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Chapter 3: Foreign Language Skills

Richard J. Gonzales (author) UNT Press PDF

Chapter 3

Foreign Language Skills

Aside from immigration, few issues raise the ire of the non-Spanish speaking population of the United States more than the freedom to speak

Spanish in public. Movements to enact English as the official language of the country have periodically swept the country only to face defeat.

In the meantime, some politicians point to bilingual classes and Spanish translations of government documents as divisive and unnecessary expenses. As the Mexican American population grows, the use of Spanish will increase and elicit raucous debate.

One important way to stimulate bilingualism is to encourage increased proficiency in foreign languages among all children. However, there are still some outdated attitudes that prevail.

Stories abound in the Chicano community of how Anglo and Mexican

American teachers meted out physical punishment to Spanish-speaking,

Mexican American students. Such a backward attitude to foreign languages not only physically and emotionally hurt Mexican American students but it arrested an understanding and acceptance of the social and economic values of a polyglot citizenry. No bilingual education or

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Chapter 18: Mexican Indigenous Roots

Richard J. Gonzales (author) UNT Press PDF

Chapter 18

Mexican Indigenous Roots

Thanksgiving and Christmas, two of the most popular holidays of the year, have Mexican indigenous roots often overlooked. Mayan and Aztec civilizations still fascinate twenty-first-century men and women for their art, religion, architecture, math, and conquests.

In the holiday season, modern lovers of Mexican cuisine should pay tribute to the Aztecs for tamales, tortillas, peppers, and chocolate. Less commonly known is their cultivation of a popular holiday plant they called Cuetlaxochitl.

After the Spanish conquest, the Mexicans named the brightly colored plant Flor de Noche Buena, or Christmas Eve Flower. Botanists call the plant Euphorbia pulcherrima — the "very beautiful" Euphorbia. We now know this popular, festive greenery as the poinsettia.41

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Raza Rising

Photo 31. Matachines

Courtesy of the Delsa P. Pérez Collection, Genealogy, History, and Archives

Unit, Fort Worth Library

Matachines are processing with the Virgen de Guadalupe at the Fort Worth Convention

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Chapter 14: Criminal Justice

Richard J. Gonzales (author) UNT Press PDF

Chapter 14

Criminal Justice

National and local data have shown that African American and Chicano adults and youth are disproportionately arrested and incarcerated. The facile argument raised is that blind justice administers sanctions based on the evidence presented and not on color of the defendants. Closer examination of the justice system reveals blind justice peeking at the accused and meting out justice influenced by the defendant’s hue.

Several years ago, Dallas County commissioners agreed to fund the construction of one of the biggest juvenile detention facilities in the state.

Quite visible along Interstate 30 as you enter Dallas from the west, it consists of gray, institutional buildings surrounded by a tall chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. The prediction "If you build it, they will come" was becoming all too true.

With the help of a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Dallas

County Juvenile Services administrators have decided to reduce the practice of locking up minority kids and instead create innovative programs and culturally competent alternatives. The program was called the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative and was still in operation as of 2015.

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Chapter 16: Chicanos at War

Richard J. Gonzales (author) UNT Press PDF

Chapter 16

Chicanos at War

From the American Revolution to the Afghanistan engagement,

Chicanos have fought alongside Anglos and Blacks in their country’s wars. A review of Chicanos’ military service will forge a deeper understanding of their claim to first class citizenship status. The Félix Longoria story dramatizes the treatment that many Mexican American soldiers faced after returning from fighting for their country.

Beatrice Longoria longed for her husband, Private Félix Longoria, to come home from the war. She yearned to see again his broad, handsome face, his dark hair and eyes, his winsome smile highlighted by a thin mustache. He had left her and their four-year-old daughter in Three

Rivers, Texas, when his country called him and thousands of other young men during World War II to make the world safe for democracy. Men like thirty-two-year-old US Representative Lyndon B. Johnson enlisted in the Navy the day after the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941.

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Chapter 12: Immigration Reform

Richard J. Gonzales (author) UNT Press PDF

Chapter 12

Immigration Reform

At a news conference on April 4, 2006, on the stage of the historic

Rose Marine Theater, an immigrant drama played to a group of Chicano activists, TV cameras, and reporters. Four speakers foreshadowed the

March for Justice scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. April 9, 2006, at the

Tarrant County Courthouse and end at the federal courthouse. Speaking in Spanish and English for the bilingual audience and media, the speakers shared their experiences as immigrants or those of their families. Here was the heart of the immigration conflict. This issue was as hot as chewing a chile because it bites into family ties, personal identity, and political power.

Conservative talk-show jocks, lawmakers, and Anglos howled about how wrong it was for undocumented immigrants to come, uninvited, to receive social services, public education, and healthcare. Even some naturalized Chicanos cried foul to think that even though they played by the rules, those who didn't might also gain legal permission to stay. Their struggle to earn their US identity was precious. They said undocumented immigrants violated the sovereignty of the United States.

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