Preface [chapter]

2019 The Making of Chicana/o Studies  
For over forty years I have been part of the building of Chicana/o Studies. Aside from the fact that Chicana/o Studies did not evolve from a traditional field of study and had no precedent, the major stumbling block has been the ethnocentrism of the institution that looks at the area of Chicana/o Studies through biases and even antipathy toward the study of minorities in general. The result is a distortion of what Chicana/o Studies are. A lack of literacy on the subject exists, with politicos
more » ... d public alike attempting to impose their definitions on the developing programs and courses. 1 As I write this, a battle is raging in the state of Arizona that will make all Mexican-looking people suspects of being undocumented workers and will ban La Raza Studies at the K-12 levels. The end is the censoring of books and screening teachers. Amidst this hysteria, a constructive dialogue is impossible, which is tragic, since it runs against the purpose of education. Chicana/o Studies, like other courses of study, has as its mission the production of knowledge that fosters the appreciation of other people and cultures, as well as knowledge that helps members of society solve and correct systemic problems and conflicts. Chicana/o Studies promotes what should be the goal of every modern and progressive state, which is to work toward the equality of its citizens, a goal that can only be accomplished by making corrections. Data is produced and tested in order to learn the truth. For instance, recent Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics show the border is relatively safe and that crime has actually declined. However, driven by opportunistic Arizona politicos and a gaggle of extremists, the media is being pressured to send the message that Arizona is losing control of the border. Groups such as the Tea Partiers are pressuring state and federal authorities to get tough on "illegals." The loser is rational discourse, with many nativists accusing the FBI of lying. If the objective is to learn, should not the question be who is telling the truth? Is the FBI data flawed? Or, are politicians distorting the facts? The truth should matter, and it is the objective of Chicana/o Studies to learn the truth. vii Preface
doi:10.36019/9780813550701-001 fatcat:a3ju5y5rdze7tdjy2lafbdgety