Who raised these white kids?
That's what some people in Colo. are asking. Or, if you've wondered whether U.S. Anglos will ever change, the viral news coming from Jefferson County, Colo. (Jeffco), might give you hope. There's been a week of protests, first by teachers, then by kids and parents, with high schoolers apparently taking the lead. What's been left out of the news is who and what these kids are.
Suburban, privileged, Anglo kids. 92% of the county is white, with only 9% of the population below the poverty level, according to the U.S. Census. That contrasts to inner-city Denver County's 20% poverty rate. Jeffco's median household income is $20,000 higher than Denver's. The suburbs of Jeffco arose from white flight, and have everything a prosperous WASP would want for shielding his kids from the "blight" of urban Denver. County residents even voted in a more conservative school board in the last election.
The new board then stupidly tried to "reform" the curriculum. Classroom materials would "promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights," as well as "positive aspects of the United States and its heritage." And, the materials would not "encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law."
When AP History was chosen to be the first to receive this "reformed" curriculum, teachers called in sick, protested. Then out went the kids.
The board should have realized that AP History is for the "smartest" kids. Smart enough to understand and recognize what was going to be done to their education. It didn't matter that they were white, relatively well off and living in the suburbs. The kids walked out and may not be done yet, no matter what the press, school administration or even some of their parents do or say.
It's in opposing the second part of the proposed new curriculum that I find the most hope: no materials that "encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law." In other words, these kids are essentially fighting for OUR history, as well. Minority history, the civil rights movements, Native American and Chicano history. If the walkouts had been done by minority teachers and students, Colorado's reaction would have been different.
The kids came up with a slogan: "It's our history, don't make it mystery." They're supported by parents and teachers and others. You can check them out and add your support at #standup4kids and #JeffCoSchoolBoardHistory, because they've used the Internet for more than the latest selfies. It includes kids from Columbine High School. Yes, that Columbine.
Spec writer Victor Milán, who's authored over 90 books, calls himself an "American writer," but I included him in the Latino Spec Lit Directory because he lived his first years in Puerto Rico, settled in N.M. and has an accent in his last name, even though his name on the cover of his forthcoming book lacks one.
Publisher Tor.com just announced that its 2014’s best cover and also the winner of the 2016 Hugo Award for Best Novel is The Dinosaur Lords by Milán. Here's the description:
"A world made by the Eight Creators on which to play out their games of passion and power, Paradise is a sprawling, diverse, often brutal place. Men and women live on Paradise as do dogs, cats, ferrets, goats, and horses. But dinosaurs predominate: wildlife, monsters, beasts of burden – and of war. Colossal plant-eaters like Brachiosaurus; terrifying meat-eaters like Allosaurus and the most feared of all, Tyrannosaurus rex. Giant lizards swim warm seas. Birds (some with teeth) share the sky with flying reptiles that range in size from bat-sized insectivores to majestic and deadly Dragons.
"Thus we are plunged into Victor Milán's splendidly weird world of The Dinosaur Lords, a place that for all purposes mirrors 14th century Europe with its dynastic rivalries, religious wars, and byzantine politics and the weapons of choice are dinosaurs. Where we have vast armies of dinosaur-mounted knights engaged in battle. And during the course of one of these epic battles, the enigmatic mercenary Dinosaur Lord Karyl Bogomirsky is defeated through betrayal and left for dead. He wakes, naked, wounded, partially amnesiac – and hunted. And embarks upon a journey that will shake his world. The Dinosaur Lords arrives July 2015."
Our stories matter - call for submissions
The Cuento Cups: Because Our Stories Matter exhibit is in response to Chipotle Mexican Grill’s Cultivating Thought Author Series. In May of 2014, ten authors, thought-leaders, and comedians were chosen to pen original essays for Chipotle Mexican Grill’s take-out cups and bags. Not one Mexican, Mexican-American or Latina/o was asked by the national franchise (whose PR promotes “food with integrity”) to participate in the series.
While Chipotle reps stated that they "will take [the idea of including Mexican/Mexican American authors into consideration] for the next round,” Museum of Ventura County curator, Anna Bermudez, and author, Michele Serros believe that time is now.
So, artists, writers, and thinkers of ALL backgrounds: can you spin a story as original as a staff writer for The New Yorker? Be as funny as Sarah Silverman? As esthetically pleasing as…well, you get the idea. We invite you to utilize a simple paper cup or paper bag as a canvas to express your own compelling cuento/story. Perhaps you’d even like to construct your own take-out dispensable? The possibilities are endless.
Cuento Cups chosen will displayed at the Tool Room Gallery during the entire month of October and will be featured periodically on the Museum of Ventura County’s website. We look forward to submissions because, yes, our stories DO matter.
Deadline for Submissions is October 2nd. Questions? (805) 653-0323, ext. 302.
Please send or get your submissions to:
Anna Ríos Bermudez, Curator of Collections
Museum of Ventura County
100 East Main Street
Ventura, CA 93001
Last week's NYC Climate March of 400,000
was led by Native Americans. Denver's wasn't as huge. Maybe next time.
Es todo, hoy,