The Mexican American Studies Toolkit by Tony Diaz --CALL TO ACTION!
by Sonja Harris on November 6, 2017 at 5:50 PM
I was given an opportunity to review the Mexican American Studies Toolkit by Tony Diaz. A ‘textbook’ Diaz would like to have implemented into our Texas school system. In my opinion this is a vile instrument in indoctrination of the worse kind, bigotry, aversion of our judicial system, Texas history, undermining the rule of law, and perhaps the most important, American students losing their identity. If you are born in America, you are an American! It is of the upmost importance that you contact your SBOE member, your state senator and representative and voice your opinion that this toolkit must not be part of the Texas school system. A public hearing on this MAS toolkit is scheduled before the State Board of Education (SBOE) tomorrow, November 7, 2017, in the William B. Travis Building, Room 1-104. If you are fortunate to have Ken Mercer, District 5, thank him if you have someone else please contact him/her.
After reading most of Tony Diaz’s Mexican American Studies Toolkit, I find that this toolkit that he wants to implement in the Texas school system is nothing more than Diaz’s own personal biased opinions about what he has experienced. He dramatizes the fate of the Mexican American by deliberately emphasizing the hardships some have encountered. This MAS toolkit should be renamed Tony Diaz’s Memoirs and should not be allowed in the classroom. It is an attempt to indoctrinate students to his distorted way of thinking. My page numbers follow the numbering on the toolbar at the bottom of the page of https://www.dropbox.com/s/pnj994v2b2075ur/Diaz_THE%20MAS%20TOOLKIT_final...
Diaz’s love-hate relationship with Noah Webster is very evident since he dedicated pages 14-19 to him and lists these pages as the Introduction. He writes that, “Webster’s outrageous goal was to codify language to cultivate an American identity, which was lacking at the time.” This is precisely what Diaz would like to accomplish with his MAS toolkit. The MAS toolkit would like to indoctrinate students with the Mexican-American history that he ‘feels’ is lacking at this time. Diaz finds it necessary to state that Webster was ‘white’, therefore stirring the pot of racial identity which is not conducive to learning in a classroom.
His statement in Unit 1/Indigenous Roots (P25) that, “One of the fundamental beliefs that form the foundation of the United States is the separation of church and state.” This is an outrageous statement simply because it is not true. It appears that Diaz has a misunderstanding about ‘separation of church and state’.
Under Unit II Identity (P102) Diaz lists that, an “American is a person born in the United States. This sounds basic; however, some folks born in the United States are not given all the rights and privileges that go along with that. That’s why this book even exists.” This last sentence, leads to the notion that not all Mexican Americans are given the rights and privileges as American citizens. It is so obvious that he either does not understand who are considered Americans or overlooks the fact that an American can be born outside the United States to American parents and still be a citizen. This statement reeks of his distaste and militant attitude towards our justice system.
Diaz again goes back to our judicial system on (P118) by stating, “The American legal system directly influences the definition of terms in concrete ways. This is also unique to the United States because our laws are based on precedents, so that new rulings are influenced by previous rulings, which then influence future rulings. This is not the case for nations that follow the Napoleonic code, such as many South American countries like Chile. This has a very direct impact on the Mexican American experience. Let’s begin with a basic example. Legally speaking, if someone is born in the United States they are born an American citizen. This seems straightforward. However, complications occur when American citizens do not feel as if they are being treated the way all other Americans are treated.”
He introduces the Napoleonic code in this statement without explaining the code. And again, emphasizing that in this case Mexican American citizens do not ‘feel’ they are treated fairly. Feelings have no place in the Rule of Law.
The 13 day siege at the Alamo in 1836 was one of the first struggles for Texas to gain Independence from Mexico. Santa Ana was a tyrannical dictator who wanted to crush the 250 volunteers who bravely defended the Alamo. They fought thousands of his Mexican soldiers. It was the massacre of about 450 prisoners at Goliad that the famous cry, “Remember the Alamo Remember Goliad” was used referring to the men who valiantly lost their lives. Diaz not only trivializes the Texas Revolution but injects his divisive remarks by stating on (P127), “What could bring people to such levels of hostility? Apparently, the hatred engendered by the atrocities of the Mexican army at the Texas battles of Goliad and the Alamo in 1836 exacerbated the prejudice. The massacres of the Texas rebels resulted in the war chant “Remember the Alamo,” a phrase that incredibly appeared on a placard in 2006 at a rally opposing immigration (Carrera 2006). Pointing to the Alamo and Goliad incidents as an explanation merely avoids the reality that anti-Mexican bias already existed in the 1820s (Lowrie 1932, 120–24).”
Diaz continues his rant on the Texas Revolution on (P151) with this statement, “And contrary to what we were taught in grade school about the 1836 Texas revolt, the independence journey began in 1810. As such, the birth of Texas independence undeniably comes with a Spanish-Mexican pedigree. Yet the struggle for liberty’s formula leaves this out and is typically ignored in mainstream Texas history.”
He does not source this information on the Texas Revolution nor does he source many of his outlandish assertions. While he may have truth to some of his accusations, they do not overpower the fact that this MAS toolkit is an indoctrination of the worse kind if it is brought into the classroom.
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION MEMBERS
WHO REPRESENTS ME?