Friday, September 27, 2013

Indigenous Education: Resilience of Zapoteca/o Identity in 21stC L.A. Schools, Study by Rafael Vasquez

September 27, 2013 at 6:53pm

I would like to share my response to the research of a colleague, R. Vasquez, conducted with another colleague, W. Perez. But before doing so, I must declare that what I would say about indigenous education is hampered to the extent that it is by my informal and limited understanding at a large removal from being a Zapoteca in the first place. Therefore this is merely a set of thoughts in the interest of disseminating the importance of this research for many beyond my ability to summarize and therefore I can only ponder in the following response to Vasquez's research.

Research relevance in education. Can you really know about what a school is teaching children who they do not know anything about?
It does appear that schools function well in what they do if you look at Oaxacan children (highly motivated and high aspirations and performance). The stunning truth of it may, in fact, offer a new theory of learning for the 21st century one that lacks new theories.

Why always search for an exceptional, ideal, or philosophical model outside of the native American examples in California? FOr as workers migrating to the agricultural fields, partly, but also as skilled workers, entrepreneurs, professionals who are active in traditions while participating as integral members of cosmopolitan locales of Southern Los Angeles, Oaxacans have been here and their contributions have been here.

The study employs a classical model of American education, particularly fulfilled by American Indian children from home origins in the long-settled indigenous zones of southern Mexico, and path-breaking foundational investigation of their educational pathways.

While some children may carry Disney retail merchandise in backpacks or school supplies as indigenous or other children are equally likely to do, indigenous children also present with their own unique communal and personal identity. While their appearance may be likened by the unknowing to that of Mexicans, they are both not Mexican nor Mexican-American in any other way than by refutation of a national identity that is shared with others from non-indigenous origins in the U.S. and Mexico or within their borders.

At once their identity is conscious of the experience of the stereotype threats applied to Mexicans and is compounded with Mexican stereotypes of them, the collapse of the distinction of the two identities coincides in the racial misidentification along with its potentially detrimental ascriptions.  An epithet embodied in a socialization process--the anti-indigenous removal of value for native peoples, along with the systemization of education toward general knowledge and immersion in national assimilation--targets but is rebuffed by Oaxacans.

How can evaluation of education be improved with qualitative knowledge of Zapoteco resilence? Why would a larger populace want to become aware of the minority population's example of resilience if that culture is one in which its members are born as such before the effect of immersion in majority society begins to have its deleterious impact?

Are there advantages to non-assimilation which are anterior to education?   

Why does preserving the culture of native persons represent a valid and meritorious objective for schooling if fewer people are and will be indigenous than assimilated?  

Is education more than a transfer of skills? Is it also an indoctrination in itself from which Oaxacan children appear to prevail?

This question could not have been asked if its premise were not something inculcated by education as an institutional voice of the palliative purposes of schools.

Are schools aware or can they be made aware of the shadow they inadvertently cause on the identities that sustain and mitigate for their own cultural objectives even if those are unconsciously generalized to the extent if they are for Zapotecos.

Is it the case that Zapoteco identity accounts for the purpose of living a human experience by intrinsic value and if so is this humanistic response to compound oppression a specific purpose of the same resilience of identity?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

"Saving Ruben Salazar" Film Phillip Rodriguez with PBS: Preview Review

"Saving Ruben Salazar"It's Los Angeles.  Everyone's a filmmaker. Tonight is no different but that critical edge is increased.  It feels like the knife of history, come back to demand its consolation.  But endings were not made for happiness, only for more and more incompleteness.  The in-completion suited to a film preview becomes accentuated. This is no ordinary documentary, city, or audience.

This is nowhere more evident than in the filmmaker, Phillip Rodriguez of Los Angeles.  Under the auspices of such patrons as the Annenberg, Broad, and Public Broadcasting Services, Rodriguez holds the center of attention.  Journalism is the topic and Ruben Salazar, Chicano writer extraordinaire, is the subject. About his subject (Salazar), Rodriguez becomes cautiously whimsical.  Had he no particular affinity for decentralizing the focus or attitude of his work (yet which he does) this would have been required.  Salazar and his humanity, pined Rodriguez, in part disavowal and part mastery.  The juxtaposition, he doubts, of truth with truth implies fallacy.

Fallacy plays a strong hand in the film.  A need to address the insuitability  or incommensurability of Salazar's public, the one he spoke for or the one who won't let him rest today, imply more longing for Salazar than would be considered healthy.  Why does Salazar's death override his life? Rodriguez would like to know how best to convey this intrinsic fault.  If only his subject would speak for himself rather than eluding his authors and troubling his mourners.

"Saving Ruben Salazar," begins a pilgrimage from Los Angeles to various venues including a PBS educational website and imminent nationwide distribution.  The film features a fascinating set of documentary sources from personal and professional settings.  Salazar is captured in photo, typography, film footage, oral histories, in the field as a war correspondent, at demonstrations throughout the Civil Rights era, and as a father of fresh-faced little children.  Always he possesses an ethereal introspective poise.  Inscrutable as a Mexican and idealistic as an American.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Versos Libres, translations of José Marti

These are my verses they are as they are
I have asked no one to give them to me.
While I have not been able to create
Them as visions in tact worthy of them
My visions are free, fly! I set them free
Some never returned their friendly auras
It’s the honor of poetry I keep.
Slice verses? I can but don’t want to
Just as every person has their features,
Each inspiration is an idiom.
I love difficult pronunciation,
Sculpted verses, stunning as porcelain,
Flying and broiling like a lava tongue.
A verse is a refulgent sword swung
By a warrior who climbs to the sky
and verging with the sun bursts into wings.


1. Original at

All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Chicana and Chicano School of Art: Q.A. Artist and Qurator, Cheech Marin

Recorded at  Margaret Garcia Studio
Los Angeles, September 2013

1. Purpose of Art

The main purpose is to communicate some part of your soul. It kind of all goes together. 

From an early age, we wanted to be smart, be able to go to a cocktail party in Manhattan.

2. Chicanitas are small paintings. I really love the small paintings. Very intimate, it’s like being

whispered to. People get up close to them and spend longer with them.

3.Small museums, community museums, universities not such a long lead up time.

It’s like going on a club tour

4. Education and Development of Art About his shows:

They boost the Latino attendance at every museum we’ve gone to and it keeps up.  It’s

recurring.  It’s wonderful.

5. Love of Art

…I grew up as a musician. I was a musician and singer all of my life. I was able to sing

and act for children and to be able to use that forum to teach kids real life lessons.

You do the arts because they take the sting out of painful messages.

Arts can be very aggressive too but generally it’s a benevolent way to get painful messages


6.  Art is Sacrificial.

For me arts are all a part of the message.  Actors and painters, painters are like artists,

animators and animation—who does the work for the character.

Painters are more like directors. They control everything in the frame.

7. On Margaret’s Small Series 2013

She’s good enough to do that, her techniques, her facility are always progressing. The

years go by.  Other painters are commenting.  People do. People get better the more they

practice their art.

8.  New Shows?

I’m putting together a couple other shows for the community, a big show about the

influence of Chicano art… a great influence…it is now influencing the traditional


It’s been seminal and about how it influences street art all over the world.

9. Explosion of street art all over the world, and it comes right out of the Chicano art

experience.  Brazil Colombia MX and they’re getting to be international right away,

Berlin, Rome, and the world.

That influence is seminal. I see it happening and fast all of the time, performed in public,

I’m standing back in awe about the speed of how it goes.

10. Global Media?

It’s related to the internet. There’s no filter. There’s no middle man who judges and may

or may not disseminate them. You don’t have to be officially published or accepted.  It

happens so much faster, it’s incredible.

It’s both Good and Bad: there is no body of governance to weed out the crap but there’s

nothing to stop anyone from putting anything out there and people choose it or not or like

it or not.

It’s exciting to watch and it’s amazing.

Global and tribal at the same time.

So many more specific experiences that the variety is immense.

11. Chicano School of Art

Definitely is a school.  What it does is it stresses ….what is it to be Chicano and what is it

to be Chicano comes from a myriad of viewpoints. It’s the most benevolent presentation

of that and it’s political because here’s the picture of the coming change and people are

getting it. It doesn’t have to be forced down their throat.  Beautiful pictures.

We just opened a show at U of Wyoming in Laramie, they have a Chicano studies

program for 1-2 years, and it’s astounding coming from LA AZ. They have 10% Latino

pop in the state. This is a state that has more antelope than people, 3000 more antelope

than people.

It’s unbelievable. People came out in record numbers. They’re astounded And that’s the

reaction of everybody who’s coming to see it. Wyoming is very interesting. They’re very

libertarian, as a state it doesn’t want to be told what to do, and they do what they want. It

has an ornery streak to it but that’s contrasted with the feeling that you can do anything

because there’s enough space there to give everybody a chance to do something. I was

impressed I want to go back there. The country is beautiful, amazing, I loved it there.

12.  Today’s Chicano Art in the World

It’s kind of gentle politicism, I came to that conclusion because I was asking questions

Was this political art? Yes, the pictures of the community and the community is

impacting upon other communities more and more in every state. We have the

biggest wave of immigration and mostly from Mexico and it’s simultaneous.  A huge

demographic shift. How to incorporate the best parts of that energy for the country.

13.  Freedom in Art Collecting and Curating

You can’t get a hold of it.  It’s like standing in front of a lava flow. You can do that but I

don’t recommend it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Margaret Garcia: Small Painting Series

Garcia, Margaret, 2013

Los Musicos Esperando en la Noche

4 figures gathered together while an individual is shrouded , on the same space but outside of the group, co-habitating but peripheral, as though a fugitive or an exile, -- the humanity it depicts is collateral, a storehouse of traditional, vernacular perhaps even psychic existences, one step removed from their unity, their unity embodied more like the crouching enigmatic figure than caring to acknowledge.  The social space is a composite one, made of whole selves but evasive on its permanence, cohesion, or security.

The yellow and red ambience retains its contrast and warming the scene of the landscape as a compound dramatic field.  

Life though tenuous perseveres with a reliance on diffusion of its qualities.  Such qualities--melodies, memories, indeed music as a genre both contrary to yet complimentary of art--visually relieve the landscape of its known risks (which are the same and preserved as a systemic de-centering of humanity by institutional force in a competitive contest of survival) while they cast refracting images of art facing art--paint and music--with a composite and alternating enlivenment.  

98cents General Merchandise

The scene of a discount store recalls the urbanism of art’s evolution in modern times.  It alludes to commercial marketing of human activities, products, and art .  Its geometric division and accentuation of windows, doors, even a barred wrought iron security fence, convey the vitality but also the overall community and its mercantillistic framing, speaks of art vying for its influence but rendered secondary.  The fractions of the small painting would seem to induce an inhibition but the reverse takes place.  Divisibility, partial clarity, even impressionistic suggestion embolden the actions in the small painting.  It contains greater specificity the smaller it is which power of magnification as division brings dramatic energy into the perceivable and aesthetically-affirming scene.  Rather than succumbing to a greater or larger power that would impose austerity or sequestration, the painting becomes a whole out of its partial multiplicity.  More takes place in the small painting as it refers to itself through dimunition it also vehemently relies on its completed evocation, the art work.  

11.5X7 ¾ X 4 oil on wood panel “Reflections on Echo Park”