-sex marriage, religion and abortion, and 57 percent say Democrats best represent their views on jobs, economy and immigration.
And though Texas is considered a “red” state, only 23 percent of Latinos said they generally vote Republican, whereas 52 percent said they generally vote Democrat and 16 percent say they vote Independent.
One of the reasons why Republicans are still winning elections by about a million votes is that there are over 3 million Latinos “sitting on the sidelines,” according to Democratic state representative Trey Martinez Fischer and founder of One Texas PAC. There are over 2 million Latinos in Texas not registered to vote, he says, and another million mostly Hispanic registered voters who are not voting.
Yet one of the poll’s findings was that only 54 percent of Latinos recall being contacted by a campaign in the last presidential election. “When pretty much half of Latinos didn’t even get a piece of mail, we have a problem,” said Martinez Ortega. She added that while a third of Texas Latinos who voted for Obama also voted for conservative Republican Senator Ted Cruz, about a third of Latinos who voted for Senator Cruz did not know he was a Republican, according to the poll’s findings. ”Here in Texas we didn’t make a concerted effort to educate Latinos on who Ted Cruz really is,” said Martinez Ortega.
Texas Republican Joshua Treviño takes issue with the Democrats’ contention that more Latino voters would turn Texas blue. “This is the old trope that gets trotted out, that demographic change in the state will go Democrat, and you hear this a lot these days from them,” says Treviño, who was a speechwriter for George W. Bush and is currently vice president of communications at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “While there are partisan tendencies among groups, the fact is that as affluence and social integration occurs, political pluralism increases,” he says.
Treviño adds it is not a “safe assumption” that more Latino voters will translate to increased Democratic numbers and Democratic elected officials, though he does say current Hispanic voter participation does not represent the proportion of Latinos in Texas.
But Texas Democrats say a focus on 6 key counties in the state where the majority of Latinos reside can make a big difference in increased voter registration, turnout – and future Democratic victories.
“Some look at my district and think it should be functioning as a Republican district,” says Senator Wendy Davis, who represents an area that is 29 percent Latino, 19 percent African American and 47.6 percent non-Hispanic white. ”But we’ve demonstrated that by talking and connecting with these voters – it will happen,” Davis said. She adds that while many areas have been redistricted as “purely Democrat” or “purely Republican,” the strategy is to take a district approach and apply it statewide – “focus on places where you have the biggest potential gain,” says Davis.
This article was first published in NBCLatino.
Sandra Lilley loves being an active part of our “national conversation”, on everything from politics, education and the economy to the latest books and people in the news. Sandra started out in Telemundo-NY as a general assignment reporter and later News Director. She was also a Dayside Managing Editor at MSNBC and a Planning Editor for the NBC Domestic Desk. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Sandra studied history at Brown University, and currently lives in New Jersey with her family. Sandra hopes our site inspires and informs Latinos as they work toward their family’s “American Dream.”
[Photo by email@example.com]
By Katherine Boyle, Washington Post
The Kennedy Center announced Thursday revisions to the selection process for the annual Kennedy Center Honors after a seven-month internal review of how artists are chosen for the annual awards ceremony.
The Kennedy Center hopes to bring greater transparency to a selection process that has been largely opaque in past years. Last year, some national Hispanic advocacy groups criticized the Honors’ selection process after noting that only two of the 186 honorees since 1978 were Hispanic.
Click HERE or on the picture to read the full story.
[Image courtesy Kennedy Center Honors]
Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Philip Barbar, Reuters
(Reuters) – A U.S. federal judge refused on Thursday to block Arizona’s Republican governor, who has long clashed with Washington over immigration reform, from denying driver’s licenses to young immigrants granted temporary legal status by the federal government.
Civil rights groups had filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Phoenix in November against Governor Jan Brewer and two state transportation department officials on behalf of five Mexican immigrants who qualify for deferred deportation status under a program pushed by President Barack Obama.
Click HERE or on the picture to read the full story.
[Photo by Gage Skidmore]
By Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, NBCLatino
It’s no secret that the Republican Party has a serious problem with immigration. But in this instance I’m talking about their problem with Latinos migrating out of their own party. Republicanos are trading in the elephant for the donkey, or at the very least just going without a party vehicle.
This week a high profile Latino Republican, the former head of Hispanic outreach for Florida’s RNC, publicly left the party. For Pablo Pantoja the straw that broke the camel’s, or in this case the elephant’s, back was the Heritage Foundation’s anti-immigrant report and its co-author’s public defense of Latino’s as a group having low IQ scores. In his public farewell letter Pantoja references the general harshness of the Republican rhetoric toward immigrants, then points to a specific racist exchange at this year’s Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), and concludes with a rejection of the likes of Dr. Jason Richwine (author of the Heritage study) as a voice for the GOP. To sum up his rationale, Pantoja simply states that his former party had resorted to “intolerance and hate.”
He’s not the first and he won’t be the last.
Another high profile Republican departure occurred close to two years ago, half way across the country in Arizona. Dee Dee Garcia Blase had helped establish the Somos Republicans. A national organization for Latino Republicans based out of Arizona. But in the wake of Arizona’s S.B. 1070 she also publicly rejected her party. Though a fiscal and social conservative, she simply could not synthesize the GOP’s anti-immigrant rhetoric into her politics. So she left the Republican Party and Somos Republicans and became officially “unaffiliated.” Not too long after her departure the organization itself, Somos Republicans, took a similar route officially abandoning the GOP and became Somos Independents.
The departures of Pantoja and Garcia Blase made the headlines because they were public partisan figures. However, thousands of other Latinos have taken the same path of migrating out of the GOP. Their decision is just not public, but rather taken in the privacy of a voting booth.
The out migration is especially stark when we compare the most recent presidential election with George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election. The 2004 election was the Republican Latino high water mark. At that time half of Latinos identified as being Democrats, 27 percent Republican, and 24 percent Independent. Democrats clearly were the preferred party of Latinos, but slightly more than half did not identify as Democrats. Moreover, in his re-election, Bush received 40 percent of the Latino vote.
Fast forward to President Obama’s re-election. In 2012 the percentage of Latinos identifying as Democrats jumped to 57 percent and the number of Republicans decreased by half with only 14 percent of Latinos claiming a GOP affiliation. The group that had the least movement was Independents or those unaffiliated. In 2012 they rose to 29 percent. But the biggest shift came in presidential vote choice, with Romney receiving only 27 percent of the Latino vote.
The correlation between the GOP’s Latino communications and outreach strategy is linear. The harsher and more racially negative the messaging, the fewer Latinos will stand by your label and vote for you. It’s not a complicated concept.
The Republican National Committee has publicly discussed its intention to not just retain but actively recruit Latinos. However, mixed messaging will not staunch the out migration. Being a Latino friendly party will require all segments of the party, not just the moderate ones to put aside harsh rhetoric, or what Pablo Pantoja pointed to as intolerance. No one wants to stick around where they’re not welcome.
This atricle was first published in NBCLatino.
Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto is an NBC Latino and MSNBC contributor, Senior Analyst for Latino Decisions and Fellow at the Center for Politics and Governance at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, at Austin.
[Photo by AFH3]
By Scott Stewart, Stratfor
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s approach to combating Mexican drug cartels has been a much-discussed topic since well before he was elected. Indeed, in June 2011 — more than a year before the July 2012 Mexican presidential election — I wrote an analysis discussing rumors that, if elected, Peña Nieto was going to attempt to reach some sort of accommodation with Mexico’s drug cartels in order to bring down the level of violence.
Such rumors were certainly understandable, given the arrangement that had existed for many years between some senior members of Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party and some powerful cartel figures during the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s long reign in Mexico prior to the election of Vicente Fox of the National Action Party in 2000. However, as we argued in 2011 and repeated in March 2013, much has changed in Mexico since 2000, and the new reality in Mexico means that it would be impossible for the Pena Nieto administration to reach any sort of deal with the cartels even if it made an attempt.
But the rumors of the Peña Nieto government reaching an accommodation with some cartel figures such as Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera have persisted, even as the Mexican government arrests key operatives in Guzman’s network, such as Ines Coronel Barreras, Guzman’s father-in-law, who was arrested May 1 in Agua Prieta, Mexico. Indeed, on April 27, Washington Post reporter Dana Priest published a detailed article outlining how U.S. authorities were fearful that the Mexican government was restructuring its security relationship with the U.S. government so that it could more easily reach an unofficial truce with cartel leaders. Yet four days later, Coronel — a significant cartel figure — was arrested in a joint operation between the Mexicans and Americans.
Clearly, there is some confusion on the U.S. side about the approach the Peññna Nieto government is taking, but conversations with both U.S. and Mexican officials reveal that these changes in Mexico’s approach do not appear to be as drastic as some have feared. There will need to be adjustments on both sides of the border while organizational changes are underway in Mexico, but this does not mean that bilateral U.S.-Mexico cooperation will decline in the long term.
Despite the violence that has wracked Mexico over the past decade, the Mexican economy is booming. Arguably, the economy would be doing even better if potential investors were not concerned about cartel violence and street crime — and if such criminal activity did not have such a significant impact on businesses operating in Mexico.
Because of this, the Pena Nieto administration believes that it is critical to reduce the overall level of violence in the country. Essentially it wants to transform the cartel issue into a law enforcement problem, something handled by the Interior Ministry and the national police, rather than a national security problem handled by the Mexican military and the Center for Research and National Security (Mexico’s national-level intelligence agency). In many ways the Pena Nieto administration wants to follow the model of the government of Colombia, which has never been able to stop trafficking in its territory but was able to defeat the powerful Medellin and Cali cartels and relegate their successor organizations to a law enforcement problem.
The Mexicans also believe that if they can attenuate cartel violence, they will be able to free up law enforcement forces to tackle common crime instead of focusing nearly all their resources on containing the cartel wars.
Although the cartels have not yet been taken down to the point of being a law enforcement problem, the Pena Nieto administration wants to continue to signal this shift in approach by moving the focus of its efforts against the cartels to the Interior Ministry. Unlike former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who was seen leading the charge against the cartels during his administration, Pena Nieto wants to maintain some distance from the struggle against the cartels (at least publicly). Pena Nieto seeks to portray the cartels as a secondary issue that does not demand his personal leadership and attention. He can then publicly focus his efforts on issues he deems critically important to Mexico’s future, like education reform, banking reform, energy reform and fostering the Mexican economy. This is the most significant difference between the Calderon and Pena Nieto administrations.
Of course it is one thing to say that the cartels have become a secondary issue, and it is quite another to make it happen. The Mexican government still faces some real challenges in reducing the threat posed by the cartels. However, it is becoming clear that the Pena Nieto administration seeks to implement a holistic approach in an attempt to address the problems at the root of the violence that in some ways is quite reminiscent of counterinsurgency policy. The Mexicans view these underlying economic, cultural and sociological problems as issues that cannot be solved with force alone.
Mexican officials in the current government say that the approach the Calderon administration took to fighting the cartels was wrong in that it sought to solve the problem of cartel violence by simply killing or arresting cartel figures. They claim that Calderon’s approach did nothing to treat the underlying causes of the violence and that the cartels were able to recruit gunmen faster than the government could kill or capture them. (In some ways this is parallel to the U.S. government’s approach in Yemen, where increases in missile strikes from unmanned aerial vehicles have increased, rather than reduced, the number of jihadists there.) In Mexico, when the cartels experienced trouble in recruiting enough gunmen, they were able to readily import them from Central America.
However — and this is very significant — this holistic approach does not mean that the Pena Nieto administration wants to totally abandon kinetic operations against the cartels. An important pillar of any counterinsurgency campaign is providing security for the population. But rather than provoke random firefights with cartel gunmen by sending military patrols into cartel hot spots, the Pena Nieto team wants to be more targeted and intentional in its application of force. It seeks to take out the networks that hire and supply the gunmen, not just the gunmen themselves, and this will require all the tools in its counternarcotics portfolio — not only force, but also things like intelligence, financial action (to target cartel finances), public health, institution building and anti-corruption efforts.
The theory is that by providing security, stability and economic opportunity the government can undercut the cartels’ ability to recruit youth who currently see little other options in life but to join the cartels.
To truly succeed, especially in the most lawless areas, the Mexican government is going to have to begin to build institutions — and public trust in those institutions — from the ground up. The officials we have talked to hold Juarez up as an example they hope to follow in other locations, though they say they learned a lot of lessons in Juarez that will allow them to streamline their efforts elsewhere. Obviously, before they can begin building, they recognize that they will have to seize, consolidate and hold territory, and this is the role they envision for the newly created gendarmerie, or paramilitary police.
The gendarmerie is important to this rebuilding effort because the military is incapable of serving in an investigative law enforcement role. They are deployed to pursue active shooters and target members of the cartels, but much of the crime affecting Mexico’s citizens and companies falls outside the military’s purview. The military also has a tendency to be heavy-handed, and reports of human rights abuses are quite common. Transforming from a national security to a law enforcement approach requires the formation of an effective police force that is able to conduct community policing while pursuing car thieves, extortionists, kidnappers and street gangs in addition to cartel gunmen.
Certainly the U.S. government was very involved in the Calderon administration’s kinetic approach to the cartel problem, as shown by the very heavy collaboration between the two governments. The collaboration was so heavy, in fact, that some incoming Pena Nieto administration figures were shocked by how integrated the Americans had become. The U.S. officials who told Dana Priest they were uncomfortable with the new Mexican government’s approach to cartel violence were undoubtedly among those deeply involved in this process — perhaps so deeply involved that they could not recognize that in the big picture, their approach was failing to reduce the violence in Mexico. Indeed, from the Mexican perspective, the U.S. efforts have been focused on reducing the flow of narcotics into the United States regardless of the impact of those efforts on Mexico’s security environment.
However, as seen by the May 1 arrest of Coronel, which a Mexican official described as a classic joint operation involving the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration and Mexican Federal Police, the Mexican authorities do intend to continue to work very closely with their American counterparts. But that cooperation must occur within the new framework established for the anti-cartel efforts. That means that plans for cooperation must be presented through the Mexican Interior Ministry so that the efforts can be centrally coordinated. Much of the current peer-to-peer cooperation can continue, but within that structure.
As in the United States, the law enforcement and intelligence agencies in Mexico have terrible problems with coordination and information sharing. The current administration is attempting to correct this by centralizing the anti-cartel efforts at the federal level and by creating coordination centers to oversee operations in the various regions. These regional centers will collect information at the state and regional level and send it up to the national center. However, one huge factor inhibiting information sharing in Mexico — and between the Americans and Mexicans — is the longstanding problem of corruption in the Mexican government. In the past, drug czars, senior police officials and very senior politicians have been accused of being on cartel payrolls. This makes trust critical, and lack of trust has caused some Mexican and most American agencies to restrict the sharing of intelligence to only select, trusted contacts. Centralizing coordination will interfere with this selective information flow in the short term, and it is going to take time for this new coordination effort to earn the trust of both Mexican and American agencies. There remains fear that consolidation will also centralize corruption and make it easier for the cartels to gather intelligence.
Another attempt at command control and coordination is in the Pena Nieto administration’s current efforts to implement police consolidation at the state level. While corruption has reached into all levels of the Mexican government, it is unquestionably the most pervasive at the municipal level, and in past government operations entire municipal police departments have been fired for corruption. The idea is that if all police were brought under a unified state command, called “Mando Unico” in Spanish, the police would be better screened, trained and paid and therefore the force would be more professional.
This concept of police consolidation at the state level is not a new idea; indeed, Calderon sought to do so under his administration, but it appears that Pena Nieto might have the political capital to make this happen, along with some other changes that Calderon wanted to implement but could not quite pull off. To date, Pena Nieto has had a great deal of success in garnering political support for his proposals, but the establishment of Mando Unico in each of Mexico’s 31 states may perhaps be the toughest political struggle he has faced yet. If realized, Mando Unico will be an important step — but only one step — in the long process of institution building for the police at the state level.
Aside from the political struggles, the Mexican government still faces very real challenges on the streets as it attempts to quell violence, reassert control over lawless areas and gain the trust of the public. The holistic plan laid out by the Pena Nieto administration sounds good on paper, but it will still require a great deal of leadership by Pena Nieto and his team to bring Mexico through the challenges it faces. They will obviously need to cooperate with the United States to succeed, but it has become clear that this cooperation will need to be on Mexico’s terms and in accordance with the administration’s new, holistic approach.
This article was first published in Stratfor.
Scott Stewart supervises the day-to-day operations of Stratfor’s intelligence team and plays a central role in coordinating the company’s analytical process with its business goals. Before joining Stratfor, he was a special agent with the U.S. State Department for 10 years and was involved in hundreds of terrorism investigations.
[Photo by United States Government Work]
By Nathan L. Gonzales, NBCLatino
Latinos are growing in population and electoral clout but can’t seem to grow their numbers in the U.S. Senate. And if Republican Gabriel Gomez doesn’t win next month’s special election in Massachusetts, it could be three more years before another Latino is added to the U.S. Senate.
Even though the midterm elections are still almost a year and a half away, the candidate fields are already starting to solidify and, besides Gomez, there don’t appear to be any credible Latino candidates in the most competitive races.
The lack of Hispanic candidates is striking, not just because of the growing Latino population, but because eight Senators have announced their retirement, leaving an open seat for aspiring candidates who don’t want to take on an incumbent. But in each case, both parties are looking to non-Hispanic candidates to run to take each senator’s place.
So why aren’t the parties recruiting Latinos to run?
In the case of a vacancy, party strategists often look to current or former officeholders to run because they can start with name identification, a base of electoral support, and fundraising experience.
But in seven out of the eight states with an open Senate seat in 2014, there is not a single Latino member of Congress or statewide officeholder. In the eighth state, New Jersey, Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D), who is African-American, is the frontrunner to replace Frank Lautenberg, while Rep. Albio Sires (D) has never been a part of the Senate discussion.
In order to run for higher office, there must be more Latinos in lower offices.
Congress or statewide office is not a prerequisite for the Senate. While New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez served in the House of Representatives before getting elected to the Senate, Marco Rubio (R) was speaker of the Florida Legislature previously and Ted Cruz (R – Texas) had never held elected office before winning election to the Senate. They are the only three Latinos in the U.S. Senate.
Another reason for the dearth of Latino Senate candidates could be the lack of opportunity.
Some of the states with the highest Hispanic populations and officeholders, including California, Florida, and Arizona, won’t have a Senate race until 2016. And in Texas, Republican Sen. John Cornyn is up for re-election but is regarded as safe from primary and general election challengers.
So even as immigration reform remains of the most debated topics in Washington, there is very little chance any new Latino voices will be added to the Senate discussion anytime soon.
There is one way to gain Latino senators before 2016: appointments. When senators resign, governors often appoint a replacement. That’s how two African Americans, South Carolina Republican Tim Scott and Massachusetts Democrat Mo Cowan, were added to the Senate this year. Gomez is trying to succeed Cowan.
This article was firat published in NBCLatino.
[Photo courtesy The Republican]
By Buzz Feed
WASHINGTON — Sen. Lindsey Graham is the first target of a new broadcast ad campaign from an anti-immigration reform group with reported ties to the white nationalist movement.
The minute long radio ad campaign by ProEnglish, comes at a particularly bad time for opponents of comprehensive reform: last week the Heritage Foundation was forced to sack a researcher for his racially tinged comments about Latinos and there are growing questions about the anti-reform movement’s connections to radical population growth groups.
Click HERE or on the picture to read the full story.
[Image screenshot courtesy Pro English]
By Ted Hesson, ABC News/Univision
An immigration reform bill in the Senate would create goals for border security over the next 10 years, and tie those goals to legalization of undocumented immigrants.
But we can’t say whether the goals are feasible for a few reasons:
Click HERE or on the picture to read the full story.
[Photo by CBP Photography]
By Tony Diaz, Latino Rebels
California. Proposition 187. Pete Wilson.
Arizona. HB2811. Jan Brewer.
Texas. HB1938. Giovanni Capriglione.
Texas. SB1128. Dan Patrick.
The Librotraficante Movement is thrilled to announce that America can erase the last two entries from the above list of oppressive laws attacking our culture.
Texas Republican Senator Dan Patrick introduced SB1128, and Texas Republican House of Representative Giovanni Capriglione introduced HB1938 the first day of Spring Break 2013. They must not have realized that the Librotraficante Movement spends Spring Break defying oppression. Last year we organized the Librotraficante Caravan to Smuggle books banned in Arizona back to Arizona, and this year we defended Ethnic Studies in our own backyard.
We formed a Texas-wide coalition that fought against HB1938 & SB1128, which would have discredited Ethnic Studies at Texas state colleges and universities and effectively eliminate Mexican American, African American, and Women’s Studies programs, among others. Both bills are now dead.
You can find out more about our work and strategies by visiting the website: www.StopTXHB1938.org. We will leave it up as a testament to this stage of the Civil Rights Movement that we and many others are a part of. Check it out sooner than later before hackers attack it the way the Librotraficante website regularly gets attacked.
In terms of the legacy of the current Civil Rights Movement, I have no doubt that our brothers and sisters in Arizona will be victorious. It will be a powerful example of Poetic Justice in Democracy when the only Latina Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor signs the majority opinion overturning Arizona House Bill 2811 signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, and used as the legal trigger to prohibit Mexican American Studies in Arizona.
These tactics are straight out of the Arizona Republican Play Book. The Far Right’s Anti-immigrant Movement is well known, and even addressed in the Republican Party’s Growth and Opportunity Report. However, they have not openly discussed, admitted to, or renounced the Far Right Attack on Ethnic Studies. We are providing you with an overview of some of strategies used to attack Ethnic Studies indirectly. But the end result is the same: the dismantling of Ethnic Studies courses that have stemmed the drop out rate; an attack on Critical Thinking; and a trampling of the intellectual landscape of America.
The Far Right Template for Attacking Ethnic Studies
Vague Laws: Anti-ethnic Studies bill are vague and the target is hidden, and the target is Mexican American Studies. Even as the Arizona Supreme Court condoned AZHB2281, it was pointed out that the law was so vague that it was unconstitutional.
AZHB2281 never even mentions Mexican American Studies. Of course, once we are out of the way, the other Ethnic Studies shall fall, too. However, we are suffering the brunt of the attack. Once our programs are eliminated, the rules are set to eliminate all other Ethnic Studies and Women Studies, or never implement them. This is also part of an attack on “Critical Thinking” which the Texas 2012 G.O.P. Platform is very honest about.
Code Words: Here are some code words and phrases to look for. These are direct quotations from the 2012 Texas G.O.P. Platform that appear again and again and again in Anti-Ethnic Studies legislation or justify such bills.
“We favor strengthening our common American identity and loyalty instead of political correctness that nurtures alienation among racial and ethnic groups.”
“We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs …”
“We believe the current teaching of a multicultural curriculum is divisive.”
You might be a conservative, but you aren’t an Arizona Republican, are you?
Micromanaging Classrooms: It’s odd that the Republican Party used to advocate smaller government. Anti-ethnic Studies policies strive to legislate the books we can put into students hands. This was the case in Arizona and in Texas.
An editorial against HB1938 and SB1128 by the San Antonio Express News Editorial Board put it best:
The Legislature should leave the content of Texas college courses alone.
Micromanaging education from the peanut gallery is hazardous.
Repeated attempts over the years by some members of the State Board of Education to impose their ideologies into the textbooks being used in Texas classrooms made the state a laughingstock of the nation on more than one occasion.
Doughnut Hole Legislation: One of my opinion piece states the following:
Arizona Republicans fine-tuned this tactic, creating “doughnut hole legislation” to attack ethnic studies.
Teachers are the targets of the attack; rather than attacking them directly, however, laws are enacted to surround them and pressure them into compliance.
Dan Patrick’s SB 1128 is doughnut hole legislation, and the NAS report reveals that professors are, indeed, the target.
The report states: “We looked at the assigned readings for each course and the research interests of the forty-six faculty members who taught them. We also compared faculty members’ research interests with the readings they chose to assign.”
One of the most alarming lines from the report is the following: “We classified faculty members assigning primarily high RCG readings as “high assigners” of RCG materials.” (RCG refers to race, class and gender.)
Bogus Reports: AZHB2811 was created to prohibit courses that promote the overthrow of the government? Who even worries about that? Besides, we already have a Sedition Law that prevents individuals from promoting the overthrow of the government. Why do we need a Sedition Law for academic courses? How do you even put a school course on trial? Oh, I guess you can’t. Thus, the U.S. Supreme Court will throw out that law, even though it might take another 3 to 5 years and half a million to a million dollars.
Just as illogical, TX HB1938 & SB1128 were based on a report written by the National Association of Scholars. The report is titled: ”Recasting History: Are Race, Class & Gender Dominating American History?”
Page 18 of this report slams professors for talking too much about race, class, and gender when discussing the following American Classics:
- the life story of Jackie Robinson
- the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”
- “Women’s Rights Emerges with the Antislavery Movement”
- “César Chávez and La Cause.”
The sense that makes is nonsense.
Deny, Deny, Deny: To this day, the Far Right G.O.P. Regime denies that books have been banned in Arizona. It will be up to the Supreme Court to convince them of that. Likewise, in Texas, the Republican legislators who proposed HB1938 and SB1128 deny that they wanted to attack Ethnic Studies. I can’t tell you what is in these legislators’ hearts, but I can tell you what was in their bills. These bills would lead to the demise of Ethnic Studies. We must nip these oppressive laws in the bud. It’s much harder for them to be taken off the books. We are glad we were able to prevent mini-Jan Brewers from sprouting in Texas. But we must remain vigilant.
Here is a link to the Tucson Unified School District denying that they have banned books. However, they do admit that they walked into classrooms during class time and in front of our young, boxed up books by our most beloved authors.
And here is just one quote that is a testament to the Doublespeak that George Orwell warned us about:
“NONE of the above books have been banned by TUSD. Each book has been boxed and stored as part of the process of suspending the classes. The books listed above were cited in the ruling that found the classes out of compliance with state law.”
Now back to Texas and Doublespeak with a drawl.
A few quick facts: No one ever showed us the “Comprehensive American History Course” the bills and the Republican legislators were advocating. However, they would go into effect in just four months if the law were passed.
Also, when asked what brought this issue to his attention, Representative Capriglione did not refer to the NAS report although the author and champions of the bill were sitting behind him and about to testify. However, he did cite Jay Leno’s “Jaywalking” Segment as proof that Texas college students did not know enough about U.S. History.
Here is one last quote from the NAS report:
“The kinds of courses that Librotraficante is concerned about will most likely, if the bill is passed, still continue to be offered at Texas public universities as electives. The only change would be that they would not count toward the state U.S. history requirement in general education.”
If discrediting our History is not a big deal, then I suggest that Representative Capriglione’s “Jaywalking Comprehensive History Course” be an elective. We would at least get to see the content of the course, and then we can get a better idea of what is the in the minds, hearts, and imaginations of the Far Right.
HB1938 would have taken U.S. History back to 1938 before Ethnic Studies existed. I’m so proud of everyone who stood up for Critical Thinking, Ethnic Studies, and Intellectual Freedom. We look forward to uniting with you as we continue to educate and fight.
This article was first published in Latino Rebels.
[Photo by NewsTaco]
By Roque Planas, Huffington Post Latino Voices
The Texas activist organization known as Librotraficante celebrated a victory last week over state lawmakers that wanted to put the squeeze on ethnic studies.
Conservative State Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) raised a fury among Latino activists and professors with a proposal to exempt ethnic studies and other college classes from counting toward the fulfillment of state history requirements, but gained little support for the effort. With just two weeks to go before the Texas legislative session winds to a close, Senate Bill 1128 has yet to get voted out of the Senate High Education Committee.
“Logistically speaking, it would be very difficult for it to pass at this point,” Logan Spence, a spokesman for Patrick’s office, told The Huffington Post Monday.
Opponents had railed against the bill, likening it to a law in Arizona that was used to shut down a progressive Mexican American Studies class in Tucson.
“This is a warning to all far right legislators in any State of the Union, if you attack our History, our Culture, or our books, we will defy you,” Tony Diaz, one of the leaders behind the Librotraficante movement, said in a statement Thursday. “And we will win.”
Patrick filed SB 1128 in response to a report by the National Association of Scholars, a nonpartisan group that some Latino scholars describe as conservative, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
The NAS study, “Recasting History,” argued that U.S. history courses at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University have shifted their focus toward race, gender and class rather than more traditional scholarly interests, like intellectual and military history.
The University of Texas at Austin opposed that interpretation when the bill was filed. In January, the university put out a statement saying the study “raises some important questions, but it also paints a narrowly defined and largely inaccurate picture of the quality, depth and breadth of history teaching and research at The University of Texas at Austin.”
The UT-Austin statement points out that scholars paid little attention to race, class and gender until the 1960s. “Rather than ‘diminish attention to other areas’ as the NAS report suggests, these areas of study have broadened the view on historical events and personalities,” the statement says.
Facing criticism for the bill, Patrick wrote a message on his Facebook in March, saying:
This article was first published in Huffington Post Latino Voices.
[Photo by The Brit_2]
By Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times
A group of parents and students have filed a federal lawsuit against the Compton school district alleging a pattern of abuse and racial profiling of Latinos by school police.