Monday, December 12, 2005


Monday’s post from Daniel Olivas

Hired as a full professor in the Department of English of Ohio State University, Frederick Luis Aldama (Ph.D., Stanford University) specializes in Latino/a Studies, with additional expertise in sexuality studies, postcolonial theory, and ethnic studies. He has published three books, including a critical biography of the Chicano writer Arturo Islas (2004), and Brown on Brown: Queer Representations in Chicano/a Literature and Film, which has just been published by the University of Texas Press. In spring 2006, University of Texas Press will publish Aldama’s Spilling the Beans in Chicanolandia: Conversations with Chicano/a Writers and Artists. Also in production is Meditations and Remediations: Humanities, Politics, and Society in the 21st Century. Aldama is currently working on a monograph that will provide new approaches to teaching Latino/a literature.

NOTICIAS: Though this does not have much to do with literature, it was sent in by our friend, Richard Yañez, author of El Paso del Norte: Stories on the Border (University of Nevada Press). Headline: SPANISH AT SCHOOL TRANSLATES TO SUSPENSION. Synopsis of article: The tension in Kansas City over a teenager's suspension from school for speaking Spanish on campus reflects a broader national debate over the language Americans should speak amid a wave of Hispanic immigration. Here’s an excerpt:

Most of the time, 16-year-old Zach Rubio converses in clear, unaccented American teen-speak, a form of English in which the three most common words are "like," "whatever" and "totally." But Zach is also fluent in his dad's native language, Spanish -- and that's what got him suspended from school.

"It was, like, totally not in the classroom," the high school junior said, recalling the infraction. "We were in the, like, hall or whatever, on restroom break. This kid I know, he's like, 'Me prestas un dolar?' ['Will you lend me a dollar?'] Well, he asked in Spanish; it just seemed natural to answer that way. So I'm like, 'No problema.' "

But that conversation turned out to be a big problem for the staff at the Endeavor Alternative School, a small public high school in an ethnically mixed blue-collar neighborhood. A teacher who overheard the two boys sent Zach to the office, where Principal Jennifer Watts ordered him to call his father and leave the school.

Watts, whom students describe as a disciplinarian, said she can't discuss the case. But in a written "discipline referral" explaining her decision to suspend Zach for 1 1/2 days, she noted: "This is not the first time we have [asked] Zach and others to not speak Spanish at school."

Since then, the suspension of Zach Rubio has become the talk of the town in both English and Spanish newspapers and radio shows. The school district has officially rescinded his punishment and said that speaking a foreign language is not grounds for suspension. Meanwhile, the Rubio family has retained a lawyer, who says a civil rights lawsuit may be in the offing….

Read the full story.

REVIEWS: For the online book magazine, Boldtype, Larissa N. Dooley reviews Salvador Plascencia’s People of Paper (McSweeney’s): “A dervish of magic realism, historical nonfiction, and barefaced autobiography, Salvador Plascencia's debut novel refuses to stand still.”

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: Reading and book signing from Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul: Celebrating La Comunidad Latina by contributors Maya Alvarez-Galvan, Zulmara Cline, Alejandro Diaz, Maria Ercilla, Salvador Gonzalez Padilla and Jennifer Ramon-Dover. These stories explore culture and identity, celebrate families, spirituality, living in two languages, crossing borders, overcoming life's challenges, and the uniqueness of the Latino experience and tradition. December 14th, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Libreria Martinez, 11221 Long Beach Blvd., Suite 102, Lynwood, 90262.

All done. So, until next Monday, enjoy the intervening posts from my compadres y comadre at La Bloga. ¡Lea un libro!


freegiftsforworld said...
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Anonymous said...

Back in 1956,the fifth grade, I was suspended from recess for speaking Spanish on the playground. It cost me my World Box Hockey Championship, but I'm not bitter at all.


msedano said...

i finally got around to reading the introduction to what looks like a superb collection of interviews. what a disappointment that aldama doesn't refer to burciaga's collection "spilling the beans". an inadvertent slap in the face, or did i miss something?

Manuel Ramos said...

I doubt that he says anything about the original Brown on Brown, either - I'm sure it's not a slap in the face, just one of those coinky-dinks.