Thursday, July 28, 2016

Impact of Racist Stereotypes, Distortions in Textbooks Can't Be Denied, Say Educators

Impact of Racist Stereotypes, Distortions in Textbooks Can't Be Denied, Say Educators:

Educators Call Attention to Racist Stereotypes in Textbooks, Impact on Students

racism in textbooks

In May, the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) invited feedback on a new textbook it had commissioned for a Mexican-American Studies elective offered to the state’s schools. Augustin Loredo, a social studies teacher in Pasadena, TX, downloaded the pdf from the state education web site and paged through the 500 + page document.
If formally approved, “Mexican American Heritage” by Valerie Angle and Jaime Riddle, it is safe to say, won’t be a fixture in Loredo’s classroom.
“I’m not touching it. That book will never be used with my students,” he states categorically. Loredo then catches himself and backtracks – just a bit.
“No, wait. Maybe I’ll introduce it to my students as how not to teach Mexican American studies.”
Loredo, who has been teaching the subject for 11 years at South Houston High School, says the book is a travesty. He’s not alone. Educators and activists across the state have mobilized this summer to call attention to the racial stereotypes and historical inaccuracies that are littered throughout the book and demand that the SBOE reject it and start over.
For example, in a section on foreign business investment in Mexico in the late 1800s, the authors wallow in gratuitous stereotyping:
“[Industrialists] were used to their workers putting in a full day’s work, quietly and obediently, and respecting rules, authority, and property. In contrast, Mexican laborers were not reared to put in a full day’s work so vigorously. …There was a cultural attitude of ‘mañana,’ or ‘tomorrow,’ when it came to high-gear production. It was also traditional to skip work on Mondays, and drinking on the job could be a problem.”
Then there’s this passage on assimilation:
“Cubans seemed to fit into Miami well, for example, and find their niche in the business community. Mexicans, on the other hand, seemed more ambivalent about assimilating into the American system and accepting American values…The concern that many Mexican-Americans feel disconnected from American cultures and values is still present.”
The book also claims the 1960s-era Chicano Movement “adopted a revolutionary narrative that opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society.”
The text really isn’t about Mexican American heritage, says Ovidia Molina, vice-president of the Texas State Teachers Association.
“It’s more concerned with how White people have to deal with people coming from Mexico. It portrays Mexicans as not wanting to assimilate – just looking to take over and grab whatever they can get.”
Video: “Offensive Stereotypes, Distorts History”

What Happens in Texas Doesn’t Stay in Texas

What is exasperating for educators and activists is that the proposed book materialized out of a modest but genuine victory for educators and students in Impact of Racist Stereotypes, Distortions in Textbooks Can't Be Denied, Say Educators:

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