For my advocacy project, I am pushing for an equal representation of multicultural history in education. Particularly, Hispanic effects on the United States throughout history. I plan to propose that we add weave this side of history into Stratford high school’s AP/ECE US History class curriculum. Spanish history is prevalent to this class because a recurring theme of this class according to the Stratford Board of Education is “America’s diversity“. This ethnic group makes up 17.8 percent (2017) of the US population, so it can be said that they make up a significant part of “America’s diversity”. Not to mention, that this community has influenced policies and the country’s development, especially the push for civil rights. They were the many among the people who demanded a more inclusive country. Because of this Hispanic history is needed to be included, if we are striving for a true inclusive nation.
The lives of Hispanics in America throughout the years are being left out of the current course plans. They make a point to talk about things like slavery and its legacy, but does not stress that “one drop” of african blood makes you a slave. In the “one drop” rule, they specifically added hispanic/african-mixed people, calling them “Mestizos“. Students are then left with the impression that only black-africans suffered through slavery and its everlasting effects. A key part of the legacy of slavery is that it caused a inequality of opportunities. The fact that some latinos suffer this inequality, just life africans do; can be explained by slavery effects, yet this is overlooked by the current lesson plans.
A lasting consequence of slavery was segregation. Although, this era was well-known for its prejudice and discrimination against black people, Mexican-Americans faced the same issues. People are not being taught during the Mexican-American war unit, that as a part of the Guadalajara Hidalgo treaty, Mexican-Americans were considered racially white. However, they were illegally segregated due to the anti-immigration push. They were forced into separate schools, which were underfunded and under equipped. They even refused to offer bilingual classes for those who need them, as a way to try to get them to conform into speaking english. Not only were just the Mexican-Americans discriminated against, but the black latinos as well. Since Stratford high does not offer any courses that teach what constitutes a race versus an ethnicity, it is not common-knowledge that Hispanic is technically not a race, but an ethnicity. This allows for Hispanics to be a racially-ambiguous, thus resulting in black latinos. Since segregation in America was based on skin color, the latinos who had a darker complexion were considered black. This is important to teach the next generation about because of how this segregation leads to inequality and racial prejudice today, because of these “traditional” views on black people.
Even though these are all negative consequences that the history has had on the latino community, there are positive impacts that Hispanics have left on America. Due to these struggles for basic human rights in the past, Hispanics were a big contendendor in the civil rights movement. While black civil rights movements are addressed during the US History course, Chicano (Mexican-Americans) and Boricua’s (Puerto Rican) civil rights movements are not, even though they were occuring around the same time. Events like the 1968 Los Angeles high school “blowout”/walkout, should be being taught to students. This event consisted of hundreds of students in segregated schools, demanding for better guidance counselors, teachers, and bilingual classes. Many participants were arrested or beaten, just like the black civil rights movements. Even so, they still made a change, when the governor gave in to some of the demands.
This portion of the US population has strong ties to how America developed to how it is today. Its history should be broadcasted onto future generations so it can help them understand why some discrimination and prejudice still exists against Spanish people. This group is a piece of America’s identity and diversity, both which the US History class aims to display. These events and their impacts should be integrated into the course, so we can get a closer step to inclusivity in education and in America.