Lobbying for Inclusion
How history is recorded is usually dictated by who records it. Because like all writers, historians, whether writing a book or filming a documentary, approach it from their own point of view. Ask minorities in the United States and most will agree that the majority of American history books do not tell the complete story of the minority experience in this country. But, isn’t the minority experience the American experience? It is, but historically it has not been approached in that way, raising several issues as to whether historians believe that the minority experience is legitimate and relevant. And in some cases the past of racial minorities in this country is so painful and dehumanizing that to document it would be to present this country in perhaps not the best light.
But whatever the reason, it’s difficult nowadays to claim ignorance as the reason to exclude the minority experience in historical accounts, so imagine the surprise of University of Texas professor Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez to learn that Ken Burns’ major PBS documentary on World War II, titled “The War,” would air with no input or voices of Latino veterans. Surprised because she, a former newspaper reporter, is the creator of UT’s U.S. Latino and Latina World War II Oral History Project.
Be sure to read Reginald Stuart’s “A Historical Omission” to see how Rivas-Rodriguez and her colleagues lobbied Burns and PBS to make sure that the stories of Latino veterans would be told.
In “Keeping the DREAM Alive,” Diverse contributing editor Dina Horwedel gives an update on the DREAM Act legislation that was a casualty of the immigration bill that went down in flames earlier this summer. But, says Dina, immigrant rights advocates have not given up and are pushing for legislation that will make it easier for undocumented students to attend public colleges and universities at in-state rates. Right now it is very much a state-by-state situation with approximately 10 states circumventing federal law and establishing more flexible regulations to allow undocumented students to receive in-state tuition. Don’t miss Dina’s piece that also reports on a 20-year-old agreement between Colorado and New Mexico, which allows both states’ residents to receive in-state tuition rates at schools in either state. This reciprocal agreement is now somewhat controversial because Colorado does not offer in-state tuition rates for undocumented students and New Mexico does.
In addition, senior writer David Pluviose visits Arizona State’s Hispanic Research Center and reports on its arts and engineering initiatives in “Promoting La Cultura Hispana.” And in Campus Notes, Molly Nance reports on two California scholars who are using technology to overcome the language barrier to combat depression in Spanish-speaking populations.
We have a series of special reports coming up this fall — Recruitment and Retention Oct. 18 and Careers slated for Nov. 15 and special focus editions on international education and Native American heritage month — just to name a few. So don’t miss an edition!
Hilary Hurd Anyaso
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