About this sample
About this sample
Words: 733 |
4 min read
Published: Aug 4, 2023
Words: 733|Pages: 2|4 min read
Chicano Militancy and the Government's War on Dissent by Ernest Vigil has been one of the most impactful books I’ve read during my college career. I realized that I was incredibly ill-informed about the history of Denver, Colorado and the Chicano movement that took place where I grew up, and reading the historic events that transpired was truly an eye-opener. You are rarely taught about the “other side” of history. Which is why this book is so important. To read the story and keep the history alive and to understand that the fight is not over yet. Vigil writes about the political movement that started in the 1960s fighting racism, education inequality, and prejudice against the Chicano/Chicana people living in Denver. Virgil hits on many important topics that are still relevant today including police brutality, racism/discrimination, and inequality.
One question that I asked myself while I was reading was why I hadn’t heard much of the movement that took place in Denver and why I hadn’t been taught this in Middle school or High school. The history that is taught to students, myself included is whitewashed and anglocentric. Starting as early as grade school when you learn about the “Discovery of America” and are told that Christopher Colombus was the one that discovered America when the Native Americans were already here. One of the most important things you can do to better yourself is through education. When you cannot get an adequate education you are deprived of many opportunities that are available to others. This is why one of the main goals of the Chicano movement was education reform, Chicanos were challenging what they were being taught in school and realizing the injustices Chicano students were experiencing in the education system.
A large percentage of Chicano students were not graduating from high school and not able or wanting to pursue higher education because of discrimination. They were not having equal access to education as the white students were, which lead to undereducated Chicanos who would then have to take up labor positions like their parents. This systematic failure was not accidental, The Chicano school in Denver were not being properly funded, had incompetent teachers and lacked educational resources. “Chicanos were (and still are today) an exploitable work force that was pushed out of schools through the tracking system in which they were placed in vocational training classes or in programs for the mentally retarded... we've gotten to where we are because there's always been cheap labor around. When you come in talking about raising the educational vista of the Mexican-American and helping him to aspire beyond the fields, and curing the dropout problem, you're talking about jeopardizing our economic survival.” (MuRoz,1989)
The situation that the Chicanos students faced regarding their education makes a connection to education inequality and the school-to-prison pipeline that African American students are facing today. Today we are still seeing systemic racism in our schools. We are seeing the pattern of how where a student lives and which school he attends to be the determining factor of whether that students ends up going to college or to prison. We’ve seen that the schools in the lower-income neighborhoods that have a large majority of African American students attending that school receives less funding than a school with a majority of white students. This has to do with property tax, “...The funding gap is largely the result of the reliance on property taxes as a primary source of funding for schools. Communities in overwhelmingly white areas tend to be wealthier, and school districts’ ability to raise money depends on the value of local property and the ability of residents to pay higher taxes...” (Merkler,2019) We are also seeing that African American students get punished or suspended 3x more than a white student and more cops than counselors in these schools. The failure of meeting the educational needs of these African American students begs to question if anything has actually changed from the Chicano 1960’s movements and the current crisis the educational system is in now.
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