Proposed Mexican-American Heritage Textbook Is A Continuation Of The Problem With U.S. History Classes

tags: education, textbook, Mexican American Heritage

The State Board of Education spent the summer debating over a proposed textbook on Mexican-American history. The textbook, Mexican American Heritage, has been declared “blatantly racist” for reinforcing negative stereotypes and misrepresenting history through 141 passages with errors found by scholars who reviewed it. One section of the textbook suggests that Chicanos “opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society.” Another depicts Mexican workers as lazy:

Stereotypically, Mexicans were viewed as lazy compared to European or American workers. Industrialists were very driven, competitive men who were always on the clock and continually concerned about efficiency. They 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.

One reason, perhaps, that scholars have found so many errors with the textbook is because the publisher, Momentum Instruction—run by Cynthia Dunbar, a former member of the education board—failed to use Mexican-American scholars to write the book. Dunbar told the Dallas Morning News the exclusion was intentional:

Dunbar said Mexican-American scholars weren’t tapped to help write the book in order to have an unbiased book. Instead, she relied on experts in curriculum development and even had a professor from Texas A&M University review the book.

Since the public outcry began, Momentum Instruction has reviewed the book again, but Dunbar stated that the publishers only found one factual error: a passage that suggests that the national language of the United States is English. Dunbar defended the textbook, saying that the company had no “agenda” when they published it, but she’s not sure about the intentions of the textbook’s critics, who told her they would reveal the errors they found during a press conference. ...

Read entire article at Texas Monthly

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