Really Offensive Texas High School Textbook

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

Texas, the state best known for being the place with the largest and best recognized textbook publishers and distributors in the United States, is now coming out with a textbook on Mexican-American heritage for use in Texas’ high schools. The textbook, entitled Mexican American Heritage, put out by the publisher Momentum Instruction (located in Virginia), is in fact not only inaccurate in a number of ways but has fairly offensive disinformation in it. One example is labeling Mexican culture as promoting “laziness.” It goes further to state that while industrialists in the United States were building a dynamic and competitive society, Mexican laborers were so “lazy” that they did not put in a full day’s work. The textbook describes the Chicano Movement as a “revolutionary” attempt to “destroy Western civilization.” If any American publisher had printed such a textbook on African Americans, it would become a major scandal and the publisher would be excoriated from coast to coast (not to mention sued). It does not matter what state such a book would be used in.

The Texas State Board of Education, which is made up primarily of extremely conservative Republicans, seems to have no problem with this textbook. One of the board members, David Bradley, has complained that “leftwing Hispanics” have tried to push their agenda through and get rid of a good textbook. I am not a leftwing Hispanic, but I can safely say that this textbook is offensive as well as inaccurate. This kind of textbook should not be used in public schools anywhere, and certainly NOT in Texas where 52 percent of the state’s population is Latino (the majority of these are Mexican American). I now have to ask the question why anyone, regardless of their political party being Republican or Democrat, should still have textbooks as racist, offensive and inaccurate as this one be used for public consumption in the 21st Century? This stuff sounds more like something from 100 years ago. It is bad enough that we see such crappy books like Adios, America! by Ann Coulter published by Regnery Publishing, but now for the State of Texas to try and ram this non-sense down the throats of Latino students is over-the-top. In too many ways this textbook battle is mirroring the battle lines between the extreme rightwing forces within the Republican Party on the one hand and everyone else who is sane on the other.

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