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The Chicano Movement in the United States

HOW CAN THEY EXPECT TO TEACH US IF THEY DO NOT KNOW US (Blowouts! 2004, 106).

The students also requested that textbooks be changed to incorporate Chicano history and experiences, showing how often immigrants in the U.S. are provided with education that only focuses on white history and experience. This demand is echoed in The McKnight Letter, written by a teacher who was outraged over the pedagogic approach to teaching Mexican American students. This letter also shows how even those white educators who support Mexican American needs are often ostracized by their white peers. As McKnight (2004) writes, it is often a blatant disregard for the needs and culture of Chicanos that causes such protests from Mexican-American students:

We teachers and administrators¨whether we wish to face it or not¨are the representatives of that conquering, Anglo power structure, representatives who have been sent out into the Eastside ŠbarriosĂ to ŠmeltĂ the indigenous population whether they want it or not (107).

This collection of writings demonstrates the numerous problems associated with organizing movements, from allocation of resources like money, personnel, and time to enlisting the support of institutions like the Catholic Church. The documents also provide insight into how often women are typically marginalized both from the Chicano culture within and the dominant white culture without. In order for any movement to succeed in promoting the goals of members committed to change, such problems must be overcome. These problems are often not overcome without a great deal of struggle and turmoil inside the movement before it can have its intended impact on the dominant culture within which it aims to make change. For example, the documents on Chavez demonstrate how difficult it is for the leaders of any movement to address all of the needs of individuals who hope for change, despite having valid needs. Chavez was often besieged by la...

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