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Ethnographic Journey

He decided to pick the most liberal argument for multiculturalism, preferably from an Hispanic point of view, that he could find.

The other students, most of whom were in elementary education, did units on illustrated children's books--light, fluffy, innocuous units--fitting for classes of children, but hardly serious arguments for multiculturalism. He picked a book entitled The Other Side: Notes From the New L.A., Mexico City, and Beyond by Ruben Martinez. He chose it because of its Mexico City content (although this chapter was a small part of the book), and because he wanted to see the Hispanic point of view articulated. He told me that he was very nervous on the night he got up to give his presentation. He said that he felt as though he could be shot down at any moment--"the fate of most liberals."

Actually, he said that the class listened with moderate attention, and only one student asked, "were the poetry selections in the book angry, too?" He tried to explain that the poems were romantic, and that even the book's prose was not angry, but rather just descriptive of what it feels like to be a Hispanic young man in both the U.S. (Los Angeles), San Salvador, Cuba, and Mexico. He chose to summarize the part of Martinez' book in which a liberal priest named Father Olivares dies, leaving an irreplaceable hole in a church called La Placita, in downtown Los Angeles. The church had previously been a refuge for Salvadoran refugees, the homeless, and various societal fringe-dwellers, but after Olivares' death, the L.A. Police Department came through, dispersed the poor, tore down the altar, and put in place a more politically popular priest--one who wouldn't be "harboring criminals and communist sympathizers."

I have included Jacques' description of the book in such detail because it is an excellent argument for multiculturalism. Jacques, too, would be a perfect teacher for the job--he could lead by example. I asked him ...

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Ethnographic Journey. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:26, August 17, 2017, from
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