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Monday, February 20, 2017

Aztecas del Norte: We can not be illegal on our own continent

“In the academy, [American Indian scholar] Jack Forbes created a path to bring Chicanas/os and others “home.” By this, I mean that Forbes provided historical knowledge about understanding that our legacies have always been deeply rooted in this hemisphere.” — Melissa Moreno, professor, Woodland Community College
Scholars in Chicano studies and related disciplines, since the 1960s, have long debated the idea of when Mexican Americans as a people(s) came to be. This is something that the discipline has grappled with since its creation in the late 1960s. Yet, it is a debate that has been rekindled both by the extreme anti-Mexican climate in this country, and also by the work of a pre-eminent American Indian scholar from a generation ago, who posited a seemingly controversial proposition: that these peoples, rather than foreigners, in fact are native or indigenous to these lands. For the rest of the column, go to:

Light skin preference

Lately I have been asking myself how anyone can do work during this extraordinary and dizzying time we are living in? And I am thinking in the philosophical realm as opposed to logistically.
And yes, I actually can work. I’m just thinking that it is a very distracting time for most anybody attending or working at a university. I say this because I’m in the midst of some incredible research — on color and color consciousness — and yet, it is difficult to ignore the unprecedented doings of this nation’s new president and his administration.
And yet I stop to think that whether the new president is impeached or not, the need to research what I am researching — light-skin preference — will remain. What I examine is light-skin preference in the Mexican, Central American and Andean communities of this nation, particularly in relationship to indigeneity and denial of indigeneity. Perhaps counter-intuitively, this is a taboo topic in these communities. The reason for that is because I primarily examine the internal dimension to this phenomenon; i.e. how it plays out within family/relatives/friends. The external, of course, manifests as racial profiling. Part of what I choose to examine is the earliest memories when children become conscious of their color and that there is meaning attached to their color, and yes, most of these memories are negative. For rest of column, go to:

The Indigenous and Black Roots of Mexico

by Roberto Rodriguez

A generation ago, while living in Mexico, I came upon the works of Gonzalo Aguirre Beltran regarding the African presence in Mexico, managing to interview him, shortly before he passed away. While Mexico is a nation with deep Indigenous roots, his work from the 1940s revealed a part of Mexico that had been previously unfamiliar to its school children and to the national narrative; its rich multi-racial history.
This is especially true when we examine the relationship in this country between Black and Brown peoples, who are often, not taught their shared histories, or even their own histories. One part of that history also includes Mexico, which had abolished slavery in 1829, providing refuge to Blacks during the time of U.S. slavery. It also includes the history of palenques or maroons — free territories of runaway slaves, such as the one established by Gaspar Yanga in 1529, in the mountains of Veracruz, considered Mexico’s first free (Black) city. In the United States, it also includes both peoples fighting against lynchings during the 19th and 20th centuries and Blacks being at the forefront of the desegregation and anti-discrimination struggles, with all people of color benefiting, including Mexicans, who waged their own struggles. For rest of column, go to:

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


When I teach the history of Mexican people at the University of Arizona, going back to the era of Spanish colonialism in the Americas, I teach two concepts that seem to be applicable to the United States of America today. One of them is called “primary process” and the other “principio...” For the rest of the column, go to: