A proposed textbook about Mexican-American history that would be read by Texas high school students is filled with inaccuracies and stereotypes about Mexican Americans, said a coalition of educators opposing the publication of the textbook.
Latino activists and educators have been urging the Texas State Board of Education to allow for more coverage of Latino Americans in the textbooks it reviews, so when a textbook on Mexican Americans was included among the textbooks to be considered for the school year of 2017-2018, it appeared to be a win for those advocates. But when excerpts from the textbook were released, it became clear to advocates for more inclusion of Latino American history that the book was far more harmful than helpful.
Among the issues educators, scholars, and activists take with the book is its representation of Mexican Americans as lazy. The coalition, called The Responsible Ethnic Studies Textbook Coalition, includes the ACLU of Texas, Texas Latino Education Coalition, and Mexican American School Board Members Association. On Monday, this newly formed coalition criticized what they called “offensive cultural stereotypes,” according to The Washington Post, that were found in excerpts that called Industrialists “driven” but said Mexican laborers “were not reared to put in a full day’s work so vigorously.”
Scholars have also objected to a passage of the textbook that equated the Chicano Movement in the 1960s that encouraged Mexican Americans to fight for better working conditions and voting rights with a “revolutionary narrative that opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society,” according to The Washington Post.
As for how it has been received by the board members themselves, reactions have been mixed. According to the Austin-American Statesman, Texas Board of Education member Ruben Cortez Jr. said of the textbook, “Based on the initial conversation with these experts, I don’t believe that this book should see the inside of any classroom in any shape, form, or fashion… If it’s as bad as they’re all telling me, there’s not a chance in hell I’m going to support this book.”
However, fellow board member David Bradley, who didn’t want a Mexican-American heritage textbook in the first place, according to the Statesman, said, “It’s really kind of amusing. The left-leaning, radical Hispanic activists, having pounded the table for special treatment, get approval for a special course that nobody else wanted… Now they don’t like their special textbook?”
Christ, I loathe smug morons like Mr. Bradley, dedicated in every way to obscurantism. No, no one has pounded the table for special treatment, this is a simple request to be accurately included in history texts, rather than having the standard “white men good, everyone else bad” version of history. This does not mean padding a book full of bigotry and harmful stereotypes, then calling it good. Considering the high percentage of Hispanic people in Texas, perhaps you don’t want those children absorbing the “lazy, can’t work” poison, you might get what you paid for. Not that bigots are good at thinking past their own noses. Can we get textbook proposal and approval the fuck out of Texas, please?