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Tuesday, August 25, 2015


These are different kinds of racism in the United States, in this case, against brown peoples. There are many kinds and here are but a few examples:

Saturday Night Live: The kind that excludes: In all its years, SNL, which has launched many careers, has had a virtual “no Brown people need apply” policy. It is said that outside of white actors in “brownface,” no comics of Mexican origin have ever been employed by SNL and only 2 Latinos – with non-Latino sounding last names (meaning it was difficult to know they were Latinos) have been hired there in all its 40+ years. The racism there is so extreme and so normalized that it doesn’t even turn up as a topic either on google or google scholar.

Hollywood: The kind that invisibilizes: Chris Rock noted last year that Hollywood as a whole is racist, and even more specifically against Mexicans because they are virtually shut out the industry, this amid millions of brown peoples in its immediate surrounding:

Jay Leno & other comics: The kind that dehumanizes: The racism he pedaled throughout his career was the kind that made people comfortable. His racist jabs, under the guise of humor, dehumanized migrants/Mexicans virtually on a nightly basis, which had the effect of normalizing that dehumanization. His “humor” was so effective that he has many defenders that to this day claim he was simply telling “jokes.” Many other comedians did the same, but none were as influential as he. Read: Did you call in Mexican:

Sheriff Joe Arpaio: The flagrant kind: His racism is akin to Alabama’s Sheriff Bull Conner, an unrepentant bigot and segregationist. His flaunting of his intentional racial profiling policies against Mexican migrants led to him to lose in a federal civil rights case and actually, I believe he has lost many, many more court  cases: and an update:

Law Enforcement abuse: The violent and deadly kind: Most people in the country are familiar with the brutality against Blacks in this country, though it is highly unlikely they are aware to what extent outside of the few dozen cases that have been highlighted in the media this past year. During this same time, hundreds of Brown peoples have also been brutalized and killed by law enforcement throughout the country, generally outside of the eye of mainstream media. Here is one case that symbolizes this blindspot by the mainstream media, the case of Luis Rodriguez out of Moore, Oklahoma. His last words were: “I can’t breathe,” which can be heard at the beginning of the tape. Akin to virtually all cases against Black-Brown-Indigenous peoples, no charges were filed against the five officers involved:

The Mass media: The kind that dehumanizes and disrespects: Media types have for decades referred to migrants without documents as “illegals,” “wetbacks” and “anchor babies,” seemingly unaware of the dehumanizing effect of the denigrating terms.

Census Bureau: The demographic [genocide] kind: When the Census Bureau continues its throwback practices of, in effect, forcing brown peoples to identify as “Hispanics” – a name that invisibilizes their Indigenous background and that emphasizes the people that colonized the Americas. Also, their practice of imposing a white identity on brown peoples also manifests when hospitals/morgues issue birth and death certificates, again, denying the indigeneity of brown peoples:

Education-Ethnic Studies: The silencing kind, Arizona style: The disappearance of the history of brown peoples in this country. This is true nationwide, but in Arizona, right wing politicos actually created a “law” (HB 2281) that, in effect, bans not just books, but  worldviews that do not comport with Greco-Roman views and values. The primary target was Raza/Mexican American Studies and the Indigenous curriculum and philosophy it was based on (In Lak Ech-You are my other Me and Panche Be-To seek the Root of the Truth. This silencing is little different from the Inquisitional priests of the 1500s that staged auto de Fes (book burnings) that made illegal the possession of Indigenous books and knowledge:  HB2281 is still being challenged in the courts.

Supermarkets: The Cultural kind: You walk into a national supermarket and come across a special aisle labeled: Hispanic food. When you go down the aisle you realize that 99% of the food is actually Mexican, and more specifically, Indigenous. The foods usually are corn, beans, squash, chile, nopales (cactus) and many other foods that are Indigenous to this continent, not Spain or Hispania.

Fraternities and sororities: The making-fun-of-Mexicans kind: White students dressing up like Mexicans for “Fiestas,” Halloween or Cinco de Mayo is traditional on U.S. college campuses. Of course, when called out on it, they always retort that they were either honoring (the way American Indians are honored by the Redskin football team) or were unaware that dressing like Mexicans is a form of disrespect. Of course, these groups are equal opportunity bigots as this is also generally directed at African Americans and American Indians:

Donald Trump: The fascistic kind: There are few precedents for his brand of racism, at least in this country.  He seems to embody every kind of racism listed above, and more. He is not the first politico to call for a 2,000-mile wall, nor is he the first to call for the overturning of the 14th amendment, which guarantees birthright citizenship. Also, he is not the first to call for the mass deportation of migrants and their citizen children (according to him, whether it is 11 or 30 million) akin to Operation Wetback. Almost all right wing politicians in Arizona have called for those measures over the past 10 years:


What makes Trump unique is that he truly is buffoonish, whom people want to dismiss and not take him serious, yet, no one is even close to him in the Republican primaries. He does resonate with many in this country who are not even capable of recognizing that their views are racist. Another thing to remember is that many within the Republican Party actually hold very similar views on immigrations, sans the vitriolic language:

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Arizona on Fire: A Media and Civilizational War

The 9th Circuit court recently ruled re the constitutionality of the anti-ethnic studies hb 2281 legislation. It rendered a split verdict. One aspect of the case is set for trial re whether there was racial animus involved by the state and whether there was disparate impact. Here is a chapter from a book in which the 1st question is answered. It was actually written seeral years, but becomes relavant as a result of this decision. The book was published in the Canary Islands (The full text is below, though it begins with my chapter: Arizona on Fire: A Media and Civilizational War:

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.