Education and the Mexican-American; Racism in America : past, present, future symposium
Good morning. I'd like to welcome you to our next series in this symposium on racism and introduced to you this morning our speaker of the dock there are to look out at who is an associate professor of elementary education at Alice's State College Dr. Conrad I was born in Pittsburg California where I graduated from high school from which you went on to receive his bachelor's and master's at the University of California. In addition to attending Fresno State College and I want to say that I'm asking a lot of thought and I mean he attended the University of Colorado where he received his doctorate in education. Dr. Conrad I had been professionally involved in education at the elementary junior high and high school level. First as a counsellor and then as a supervising principal. As a consultant to the government of Bolivia tactic I would I was aware that I warn that many people in my ass thrown in recognition for his services and live in rural teacher
education. And some will say well he presently teaches that their coverage is an active participant in both school and community projects having to do with the education of the Mexican-American on which he will speak this morning. I give you a doctorate to talk of it. Or. Thank you. Thank you Frank. I want all of you to know that when a person like myself walks into an auditorium like this and you're faced with a sign you feel pretty good outlook. After some telephone conversations a few days ago I accepted this invitation to come to Sacramento State College to
speak. I had been aware of your program and more recently the last few days of read a few of the reviews and heard a few comments on the television and on radio. And I'll be honest with you I began to worry about coming down. I don't think of myself except as a moderate person and I began to wonder about this image projection that we talk about you know. And I ask myself I wonder if the student committee really knows what they're asking when they invite somebody like myself to come and speak about that you know as I see him in the state of California in the southwest. I have some convictions and I believe that my cause and these convictions of mine are best served by moderation and persuasiveness and internally and we must speak
this way. I think that the part to depart from this particular role or position that I have the only foreign role put me in a position really perilously close to demagoguery and charlatanism. I'm relieved frankly that the committee has described me as a moderate voice on things of concern to the Mexican-American or the Chicanos. I might say that I prefer to use the words you can and I will use that rather consistently in my presentation. Also happy that here Sacramento State College we're interested in diversity of views and I would at this at this in varying degrees of heat as well. So I am happy to be here and to express my views on this matter of racism. And as it applies to the ethnic group of the Mexican-American the Chicano. I'm
a college teacher but contrary to the suggested title. Bouts of formal education I wanted to express some views about a number of developments that seem important to me as we view the contemporary American of Mexican descent. We recognize a variety of labels that we use to identify the group. From my own regions because I think that the word Chicano is our term for our sound and because all my life I have heard it and it connotes the warm and friendly and accepting label. I shall use it I would say that I like it and I'm proud of it. The student Mexican-American of manners today will find little
that is contemporary in research and scholarly publications. I was reminded of an article by Robert S. Jones that appeared in 1948 in the American Journal of sociology where the title of ethnic family patterns the Mexican family in the United States and 20 years ago. Mr. Jones wrote in the course of his investigation the writer meaning Jones had indexed over 3000 published books pamphlets and articles relating to the Mexicans in the United States. A little of this material represents really basic or prolonged research but it is really exploratory in nature and a tremendous amount of duplication exists. I would say that a review of publications today in 1968.
Clearly illustrates that there has not been much publication beyond what Mr Jones cited in 1948 about the Spanish speaking groups the Spanish surname the Mexican-American the Latin American and right on down the line regardless what label you were using. That the recent publications that we have are based largely on 960 national census data or obviously the very old publications and pamphlets and monographs we have available to us in our libraries. Consequently the views and conclusions tend to repatriate themselves with this circular approach. Recent doctoral studies and graduate studies are very few. In other words and this is very important for those of us who are concerned with the dissemination of knowledge information and exploring the status
of the group at this particular moment. Very few up to date scholarly materials available today. Events over the last few years have generated considerable awareness and alarm on the part of institutions and writers about other minorities in America. But you can continue by and large as an invisible and forsaken minority. Much needs to be done to encourage and to create awareness and sensitivity to Chicanos as a bilingual and bicultural group and a country that reflects traditions of suspicion and rejection of fellow Americans who appear foreign and stunning Mexican-Americans. The great vacuum I think is in writings by God for cheap Gano consumption. An example of the
kind of thing I'm talking about is illustrated by this new publication that is put out by King of publications from Berkeley. It has been my experience and I think yours that when we want to make you study in the southwest. By and large we are reading material written by people who are non Mexican-American. The great need at this point in order to understand and to capture the feeling in the psychology of this group that is Mexican and culture but is American in the sense that here needs to be captured and needs to be done by those writers who are of the ethnic group itself. We need to inquire into the philosophical roots of the ethos of the group and that you can a voice simply must be raised on this matter.
Because of my feelings about this I have elected to digress from the topic of the Chicano and education and to express some views as a particular Chicano on matters of interest and concerns to me. Many papers about Mexican Americans today suggest culture value value orientations associated in our mind with the Mexican folk culture. So all of us revel in speculations about present time orientation and the relevance of this to the space age and we worry ourselves sick about fatalistic views of life and contradictions to the do it yourself mentality of America and we glorify individual competitiveness and ruggedness initiative and we abhor the notion of conformity obedience and submission. But at the same time it seems that
Anglo Americans are the greatest conformists of them all. I was prompted to go through the old routine of sight of the cultic characteristics in that garbage. I read all the time about it because I have listened to a lot of my colleagues. In higher education where a sociologist an educator is an anthropologist and they keep throwing this out and I think it's about time that we recognized that there have been some changes in the last 30 and 40 and 50 years that the Mexican-American who lives in the United States is not the person that asked us to study the village revisited or any one of those old monographs that were written 30 in the 30s for example.
When this period time are the folks that person is contoured by writers this theory type is indeed violated by the actions of the militants the militants today have no patience for docile submissive and ingratiating behavior and confrontations with authority figures. This comes as quite a shock not only to the members of the Anglo-American establishment but also to many conservatives or moderate Americans of Mexican descent. But you can militants find if turnitin with other young people in the spirit of reverence for tradition and status symbols that go with middle class Mexicans are so on Mexican like today. But in Mexico City for example 10000 students demonstrated against the government. And this morning the radio is reporting that twenty
six are dead. Twenty six people are dead and over 100 are wounded. And this is a violation and a contradiction of the humility the dark docility impassivity that we frequently describe to Mexicans. It is time to move away from the old stereotype Chicanos are troubled and many of us are apprehensive. Too much has occurred recently in the area of ethnic and racial concerns that is violent destructive and deadly. She cannot have made in Sacramento or Washington D.C. and in Paso Texas for example in attempts to achieve so programs. And some positive action to some of. The problems of the low income the unskilled and the poorly educated Mexican Americans and Spanish speaking of America the
apparent inability of well-educated Mexican Americans to make any great visible progress in the United States is very much a topic of discussion with the militant today as a result of these confrontations and these conferences a few limited programs can be cited but didn't has come in the vocal confrontation with political groups. Less perhaps has come from meeting with local government and public agencies. It is perhaps too much for anyone but the most naive to expect otherwise. She cannot believe that those of the system. Those of the establishment have all the cards in a stacked deck. In other words we have confronted dogs who make the rules who own the rulebook who are the referees and who call the plays.
The only chance to win or make games is to play a different game by new rules. This murky background with wonderful feelings of frustration and hostility is the basis for the emergence of the Chicano militants. And also explains the increased temple of the activists. Now here I would like to simply say that when I use the word activist I think of people the O-line the members Mexican-American Political Association who represent a generation a decade or two ago efforts to break into the system. And the American G.I. Forum which is composed principally of many veterans of Mexican descent a Spanish speaking descent who in the eyes of the militant very frequently occupied a middle class position. Now these people are being moved into great deal of action because
of the militant thrust in Santa Clara for example in the demonstration against a school Wilcox high school was led by leaders of the American G.I. form three years ago you would have had us. The demonstration revolves around the issue ledge continued and physical discrimination toward students of Mexican descent. The militants impatient and intolerant are found especially in the college age group. The failure of efforts in the past and the evident lack of faith in the Anglo-American establishment have created the militants that in part find its prototype in the black militant movement. One of the Chicanos great needs is to discover who we are and to like what we see. I do not mean that we
have no immediate ourselves. Unfortunately too many of us do. But it is an image created by the wasp society in which we live. The liabilities of this image created by accepting or misperceiving strangers are horrendous. In terms of this image Mexican Americans traditionally occupy the role in America of the conquered the subordinate the inferior the mean in other words he sees himself is in fact toward the bottom of the socio economic pecking order. We must I believe accept or create for ourselves that image which by regenerating the strengths of the mother culture the Indian the mestizo the Spanish will permit the release of all our potentials and skills talents and
intelligence in a way never before conceived by getting goal dominated culture. It is important that this new sense of identity in a land where the Chicanos are in the minority be won that the cheap Gano discovers or rediscovers or generates for himself. I cannot see the Anglo liberal as the key factor benevolently extending these concepts successfully to cheap guns. This must be a cheap Gano product. And it is here were we who are older are indebted to the militants who are pushing for us. It is with this focus that the activists and the militant economists in California and the Southwest are the cutting edge of the Mexican might yet they're now used to penetrate heretofore
forbidden territory. She can always must also travel other roads in spite of the barriers we most simply take advantage of everything available to us. The public schools vocational training centers and institutions of higher education. The roads that lead to business technological and professional competence on a par with anyone else in American society. We must make good use of on the job and apprenticeship types of training programs. The poor the unskilled and unemployed are deserving and have a basic right to opportunities for a decent life. The great effort however of many community and student militants
to champion exclusively the cause of the socio economic underdog and to look with suspicion on cheap Ghana's with middle class type of achievements is questionable in my judgment. Whatever the success of programs with a hard core deprived and so far they have only been suggestive of the potential the general status of the remain and unchanged. And that is it will continue at the bottom. Unless tangible and substantial inroads are made in business corporate governmental and professional levels. She can assist all to serve on an advisory capacity but as decision makers in our society today because these are the nerve centers of the society in which we shall continue to live. In a way Robert Cone out expresses this view in his book. Rivers of Blood and
years of darkness when he says that for an underprivileged minority to impose its concepts upon a nation's OPOWER holding majority against the will of this majority is a practical impossibility. I happen to believe that our goal is to enter the mainstream and Kano's in a pluralistic nation. Political engagement is another top priority simply because this is one of the factors that determine power in America. I'm not speaking solely of a theoretical orientation that comes from courses in political science but a complete. And practical immersion in the cold waters of political campaigns. We have to field Gano candidates Routt kinds of offices ranging from dog catcher to
the Board of Education from Councilman to board to supervisor from state legislatures to United States Congress. This is no easy task. But until we do this with some reasonable degree of success we shall not make progress. When we began to demonstrate an ability to elect candidates for political office then and only then will eminent and qualified receive meaningful recognition for example. We shall see Chicanos appointed to important ambassadorships two presidential Cabinet rank and two United States Supreme Court seat. She will be appointed and elected to positions in our offices were today. It is nothing but fantasy to think about. I do not see political parties making any concessions of value to
us. Our gains will have to be won the hard way and without any help from the old guard politicians and with but little help from Anglo liberals Anglo liberals it seems to me. I see so many sides to the problem that they continue to bounce back and forth from one theoretical position to another. Our issue as cheap as quite simple. She Kano's want in and of would do. The need for Chicano militancy and exist simply because the old guard political parties Democrat or Republican have excluded that you cannot quite effectively the militancy that you cannae is here to stay. And I believe this is a necessity.
The Revolt of militancy against the establishment can be expected to accelerate. This is predictable establishment institutions are bogged down in traditional inertia and a business as usual mentality which is as out of step today as is the horse and buggy. In my opinion the she can a militant movement is rallying in part around the following issues. First invisibility. The Mexican American to the majority community is something that the cheap finds Godling. This notion rankles the emotions of the militants and it becomes what we say in Spanish a matter of more appropriate second black students and communities appear to make concrete gains by brute pressure or the threat of destruction or violence. The
traditional hat and approach expected of the Mexican is unpalatable to Chicano militants. Fair and quite important I think the apparent inability of alder Mexican-American spokesman or leaders to crack the barrier to make appreciable gains in the structure of the establishment means that the militants are looking elsewhere for leadership. Orthodox tactics two solutions of community problems in the eyes of the militants are simple caput simple capitulation and selling out by older Mexican Americans direct confrontation becomes the only effective strategy. And this lesson has been learned from the black movement of today. She got all militants are convinced that the conscience of the INS
has to be jarred complacent getting Gado Mexicans and tacos who have made it are asked to declare themselves and this demand is polarized. The militants are asking are you with us or are you against us. It is strictly polarized there's no gray area for that you can a moderate today it seems. I say that that you can as need the militants but I also believe that the categorical rejection of the many other alternatives though they represent traditional channels to mobility and participation will unfailingly lead us to the brink of complete alienation and this complete separation. In my judgment is not our goal. She can all militants are the front line combat troops but in any campaign after the shock troops Bennett penetrate enemy space
reserve troops must be called in to hold the ground similar to the black movement at the concessions have been made. I queue patiently at any rate the skilled the white collar the technician the businessman and the professional. But hold the ground in competition with others. Wherever the Chicano intellectual the professional the so-called middle class is eliminated or alien alienated from the Chicano movement then the militant Uganda gains can only be limited and temporary. This is inevitable in my judgment. There is nothing in the brown movement that speaks effectively for nationalistic separation or apartheid. Rather the Chicano thrust is for a recognised and respected bilingual and bicultural status with all the privileges of first class citizenship that have been accorded to so many other American
minority groups. The relationship that begs a solution today or at least a working agreement is between the roles of the militants and those moderate activists Chicanos who are college educated professional or business and middle class. And this alliance line is the key for achievement by the Mexican-American community. Over a decade ago Congressman Edward Roybal in discussing Mexican-Americans of California observed that the sleeping giant was now strained every year after that. We have been prompted to state that there were indeed signs of growing life in this body of more than two million people in the state of California. We have a few twitches here and there and a movement that is at best lethargic and coordinated. But we now recognize the emergence of the chicken the militants and the
aggressiveness of the activists. They believe they have a potential provoking more like action and this sleeping giant is going to get off to get the hell kicked out of it by these militants. It is of some interest to know that the thrust of the militant is not directed only toward and against the old guard wasp system but also against those middle class Chicanos who have entered and are and to operate within the system. My own priorities in this area of mix confrontation hit turbulence on the one hand it seems to me essential that the system that has so much promise but has provided so little for the great masses of Chicanos should be challenged aggressively and angrily if necessary and the other concern is of course to rate and degree of assault.
No we push for radical changes within the system or do we attempt to topple an uncongenial system without spelling out. As is the case with the New Left. What we proposed to put in its place. I do not believe that the militants have defined their ultimate objectives very clearly and the tactics are confused and become and in themselves. I would hope and I believe that as the militant movement continues that these end objectives will be clearly defined. And when this is so I will find it much easier to visualize the coalition of the moderates and the middle class you can know if you go with the militants who are really the driving thrust in this. Two great myths are perpetuated in our schools to the disadvantage of pecans. One is the idea that we are represented in government. The other myth is the whole racial myth and this latter is obviously so obviously phony for
Chicanos that I would even bother to comment on it. While I do not quarrel with the principle of representative government in a democracy it is evident that whatever representation there may be in local state or federal government it is not by cheeke on those and it is not for she comes. And that which economists are involved politically. It is generally in support and benefit of someone else. Militants know that is not involved in government and the decisions are made by others often for reasons not related to the primary concerns of the Chicanos. It is sad but true that in the state of California the state with the largest Spanish surname population in the United States not one state legislator of Mexican descent holds office. There have been and are at this moment candidates for public office. But somehow these candidates
never elected or whatever to support the political guard gives. If it bothers to recognize that candidacy is strictly token in nature. Never is enough support provided that will in any way help the candidate win his election. Activists especially resent this path exploitation and manipulation and seem to say that that's not the refusal of the Mexican American political association to endorse either of the main presidential party candidates at the state nominating convention not long ago illustrates the we are not to be taken for granted stance student militants have yet in my judgment to enter the formal political involvement. And I await this day because when we began the move The sooner the Chicano
community realizes that the name of the game in practical politics is power the faster they will move toward grabbing it for themselves and grabbing it must be because no one is going to give it up. Chicanos have been a political commodity this commodity has been exploited and manipulated and the sharing in the benefits of victories have been minimal and token. As usual we find a few fat cats around. I. Would tend to use the situation for personal advantage and they too will have to go the Anglo-American argument for party loyalty is making little difference today to the cheek. The issue really deep in the minds and hearts of many political activists is that you cannot or will
settle for nothing less than full party support for our candidates and our programs. Until that support is forthcoming I predict a political defiance and freedom in negotiation not seen before. The issue for that you know is brown power. I should like to comment briefly on educational matters for chickens. Anyone in tune with you can a movement knows that periodically major conferences have been scheduled and position papers presented our needs and suggestions for programs whatever may be the aftermath of these conferences and exchanges. Not very much invisible programs at all levels of schools receive considerable attention from activists and militants. Considerable agreement exists that those responsible for educational programs have failed year after year. This is true throughout the entire system whether it's the public schools the California state college system or the state
university level. Deficiencies are noted in curriculum content are going to zation of classes absence and disregard for the rule of the Mexican-American in the history of America. Negative guidance in high schools. Failure to recruit hire and placed teachers counselors and and administrators of Mexican descent in strategic assignments and many more charges with a great deal of justification. Recently much has been said about the use of English as a second language approach in the cultivation of bilingualism and bi culturalism and children of Mexican descent. The recent Bilingual Education Act is a result of much of this expressed concern. The only problem with that act is no money with it. And remind us of our own California legislation demands for school reformation and include such matters as including multi multi course
resource centers. The inclusion of Spanish art music history and other courses the in-service training of staff in the nature of racism and how to respect and deal with minority youth. Field trips community projects and hiring of minority teacher raids a re-examination of teacher certification is one of the priorities in my judgment and we ought to recommend exchange of students and teachers between districts. These are not new but they are now demanded with increased insistence and a great deal of turmoil will generate if changes are not made. I mention that these requests requests were made by activists years ago but in the past those in power whatever the region have failed to respond to traditional approaches. The day of reckoning is here. I support the militants in their aggressive demands for educational change today.
At the same time it is terribly important to recognize the need for continued effort at varying levels of entry. The fallen in the Straits the problem a program using motion and tended to air problems of race and discrimination was scheduled at San Jose State college this semester. It had full administrative support and student approval. But it immediately ran into a snag films about social problems facing Mexican-Americans in California and the Southwest are rare. You can't find them. They have not been created. I also know that little has been developed in education and curriculum materials for use in public schools or colleges for so-called brown curriculum.
This will take years to develop initially and then more years to refine. Secondly the developers of these materials should be chiefly teachers of Mexican descent. But teachers of Mexican descent are few in service and those who are teachers have had little practical opportunity or encouragement to work on this kind of development. In addition governmental programs and private philanthropy. And I wondering through the vision of the colleges and the universities in this statement. The fairly generous in recognizing the needs in the problems of other minorities have been almost totally blind to the needs of the Chicanos. I insist that it is crucial that you can and educators and professionals be given a priority to work in the areas of innovation and educational reform. There really isn't much
choice. As a conclusion to my talk I should like to summarize a few personal feelings in the near future Chicanos will continue to escalate their activism their militancy and their insistent demands for basic rights and privileges. This will continue to surprise a lot of people. It will be the break of a stereotype that is so comfortable. It shocks the benevolent feeding of the liberal. This is inevitable because the society in which to live after a few alternatives. The overt and covert racism found in America today ensures that she will continue to rally and growing numbers around a position that demands recognition of the full right to an ethnic bilingual and bicultural status. This is completely in keeping with our total from last to
be of cultural pluralism and the blindness and short sightedness of so-called leaders of our majority community who attempt to negate this position not only for the Mexican-American that you gonna but for the black and everybody else is beyond my ability to comprehend necessarily within the diversity of that you can a group will become educational and economic viability to the highest levels and not to achieve this is to fail of the mentally of course. The practical operation of the system leads lends credence to the old saw and that is that the squeaking wheel gets the grease. And those of you who are moderate and don't believe this. Just look around and see how much has been achieved for the chief and other minority groups.
And last there has been vocal and militant demonstration over the issue. The practical operation the more and more cheap Ghana's from the middle class and professional ranks will become involved as they respond to the social conscience and the fuller understanding of the basic social dynamics which determine what a man is what he may become and the full scope of freedom of choice and opportunity open to him as an American in a nation that has as a basic strength the pluralistic diversity of its many people. Thank you. O'REILLY Thank
- Producing Organization
- KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
- Contributing Organization
- Pacifica Radio Archives (North Hollywood, California)
- AAPB ID
- Y. Arturo Cabrera, State Vice President of the Association of Mexican-American Educators, speaking at Sacramento State College October 3, 1968 at the Symposium on Racism in America: Past, Present, and Future.
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- Event Coverage
- Race relations -- United States; Hispanic Americans--Civil rights--History--20th century
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Producing Organization: KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Pacifica Radio Archives
Identifier: 10018_D01 (Pacifica Radio Archives)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Pacifica Radio Archives
Identifier: PRA_AAPP_BB1772_06_Racism_in_America_symposium_part_6 (Filename)
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- Chicago: “Education and the Mexican-American; Racism in America : past, present, future symposium,” 1969-01-19, Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 13, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-28-639k35mm81.
- MLA: “Education and the Mexican-American; Racism in America : past, present, future symposium.” 1969-01-19. Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 13, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-28-639k35mm81>.
- APA: Education and the Mexican-American; Racism in America : past, present, future symposium. Boston, MA: Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-28-639k35mm81