The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Collectively, these original essays successfully fulfill the editors' intended
purpose of bringing works on colonial Texas in line with the new social history
approach found in writings of post-1836 Texas, portraying the various folks
residing in eighteenth-century Texas as subjects who played active roles in voic-
ing the political needs of their community, and noting the connection between
Borderlands and Mexican American history. Indeed, after reading Tejano Orz-
gins in Eighteenth-Century San Antonio, Chicano historians will have to reconsider
the generally accepted definition of Chicano history as beginning with the
American domination of Mexico's Far North and thus an experience molded
by life in the United States instead of Spain or Mexico.
Angelo State Universzty ARNOLDO DE LE6N
Chicano Education zn the Era of Segregation. By Gilbert G. Gonzalez. (Cranbury,
N.J.: Balch Institute Press, 1990. Pp. 204. Acknowledgments, introduction,
notes, bibliography, index. $32.50.)
This study is a Marxist critique of public education in the Southwest during
the era of de jure segregation. The major focus is on educational policy
adapted to the "special needs" of a linguistically and culturally distinct Mexican
community-policy that resulted in intelligence testing, tracking, curriculum
differentiation, vocational education, and segregated schools. Within the larger
political economy, the public school processed the Mexican student as an item
of quality control. Gilbert Gonzales focuses on the theoretical and practiced
methods of this control and holds it up for rigid analysis.
Briefly, Gonzalez divides his subject into seven chapters dealing with Ameri-
canization programs, theories of education, actual practices, Inter-American
and Intercultural education, the Mendez v. Westminster case of 1947, and conti-
nuity and change in the education of Chicano children up to 1975. His organi-
zation and presentation of materials are based on Marxist assumptions; namely
the idea of some monolithic political economy, not merely based on race, that
directed segregation in the Southwest. Granted, race/class segments exist in the
United States, but Gonzalez provides no satisfactory evidence to make this as-
sumption convincing. He makes a good stab at it in chapter I with the general
theory of organic society, but the history of special interest groups and the
marketplace does not materialize. As he excludes different "Hispano" educa-
tional experiences from analysis, he gives us a special difference. As Guadalupe
San Miguel has displayed in Texas, Mexican Americans were not passive par-
ticipants in de jure segregation.
Gonzalez argues that public schools in the Southwest sought to assimilate
Mexican Americans through a rigorous program of Americanization. School
officials designed their curriculum in order to foster a disciplined, well-behaved-
source of cheap labor for low-skill industries of the Southwest. Mexican Ameri-
cans are seen as "feudal" victims of the dominant-subordinate relationships
that existed prior to World War II. Moreover, as monopoly capitalism solidified
and the race/class structure remained unchallenged, state policies and the im-
pact of U.S. interests internationally operated much the same way, particularly

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101215/. Accessed April 18, 2014.