Only around 5 percent of college professors nationwide are Latino/a/x and at CSULB it’s higher around 9 percent. But this is still low when almost half of the student body is Latino/a/x.
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).
Today, buoyed by neoliberal reforms, the university has become increasingly defined by careerist and entrepreneurial trends, which position students as consumers and faculty as service providers.
Among undergraduate students who began in 2012 (the latest data available), 51% of Latino students borrowed to pay for their undergraduate or graduate education, according to Excelencia in Education.
The initial $10,000 of federal student loan forgiveness will allow about half of all Latino borrowers to have their entire debt forgiven, according to Excelencia.
As a “guest” of the American government, my father—Salomón Huerta, Sr.—worked as a farmworker during the early 1960s under the Bracero Program. Officially known as the Mexican Farm Labor Program (1942-1964), this guest worker program recruited 4.6 million Mexican laborers to toil in America’s agricultural fields, along with the railroad and mining sectors.
Based on traditional metrics, it becomes nearly impossible for some scholars of color to compete — many did not attend top ranked schools due to financial barriers, nor possess the social and cultural capital to secure well known mentors, and often conduct groundbreaking research that is not valued in the field.
Yet, if not for my participation in Upward Bound (a federally funded program to help prepare historically marginalized, first-gen kids to pursue higher education), I wouldn’t be able to compete at the highest level in my mathematics. More specifically, if not for my childhood friend Hector from the projects, who peer pressured me to apply to Upward Bound at Occidental College (Oxy) – a six-week, residential program – I would be oblivious to the college application process.
Christain Green is a sociology professor at Antelope Valley College in Los Angeles County. His path to that post has been long, with him starting off as a child in the county foster care system and later living on the streets of Southern California. He says that life experiences have left him a close follower of local politics and he worries about the outcomes of the looming June primaries and November general elections.
A few years ago, Marlisa Olea-Gallardo was grasping the hand of a young woman from Tijuana about to give birth. They had just met and were the only Spanish speakers in the hospital room. Both were in their early 20s. “She talked to me about her life and how she was so excited to have […]