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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What is Raza Studies and What is it Good For?


Tuesday, 25 June 2013 10:16 By Roberto Cintli Rodriguez, SpeakOut | News Analysis
A few days ago, the media reported that a mother was found dead in the hot, scorching desert, purportedly while attempting to cross into the United States. Underneath her was her dead infant.
The complaints were onerous: A series of questions this month on a social media site asked a variant of: Why should Mexican Americans care about immigration issues? The complainer, with disdain, asserted that focusing on immigration issues takes the focus away from the needs of Mexican Americans, whose needs continue to be unmet and neglected.  
That the social, educational and political needs of Mexican Americans continue to be unmet and neglected by society is certainly correct, however, the other part of his formulation and his other complaints and questions were bizarre, to say the least. The complainer asserted that Mexicans don't know Chicano culture and are not familiar with Chicanos themselves and with a tone of arrogance, posited that they are different peoples. Then, to add insult to injury, he complained about Mexicans taking over the jobs in Chicano Studies.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Rios Montt and Arpaio: Where Impunity Reigns


by Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez

In Guatemala, former dictator Rios Montt was first found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity, and then the Supreme Court overturned the verdict. His 80-year sentence was also vacated. A few days later, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County in Arizona, was slapped down by US District Court Judge Murray Snow. The federal judge ordered him to halt his racial profiling practices, particularly his immigration sweeps that target people of "apparent Mexican ancestry."

Sometimes there are news items that go together - even when they are apparently unrelated.  With Rios Montt, we have one of the biggest human rights violators in the history of humanity, who used the cover of religion to unleash the military against his own people.

Arpaio's face connotes something similar; the unbridled and unapologetic flaunting of raw (state) power and the wanton use of police powers to racially profile and destroy families, with the full backing of an electorate that continues to cheer him on.

For the full column, go to:

Rodriguez can be reached at:

Monday, June 3, 2013

In Defense of Semillas

Years ago, an elder told me that the Indigenous cultures of Abya Yala, CemAnahuac or Pachamama – the ancient cultures of this continent – do not need to be revived, because they never died. Instead, the elder said, it is we who have been severed or disconnected from those cultures.

The culture, the languages, the songs and the stories are all there – rather than revive them, we just need to access them. And equally important, we also need to create and contribute to our own cultures.

I think about that now because of two monumental educational struggles taking place in Arizona and California, both of which have been instrumental in reconnecting our communities to ancestral and living Indigenous knowledges. In both cases, the schools and programs in question continue to be under daily siege. In Tucson, the highly successful Raza Studies program has been dismantled whereas in Los Angeles, the charter for Anahuacalmecac is on the verge of being revoked. For rest of story, go to:

Rodriguez can be reached at: