In this current political scandal, we have five prominent Mexican-Americans in positions of influence nearly unprecedented historically, given the racist legacy of a past LA dominated by Anglo Americans. If those present did not directly insult the Oaxacans, they at the very least entertained language disparaging them. Such Oaxacan peoples are among the most culturally resilient in world history – and yet intrinsically linked to the national identities of modern Mexican people and their American counterparts. This is the historic legacy bestowed upon those officials, too.
As a history professor, my dreams of wealth and rock n’ roll fame in young adulthood evaporated long ago. But just before this Mexican Independence Day on September 16, my professional moments sparkle, to use an un-academic term. Being a former Mexican American GED student in cholo garb, these moments of enlightenment – for me and my students – are about as priceless as any such moments of a respective jale. It’s my time to teach about Mexican Independence (which is not Cinco de Mayo).