Texas’ Proposed Mexican-American Textbooks Called Racist by Scholars
A newly proposed Mexican-American history text is facing backlash from scholars who call the text racist and not serious academic study.
Mexican American Heritage was proposed for use in the 2017-2018 school year after activists sought the official inclusion of the subject in the state curriculum. However, many have found the textbook to contain biased and offensive depictions of Mexican Americans and Mexican American history. Tony Diaz, host of the Nuestra Palabra radio program in Houston and director of Intercultural Initiatives at Lone Star College-North Harris said,
Paradoxically, we pressed for the board to include texts on Mexican-American studies, and we achieved it, but not in the way we were expecting. Instead of a text that is respectful of the Mexican-American history, we have a book poorly written, racist, and prepared by non-experts.
Among the controversial text is a description of Mexican Americas as people who "adopted a revolutionary narrative that opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society," as well as saying illegal immigration "caused a number of economic and security problems” in the U.S. that include “poverty, drugs, crime, non-assimilation, and exploitation."
The Texas Education Agency stated that Texans have until September to submit comments on proposed educational materials, and that before its final approval, all proposed texts will undergo review by a committee of educators and administrators. However, if approved by the board of education, individual districts are not obligated to use the text and can use district funds to purchase other textbooks.
Critics of the book note that the author is not recognized as a member of the Mexican-American studies scholarship. The book was produced by Momentum Instruction, which is owned by Cynthia Dunbar, who was a member of the Texas Board of Education from 2007 to 2011. During her time on the board, Dunbar called the education system "tyrannical" in her book One Nation Under God, and questioned the constitutionality of public schools.