Post with 5 notes
Q’ Viva Día De Los Muertos
Eres piel moreno, that cancion was da shit
Brown is beautiful except if you’re too brown inside or out
besides I’m peddled vows that “I don’t see people in terms of color so sit”
I think to myself “ain’t that some bull shit,” so I shout
q’ viva día de los muertos
the living dead run the streets por la madrugada
preyed upon by the balla balla saving up for his miata
whatever happened to the boy who had no fada?
q’ viva día de los muertos
I drive the streets and think, “Oh what a man am I”
Ay there’s the rub… that’s some guy named Shakespeare
The rub… LOL… rubba dub dub I once was told they clean meth in a tub
many rubs later I’d be reviled or revered for being an aztlan queer
q’ viva día de los muertos
The envious living live their lives and cheat on their wives
vowing to chase the American dream; “Life is but a dream.”
you’re feeling sleepy, the technocrat hypnotists prioritize our lives
Those oppressed in their waking lives dare not dream so they scream
q’ viva día de los muertos
I pray to El santo nino
with dirty thoughts of some vato named Nino
Singing “I’m too sexii for this shirt”
Scared?… then go to church while I do my dirt
q’ viva día de los muertos
they stone me as a damned cultural catholic
they stoned my pa a lazy no good spic
maybe what I need is an ol’ fashion ass kick
q’ viva día de los muertos
a life lived on one’s rodillas, says Pancho Villa, isn’t worth our time mi raza
stil we mimic the powers that be and take our turn preaching del bully pulpit
shouting over the huddled bottom who whisper to one another “Ain’t dat some bullshit”
slumbering nightmares and waking dreams of tamales q’ no son de pura masa
q’ viva día de los muertos
La Llorona del Longoria Affair haunts the vaulted halls of Yale so we yell
“LA LUCHA SIGUE, SIGUE!!! ZAPATA VIVE, VIVE!!!”
“Wait a cotton picking minute, all is well at Yale so please don’t yell.
P.S. you beaners smell,” dice el gringo guey
q’ viva día de los muertos
Assimilation conquered away mis antepasados culture-of-poverty fears
neo-social Darwinists of today whisper sweet nothings in their ears
a sacred procession of hitos march hacia la pinta, violating rears
too many beers begets sixty years and tattood tears
q’viva día de los muertos
Post with 1 note
Colorblind Meritocracy or (neo)Social Darwinism?
The majority of Americans, regardless of racial/ethnic identity, associate the election of President Obama with the fulfillment of “the Dream”—articulated by Martin Luther King, Jr. and fought for during the Civil Rights Movement—that any American will be afforded equal opportunity to climb the meritocratic ladder and achieve upward social mobility unfettered by their race or ethnicity. That is to say liberated from assumptions being made about one’s character, cognitive or physical ability, integrity, worth and/or potential based upon their externally-ascribed ethnic/racial identity. A disturbing, yet widely embraced, trend is sweeping through institutions of higher education and the entire K-16 continuum which is transitioning from, what is seen as outdated, diversity language to that of inclusion with some adding the term to become diversity and inclusion. Roberson in her analysis of the convergences and divergences of the diversity paradigm and the inclusion paradigm entitled “Disentangling the Meanings of Diversity and Inclusion” concludes that we have a limited understanding of whether it represents a material change in organizational actions and outcomes, or simply a change of phrasing to reduce backlash against the same initiatives (Linnehan & Konrad, 1999” (p. 4). Roberson attributes our lack of understanding whether shifts to a paradigm of inclusion represents material change for equitable outcomes for underrepresented students to the fact that we do not have a consensus of what exactly are the indicators of inclusion and what measures should be assessed when gauging its effectiveness .So then if inclusion, as the term suggests entails the mere inclusion of all students than this is easily achieved and how this leads to equitable outcomes seems to rest upon the individual academic performance. This perspective tends to ignore the impacts of school culture or other ecological and social psychological factors on the academic performance of underrepresented students. Students of color—now framed as underrepresented students as to bring the label(s) into line with the “rhetoric of inclusion” 1 —aspire to be defined in terms which do not question their academic efficacy or merit nor which undermines their contributions to academia or respective campus community due to the generations of tokenism which preceded them. I contend that the externally ascribed ethnic/racial identity of a student—that which someone bases upon phenotype— trumps any internally ascribed ethnic/racial identity so then the decoding of markers of difference—i.e. skin color 2 , accent, cultural expression, citizenship status—would be more pertinent to my analysis than the ethnic/racial identities which one claims to be. If a professor, academic advisor, admissions office or administrator can claim to be colorblind than no such semiotic approach could be claimed in the assessment of actions and the disparate impact of race-neutral policies could be framed as being the result of things other than white privilege or white nationalism. Americans are socialized to take it as granted that racial and ethnic minorities are no longer as socially paralyzed—if at all—by racism as in the past and can reasonably aspire to ascend to the highest levels of the academic continuum, faculty position and/or administrative position; this is interpreted as proof that the glass ceiling has now been removed. This discursively substantiates the widely held notion that we are a post-racial society free from overt structural or institutional racist ethnocentrism despite few instances of individual racism existing and never are actions expressed as intentionally racist or discriminatory. Students lacking the social or cultural capital required to navigate institutional bureaucracies or western academia, especially at large universities, are put at an academic disadvantage compared to their white counterparts, consideration for which is slowly but surely diminishing. Any race conscious undertaking, particularly admissions and recruitment, are seen as unnecessary relics of the Civil Rights Era, and unjust in their application while academic departments, student leadership groups and pre-professional enclaves which remain homogenous in their make-up (read: white) despite always being inclusive are allowed to remain homogenous without interrogation and unproblematized. 3 Educators and many educational researchers will use ethnic/racial categories as to study the achievement gap which reifies the American racial hierarchy with whites at the top serving as the benchmark of success or normativity while disavowing white privilege or white racism while teaching an Eurocentric core-curriculum which racialized underrepresented students to develop an “oppositional culture” (Fordham & Ogbu 1986) or a low academic self-esteem/efficacy/disposition which translates into a low level of academic performance and/or career aspirations. There are countless anecdotes of poor white professionals who digress that they had to work to put themselves through college—while ethnic/racial minorities got scholarships or Pell Grants—and represent what America is all about: hard work to advance up the meritocratic ladder.
Socioeconomic status is widely employed as a proxy for race as this is colorblind and allows many more whites to be considered academically disadvantaged for being from a low SES or rural region. Studies like those led by Somnoth Saha 4 show that SES alone is not a good predictor of future physician practice patterns whereas race/ethnicity are good predictor of future physician practice patterns showing that a physicians of color (of a particular specialty) from all SES backgrounds serve a greater proportion of indigent, medically underserved, and racial/ethnic minority patients than their white counterparts. The (neo)liberal logic follows that the aforementioned equal opportunity, for all intents and purposes, should translate into equitable outcomes for racial/ethnic minority groups: this is academically proven through empirical research, politically legislated through race-neutral policies which have co-opted equal opportunity language, legally mandated through laws restricting special benefits based on race/ethnicity and socially through neo-liberal ideology or neo-Social Darwinism and collectively embraced for the most part. Therefore the educational, socio-economic and health disparities which occur along lines of race and ethnicity are thought to be caused not by structural, institutional, or even individual racism rather attributable to the cultural-ecological deficiencies or the natural order of things (read: neo-Social Darwinism and “culture of poverty” 5 ideologies). Despite claims at being colorblind, admissions policies (i.e. holistic reviews or top ten percent rules) and student recruitment or retention programming (the all inclusive academic affairs/outreach) are resulting in more racially/ethnically stratified student bodies.
Using culture and environment to explain differences is more detrimental to the cause of social justice in education than biology because culture and environment are framed using positivistic lenses or seen as strictly dependent variables which is to say within the realm of human agency to transform, modify or exhibit control over. This makes the causal relationship one for which individuals are deemed to be accountable for and seen as rectifiable through intervention or prevention. Therefore, as eluded to earlier, explanations of things like the achievement gap, higher incidences of delinquency, lower levels of educational attainment, and higher sense of academic apathy are culturally explained and linked to sociological concepts like Oscar Lewis’ “the culture of poverty” 6 and it is the individual agency that is at fault. This effectively allows people to write-out things like institutionalized white privilege or racism as causative of disparate distribution of information, social capital, power and wealth. The claim that we are not different biologically (i.e. cognitively) or legally and subsequently socially is persuasive. It allows for institutions to be framed using (re)presentations such as a “stock story” as benevolently meritocratic and colorblind institutions. 7 It perpetuates the fallacy that there is symmetry between the social attitudes and beliefs of whites and non-whites. It holds that there is symmetry in the impact of those attitudes and beliefs as well. This would allow for “reverse-discrimination” and the phenomenon of homophily to be seen as natural for whites (i.e. undergraduate fraternal social organizations) but as self-segregation for non-whites (i.e. MEChA).
This I posit constitutes neo-Social Darwinism 8 and any attempt to ameliorate the past oppression—which have no contemporary impact—of racial/ethnic minorities through targeted academic outreach, for example, constitutes reverse discrimination or extending what are seen as special benefits—such as race-specific scholarships, internships or academic enrichment—to one or more students from an historically oppressed group comes at the expense of the collective but particularly the white public. Diversity initiatives within institutions of higher education across the nation have been scaled back, framed as unnecessary budget busters, all together eliminated or rearticulated using colorblind meritocratic language informed by “the rhetoric of inclusion”. The post-Obama principle of Inclusion, according to popular belief, I posit, is defined as remedying the adverse effects of Affirmative Action (read: reverse discrimination/racism) in the compelling interest of the collective public. This colorblind meritocracy is in direct opposition to notions of color-conscious policies and practices such as ethnic affairs offices, affirmative action admissions, race-specific education or outreach programs or benefits such as scholarships. Many see “inclusion” being contingent upon the absence of exclusion such as a white student being, by virtue of his or her race, excluded from consideration, contention or eligibility. They equate such practices to racist practices or racial/ethnic discrimination of the past decades and contend that whites too can suffer the same alienation at the hands of racial/ethnic minorities in contemporary policies and practices such as educational outreach programming tailored to racial/ethnic minorities and resistance to opening up such efforts to whites is tantamount to reverse discrimination and diversity initiatives are forced to adopt equal opportunity language such as “while these events are tailored to racial/ethnic minority students any student regardless of race is free to attend”.
Colorblind Meritocracy praxis in education
From my personal professional experiences 9 while you don’t want to exclude white students for this would be just as egregious of the exclusion of underrepresented students when white students from the dominant culture attend academic outreach/enrichment programs or presentations—I’m limited to the state of Utah— with a focus on the collective experiences of students of color such as a presentation on Diversity in Medicine white students tend to be more confident than their racial/ethnic minority counterparts and co-opt the attention and neo-colonize the once safe space for racial/ethnic minorities to candidly speak to their collective experiences with racism and microagressions 10 and white students become defensive and deny claims of white privilege and what should have been a productive activity that many racial/ethnic minority students depend on to cope with culture shock or “racial battle fatigue” 11 becomes yet another culture war and this will usually leave a sour taste in the mouths of racial/ethnic minority students while leaving white students feeling attacked or ganged up on. Through such experiences racial/ethnic minority students, staff and faculty learn to silence their frustrations with white privilege in the presence of whites out of fear of alienating white students, staff and/or faculty. I was thrown under the bus as the cause for the University of Utah School of Medicine’s transition from a ethnic/race-centered Office of Diversity and Community Outreach to the Office of Inclusion and Outreach when an e-mail I wrote included the term “racial battle fatigue” was interpreted as encouraging a racial battle as this term was cherry-picked. Racial/ethnic minorities become color-conscious 12 and in the presence of whites avoid being seen as essentializing all whites in a reductionist fashion as the beneficiaries of white privilege or articulating one’s resistance to the pressures to embrace whiteness as to enjoy the benefits of tokenism and the painful fall-out of silencing their racial/ethnic identity as to avoid accentuating our differences which divide us rather than the normative whiteness which unifies us. Racial/ethnic epistemologies are seen as free for the taking or researching from a Eurocentric perspective while policing of the cultural borderlands is frowned upon if it means acting as gatekeepers preventing whites from freely crossing said cultural borderlands. While I would concede that most white students wish to learn to be global citizens and through such interactions be culturally competent professionals I contend that their presence reifies the racial hierarchy and racial/ethnic minority students take a submissive posturing to the more gregarious white students who tend to co-opt the attention of all participants including the presenters or facilitators. The post-Obama principle of inclusion is forced upon historically marginalized, oppressed and disenfranchised groups as the new order of race relations and necessary to sustaining “the Dream” and the definition of diversity has been expanded as to transcend race and ethnicity to include any individual such as a white heterosexual social conservative in Oakland. It is held that since America is post-racial which compounded with the fact that it is illegal to exclude racial/ethnic minorities from participation in any public arena or activity has resulted in the popular belief that it is unnecessary to oversee the enforcement or adherence to anti-racist behavior or ideologies. Structures, institutions or outreach targeted or tailored to one or more racial/ethnic minority group is seen
as detrimental self-segregation or discriminatory towards the white majority. While institutions fervently scramble to dismantle diversity projects there is no analogous efforts to ensure that exclusionary cultures or practices are exposed, interrogated or remedied within historically homogenously white enclaves such as Greek organizations, pre-professional organizations, faculty, administration or leadership. The lack of presence or participation of racial/ethnic minorities is held as resultant of racial/ethnic minority apathy, lack of initiative or agency, and ultimately cultural deficiencies rather than discriminatory patterns or practices. Opportunity is defined along zero-sum lines with equal opportunity seen as unachievable if special attention or benefits are conferred upon any group regardless of their degree of underrepresentation. The well documented consolidation of whiteness is refuted as anecdotes of early immigrants (read: honorary whites) such as the Irish or Italians are touted as proof-positive that a once oppressed group can shake off the shackles of oppression to become socially equal. No credence is given to the role which phenotype compatibility played in this American myth. Inclusion is an ingenious way to cloak complacency with the status quo with whites at the top of the social pyramid and whiteness employed as the benchmark of normativity. Even racial/ethnic minorities are given the bully pulpit to profess the end of racism with themselves serving as testaments to post-racial America. On the same token Affirmative Action is said to undermine the contributions and achievements of racial/ethnic minorities, selling false hope to racial/ethnic minority youth and doing a disservice to those afforded sponsored upward social mobility by setting up said groups up for failure. This is seen as being done at the expense of whites who do not deserve to be held accountable or reminded by sanction of the past infringements and indiscretions of their ancestors against racial/ethnic minorities. Inclusion is, in practice, held as being achieved if no particular group or individual is overtly excluded from enjoying equal opportunity with no need to expend the same or any energy to ensure that a color-conscious invitation is extended to racial/ethnic minorities as to achieve the greatest participation or representation possible of historically oppressed or excluded groups. Advisors see no need to tailor their advising to the specific needs or positionalities of said racial/ethnic minority groups while the responsibility for cultural adjustment or adaptation (read: assimilation) is placed upon the racial/ethnic minority students with no need for structural paradigm shifts or institutionalization of non-normative (read: non-white) cultures, cosmologies/epistemologies, or positionalities. If total assimilation is achieved there is no need to interrogate, research, problematize nor remedy the structural or institutional norms which manifest as exclusionary practices because it is taken for granted that equal opportunity pervades while any exclusion or other actions which results in disparate outcomes for racial/ethnic minorities, should they unlikely occur, are unintentional and the collateral damage of colorblind, race-neutral policies and practices.
Continuing to use race to socially categorize people is a relic of the colonial project’s regime of difference. The colonial project used difference to divide people between “us” (the colonizer) and the “Other” (the colonized). But another thing that plagued colonized peoples was the fact that “confusion and division also characterized the subjugated” (Winant, 2010). This is what can happen in the 21 st Century: divide and conquer. Whites will still maintain their hegemony unless it is disrupted and whiteness looses is social, political, and economic hegemony.
Winant claims that white superiority and its subsequent ideological hegemony has been the common thread throughout the trajectory of white domination from colonial white supremacy to the white privilege of the 20 th Century to the colorblind meritocracy of today and the future. He argues that “[t]he rearticulation of (in)equality in an ostensibly color-blind framework emphasizing individualism and meritocracy, it turns out, preserves the legacy of racial hierarchy far more effectively than its explicit defense (Crenshaw et al. 1995)” (Winant, 2001). And he takes head-on the notion that we have moved “beyond race” or as some refer to it are “post-racial”. The sweeping election of our first African American President (never mind he’s bi-racial, we privilege only his blackness) signals the end of overwhelming racial prejudice in the nation. He calls this and recent leaps and bounds in race relations both domestically and globally a “reordering of world racial dynamics” and that this “does not suggest that we are in anyway ‘beyond race,’ or that comprehensive patterns of racial inequality and injustice are no longer fundamental to the global social structure. It only means—and this is important enough—that world racial formation continues” (Winant, 2001).
My suggestion for a nuanced approach
I suggest using the neo-social-Darwinian concept of “inclusion” to turn the topic on its head. I would shift the demand for the inclusion of ethnic studies as a major to a demand for inclusionary disciplines as to open doors for more co-constructivist, trans-disciplinary and transformative research. This would look something like having an ethnic-specific sub-focus for most if not all the majors. Therefore if I am wanting to write a dissertation on the Hispanic/Chicana/Latina midwifery in the southwest United States than this would be something that the History, Gender Studies, and perhaps School of Nursing would be required to accommodate. Perhaps having a “Chicano Studies” certificate program which predetermined departments would be required to offer courses for. Even perhaps demanding an academic research center/think-tank for social justice where each ethnic group is still represented but following a less ethno-centric/hierarchical model, rather, a co-constructivist, and plenary model. Let’s face it, ethnic studies has not been as transformative and emancipatory as intended and it is time we stay ahead of the neo-liberal ideology’s hallmarks like neo-Social Darwinism, meritocracy, inclusion, colorblindness, and post-race and its attacks and begin work on a more comprehensive plan to become institutionalized to the point that we don’t have to be put on the racial defense team for ethnic studies programs all the while there is no such debate going on about why the already “inclusive”, likely colorblind (self-identified/sanctioned), pre-professional student organizations across the nation are largely dominated by and made accessible (not necessarily LITERALLY) to white-non-Hispanic American students. The prescriptive notion of racial/ethnic “inclusion” is no vaccine against gate-keeping, profiling, fraternization, and preferential treatment based on phenotype or externally-ascribed race/ethnicity.
1 “It [rhetoric of inclusion] might affirm the elitism that lurks in much of academia, surfacing in corridor conversations about how ‘they,’ those underprepared and underrepresented students, do not belong in college anyway. Or a statement might focus on inclusion alone, omitting diversity, thus affirming the mythic American goal of homogeneity, assimilation, the melting pot (Roy 43-44).” (p. 185) “The Grammar and Rhetoric of Inclusion.” Author(s): Alice Roy; Source: College English, Vol. 57, No. 2 (Feb., 1995), pp. 182-195
2 see Fergus, E. (2009). Understanding Latino Students’ Schooling Experiences: The Relevance of Skin Color Among Mexican American and Puerto Rican High School Students. Teachers College Record, 111(2): 339-375. Teachers College: Columbia University: he contends that “it is not enough to know who is Black, White, and Hispanic; rather who gets [emphasis added] to be Black, White, Hispanic and how such social constructs operate as a lens for setting the conditions for learning, navigating and engaging the school context” (p. 371).
3 “…patterns of separation [exclusion] extend beyond the classroom and show up in those areas of the school where membership is based on voluntary association. Our data showed that nearly every club, sports team, and extracurricular activity offered by the school had a racially exclusive make-up. Even more disturbing was the act that any activity that might be regarded as having the potential to enhance one’s academic performance (e.g., academic clubs and the debating team) was comprised almost exclusively of White students.
…such patterns were rationalized as the product of choices made freely by the students. Some adults at the school condoned these practices as a way of accommodating the diverse cultures and interests present within the school, and they argued that these patterns of separation provided a form of cultural affirmation. However, others saw these voluntary forms of racial separation as a way of disguising the patters that reinforced the racial disparities at the school” (p 72)
4 Saha, S. et al. (2008). Student Body Racial and Ethnic Composition and Diversity-Related Outcomes in US Medical Schools. JAMA 300 (10): 1135-1145
Saha, S. et al. (2008). Race-Neutral Versus Race-Conscious Workforce Policy to Improve Access to Health Care. Health Affairs 27 (1): 234-245
5 Lewis, Oscar. Five Families: Mexican Case Studies in the Culture of Poverty (1959) The basic premise outlined by Lewis’ work was that while the low socio-economic status of racial/ethnic minorities may be structurally caused it is the “culture of poverty” which perpetuates the cycle of poverty and are to blame for their own plight: that is for not taking advantage of the endless opportunities American society provides: there is no need to account for things like white privilege for they do not exist.
6 Ibid. many racial/ethnic minorities become indoctrinated by this paradigm and suggest that too often racial/ethnic minorities play the race-card and the victim while taking no accountability for their own lives and “pull themselves up by their boot straps” and adopt a “social racial/ethnic identity avoidance” (Cohen and Garcia “I Am Us”: Negative Stereotypes as Collective Threats 2005) approach as to assimilate into mainstream public opinion.
7 “Deficit-based beliefs” that Latino “families…[are]…a burden for college students” and that “their lack of familiarity with college life and expectations, [coupled with] their insistence on maintaining physically close contact with their children” (Villalpando, 2000, p.15) make Latino culture the reason the “achievement gap” exists. Stories like this serve as the institution’s “stock story—the one the institution collectively forms and tells about itself. … This story…chooses from among the available facts to present a picture [that] emphasizes the school’s benevolent motivation…” (Delgado 1989, p. 259). This paternalistic attitude perpetuates the “inferiority paradigm” that “is built on the belief that people of color are biologically and genetically inferior to Whites” (Tate, 1997, p.199). The “achievement gap,” is often understood as the fact that Latino students are not performing at the same level as their white counterparts. This reifies the racial hierarchy and white supremacy paradigm in that “the White middle-class American (often) serves as the standard against which other groups are compared” (Tate, 1997, p.199).
8 21 st Century American “Social Darwinism” (Graves, 2001) holds that historically oppressed peoples are now legally, biologically and in the 21 st Century socially equal. Therefore there is no need for outdated social policies like affirmative action or targeted academic outreach. And to advocate for programs and scholarships that are targeted or open only to communities historically underrepresented in the sciences for example, is tantamount to reverse discrimination and perpetuates images of exclusion and special interest. What is lost is the fact that historically oppressed people do not share the same social/cultural capital and therefore equal opportunity does not translate into equitable outcomes. We are complacent with using proxies for race that we perceive to be a more “stable referent” (Lopez, 1996)—such as SES and geographical location—and think them better predictors of behavioral traits.
9 I served as the Premedical Program Coordinator for the University of Utah, School of Medicine during the 2008/09, 2009/10 academic school years and traveled to most of the, then eleven, institutions of higher education within the Utah System of Higher Education
10 “Racial microagressions are brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.” – Racial Microagressions in Everyday Life
11 Broken Silence: Conversations about Race by African American Faculty and Graduate Students edited by Darrell Cleveland. Chapter 16 – Black Faculty Coping with Racial Battle Fatigue: The Campus Racial Climate in a Post-Civil Rights Era by William A. Smith (2004)
12 Also known as “double-consciousness” or knowing people are assessing/evaluating you based upon your race/ethnicity: Du Bois, W. E. B. “Of Our Spiritual Strivings.” Hayes, Floyd W. A Turbulent Voyage. San Diego: Collegiate Press, 2000. 298-302. related to the concept introduced by Cornel West (1982/2002) in Prophecy Deliverance! known as the “normative gaze” or decoding your markers of difference as they relate to what is socially/culturally normal
Post with 3 notes
The European Construct We Call Machismo: a disempowering remnant of the colonial project
According to (post)colonial theory part of the colonial projects’ contemporary impact on american society is a nation divided along rigid racial/ethnic lines that are highly policed through cultural norms/codes with whiteness serving as the benchmark of normativity. Nonconformity is seen as a threat to the preservation of american hegemony and sustainability. Much of our ideological underpinnings come from protestantism (zionism), liberalism, republicanism and capitalism. Combined these paradigms produce the guiding principles and basic tenets which buttress the social contract we are led to understand as american democracy. Classrooms are not closed boxes free from the negative impact these ideological positionalities can produce. Nor are american teachers sufficiently trained to shield or cushion students from being racialized by these ideological influences. latinos in america are influenced by the european construct known as machismo which has adversely impacted young latino men and disenfranchised queer xicanos. machismo defines the worth of a man by, among other criteria, how many girls he can conquer and how well he provides for his family. machismo , particularly in urban areas, has been attached to gang culture and intellectual pursuits have been widely attached to marianismo, the antithesis of machismo. This is why I consider such constructs as machismo as disempowering remnants of the colonial project which, among many things, sought to divide and conquer colonial subjects. Before I begin my analysis of machismo and its impact on the academic performance and educational psychology of latinos I must point out that latinos are a very complex group and one sub-group is often disregarded in academic research and outreach: latino “involuntary minorities.”1 “Involuntary [latino] minorities,” for the most part, are those whose ancestors became American citizens, albeit second-class, over night after the Treaty of Guadalupe was signed in 1848. The educational experiences of this latino sub-group are in many aspects radically different from other latino sub-groups such as immigrants or political refugees. Despite this latino sub-groups’ “material investment in whiteness”2 their educational experiences have resulted in disparate educational outcomes which has translated into less social capital and slow upward social mobility. Through my research I seek to bring this latino sub-group to the foreground as I have found much research on the educational experiences and outcomes of latinos rely on the assumption that we are all immigrants to america (i.e. Suarez-Orozco/Suarez Orozco’s piece Educating Latino Immigrant Students in the Twenty-first Century which as evident in the title supposed to be about latino immigrant students yet the entire article refers to “Latino students” with no problem; see also Roland Sintos Coloma’s piece All Immigrants are Mexicans, Only Blacks are Minorities, But some of Us are Brave: Race, Multiculturalism, and Postcolonial Studies in U.S. Education).
The affect that this has on gender identity/behavioral norms is the assumption that latinos are a monolithic group who are inherently machista, lacking cultural/social capital, and who have close familial ties. This translates into Latino culture having a reputation of having no intrinsic value for higher education and due to the aforementioned cultural deficiencies requires the intervention of benevolent institutions and individuals3 as to get latino students to achieve matriculation into, not to mention completion of, higher education. The same, if not greater, intervention is widely held to be vital and necessary for latino parents. That is to say many academic outreach programs are now seeking to remedy the deficiencies of latino parents by—among many methodologies—teaching them how to support their students and refrain from being an obstacle or barrier to the academic attainment of their children. For example, many programs condescendingly patronize latino parents by explaining to them that they must be invested in their children’s education (as if they are not already) and mustn’t require their child to stay at home (versus staying in dorms or going out of state for school) nor expect their students to work to help support the family while in college. They go so far as to suggest that latino parents aren’t involved in their children’s’ education if the teacher’s attempts to communicate are not reciprocated. I posit K-12 teachers don’t afford latino parents, many times, a holistic evaluation insofar as it may be the case that many more latino parents must work more than one job and subsequently possess less availability for teacher-parent conferencing or communication (keep in mind they may not possess the english language skills to communicate). In K-16 classrooms the core curriculum is a great racializing force and teaches that latinos or mestizos are the descendents of primitive, backwards, static and euro-emancipated people who excel in the arts and vocational trades. The impact this has on the academic disposition/performance/self-esteem/self-efficacy of many latino students is that they suffer from “stereotype threat,”4 low completion rates, “oppositional culture,” and become wards—read: burdens—of the state due to a “culture of poverty.”5 Many young latino men, particluarly urban latino youth, are led to believe that there exists only two ways in which to achieve the american dream (read: material wealth): becoming a mythical baler through entrepreneurial—albeit illicit—means or being an inherent intellect which affords you the academic efficacy needed for degree attainment and a good paying career. If you are an inherent intellect and pursue higher education you are not chastised by your raza, as Ogbu and Fordham suggest happens, rather you are admired and encouraged. Yet, if you are not an inherent intellect it can be expected that you will form an “oppositional identity or culture”6 hallmarked by gang affiliations and illicit activities. It is not taught to latino children in many classrooms that our indigenous ancestors were scientists, engineers, doctors and civilized rather they were primitive, barbarian, human-sacrificers and part of the colonized land.
Through my praxis I seek to disrupt the eurocentric and misogynistic core curriculum by employing a “culturally relevant pedagogy”7 buttressed by historical revisionism. Later in another posting I will flesh out the concept of historical revisionism as an empowering and emancipating pedagogical tool. Whenever I get the chance I seek to engage those with indigenous roots on the topic of our indignous ancestors’ orientation towards intellectual pursits by posing the rhetorical question: “Did you know that the aztecs had doctors who invented glue sutures and performed surgery with anesthesiology?” I then go on to explain the scientific advancements of the aztecs and other mesoamerican groups.8 As to disrupt the heteronormativity engrained into most K-12 students, particularly latino males, I pose the rhetorical question: “Did you know that machismo was not part of our indigenous ancestor’s culture; it was brought by the spanish (sometimes I have to remind people that spain IS part of europe and pure spanish blood is not a reality for many latino “involuntary minorities”) and androgynous or gender non-normative individuals were afforded high social standing?” Well I would guestimate that 9 out of 10 times my question is met with skeptical stares coupled with vehement inquisition. In fact, the same reverence for “two-spirited people” undergirds many cultures beyond the americas. The PBS program Independent Lens’ website features an awesome interactive map of gender identity traditions around the globe which embrace androgyny or effeminate biological males and masculine biological females (not sure if this includes hybrid sexes i.e. hermaphrodites). Laframboise and Anhorn (2008) define, for the native american, the concept of being “two-spirited” as follows:
“…before the Europeans came to the America’s, “two-spirit” referred to an ancient teaching. This type of cross-gender identity has been documented in over 155 tribes across Native North America (Roscoe 1988).
Our Elders tell us of people who were gifted among all beings because they carried two spirits, that of male and female. It is told that women engaged in tribal warfare and married other women, as there were men who married other men. These individuals were looked upon as a third and fourth gender in many cases and in almost all cultures they were honoured and revered. Two-spirit people were often the visionaries, the healers, the medicine people, the nannies of orphans, the care givers (Roscoe 1988). They were respected as fundamental components of our ancient culture and societies”.
So contrary to popular belief and contemporary native american and latino culture norms to embody the opposite gender either aesthetically or behaviorally in pre-columbian cultures did not carry with it the stigma that is does today. Granted with the advent of the “metrosexual” man and attempts to institutionalize post-structuralist paradigms such as “post-race,” adherence to outdated and rigid gender and sexuality norms is less enforced in american society yet for latinos-thanks to machismo-it is still seen as a disgrace for biological males to blur or disrupt the binary opposition between machoness and femininity. From my own experience, I contend that latina women who embody the male essence (if there is such a thing) are widely accepted among biological latino males especially in latino gang culture whereas gender-variant males’ experiences are peppered with bullying, physical and emotional violence and overall “othering” by machismo. It is so taboo to be a gender-variant male in machista cultures that great lengths are taken as to cloak one’s “gender-bending” and disrupting machismo’s “normative gaze”9 is not seen as a worthwhile or plausible effort.
There is much reflexivity in my analysis which I feel is paramount to a well developed critical analysis. That is not to say that we should not pursue scholarship on topics which are outside our realm of experiential knowledge and I feel in order to truly make transformative and emancipatory progress more so-called “straight” xicano’s should engage in queer aztlan scholarship. I will now offer up a bit of digression and analysis. It took me the better part of 26 years to be able to consolidate my vato identity of my youth with my gay identity as an adult queer xicano. When I first came out I took my identity formation to the extreme and became a part-time drag personality (perhaps an “oppositional identity”). I completely separated my social life from my family life as to avert being outed so that I could—if only in my mind—avoid being treated differently. I pushed away my family and long-time friends out of fear of reprisal. Once I made the conscious decision to combine my externally-ascribed and internally-ascribed gender identity I gained much respect from my machista homies for keeping it real and being true to myself and others. I quickly found that despite my attempts to cloak my sexuality I was flamboyantly switchin’ my way through life and the news came as no surprise to anyone. What made this process meaningful for me was that I was able to embrace who I felt I always was growing up as well as who I had become since deciding to live my life as a gay xicano. I was given respect for my delicate balance between not throwing my sexuality in people’s faces and not being fake. That is not to say that reestablishing rapport with my homies wasn’t challenging to navigate at first as we fumbled and stumbled our way through reconnecting.
My experiential knowledge dialectically leads me to disagree with such scholars as Richard T. Rodriguez who suggests in his article Queering the Homeboy Aesthetic that gay men seek to “adopt,” “evoke” or mimic the homeboy aesthetic primarily because “straight-looking” gay homeboys are objects of desire and places like Chico’s are a site for gay male fantasy. I assert that perhaps the homeboy aesthetic is not being (re)produced through conscious efforts rather this is the true essence of many gay xicanos and it is in places like Los Angeles’ gay bar Chico’s where they can express both identities without reprisal. That is to say perhaps it is more fitting to suggest that what is occuring is thuging the queer aesthetic. I feel that to suggest that this aesthetic is somehow not intrinsically present and subsequently must be (re)produced (“evoked”) through homeboy signifiers or coaxed to the surface (“adopting”) is to suggest that there is no such thing as a gay vato and this does little to disrupt the heteronormativity of machismo. He relies on the logic that the connotation is “straight-looking” gay latinos instead of simply gay vatos. This analysis still relies on the binaries gay-straight, puto-vato , macho-maricon and does not lend voice to lesbian esas. Nonetheless, I commend his attempt to capture the “bottom-up” (D. Bell) approach of Hector Silva’s art which (re)produces the queer aztlan warriors of the many urban barrios of L.A. through reflexive, transformative, and emancipatoy imagery which Rodriquez labels in a reductionist fashion as “fantasy scenarios” and “homoerotic imagery” for Silva’s art transcends the—as Rodriguez might label—seedy callejones of East Los. I find this laughable as I know many vatos who are on the down low living an aesthetically heterosexual life. I seek to critique Rodriguez’ analysis as to advance the scholastic dialogue I seek to interrogate some of the assumptions buttressing the structure of the theory as to engage Rodriquez rather than intellectually attack him.
You would think that my later experiences at a Research 1 institution with scholars from all over the globe who should be able and/or willing to engage the topic of gender (non)normative individuals but outside the small Center for Ethnic Student Affairs (CESA), particularly MEChA, this was but a mere footnote to the struggle of early white european immigrants who pulled themselves up from their bootstraps (no need to critique that many latino “involuntary minorities” had no bootstraps to begin with) and assimilated into american society (no need to account for phenotype compatibility since we are colorblind) and subsequently achieved the “American Dream”. We indeed are living in a “dream world”10 and rely on myths and legends in order to remedy the contradictions between the colorblind meritocratic ideology and the collective experiential knowledge of many groups and the subsequent critical analyses of the intersections of race/ethnicity, culture, gender identity, and SES and educational experiences/outcomes within academia.
Us latinos must identify and nurture our strengths which we can build upon in order to develop and sustain the cultural and social capital which will lead to more cultural, social, political and fiduciary capital. latinos posses a hard work ethic which coupled with our resilience and ingenuity have afforded many latinos a meaningful metaphysical existence despite being suppressed into a context of little material wealth. marianismo, the antithesis of machismo, affords us an internally- and externally-ascribed sense of virtue and makes our familial ties strong and lasting. This is a great support network which many latino’s tap into as to cope with the stresses of balancing college life, work and family. We have a legacy of intellectual pursuits which rival any of the great western civilizations (which are taught in college classrooms but those of the new world are not) known to have existed and this can empower latino youth into feeling that orienting ourselves towards academia is not “acting white” or “selling out.”11 Our collective and individual material lived experiences make us well-rounded leaders from young ages and foster more self-aware students who are able to step outside their comfort zones. Our altruistic values are compatible with such professions as doctor or politician (yet, we are ushered or tracked towards lower-level careers such as CNA’s or social work). The aforementioned resilience and ingenuity translate into coping mechanisms and skill sets which are needed to navigate foreign institutions like places of higher education.
latinos benefit from advising models such as “developmental”12 or “strengths-based”13 advising yet many institutions of higher education rely on an “informational” advising model (merely providing the students with the information needed for degree attainment) and ALL students must tap into their social capital in order to persist to degree attainmentm (this is one of th few area where all students, reardless of race, ethnicity, SES, gender identity etc. are on equal footng). We are attacked for same-group affiliations such as MEChA for being exclusionary or reverse discriminatory while no such effort by institutions of higher education is put into interrogating the fact that pre-professional and greek organizations remain homogenously white. machismo influences the academic and professional decisions of latino youth which, I content, results in more latinas pursuing teaching, gender/LGBTQ studies and more latinos entering such fields as the STEM areas and vocational fields such as auto mechanics. The lack of heterosexual biological male latino K-12 teachers (let’s face it teaching is seen as an effeminate career due to machismo) exacerbates the “oppositional identity” development of latino men. The lack of role models, especially in education, due to latino professors and professionals being stretched too thin (as there are so few) and emotionally taxed due to microagressions14 is impacting, I posit, the academic self-efficacy of latino youth since there is no visible hope for change. Machismo leads many young urban latinos down the path of teen pregnancy and this is an almost certain ending to any meaningful post-K-12 education since it is widely held that men are to provide for and the women are to care for the family. Machismo coupled with american individualism results in a lack of support networks outside such places as diversity offices because machistas won’t often stand for the tokenism and condescending overtone thrown at latino leaders within academia. Academia’s focus on latino pillars of racial/ethnic progress like Cesar Chavez, Jaime Escalante or Sonya Soto-Mayor cast a huge shadow over our raza and sets such a high benchmark that many latino youth don’t dare to try and match or over-shadow. This perpetuates a low level of academic self-esteem/efficacy amongst latinos which afflicts a large portion of our urban youth. I feel that our overwhelmingly large number of youth in juvenile correction faculties stems from machismo’s impact on the racialization of latino youth. That is to say no machista in his right mind resolves conflict with words or let’s poverty keep them from pursuing the markers of success such as nice cloths and cars. Those heterosexual latinos who make it into higher education are nudged by machismo to conquer more women than books and steer clear of majors and careers which blur latino gender norms.
All in all, machismo has become an inseparable part of latino culture and must be nurtured as to develop it into a truly transformative and emancipatory cornerstone. We must (re)embrace our “two-spirit” gender identity orientation and, through historical revisionism, empower latino youth to embrace academia. Institutions of higher education must move away from colorblind to color-conscious admissions, advising, and outreach. We must focus on latino cultural strengths versus deficiencies as to remedy the low level of matriculation, retainment and degree attainment. Most pressing is the need for academic outreach and enrichment programs focused on latino K-12 students to shift from a “white savior” paradigm which relies on deficit discourse and employ a co-constructivst model (working with latino parents, students, communities and other stake-holders) as to empower latinos.
1. J. Ogbu
3. “white savior complex” (T. Cole) and “white man’s burden” (Kipling)
4. see C. Steele, or Cohen et al’s concept of “collective stereotype threat”
5. Oscar Lewis
6. Ogbu & Fordham
7. Gloria Ladson-Billings
8. the aztecs had invented a way to treat open wounds which began with sterilizing the wound with urine (the spanish conquistadors washed their mouths with their urine as aztecs used a ash-based toothpaste: see Clean Aztecs Dirty Spaniards by Katherine Ashenburg ) then covered the wound with a leaf treated with either herbs or other disinfecting agent and sealed with agave sap or that of another tree or plant see Mexicolore.com article at http://www.mexicolore.co.uk/index.php?one=azt&two=hea mayan mathematics: concept of zero, Inca astronomy: most complex astronomical solar-lunar calendar known to man
9. Cornel West
10. Aborigine concept
11. Ogbu & Fordham
12. M. King http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/clearinghouse/advisingissues/dev_adv.htm
13. Schreiner http://www.apu.edu/strengthsacademy/pdfs/strengths_based_advising_article.pdf
14. D. W. Sue & Microagressions project
• So it’s been a minute since I last delved into an organized research project so I decided to get the ball rolling with an attempt to organize my thoughts and insights in the research areas of Sociology of Education, Educational Psychology, Whiteness Theory, Critical Race Theory in Education, and (Post)Colonial Theory.
• I am pleased to announce my latest project:
• A series of thoughts and insights focusing on the topic of how the intersection of race/ethnicity, culture, gender identity, and socio-economic status (SES) impact the individual and collective experiences of traditionally oppressed groups throughout the entire academic continuum with particular focus on the high school through professional school pipeline.
o Note: I will not focus on SES alone which I regard as an attempt to cast a wider net and capture a greater diversity of study subjects as to lessen the visibility of the disparate educational outcomes which occur along lines of race and ethnicity within academia.
The inclusion of SES as a variable has been hijacked in academia as to serve as a proxy for race/ethnicity.
Studies like those led by S. Saha (see below) show that SES alone is not a good predictor of future physician practice-patterns whereas race/ethnicity ARE good predicitors of future physician practice patterns showing that physicians of color (of a particular specialty) from all SES backgrounds serve a greater proportion of indigent, medically underserved, and racial/ethnic minority patients than their white counterparts. Saha et al showed that even among the highest SES bracket this was shown to be the case; that is even racial/ethnic minorities from the highest SES bracket served or intended to serve more indigent, medically underserved and racial/ethnic minority communities than caucasian physicians from the lowest SES.
I will however examine the dispirate educational outcomes which result from the intersection of SES with such variables as race/ethnicity which exacerbate the academic disenfranchisement of oppressed groups, particularly Latinos.
• Topics will range from broad topics such as colorblindness to specific topics such as diversity and the medical education continuum.
o Below is how the topics will be titled which I feel will appeal to the millenial as they are very culturally significant.
Saha, S. et al. (2008). Student Body Racial and Ethnic Composition and Diversity-Related Outcomes in US Medicl Schools. JAMA 300 (10): 1135-1145
Saha, S. et al. (2008). Race-Neutral Versus Race-Conscious Workforce Policy to Improve Access to Health Care. Health Affairs 27 (1): 234-245
Collaboration seems to be a common theme among trailblazing health sciences center outreach programs aimed at increasing the student diversity in the health sciences and/or the diversity of the applicant pool for professional health sciences programs (i.e. medicine/pharmacy). For James et al who detail the Eastern Area Health Education Center (EAHEC or Eastern AHEC) which is housed at East Carolina University (ECU) “[a] key component of this form of collaboration is that together the agencies can overcome some obstacle or challenge that the individual agencies could not accomplish independently” (p. 33). Most programs I researched felt that their collaborations not only benefited teachers and students but also the outreach efforts themselves by expanding their capacity to reach more students. For the University of Hawaii this means that “any [K-12] school in Hawaii that requests involvement is visited” (p. 47) by the outreach program. This would be a good point to highlight that any proposed health sciences outreach program should be designed to have different levels of partnerships spanning from one-time campus visits (either at school or college campus) to formalized, on-going partnerships with state education offices, local school districts, schools or individual classrooms. The third outreach pipeline program is Project BioEYES at the University of Pennsylvania. The fourth is the nearly 20 year-old Partners is Health Sciences program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
Due to the fact that any such collaborative initiative will face challenges and barriers from the onset I will discuss those now. Knowing common challenges and barriers during the planning and implementation phases will aid in avoiding any such pitfalls. For James et al it is vital to begin developing health sciences outreach programming (East Carolina University) with the premise that “collaboration should not be expected to produce immediate successes due to the time it takes to build a faithful relationship” (p. 33). They go on to summarize the work of Russell & Flynn (2000) and Thorkilsdon & Stein (1996) to make the following suggestions:
“(a) the collaborations are [designed to be] sustainable [especially in schools with high teacher turnover]; (b) all agencies have an optimistic outlook; (c) all partners are given uniform voice and vote; and (d) [agreement that] common goals are achieved more efficiently through the partnership [rather] than individually. …partner commitment to participation, time, outside support for the program, distribution of information, and the presence of continuous assessment were also characteristics in successful collaborations” (p. 33).
Other barriers identified in other articles include the following: the objectives/outcomes must be clearly defined for all involved in the collaborative initiative; power relationships among core partners must be equalized (this can be difficult to achieve especially if one partner is a Research 1 institution’s teaching hospital or health sciences center); some resources [i.e. meeting space, presentation materials, evaluation tools] will need to be shared; restructuring of responsibilities may be required [i.e. writing the collaborative initiative into requisitions/job descriptions]; effective and flexible communication strategies across partnerships must be implemented; there must be sufficient resources: particularly time and money; poorly designed and implemented activities will have less impact on participants and therefore should be avoided; and the implementation of activities which are theoretically detached from the desired results of the collaborative initiative must be avoided. (Epstein & Sanders, 2000; Anderson et al., 2006; McLaughlin & Black-Hawkins, 2007). For example if you have a mission statement that identifies increasing diversity as part of an outreach office yet the events, programming and/or office personnel are informed by the guiding principles of colorblind meritocracy or neo-Social Darwinism this results in outreach that is theoretically detached from the mission statement.
The implementation of any advisory committee should be modeled on the concept of “horizontal expertise”. According to Anagnostopoulos et al horizontal expertise is necessary because:
“[a]chieving common goals requires professionals to cross organizational boundaries and combine the resources, norms, and values from their respective settings into new, hybrid solutions. Horizontal expertise emerges from these boundary crossings as professionals from different domains enrich and expand their practices through working together to recognize relations and coordinate their work” (p. 139).
For example, it would be vital to bring various units or stakeholders to the table like college prep programs, college/university recruitment/orientation, STEM advisors/professors, diversity offices, and even outreach programs in allied fields i.e. service learning. This might require, for example, health care practitioners stepping into the role of co-teacher/presenter for the outreach programming. Ideally, an advisory entity would identify any missing partners/stakeholders and be charged with overseeing the community asset-based assessment of the target communities as they relate to successfully navigating the health sciences preprofessional pipeline. While I am not a fan of traditional needs assessments because they are generally informed by deficit discourse in that the entire premise assumes that there is indeed a need or deficiency—in this case among communities who are underrepresented in the health sciences—and that the benevolent institution has the expertise and answers to remedy any identified needs while the target community is seen as lacking the wherewithal and agency to address the said needs without outside assistance (i.e. from the institution of higher education).
Community asset-based assessments borrow the concept of asset-mapping from Kretzman and McKnight and apply it to academic outreach/enrichment efforts. A community asset refers to something that makes a neighborhood/community/region a better place in which to live and learn. These can be tangible in nature such as individuals, organizations, businesses, and school or intangible such as social/cultural capital, culture, diversity, and close-knit interpersonal relationships. Kretzman and McKnight (1993) describe “asset mapping” as an:
“approach to community development … that work[s] from the principle that a community can be built only by focusing on the strengths and capacities of the citizens and associations that call a neighborhood, community or county ‘home.’”
I would also deploy this methodology to investigate the assets of underrepresented communities as to identify their self-identified assets versus their percieved deficiencie. The input of community-based organizations, K-12 schools and college/university units is paramount to creating and implementing well-planned health sciences outreach programming. I suggest employing an expanded definition of assets to include such things as programming, personnel, meeting space, office & A/V equipment, programming, students, networks/affiliations, and any other in-kind assets which can be mobilized to meet the shared goals of the pipeline program. The expected outcome would be to identify the target community’s strengths first and then weaknesses or barriers. Ideally, the advisory committee would also serve as a think tank that is convened to develop strategies to overcome the weaknesses and/or barriers by mobilizing the strengths or assets discovered through the asset-mapping process. In place of traditional needs assessments which ask-“What are you’re needs?”-I suggest employing a hybrid of surveys, focus groups, and interviews in order to assess the common barriers/community weaknesses preventing underrepresented students from attaining a higher education particularly in the health sciences. This might be accomplished by building upon or revisiting past community-based asset mapping or research pertinent to school-university-community partnerships focused on the target communities and its residents.
While it would be ideal to adhere to a co-constructivist model-where all key stakeholders have input into the construction of programming and/or prorgram ideology-throughout the planning and implementation stage I feel that it would be much more efficient to research the “best practices” of current outreach efforts of health sciences centers within institutions of higher education. I will offer up the common themes that are present in four nationally recognized health sciences outreach programs that share the common goal of increasing diversity in the health sciences professions. From my research I contend that the overarching shared goal of increasing diversity in the health sciences seems to be buttressed by other shared goals of providing: curriculum-based and age-appropriate outreach, teacher development, health sciences student training, and improved health care delivery in medically undeserved areas. While the geographic outreach boundaries would be a decision for the advisory committee I would contend that any such efforts focused on the Salt Lake Vally should be focused on the West Side of incorporated Salt Lake City which is extremely medically undeserved and offers a unique interest convergence in that they could be afforded access to diverse communities. Through this unique patient/community exposure health sciences students can become better trained to work with individuals and/or communities outside their comfort zone which would ideally translate into more culturally competent health care practitioners. It is important that this interest convergence not be exploited which can result in an unbalanced power dynamic and can create a sense of a community being used as a real-life research site/laboratory or its residents being seen as holders of cultural knowledge to be co-opted and translated versus viable research partners.
In order to implement the outreach which would be informed by the advisory committee it would be vital to organize a core health sciences outreach team charged with the coordinating the pipeline programing. This would most likely be limited to an entity within the partnering institutuion of higher educaton. It would be ideal if an office like that which was the University of Utah School of Medicine Diversity and Community Outreach could house and administer the program. It would also be ideal if each college, department or academic program of the partnering institution of higher education had a staff representative or liaison on the advisory committee of the health sciences outreach. This core group would focus on the shared goals of recruiting more diverse students into their academic programs and offering their current health professional students with access to diverse communities where they will be able to develop into culturally competent health care practitioners or researchers. The University of Hawaii encourages all their health professions students and social work students “to participate in rural training experiences either individually or as part of an interdisciplinary team.” It is not only important to provide health professional student training but professional development for in-service teachers as well.
All health science outreach programs which I examined have a K-12 teacher-development component. Through this teacher development the goal of offering age-appropriate, curriculum-based outreach is accomplished through close coordination with school administration and faculty. To supplement the input of teachers some health science outreach programs will need to specifically bring in school districts to be a core partner. For example, at East Carolina University “departmental faculty members also work with local school systems science coordinators to choose and align curriculum and plan professional development workshops to address the needs of the respective teachers” (p. 35). Again it would seem that you would have a core and periphery team dedicated to developing how this would be accomplished across the continuum. In Utah this would mean that the vested-interest and participation of the Utah State Office of Education, Health Science Education Specialist in the Career and Technical Education Office would be vital to the efforts outlined in this essay. I contend that yet another community asset-based assessment-again coupled with surveys, focus groups, and interviews-would be vital to achieve co-constructivism among key stakeholders and allow for input from the target communities.
Teacher development seemed to be the main focus of the successful outreach programs and the sole focus of one. While teacher development seems to be a small focus at the University of Hawaii, they do offer “teacher training in health education, [such as] how to make anatomy and microbiology fun [offered] to 200 teachers a year” (p. 47). For Project BioEYES the teacher development is coupled with co-teaching experiences with “trained university science consultants (Outreach Educators)” (p. 134). I feel this is a great way to prevent over-burdening both K-12 teachers and health science faculty, especially faculty of color who are generally more stretched thin than their white counterparts. For Project BioEYES this collaboration is achieved by having teachers attend “a half-day workshop held at one of our partner universities” in order to allow teachers to be “introduced to the curriculum by directly experiencing it” and when ready:
“The teacher then schedules co-teaching experiences with Project BioEYES Outreach Educators, collaborates with BioEYES staff to customize the unit for his/her individual class culture, and explores strategies to foster cooperative student research.”
Again you have a collaboration that naturally lends itself to the development of age-and-culturally-appropriate curriculum by utilizing the teachers as a resource for reciprocal benefit. Project BioEYES adopted an already-developed curriculum utilizing a zebra fish laboratory. See the Resources section for a link to this curriculum. This is a very inexpensive program that any teacher can implement without the need for extensive collaboration.
At East Carolina University in North Carolina they too use co-teaching experiences where “[d]epartmental faculty members also visit classrooms to assist or to model teaching science topics using an inquiry science approach” (p. 35). Such an approach here in Utah would enable any such program to meet the Utah Core Curriculum requirements. Within “these classroom lessons, university faculty members teach a portion of a grade level content goal” again making it pertinent to the core curriculum in North Carolina. Their professional development is also closely coordinated with local school districts. They are guided by the following principle: “Professional development for teachers is important for several reasons. One is that teachers are life-long learners, not only for certification requirements, but more importantly for expanding their own knowledge” (p. 36). Professional development for them not only includes teacher workshops but offering in-kind donations of equipment and personnel as to enhance or augment the equipment already available to teachers and students through the local schools. All the programs I researched maintain some inventory of equipment, tool-kits or the like which are provided to the program partners for check-out. One program makes in-kind donations and overall teacher professional development its primary modus operandi.
The nearly 20 year-old Partners is Health Sciences program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is entirely based on the teacher development philosophy coupled with a Public Health emphasis designed to ensure their health professions students are culturally compitent practitioners through enriching their technical knowledge with experiential knowledge: teaching students about the national health concerns articulated by Healthy People 2010 to give them “a better understanding of those factors that favor personal and, therefore, national health” (p. 181) coupled with exposure to patients and communities that are medically underserved and/or impacted by health disparities. They feel that the lack of understanding of these issues and their impact on society “effects the quantity and quality of students selecting a career in science or medicine” (p. 181). They focus on teacher development because they see their work as a responsibility to remedying the current problems with K-12 science teacher pre-service education and professional development which includes:
“(1) the barriers between schools of education and science on the same or dissimilar campuses (Summerfield, 1996), (2) the low quality of the teaching of science (Weaver, 1984) and (3) the low quantity of well-trained science teachers (Hudson, 1996). … Training (pre-service) and/or re-training (in-service) of the nation’s science teachers is an effective approach to solving this problem” (p. 182).
Any such programming in Utah, I contend, would require adopting a similar philosophy which would open doors for cross-disciplinary collaboration such as between the School of Medicine and the College of Education. However, the reasoning for the need of such cross-disciplenary collaboration given above seems to be a very condescending message to K-12 science teachers so I would suggest modifying how this is articulated. This UAMS outreach program also conducted a traditional needs assessment of Arkansas K-12 science teachers. Program administrators felt that the input of K-12 science teachers was vital “because K-12 teachers are (1) professionally trained educators; (2) well-versed in local, state, and national ‘standards/frameworks’ and (3) trained to design and implement lesson plans in the K-12 classroom” (p. 183). They offer teachers “a cafeteria of mini courses” lasting anywhere from one to three days, “telecommunication outreach for students” utilizing the UAMS “telemedicine network,” “computer-assisted instruction” modules; a science night at the “local science magnet high school” which they “adopted”; hosting “student field trips to the UAMS campus”; “community-requested presentations by program faculty”; and “college credit for participating pre-service and in-service teachers”. One area were this and the other aforementioned programs could improve is with their focus on health science/professional career exploration.
Career exploration should be an undergirding objective in most, if not all, the activities, events and programming of health science outreach designed to increase the diversity of the applicants in health sciences pipeline. Career exploration would be coupled with sending positive reinforcing messages to students underepresented in the health sciences as to counter any racialization or racial/ethnic academic stratification. This would be accomplished in many ways some of which are historical revisionism which disrupts the eurocentricism inherent in the STEM core curriculum. That is by revising the racial master narrative that indigineous groups are primitive and backwards with no contemporary connection to modern science with narratives of such things as Aztec surgeons and botonists or Mayan mathmaticians as to send the message that intellectual pursuits in the STEM subjects is part of underrepresented students’ history. This could possibly have a positive impact on underrepresented students’ academic self-esteem, self-efficacy, disposition and performance. It has been shown that there is a positive relationship between career development and educational development. According to a review of the literature concerning career/educational development conducted by Dr. David Blustein the popular discourse on the subject holds that:
“In sum, the findings that have been presented here provide empirical support for the proposition that students who are able to internalize the connection between school and career will be better prepared psychologically to engage fully in their educational lives” (no pg. #).
I contend that the same holds true if underrepresented students are also able to internalize the connection between their racial/ethnic identity and their career choice. Subsequently, the career exploration implemented must be buttressed by positive, reinforcing messages from people who can serve as positive role models and mentors. A cascading mentorship program might serve the purpose of positive reinforcement and enable the health science outreach program to send this message of historical revisionism and empowerment with some cohesion.
The model for career development would be that of “informed and considered career decision” development versus traditional career exploration. This will prevent the participants from being short-changed and enable students to make “informed and considered career” decisions. According to Gillie and Isenhour (2003):
“informed and considered career decisions are the product of a career development process that includes: creating awareness of options; exploring possible career pathways; reviewing available information; clarifying interests, values and skills through assessment; reflecting upon experiences; relating education and training options to occupational goals; experimenting through work sampling, volunteering or employment; consulting with knowledgeable people in the field of interest; formulating plans for education, training, career entry, and retraining; making decisions and refining plans, and; applying the career development process throughout the lifespan” (p. 2).
The authors point out that “[n]ot all people will engage in all steps and the sequence may vary” but this will most likely manifest or result in “informed and considered career decisions” for the target audience or students underrepresented in the health sciences. This will hopefully leave no allusions as to what health sciences careers (i.e. medicine) are all about. This will prevent students from making straw-man statements like, “I’ve always wanted to be a doctor since I was five” rather make statements like “Medicine is for me because since I was five I wanted to be a doctor and through this program I have informed my decision to pursue medicine with informed career development and fully understand what it will take for me to become a future physician.”
The limitations to a proposed collaborative initiative like this are great. I have already outlined some of the most prevalent structural, ideological and administrative barriers. I will now discuss the financial limitations. Most of the programs I examined were not institutionally funded, rather grant funded. While there are millions of grant funds available to start and sustain such aforementioned collaborative initiatives, the grant writing, application and reporting process is very labor-intensive and not a secure source of funding. An upside to such funding is that the ideological differences with the parent institution can usually be circum-navigated because they are not holding and manipulating the purse strings. Institutionally funded programs like the former University of Utah School of Medicine Office of Diversity and Community Outreach are subject to institutional reform which usually leans towards, race-neutral, equal opportunity philosophy.
Another limitation is what the institution is willing to provide in-kind. While this endeavor could be undertaken without institutional backing it would be hard to make inroads without being institutionally mandated or grounded. For some programs I have heard that the institution provides support in name only and all the rest is the responsibility of the program. Southern Utah University’s Rural Health Scholars is one such program. The best way to get a program like this in place would be to make it legislatively mandated. However, few states like Utah would back this with the current wave of anti-affirmative action legislation, cloaked as equal opportunity legislation, coming out of the Utah State Legislature.
Of course the ongoing evaluation and assessment of any such programming is essential to its sustainability. The impact of the programming and its perceived quality are vital to any outreach programming. What follows are my recommendations for program evaluation.
Pre-post surveys administered as to measure the following:
Participants/Students should be measured on the following:
Anticipated and actual satisfaction
change in attitudes towards health sciences/ health sciences careers
change in motivation to pursue a higher education and/or health sciences career
change in level of understanding of pathway to one or more health professions
change in understanding of the primary personal characteristics/attributes of a helath practitioner
change in career goals (either health sciences-specific or in general)
change in perception of the feasibility of becoming a health practitioner
change in academic self-esteem; academic performance; academic self-efficacy; academic disposition
change in knowledge of any specific health profession or health sciences in general
Methodology of assessment/evaluation
Paper or computer-based surveys distributed to target group wich employ a combination of Likert scale (i.e 1-5), True-False, and multiple choice questions. Surveys should be given out to as many participants before and after any event, program, school year etc. Avoid surveys which have leading questions or no room for clarification of answers. Also, the methodology should be culturally congruent, short and simple. Any statistical analysis should be handled by a third party (any college student looking to bolster resume could serve as a great low-cost or free resource).
Other recommendations for assessments/evaluations:
Evaluations should be program/event-specific and collected as close to actual program/event as possible
Evaluations should be age-appropriate as well as culturally and linguistically apporpriate
Different measures should be included in the surveys for teachers/counselors/staff/parents
In closing, I have provided my research which was conducted for a graduate course but which was initiated during my time working at the University of Utah School of Medicine which at the time included a collaborative initiative aimed at widening the pool of diverse students entering the health science professions. This blog post has been informed by much research into such programming. I have shown that multi-disciplinary collaboration is key to developing a program that seeks to provide age-appropriate, curriculum-based outreach to K-12 students and teacher development for K-12 educators. Career development would also be a key component of this outreach. I have discussed the barriers, the basic planning/implementation process, and overall outreach structure butressed by existing “best practices” at leading institutions of higher education. NOTE: IT IS MY PERSONAL BELIEF THAT “DIVERSITY” IS NOT A MEASURABLE OUTCOME (I.E. NUMBERS) OR AN END IN ITSELF, RATHER, A PROCESS BY WHICH MARGINALIZED AND DISENFRANCHIZED COMMUNITIES BECOME A LASTING/SUSTAINABLE PART OF AN INSTITUTION (I.E. HELATH SCIENCES). THE FOCUS SHOULD NOT BE ON DEMOGRAPHICS, RATHER, ON EQUITABLE OUTCOMES FOR ALL STUDENTS.
Resources on the web for K-12 teachers and/or health sciences outreach:
• Zebrafish in the classroom: http://www.zfic.org/index.html
• University of Texas, Teacher Enrichment Initiative’s Health Care Unit/Curriculum: http://teachhealthk-12.uthscsa.edu/curriculum/healthcare/healthcare.asp
• Kids Health Games Closet: http://kidshealth.org/kid/closet/?gclid=CLPt7f3V5aUCFQN7gwodIjyt2g
• NIH Curriculum Supplement Series: http://science-education.nih.gov/customers.nsf/WebPages/CSHome
Anderson, C. et al. (2006). Science Center Partnership: Outreach to Students and Teachers. The Rural Educator, Fall 2006 pp. 33-39.
Blustein, D. The Relationship between Career Development and Educational Development: A Selected Review of the Literature. Accessed on the Pennsylvania Department of Education website www.pacareerstandards.com/documents/RA-3_Career_Development.pdf on various dates.
Burns, E. R. (2002). Anatomy of a Successful K-12 Educational Outreach Program in the Health Sciences: Eleven Years Experience at One Medical Sciences Campus. The Anatomical Record (New Anat.), 269, pp. 183-193.
Epstein, J. and Mavis Sanders. (2000). Connecting Home, School, and Community: New Directions for Social Research. In Handbook of the Sociology of Education, Maureen T. Hallinan, ed. Academic/Plenum Publishers:New York.
James, L. et al. (2006). Science Center Partnership: Outreach to Students and Teachers. The Rural Educator, pp. 33-39.
McLachlan, J. (2005). Outreach is better than selection for increasing diversity. Medical Education, 39(2005), pp. 872-875.
McLaughlin, C. and Kristine Black-Hawkins. (2007). School-university partnerships for educational research—distinctions, dilemmas and challenges. The Curriculum Journal, 18(3), pp. 327-341.
Shuda, J. and Kearns-Sixsmith, D. (2009). Outreach: Empowering Students and Teachers to Fish Outside the Box. Zebrafish, 6(2), pp. 133-138.
Withy, K. M et al. (2006). Community Outreach, Training, and Research: The Hawai’i/Pacific Basin Area Health Education Center of the University of Hawai’i, John A. Burns School of Medicine. Hawai’i Medical Journal, 65(2006), pp. 46-49.
Slowly I began to understand fully that there was no place in academe for folks from working-class backgrounds who did not wish to leave the past behind. That was the price of the ticket. Poor students would be welcome at the best institutions of higher learning only if they were willing to surrender memory, to forget the past and claim the assimilated present as the only worthwhile and meaningful reality.
bell hooks (via wretchedoftheearth)
And if you don’t abide by this, you basically get the cold shoulder from academia. You have to fight to defend your work more than the average student because your perspective as a marginalized person is one that was meant for a study, a dissertation, or some other academic publication. It’s not so appealing when the subject of the study is giving you their perspective firsthand instead of having it pre-chewed and spoon-fed to you by someone who will never fully understand what you’ve been through because they’ve most likely never been there to begin with.
Not just academia, but any sort of higher class field. If you aren’t abandoning any and all of your “ghetto” (read: Poor and anything dealing with Blackness, LGBTness, etc) past behind. And if you mess up, then your past WILL be used against you.
Yet another ideological connundrum arose for me when deconstructing the meaning being produced by the above quotes. I immediately thought of Spivak and Ogbu & Fordham and the notion of “subaltern intellectuals” (Spivak) and “oppositional culture” (Ogbu & Fordham). As a “subaltern intellectual” I initially resented Spivak’s assertion that because I was part of the “subaltern elite” due to my academic background that my subsequent privilege was also my loss. That is to say that I am so invested in “whiteness” that my consciousness was too far removed from “the bottom” (Bell) to speak with any authenticity or authority for the truly “subaltern” who by definition lack the capacity to define and speak for themselves. Spivak asserts that my attempts to speak from “the bottom” would inevitably result in an essentialization of “the bottom” and suggests that I “must avoid reconstructing the subaltern as merely another unproblematic field of knowing”, limiting the impact of such reflexive scholarship to the ivory tower of academia. I claim that the “subaltern intellectual” can maintain a positionality and subjectivity which is close enough to “the bottom” that any reflexive scholarship with the subaltern community as subject could avoid loosing its “authenticity of voice”. I do like the claim made by (post)colonial theory that the (pre)colonial, subaltern consciousness is irretrievable insofar as the colonial project has anhialated and redefined said consciousness to the point of no return. Therefore, attempts at retrieving one’s indigineity is futile.
As for the claim of Ogbu and Fordham that due to the racailization (racial stratification) of American students of color that the academy is a white space which connotes white superiority that American students of color tend to adopt an “oppositional culture” which is the polar opposite of the academy. Furthermore, they contend that to embrace the academy, for students of color, becomes a sign for “selling out” or “acting white”. I disagree and contend that it IS our culture to strive for excellence in academia (eurocentric) allbeit the pursuit of knowledge took a different shape. I would contend that students of color who embrace the academy and excel therein are uplifted and heralded for their perceived uniqueness and emancipatory potential.
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Summary of Whiteness Theory
Whiteness theory treats whiteness not as a biological category but as a social construction. Insofar as whiteness is thought of as “natural,” it is understood in essentialized terms — either as a personal attribute or as a scientific category. Yet who counts as white depends on what is at stake. CRT scholar Cheryl Harris suggests that whiteness is best thought of as a form of property. Conceived of as legal or cultural property, whiteness can be seen to provide material and symbolic privilege to whites, those passing as white, and sometimes honorary whites. Examples of material privilege would include better access to higher education or a choice of safe neighborhoods in which to live; symbolic white privilege includes conceptions of beauty or intelligence that not only are tied to whiteness but that implicitly exclude blackness or brownness.
It should be noted that the patterns of whiteness uncovered by whiteness theories may in some cases include individuals who identify as (and are identified by others as) brown or black. This is because whiteness does not refer to a biological but to a socially constructed category. For example, black or brown academics who internalize white-privileging institutional norms may be said to benefit from and participate in the promotion of institutional whiteness. Insofar as African Americans, Latina/os, and other non-whites aspire to material privileges that are coded as white and insofar as they see that material well-being as earned through individual merit (rather than through a system that excludes all but a few people of color), they may be said to participate in material whiteness.
Discursive theories of whiteness analyze the ways in which language, mass media, discourses, and symbols organize meaning so that whiteness is framed as both the preferred and the normal state of being. Discursive theories often identify binaries that treat blackness or brownness as the foil (or dramatic “other”) for whiteness, allowing whiteness to emerge as special and rare. They also point to the meta-narratives implicit in our mainstream discussions of race. (Just as “boy meets girl” is a staple narrative of movies, the idea that the history of racism in the U.S. is a history of “progress” is a staple of discussions of race in documentaries and news stories). The focus of discursive theories is on the way that taken-for-granted perception is organized and shaped by manipulations of symbols and binaries (e.g., white=light=good vs. black=dark=evil). The dichotomies involved in much of the organization of white-privileging perception insure that such perception is hierarchically organized: not only is one set of characteristics better than but it specifically excludes the other. Just as “reason” gains its superiority in part by excluding “emotion,” images of white innocence gain their power in part from the contrast with images of black or brown menace. (To some extent, post-structural, post-colonial, and cultural studies analyses that focus on race may overlap with discursive theories of whiteness.)
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Who’s Heritage?: discursive whiteness and
Utah’s liberal environmentalist movement
Utah has been ground-zero for many land-use and land-conservation/preservation culture wars. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance has proposed that Utah wilderness north of the Diné Reservation be designated as a wilderness area while the Utah Diné community “is proposing the creation of the Diné Bikéyah National Conservation Area extending north along the border of the Navajo Reservation” (www.DinéBikéyah.org).
The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance has recently initiated a media campaign on television consisting of several public service announcements within which the mantra is “Our Heritage. Worth Protecting.” In this paper I will deconstruct the media campaign and the SUWA website both of which are replete with discursive whiteness. I will inform my critical analysis with whiteness theory, semiotics and (post)colonial theory. The purpose of this paper is to show how the environmentalist discourse of white liberals, particularly that of the SUWA, is grounded in discursive whiteness which uses—among other things— triangulation to create a binary opposition between the SUWA/the white public and Native American community.
According to George Lipsitz in Chapter One (The Possessive Investment in Whiteness) of his book, The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit From Identity Politics (1998) material whiteness has been established since the colonial era in the United States to present “through a possessive investment in whiteness for European Americans” (p. 2). Lipsitz also discusses how white American hegemony is maintained by racism—which takes on many forms—through temporal space and contends that “[c]ontemporary racism has been created anew…by the putatively race-neutral, liberal, social democratic reforms…,” and that “the racialized nature of social policy in the United States since the Great Depression has actually increased the possessive investment in whiteness among European Americans” (p. 5). I contend that the white, liberal environmentalist platform is part of this contemporary racism, which, while race-neutral at face-value, produces a racialized “preferred meaning” (Hall, 1997) of the indigenous Native American community.
Using a linguistic semiotic approach to connect the language to the dominant environmentalist discourse within the context of Utah’s green movement it is clear that the SUWA and it’s rhetoric of conservation is producing a “preferred meaning” of white American exceptionalism and superiority in the environmental protection/conservation realm. The early white-liberal environmentalist community “found inspiration in the Native American actions and attitudes” and circulated “stereotypes of Indians as beings who left no mark on the land, essentially denying them their humanity, culture, history and modernity” (Lewis, 2000). Generations of white settlers who exploited, polluted, and plundered the natural resources of Native American reservations and white nationalistic policies effectively stripped tribal communities of truly transformative, emancipatory sovereignty. As a result many Native American reservations underwent tribal development paradigm shifts and tribal governments began, what white liberals labeled, “placing needs over older cultural regulatory patterns” (Lewis, 2000). The Diné Nation has been reviled by white-liberal environmentalists for allowing coal and uranium mining on their land which has “destroyed large areas of land, polluted water and air, and caused untold long-term health problems. … …casting a haze over the Grand Canyon and Four Corners region. … …[and] scares thousands of acres of Indian lands” (Lewis, 2000).
Through discursive whiteness, the white nationalistic policies coupled with the environmental disregard for native lands in the name of progress, namely white American expansion, are made invincible by emphasizing the binary opposition between white liberal environmentalists and Native American tribes. I contend that this binary opposition creates what Lipsitz terms a “countersubversive consensus” among white liberals. Lipsitz shows how despite evidence that FHA policies, urban renewal projects and the “War on Drugs” have disparately impacted black Americans, particularly urban blacks, black culture is seen as the root of black plight in the United States by subscribing to myths like colorblind meritocracy which, over time, become part of the “regime of truth” (Hall, 1998). Lipsitz claims that this is achieved through discursive whiteness in that white “Americans produce largely cultural explanations for structural social problems” which results in “a discourse that demonize[s] people of color for being victimized by…[white nationalistic policies]…while hiding the privileges of whiteness…they enjoy through their possessive investment in whiteness” (p. 18). Informed by the racial master narrative, or what Lipsitz calls “cultural stories,” that Native Americans are backward, primitive, static people and recent Native American resistance to white nationalism through tribal development policies adopted under duress and desperation produced by white nationalistic policies, white-liberal environmental organizations like the SUWA cast natives as a threat to Utah’s wilderness. What is silenced is the fact that white nationalistic policies have created the context of this binary opposition.
I contend that the same “othering” process, or discursive whiteness, which St. George Tucker used—branding African American chattel slaves as less-than in order to justify his flip-flopping on the issue of manumission—is being utilized by the SUWA. Hamilton fleshes out the white conundrum of whether or not to support African American slave manumission if that compromises their heritage and/or material whiteness (economic and social). In a similar fashion the SUWA’s white conundrum, or what Hamilton calls “conflicting loyalties,” is whether or not to uphold the liberal doctrine of natural rights for Native American’s—namely their unalienable right Utah wilderness as Utah’s first inhabitants—if that means threatening the white liberal conservation/preservation of said lands.
Bennett (1964) contends that white liberals use, discursive whiteness, or what he calls the “ritual phrases of liberalism” to maintain white hegemony. I contend that the SUWA utilizes the exact same modus operandi. The SUWA defines wilderness as proscribed by The Wilderness Act of 1964 as “‘an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain…’” (SUWA website, 2011). They further contend that designating The San Juan Region-Canyonland Region as wilderness would protect “the last of our nation’s wild country” and afford all with opportunities for “primitive recreation”. They characterize this area as “unfettered by any significant human development” (SUWA website, 2011). The fact that no Native Americans are visually represented creates a “preferred meaning” insofar as “they are present through a kind of substitution. … …their ‘absence’ is represented” (Hall, p. 59). I contend that the preferred meaning is that Utah wilderness belongs exclusively to white Americans and Native Americans are a remnants of the colonial era with no contemporary connection to Utah wilderness.
Their media vignettes use visual and linguistic affirmations of discursive whiteness through (re)presentations of all white actors utilizing Utah wilderness for recreation (“in a place with no distractions” ), strengthening family bonds (“just a chance for us to reconnect”), and “discovering something timeless.” (SUWA website).
These taken-for-granted notions are buttressed by the cultural stories inherent in discursive whiteness that the American West, particularly Southern Utah, at the time of its discovery by whites was a vast, available landscape due to the Native American’s lack of cultural knowledge of how to effectively and efficiently utilize Utah wilderness for maximum production. The discursive whiteness of Utah History uses the master narrative or cultural story that Southern Utah was a threatening environment peppered by savages upon Mormon Pioneer arrival and both the land and its inhabitants branded as primitive, wild with the land, post-statehood, belonging to the Utah white public. Subsequently white Utahans become solidified as the divinely ordained inheritors of Utah wilderness and, through indigenization, deny the Native American’s their “natural rights” as Utah’s first peoples. One video vignette uses a white elderly man with his granddaughter standing above the Colorado River with a voice over which says, “Some ask why should we protect Utah wilderness? Well there’s lots of reasons, our heritage, the importance of wilderness to our economy… and to preserving our way of life” (SUWA website). I contend that making such statements are not seen as offensive by whites because of discursive whiteness which intersects the personal/relational whiteness manifested as white ignorance/complacence (Hamilton). The connotation is that it is white American heritage, not that of Native Americans, is superior and therefore worth protecting.
In closing, I have shown through using whiteness theory, coupled with semiotics and (post)colonial theory how the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliances media campaign and website are replete with discursive whiteness which serves to justify material whiteness and I would add institutional whiteness. The discursive whiteness the SUWA employs draws from racial stereotypes of Native Americans and makes invincible the white nationalistic policies which have oppressed and subjugated Native Americans to the point of allowing tribal development which includes corporate waste production and disposal. Also, through the “othering” process inherent in discursive whiteness, white liberal environmentalists, in this case the SUWA, are cast as better stewards of Utah wilderness which is taken-for-granted as being part of white Utahans “…heritage. Worth protecting.”
 Discursive Whiteness: this is essentially the semiotics of whiteness theory with the “preferred meaning” being that whiteness is the preferred and normal state of being and that and anything else is abnormal, less than, and “other”. For a great summary of whiteness see my blog post which is an exerpt from the work of Dr. Audrey Thompson
 Material whiteness is defined as “measurable & objective forms of power and privilege”: class hand-out Racism(s) in Your Context: Mapping Whiteness Today from Dr. Audrey Thompson University of Utah Education, Culture and Society Department
 Lipsitz (1998) contends this operates by disguising “the social disintegration brought about by neoconservativism itself as the fault of ‘inferior’ social groups, and…builds a sense of righteous indignation…” (p. 16).
Bennett, L. (1964). Tea and Sympathy: Liberals and Other White Hopes. In, The Black Mood and Other Essays. USA: pp. 75-104
Goldie, T. (1989). The Representation of the Indigenie. Fear and Temptation: The Image of the Indigene in Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Literatures Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press. In The Post-Colonial Studies Reader. Bill Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G. and Tiffin, H. Routlege 1989.
Hall, S. (1997). The Work of Representation. In S. Hall (Ed.). Representation: Cultural Representation and Signifying Practices. pp. 15-67. London: Sage.
Hall, S. (1997). The Spectacle of the ‘Other’. In S. Hall (Ed.). Representation: Cultural Representation and Signifying Practices. pp. 225-280.
Hamilton, P. (1998). Revolutionary Principles and Family Loyalties: Slavery’s Transformation in the St. GeorgeTucker Household of Early National Virginia. The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, Vol. 55, No. 4 (Oct., 1998), pp. 531-556. Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture http://www.jstor.org/stable/2674444
Lewis, D. (2000). Essay on Native American Environmental Issues. Native America in the Twentieth Century: An Encyclopedia accessed at http://www.cnie.org/nae/docs/intro.html
Lipsitz, G. (1998). Chapter 1: The Possessive Investment in Whiteness. In, The Possesisive Investment in Whiteness: How white people profit from identity politics. Phillidephia, PA: Temple University Press, pp. 1-23
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. (2012). Utah Wilderness. http://www.utahwilderness.org/
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance youtube channel. http://www.youtube.com/user/UtahWilderness
Diné Bikéyah website. (2012). http://www.utahdinebikeyah.org/
As Cornel West put it… “the repressive apparatus of the nation state” (see below for source) is force, sanction and surveillance and punitive assimilation…
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A rather unsettling conundrum arose for me when I discursively began analyzing the debate over ethnocentric academic departments like Chicano Studies.
I agree with some of the main points of many non-supporters of ethnocentric pedagogy, curriculum and academic research. Don’t get me wrong I see much transformative and emancipatory potential in such intellectual pursuits especially in homogenous/colorblind institutions of higher education which generally translates into a subvert hostile environment for non-whites. I feel that much knowledge is gained and preserved by such departments and that such departments are more than mere remnants of the Civil Rights Era. I feel that attacks on such departments as self-seggregationist, reverse-discriminatory or “un-American” rely on the discursive whiteness fallacy that, socially speaking, the impact of the ideas and actions of non-whites are perfectly symmetrical with those of whites. Some argue that this marginalizes white students as there is no such “White Studies” program. This is the most trivial counter-argument ever as any non-white who has had to endure it knows, there IS such an academic niche: IT’S CALLED AMERICAN HISTORY wherein the contributions and achievements of non-whites are relegated to a unit or sub-unit of an entire textbook.
On the other had I have heard some argue, in a rather nuanced manner, that such academic disciplines help to maintain white hegemony by over-inflating the contributions and achievements of a handful of individuals per racial/ethnic category. This hyper-sensationalized focus becomes projected as mythical, legendary, even imaginary and the benchmark becomes set so high that generations of non-whites seem to fall short of glory. Also there is something to be said about the potential of radicalizing the ethnic studies disciplines to the point of no return. This marginalizes many non-whites from the discipline in that professors, students and contributing intellectuals work as proxy gatekeepers, policing the cultural/academic borderlands. This pits non-white against non-white as prescribed by the colonial project: divide and conquer. In 21st Century America the notions of race and ethnicity are such contested notions that perhaps a nuanced approach is needed.
I suggest using the neo-social-Darwinian concept of “inclusion” to turn the topic on its head. I would shift the demand for the inclusion of ethnic studies as a major to a demand for inclusionary disciplines as to open doors for more co-constructivist, trans-disciplinary and transformative research. This would look something like having an ethnic-specific sub-focus for most if not all the majors. Therefore if I am wanting to write a dissertation on the Hispanic/Chicana/Latina midwifery in the southwest United States than this would be something that the History, Gender Studies, and perhaps School of Nursing would be required to accommodate. Perhaps having a “Chicano Studies” certificate program which predetermined departments would be required to offer courses for. Even perhaps demanding an academic research center/think-tank for social justice where each ethnic group is still represented but following a less ethno-centric/hierarchical model, rather, a co-constructivist, plenary model. Let’s face it, ethnic studies has not been as transformative and emancipatory as intended and it is time we stay ahead of the neo-liberal ideology’s hallmarks like neo-Social Darwinism, meritocracy, inclusion, colorblindness, and post-race and its attacks and begin work on a more comprehensive plan to become institutionalized to the point that we don’t have to be put on the racial defense team for ethnic studies programs all the while there is no such debate going on about why the already “inclusive”, likely colorblind (self-identified/sanctioned), pre-professional student organizations across the nation are largely dominated by and made accessible (not necessarily LITERALLY) to white-non-hispanic (LOL) American students. The prescriptive notion of racial/ethnic “inclusion” is no vaccine against gate-keeping, profiling, fraternization, and preferential treatment based on phenotype or externally-ascribed race/ethnicity.
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My critique of (re)presentations of academic outreach/enrichment programs targeting the Latino community as to close the “achievement gap”
Latino Parents Empowered To Be Education Advocates
‘Parent-School Partnership’ Helps Parents Navigate Public School System
Updated: 1:41 pm CST November 21, 2011
MADISON, Wis. — A new partnership is empowering Latino parents in the Madison area to become better advocates for their children at school.
The Madison Metropolitan School District’s “Parent-School Partnership” graduated twenty Latino parents from the nine-week program during the weekend. The effort provides Spanish-speaking families the resources to navigate the public school system better.
Parents learned about their rights, responsibilities, and their role in their children’s education, organizers said.
Teachers said they hope the program helps to close the achievement gap.
“We were all very concerned about the graduation rate of Latino students,” said teacher Kristen Scott, of Nuestro Mundo Community School. ”Less than 50 percent of our Latino students are graduating, and we think that’s really appalling. And the best way to increase success for those kids is to increase parent involvement.”
Organizers will continue to meet with the graduates on the first Saturday of every month.
To find out more on this, visit Channel 3000’s Search page.
Copyright 2011 by Channel 3000. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Stories like this support the “deficit-based beliefs” that Latino “families…[are]…a burden for college students” and that “their lack of familiarity with college life and expectations, [coupled with] their insistence on maintaining physically close contact with their children” (Villalpando, 2000, p.15) make Latino culture the reason the “achievement gap” exists. Stories like this serve as the institution’s “stock story—the one the institution collectively forms and tells about itself. … This story…chooses from among the available facts to present a picture [that] emphasizes the school’s benevolent motivation…” (Delgado 1989, p. 259). This paternalistic attitude perpetuates the “inferiority paradigm” that “is built on the belief that people of color are biologically and genetically inferior to Whites” (Tate, 1997, p.199). The “achievement gap,” is often understood as the fact that Latino students are not performing at the same level as their white counterparts. This reifies the racial hierarchy and white supremacy paradigm in that “the White middle-class American (often) serves as the standard against which other groups are compared” (Tate, 1997, p.199). Through programming like the one discussed here Latino parent’s are declared to be empowered by an institution assuming that first and foremost there is a need or problem requiring their exceptional/expert attention, and secondly that they have the knowledge and ability to understand and meet needs of these subordinated communities. Are they listening and co-constructing methods to identify the needs of the communities? Is credit being given to those at the “bottom” (Matsuda, 1995) that may be advising them on how to go about identifying and/or addressing the needs of the subordinated Latino community? If so, by centering the “benevolent institution” the contributions of the Latino community become silenced. While it may be true that Latino parents don’t have the cultural knowledge or social capital to help their students navigate the higher education continuum the focus should be on the structures, processes, politics and cultural codes that subvert the communities of the Latino students rather then the deficiencies of the Latino parents.
Delgado, R. (1989). Storytelling for Oppositionists and Others: A Plea for Narrative. Michigan Law Review, 87, 2411-2441.
Matsuda, M. (1995). Looking to the Bottom: Critical Legal Studies and Reparations. In Crenshaw, K. et al (Eds.). Critical Race Theory: the Key Writings that Formed the Movement (pp. 63-79).
Tate, W. (1997). Critical Race Theory and Education: History, Theory, and Implications. Review of Research in Education, 22, 195-247.
Villalpando, O. (2002). Self-Segregation or Self-Preservation? A Critical Race Theory and Latina/o Theory Analysis of a Study of Chicana/o Students. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education.
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Much of America’s understanding of the early relationship between the Indian and the European is conveyed through the story of Thanksgiving. Proclaimed a holiday in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln, this fairy tale of a feast was allowed to exist in the American imagination pretty much untouched until 1970, the 350th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims. That is when Frank B. James, president of the Federated Eastern Indian League, prepared a speech for a Plymouth banquet that exposed the Pilgrims for having committed, among other crimes, the robbery of the graves of the Wampanoags. He wrote:
“We welcomed you, the white man, with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end; that before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a free people.”
But white Massachusetts officials told him he could not deliver such a speech and offered to write him another. Instead, James declined to speak, and on Thanksgiving Day hundreds of Indians from around the country came to protest. It was the first National Day of Mourning, a day to mark the losses Native Americans suffered as the early settlers prospered. This true story of “Thanksgiving” is what whites did not want Mr. James to tell.
What Really Happened in Plymouth in 1621?
According to a single-paragraph account in the writings of one Pilgrim, a harvest feast did take place in Plymouth in 1621, probably in mid-October, but the Indians who attended were not even invited. Though it later became known as “Thanksgiving,” the Pilgrims never called it that. And amidst the imagery of a picnic of interracial harmony is some of the most terrifying bloodshed in New World history.
The Pilgrim crop had failed miserably that year, but the agricultural expertise of the Indians had produced twenty acres of corn, without which the Pilgrims would have surely perished. The Indians often brought food to the Pilgrims, who came from England ridiculously unprepared to survive and hence relied almost exclusively on handouts from the overly generous Indians-thus making the Pilgrims the western hemisphere’s first class of welfare recipients. The Pilgrims invited the Indian sachem Massasoit to their feast, and it was Massasoit, engaging in the tribal tradition of equal sharing, who then invited ninety or more of his Indian brothers and sisters-to the annoyance of the 50 or so ungrateful Europeans. No turkey, cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie was served; they likely ate duck or geese and the venison from the 5 deer brought by Massasoit. In fact, most, if notall, of the food was most likely brought and prepared by the Indians, whose 10,000-year familiarity with the cuisine of the region had kept the whites alive up to that point.
The Pilgrims wore no black hats or buckled shoes-these were the silly inventions of artists hundreds of years since that time. These lower-class Englishmen wore brightly colored clothing, with one of their church leaders recording among his possessions “1 paire of greene drawers.” Contrary to the fabricated lore of storytellers generations since, no Pilgrims prayed at the meal, and the supposed good cheer and fellowship must have dissipated quickly once the Pilgrims brandished their weaponry in a primitive display of intimidation. What’s more, the Pilgrims consumed a good deal of home brew. In fact, each Pilgrim drank at least a half gallon of beer a day, which they preferred even to water. This daily inebriation led their governor, William Bradford, to comment on his people’s “notorious sin,” which included their “drunkenness and uncleanliness” and rampant “sodomy”…
The Real Thanksgiving
Quoted from: The Hidden History of Massachusetts
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Students are racialized by a Eurocentric core curriculum which privileges the many scientific accomplishments and contributions of white, European men, and to a lesser degree white, European women. For example, most American youth won’t question the fact that common terms like Celsius or Fahrenheit are actually the surnames of the European men said to have first used the measurements.
Contrast this to the way in which indigenous peoples are (re)presented and you may notice that there is never mention of the many accomplishments and contributions of indigenous scientists. Rather, we are fed the “master narrative” that peoples like the Aztecs were great builders given the tools they had, read: their descendants are good laborers. Also included within the narrative is the fact that the Aztecs where backward for their human sacrifice and easily conquered by the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez. Absent is the fact that the Aztecs has far superior medicine and hygiene compared to the European conquistadores.
Below is an excerpt from the “Introduction” to Aztec Health section of the website Mexicolore written by Professor Bernard Ortiz de Montellano, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Wayne State University. It reveals how the Aztec Medicine was far superior to that of the Spanish conquistadors.
Following that is an excerpt from an article found on the same website by Katherine Ashenburg entitled “Clean Aztecs, Dirty Spaniards.” This article uncovers evidence to suggest that the Aztecs had far superior hygiene practices then their Spanish conquistadors.
“‘Although, as in many other medical systems, including our own, illnesses were treated by imploring the gods and using magical remedies, the Aztecs also had knowledge based on research and experience. The Aztecs had considerable empirical knowledge about plants. The emperor Motecuhzoma I established the first botanical garden in the Fifteenth Century and as the Mexica (the Aztec group that ruled in Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City) conquered new lands, specimens were brought to these and other botanical gardens. Natives of newly conquered areas were also brought to tend plants from their areas. Among other things these gardens were used for medical research; plants were given away to patients with the condition that they report on the results. These activities are reflected in the Aztec’s extensive and scientifically accurate botanical and zoological nomenclature (Ortiz de Montellano 1984). The Spanish chroniclers were impressed with Aztec medical knowledge. Torquemada (1975-1983: vol. 3, 325) mentioned that Aztec battle surgeons tended their wounded skillfully and that they healed them faster than the Spanish surgeons. He also described the infinite number of herbs sold in their markets, the skill needed to distinguish between them, and that they cured without using mixtures of herbs (1975-1983: vol. 3, 349). ‘An area in which the Aztecs were clearly superior to the Spanish conquerors was in the treatment of battle wounds. European wound treatment at that time consisted of cauterization with boiling oil and reciting prayers, while waiting for infection to develop the “laudable pus” that was seen as a good sign (Forrest 1982). The Aztecs were engaged in warfare practically all the time and had developed a regime consisting of washing the wounds with fresh urine (a sterile solution), applying an herb to stop the bleeding, and using Agave sap with or without salt to prevent infection and promote healing. Judy Davidson and I (1984) showed that Agave sap was, in fact, antibiotic. A group of Argentinian surgeons used granulated sugar (which worked by the same mechanism as Agave sap) in successfully treating and preventing infections (Herszage, Montenegro, and Joseph 1980). Motolinía wrote:- ‘“They have their own native skilled doctors who know how to use many herbs and medicines which suffices for them. Some of them have so much experience that they were able to heal Spaniards, who had long suffered from chronic and serious diseases” (Motolinía 1971: 160).”
Clean Aztecs, Dirty Spaniards
by Katherine Ashenburg
While London was still drawing its drinking water from the polluted River Thames as late as 1854, the Aztecs supplied their capital city with fresh water from the nearby hill of Chapultepec by means of two aqueducts, the first built by Netzahualcóyotl between 1466 and 1478, the second some 20 years later by the ruler Ahuitzotl. The symbolic importance of water to the Aztecs is clear from their (metaphorical) word for ‘city’ - altepetl which means literally ‘water-mountain’ in Náhuatl. The aqueducts were described by Hernán Cortés in 1520: Along one of the causeways to this great city run two aqueducts made of mortar. Each one is two paces wide and some six feet deep, and along one of them a stream of very good fresh water, as wide as a man’s body, flows into the heart of the city and from this they all drink. The other, which is empty, is used when they wish to clean the first channel. Where the aqueducts cross the bridges, the water passes along some channels which are as wide as an ox; and so they serve the whole city.
But probably nothing seemed more bizarre to the Spaniards than the Aztec attitude to personal hygiene. In a word, they valued cleanliness. The conquistador Andres de Tapia reported, in a tone of wonder, that Montezuma bathed twice a day. He did, but there was nothing extraordinary about that for an Aztec, since everybody, according to the Jesuit historian Francisco Javier Clavijero, ‘bathed often, and many of them every day’ in the rivers, lakes or pools.
Their documents also make frequent mention of deodorants, breath fresheners and dentifrices. (Spaniards of the time cleaned their teeth with urine.) As well as bathing in lakes and rivers, the Aztecs cleaned themselves – often daily – in low sauna-like hot-houses. An external fire heated one of the walls to red-hot, and the bather threw water on the baking wall, creating steam. As in a traditional Russian steam bath, the bathers could speed up perspiration by thrashing themselves with twigs and grasses. Almost every building had such a bath-house or temazcalli, used for medical treatments and ritual purifications as well as ordinary grooming.
As Jacques Soustelle has written: ‘A love of cleanliness seems to have been general throughout the population’: the Florentine Codex hints at the importance placed on personal hygiene in documenting the instructions given by an Aztec father to his daughter:- “[In the morning] wash your face, wash your hands, clean your mouth… Listen to me, child: never make up your face nor paint it; never put red on your mouth to look beautiful. Make-up and paint are things that light women use - shameless creatures. If you want your husband to love you, dress well, wash yourself and wash your clothes.”
Chicanos in Utah classrooms are racialized by the “master narrative” that in 1849 the Mormon Pioneers discovered the Salt Lake Valley at which time they declared “this is the place” and the rest is Utah history. This is but one of the many affirmations of the American master narrative of discovery (sometimes “first contact”), colonialism, “manifest destiny”, progress and (white) American exceptionalism. What is left out is the fact that what is now Utah has been home to various indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Some suggest that Utah was once home to the Aztecas/Mexica,Below is an interview with Dr. Cecilio Orozco who claims that his research, which builds upon that of others, finds that the Aztecs came from what is now Utah. He talks about pictographs found in Utah, which have Aztec parallels and makes the claim that the knowledge which informed the Aztec calendars found in Tenoctitlan came from Utah.
IN SEARCH OF AZTLÁN
Dr. Cecilio Orozco Interview August 9, 1999
“Q: Dr. Orozco, you’ve done research in Utah related to pre-Columbian archeological sites. What triggered your interest to go there?
A: What triggered my interest to go to Utah looking for archeological sites. Well, first of all, the knowledge that the Spanish people that came to America, my ancestors, the ones that gave me my name, Orozco, were not only great warriors, but also they brought no women with them. So my ancestors are the Native Americans. And I wanted to find as much as I could about the greatness of that group. I went to Utah seeking mathematical formulas that would attest to their greatness.
Q: In 1980, you saw something in a publication that led you to the state of Utah. What publication was that and where did you go, as a result?
A: The publication that gave me the first positive lead was a National Geographic, January, 1980. They published a pictograph, which they claimed could have been as old as six thousand years. [The pictograph] had a mathematical formula [in it]. It was unbelievable. So the mathematical formula is what led me to Utah, mainly. There are some other things. We also know that the people of that area long ago had called themselves Nahuatl, and that means “four waters.” Nahui is four, and -atl is waters. Nauhuatl—land of the four waters—was in the colorful lands by name “hui huit lapala”—hui hui means very old, and lapala means colorful—so the four great waters and hui hui lapala had to be in the area of Utah, western Colorado, northern New Mexico, northern Arizona—it’s the most colorful land there is.
Q: Are the glyphs that you found in Utah in any way related to what people call the Aztec calendar?
A: Very definitely. The knowledge of the heavens, that the Mexica and the Aztecs later used in Mexico in their calendars and in the sun stone, came from Utah. The oldest evidence of the Venusian cycle is in Utah, with pictographs that [are dated at] 2000 B.C. Armed with that knowledge, they went towards Mexico. Many of them got there sooner than the Aztecs, but this is where it originated.
Q: Based on your work on El Camino de Aztlán, can you definitively state that the ancestors of Mexicanos once lived in what is today the United States Southwest?
A: There’s no question that ancestors of the Mestizo culture that were in Mexico when the Spanish arrived had come from the Utah area. Unless the authorities in Utah have misdated the pictographs that those mathematical formulas that are in. Because they are so much older than the Mexica culture. The other thing is we know that in the world, the great calendars have been made in desert areas, where you can observe the heavens. Utah is an ideal place for that. The knowledge originates in Utah, and then traveled down to Aztlán, into Mexico City.
Q: You talked about the four rivers area as a possible original site of El Camino de Aztlán. If we explore that area, what might we expect to find there?
A: I think that civilization developed in the land of the four waters, the four rivers, in the colorful lands. It’s very evident. What we haven’t been able to find is where did those people come from? We now think they came from the great plains of America, plains they probably called “the happy hunting grounds.” Because there were so many animals, until a glaciation forced them to move into this desert area. Later on a great drought in the desert forced them to move out of there and they went to Mexico and they established themselves on seven entrances to the Sierra Madre. They called them the seven great cities, or rich cities. The Spanish later called these the seven cities of gold. But then they went to Aztlán, to the land of the egrets, and finally to Mexico City, to Tenochtitlán, where the Spanish found them. It’s the Spanish people that asked them “where did you come from?” and they said “Aztlán.” So [the Spanish] said, well, they must be Aztecs, and it’s the Spanish that called them Aztecs in Mexico City. But the Aztecs had been Aztecs in Aztlán four hundred years before. They left Aztlán in the year 1116.
Q: What do you think is the importance of those maps?
A: The maps verify what we’re saying, [that it] is the place where they came from. Probably the maps were made based on Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that the ancestors of the people from Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde had been there two thousand years before Christ.
Q: Could you name those four rivers, tell me where they are at, and explain why you think that was the original place where this long pilgrimage to Mexico began? And how long do you think it took from the original time the people left there to the time that they founded Tenochtitlán?
A: Well, basically, the four great waters—and remember they didn’t call them rivers, they called them waters—I think we have a tendency to name rivers by different names even though they flow in the same canyons—but I think that the reference here is to the Green River coming out of Wyoming and flowing south, and then the Colorado joining it in Colorado, and finally in Utah, and then the San Juan comes out of New Mexico and joins them, and then all of them cut the Grand Canyon. Those are four great waters. The people that were there left, we think now, in the year 500 B.C. I say 500, but they probably didn’t all leave in the one year. But the reference here is to a great drought. When the water got scarce, they went in every direction, and some of them went south and finally founded the seven cities in the Culiacan in the west coast of Mexico, then moved to Aztlán, and finally to Mexico City and arrived in Mexico City in 1323, I believe, where they found an eagle and a serpent and founded Tenochtitlán. So they had been traveling for different reasons since, probably, two thousand years before Christ.”
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