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Friday, May 29, 2015

Not Counting Mexicans and Indians, Part II

Recognizing Genocide and Moving Toward Liberation: Not Counting Mexicans and Indians, Part II

The mass media continues to discuss instances of police violence in this country as aberrations, bypassing the larger systems that drive them. This line of thinking actually contributes to the national crisis we are living - a crisis that goes beyond "human rights abuses." We are dealing with crimes against humanity, specifically perpetrated against the Black, Brown and Indigenous peoples and communities of this country.
The common threads here are dehumanization and impunity; as Professor Otto Santa Ana notes in Brown Tide Rising: "Only humans have human rights." It is this dehumanizing force that permits such egregious violence against the Black, Brown and Indigenous communities of this nation to occur, and to occur without accountability. We can see this phenomenon at work not simply on the streets, but also in the courts and in the prisons, dehumanizing institutions that have become, in effect, warehouses for people of color.
At the moment, the historic and brutal violence against Brown-Indigenous peoples remains under the radar of this nation's corporate media, the nation's conversations and its psyche. (This is not to say, of course, that police violence against Black communities should receive less attention; in fact, it should receive much moreattention, as should violence against Brown and Indigenous communities.) A particularly brutal and abhorrent case near Tucson, Arizona, helps to illustrate this attitude and relationship.
On Feb. 19, a police officer intentionally rammed his fast-speeding police vehicle into an armed and wanted suspect, Mario Miranda Valencia, from behind, sending him hurtling through the air. The suspect survived. After the incident, Marana Police Chief Terry Rozema stated that the maneuver by officer Michael Rapiejko, actually saved the suspect's life, apparently believing that the confrontation would not otherwise have resulted in Valencia's survival. It strains credulity that such a violent maneuver is deemed lawful ... and life-saving. For the rest of the article, go to:

Friday, May 8, 2015

"Not Counting Mexicans or Indians":

I am reposting this at the top because it is the one article that people keep asking about and looking for over the past several months. Please share.

"Not Counting Mexicans or Indians": The Many Tentacles of State Violence Against Black-Brown-Indigenous Communities

"They tried to bury us, but they didn't know we were seeds." - Popul Vuh

VIOLENCE AGAINST BLACK/BROWN-INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES: Normally, I don't add a commentary to what  I write, but I feel a need to here. What I wrote is part of a 65-page article/chapter about violence against Black-Brown-Indigenous Peoples, literally tracing this systemic and epidemic violence to 1492. Here it is condensed, and the opening is a little different from what I originally wrote. In the original, all the deaths from the past few months are at the top. Also, here, I am attaching the photo alluded to at the beginning. 


Between my eyes, I bear a scar in the shape of a "T" that I received on March 23, 1979, on the streets of East Los Angeles. It functions as a reminder that my skull was cracked, but more importantly, that I did not remain silent and that I won two police violence trials, for witnessing and photographing the brutal beating of a young man by perhaps a dozen sheriff's deputies.

These events are seared into my memory because of how I remember them. After coming back to consciousness, amid violent threats, I was handcuffed and left facedown on the cold street, bleeding profusely from my forehead. While in shock and unable to even lift my head, in my own pool of blood, amid flashing red and blue lights everywhere, I could see many dozens of officers giving chase and arresting everyone in sight. What I also witnessed in the reflection of my own blood was everything that I will relay here. For this lengthy article regarding violence against the Black-Brown-Indigenous communities, please go to:

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Friday, May 1, 2015


Taking Back Cinco de Mayo
By Roberto Rodriguez (Dr. Cintli)

The weekend is coming up and you are looking forward to Cinco de Mayo, but this year, knowing that this is when many people denigrate Mexican people, you are determined not to insult Mexican people. What to do?  Here’s a simple guide:

#1: Do not attempt to dress up or speak like a Mexican.

#2: Do not confuse this day with September 16 or Mexican Independence day. That day celebrates independence from a tyrannical Spain.

#3: Do not associate liquor/alcohol with this date and do not call it “Drinko de Mayo.”

#4: Do not refer to Mexicans in a derogatory manner.

#5: Do not refer to Mexicans as Spanish people (Spanish people come from Spain), and also, do not come to think that everyone that speaks Spanish is Mexican.

#6: Do not ever refer to Mexican food as “Hispanic” food; virtually all the food labeled as such is Indigenous to this continent, not from Europe.

#7: Do not put on or attend a Mexican-themed party for Cinco de Mayo, if it involves the above.

Ok… but now, you still want to honor Mexicans. This gets tricky. Read #1-7 again, but if you insist, here are some suggestions:

#1: Vow to yourself that you will hereafter see and treat everyone, especially migrants, as full human beings, with corresponding full human rights.

#2: Support immigration reform legislation only if it treats migrants as full human beings, with corresponding full human rights.

#3: Support the DREAM movement, in particular, Scholarship A-Z. This group gives out scholarships to DREAM students, that is, students who were brought to this country without proper documentation as infants or children, and who currently have a difficult time going to college due to exorbitant tuition. To do so, go to:

#4: Read El Cinco de Mayo: An American Tradition, by UCLA Professor, David Hayes Bautista (University of California Press). Here, you will learn why this day is honored and celebrated by Mexican Americans.

#5: Support the right to teach Ethnic Studies in K-12 schools, everywhere, but especially here in Arizona.

#6: Treat others, the way you would like to be treated. In the Maya language, this is known as: In Lak Ech- Tue res mi otro yo-You are my other me. It is a concept found in all cultures.

#7: And finally, support or take part in the 2nd annual Cinco de Mayo 5K Sobriety Run/Walk on May 2 at the Valenzuela Center this year in Tucson, led by Calpolli Teoxicalli ( The run/walk are being held in protest of the hijacking of Cinco de Mayo by the liquor and alcohol industries and to raise awareness of the high rates of alcoholism in these communities. For more information on this run, being sponsored by the Mexican American Studies Department at the University of Arizona, write to:

This year, you now have the option to do something different on Cinco de Mayo… and yes, dishonoring should never occur at anytime of the year, and the honoring of Mexican peoples and Mexican American culture should not be relegated to a once-a-year event.

Rodriguez, an assistant professor in Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona, can be reached at:

* See you Sat morning 8a.m. at the valenzuela center in south tucson.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Celebrate true tradition of Cinco de Mayo

Celebrate true tradition of Cinco de Mayo
Virtually every Mexican with any sense of pride cringes this time of the year because, once again, the Cinco de Mayo season is upon us. It is that time of the year in which society gives itself permission to gratuitously insult Mexicans.
For this, we can thank the alcohol and liquor industries that have converted this most special of days into what has become a monthlong drinking advertising campaign.
Yet, we are now beginning to see a different way of celebrating Cinco de Mayo, a way that honors, rather than dishonors Mexican people and their culture.
Talk to most anyone taking part in these “ Drinko de Mayo festivities” at one of the Mexican-theme parties and you will get someone wearing a sombrero, a serape, huaraches, and of course, a fake mustache — standing next to cactus or a donkey (piƱata) — to say the celebration has something to do with Mexican Independence. This usually is part of the media interview that we all have become accustomed to.
Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day; that is Sept. 16. Instead, May 5 celebrates the defeat by a ragtag army of indigenous forces — led by Texas-born, general Ignacio Zaragoza — of a much larger and invading French army in the battle at Puebla, Mexico, in 1862. If one actually wants to learn about this celebration, read “El Cinco de Mayo: An American Tradition” by UCLA Professor David Hayes Bautista (University of California Press).
For many years, it was a genuine holiday on both sides of the border, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s in the United States. But it has degenerated into drinkfests. As such, people have been protesting this hijacking for a generation, but to no avail … until now.
One reason for this protest is that when this hijacking took place, the education component was dropped. At the same time, in many communities where this “celebration” is most heavily promoted and exploited by these industries, this is also where alcoholism is rampant.
There is another reason why people object to this commercialization. It is when these industries also most promote negative stereotypes. In Google Images, if one Googles the term Cinco de Mayo or Mexican party costumes, the results will confirm this. In addition to the stereotypical images already alluded to, for such theme parties, gangbangers or immigration officers are now also part of the standard repertoire.
These industries are comprised of multibillion-dollar corporations and they have a vested interest in cashing in on what often becomes a two-weekend affair, and when you consider the promotion behind it, an entire month. So it does not seem realistic the situation will self-correct anytime soon.
At the University of Arizona, students from several of the Mexican American studies classes have found a different way to celebrate: they are putting on the second annual Cinco de Mayo 5k sobriety walk/run and healthy food festival at the Valenzuela Youth Center, 1550 S. Sixth Ave, on Saturday. This year, similar runs are also taking place in Denver and Denton, Texas.
The objective of the event is threefold: 1) to protest that linkage between this special day with liquor and alcohol; 2) to protest the commercialization of this day; and 3) to protest the annual mocking of Mexicans. The event also seeks to educate, celebrate and promote healthy living, while learning about and celebrating Cinco de Mayo.
Roberto “Dr. Cintli” Rodriguez is an assistant professor in Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona. Contact him at

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Letter of support re write-in candidacy

I write this letter in regards to  Dr. Roberto Cintli Rodriguez for the position of Chair of the NACCS Board of Directors. Dr. Roberto Cintli Rodriquez is and has been  a strong community activist, advocate for the Chicano community, Chicano studies and  has made important major and historical  contributions to the Chicano Movement, Raza community, fight for justicia  and continues to be a great example to others as an hombre who does not lie down to injustice on the streets, on the media, or as a powerful Chicano studies educator. Dr. Roberto Cintli Rodriquez is a major leader and historical figure in our movimiento and nuestro comunidad, and I would strongly encourage to consider Dr. Roberto Cintli Rodriquez for  Chair of the NACCS Board of Directors.

Armando Lawrence,
Los Angeles Indigenous Peoples Alliance
2168 S. Atlantic Blvd #247
Monterey Park, CA 91754

Monday, April 13, 2015


PLEASE SHARE. INSURGENT WRITE-IN CANDIDACY FOR CHAIR ELECT (Roberto Rodriguez) for the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies. If you want to know why I have been remanded to a write-in candidacy, please go to:
I am running because I believe:
• we are in a critical time in the movement to spread Raza/Ethnic/Indigenous Studies nationwide, particularly at the community college and K-12 level. Scholars within the organization should be at the complete service of our communities, including developing and creating the curriculum for this nationwide boom.
• the Raza Studies community, as we have learned in Arizona (by being attacked collectively), is one large family. As such, our organization should reflect this, opening up membership to all who are part of this large family. This includes community educators, K-16 students, parents, teachers and scholars.
• the organization should also widen its scope, akin to what Tucson’s UNIDOS youth organization proposed in 2013; that we should teach Mexican American Indigenous Studies, and within it, all the other Ethnic Studies disciplines, including Gender and Women’s Studies, LGBT Studies and Middle Eastern Studies…. so that we can learn about each other as we struggle together. (…/a-call-for-mexican-american-…)
• the focus of next year’s conference should examine the relationship between the organization, our communities and Indigeneity, locally, nationally and internationally. As part of this, the organization, along with MEChA, MALCS and all the Calpolis (Kalpulis) and Peace and Dignity should hold a summit to examine the Census Bureau’s attempt to force a Hispanic [racial] identity upon us in 2020.
• the organization should be a full-fledged human rights organization, at the service of our communities. For example, we as a body should be at the forefront of producing the research that will be helpful in mounting legal challenges to stem the epidemic violence against the Black-Brown-Indigenous communities of this nation, including along the 2,000-mile border. (…/28921-not-counting-mexicans-or-india…)
• the organization should always be open, transparent and democratic and always accountable and responsive to the membership. It should always have open and competitive elections, always with choices as opposed to hand-picked unopposed candidates. The membership should lead and decide whereas the leadership should carry out the wishes of the body. The organization should be moved in this direction, beginning with changes to the by-laws this year, and going fully into effect in 2017.
• The organization should also be at the forefront of scholarship promoting discussion and dialogue within the discipline via its own top-notch, refereed academic journal.
* The election goes through 9 a.m. pst. Tues April 14.