THE LATINO VOICE IN AMERICAN SOCIETY
Preface: This is an outline for a suggested classroom course that utilizes the content found on Latinopia.com as classroom source material. Reference here is made to “Latino” but depending on the make-up of the students in the classroom, “Latino” can be replaced with “Puerto Rican” or “Mexican American” or “Cuban American.” Thus, this outline can just as easily be adapted to be “The Puerto Rican Voice in American Society,” “The Chicano Voice in American Society,” or the “Central American Voice in American Society.” The goal of the course is to empower students to discover their own unique voice and affirm their identity.
1. Suggested introductory remarks. This course will introduce students to the concept of “voice” and how it can empower an individual to compete, interact and accomplish goals in American society. A positive sense of self and an awareness of one’s identity can help an individual succeed in life. An individual can have a “voice” but so, also, can a people or a nation.
2. Suggested definition: “Voice is the authentic expression of the empowered identity, aspirations and goals of an individual or people.”
3. Suggested classroom exercise. Have students identify who they are using only a simple one word definition (i.e. “American,” “Chicano,” “Nuyorican,” “student,” “daughter,” etc.) Discuss the implications of each term used and what that term implies about the individual and how they think of themselves. Are these terms positive, negative or neutral? Introduce definitions that will be used in the course for terms such as “Mexican American,” “Cuban American, “Puerto Rican,” “Hispanic, “ ”Latino,” and other terms likely to arise in classroom discussions. Get the definitions out of the way.
4. Now move on to having the students define themselves using a word that describes their character or personality (i.e. “caring,” “loving,” “angry,’ happy,” etc.) What conclusions can we draw about how words inform and define our self-concept and self-worth? What does it mean to be “empowered?”
5. Suggested Class Assignment#1. Have each student write a brief description or essay of what they aspire to be in life and how they hope to accomplish these goals. Hold onto the descriptions or essays to compare with at the end of the course when you will ask them to write the same description or essay.
6. Suggested Class Assignment#2. Have students pair off and have each person
interview the person with whom they have been paired. Have each person write a brief (one paragraph) description of the person they interviewed. How does this description compare with that person’s own self-perception?
II. THE LATINO VOICE IN POLITICS.
1. Suggested introductory remarks. Often individuals (or groups of individuals) encounter obstacles to their goals for a better life. Sometimes these obstacles can take the form of outright oppression, discrimination and exploitation. In these cases the individual (or groups of individuals) have the right to fight back or RESIST the obstacles in their path. Consider the original 13 American colonies and their response to British oppression.
2. In the process of resisting people or situations that would block your goals, or seek to oppress you, individuals (or groups of individuals) need to AFFIRM who they are and that will overcome these obstacles. Consider the Preamble to the United States Constitution which begins “We the People…”
3. How successful an individual or people will be in achieving their goals will also
depend on what SKILLS they put to use and how adept they are at these skills.
4. These, then, are some of the elements necessary to express your authentic voice: resistance, affirmation and skill or craft. Let’s look at how two Latinos put these
elements to work to express their political voice.
5a. DOLORES HUERTA. In what was were farm workers powerless and “voiceless” prior to the creation of the United Farm Workers Union? What obstacles did they face? How did American society view them? What were their aspirations? What were their goals for social change? What did they accomplish through the formation of the United Farm Workers Union?
5b. SOURCE MATERIALS:
5c.TIMELINE: 200 Years of Latino History in the United States.
5d. BIOGRAPHY: Dolores Huerta.
5e. DOCUMENTS: The Plan de Delano.
5f, LATINOPIA TEATRO VIDEOS – El Teatro Campesino1, El Teatro Campesino2 El Teatro Campesino3.
6a.JOSÉ ANGEL GUTIÉRREZ. In what ways were Mexican American Youth powerless and “voiceless” prior to the onset of the Chicano Movement for Educational Reform? What obstacles did they face? How did American society view Mexican Americans? What were the aspirations of José Angel Gutiérrez and other young activists? What did students accomplish through their “walk-out” protests in Crystal City, Los Angeles, Denver and other cities?
6b. SOURCE MATERIALS.
6c. TIMELINE: 200 Years of Latino History in the United States.
6d. BIOGRAPHY: José Angel Gutiérrez.
6e. EVENT PROFILE: 1968 East Los Angeles Highs School Walk-outs.
6f. EVENT PROFILE: 1969 Denver Youth Conference
6g. DOCUMENTS; High School Walk-out Demands.
6h. LATINOPIA EVENT VIDEO – 1968 L.A. School Board Sit-In.
7. Suggested Class Assignment#1. Have the students select a contemporary political figure in American society whom they admire. What is that person’s aspirations? What is that person’s goals? How does he or she work to accomplish these goals? How is that person viewed by American society? What do you admire that person?
8. Additional Readings: Occupied America – A History of Chicanos By Rodolfo Acuña Harper Collins, New York, NY,1988; Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement by F. Arturo Rosales, Arte Público Press, Houston, TX, 1997; Testimonio – A documentary History of the Mexican American Struggle for Civil Rights by F. Arturo Rosales, Arte Público Press, Houston, TX 2000
III. THE LATINO VOICE IN LITERATURE
1. What is Latino Literature? Ask the students who their favorite Latino writers are. Who have they read? Use this opportunity to define different forms of literary expressions (essay, novel, short story, poem). What makes a Latino book, poem or short story “Latino?” Suggested Definition: “Latino literature is any writing–poems, novels, short stories, essays–written by a Spanish surnamed person, a person of Hispanic descent, or a person who identifies themselves as being Hispanic or Latino.”
2. Latino oral tradition. Latinos have always drawn from a rich oral tradition that has both informed and shaped their literary efforts. These oral traditions include dichos (wise sayings), proverbios (proverbs), and corridos (ballads). What is a dicho, have the students give examples. What is a proverbios? Have students give examples. What is a corrido? Have students give examples.
3. When did Latino Literature begin? How have Latinos been portrayed by non-Latino writers such as O’Henry and John Steinbeck? How did the civil rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s provoke a literary renaissance among Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans and Cuban American? How did these writings differ from the portrayals of Latinos by non-Latinos in previous periods?
4. Discussion: In what ways has the Latino literary voice employed resistance, affirmation and craft?
5. SOURCE MATERIALS:
6. TIMELINE: 100 Years of Latino Literature in the United States.
7. IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Alberto Rios, Rudolfo Anaya, Luis Rodriguez.
8. INTERVIEW; Mario Picayo, Editorial Campana; Gary Keller, Bilingual Review Press; Nicolas Kanellos, Arte Público Press.
9. LATINOPIA WORD VIDEO- MONICA ORTIZ “Enlistment Papers”
10; LATINOPIA WORD VIDEO – ALBERT RIO “Returning to the Cat, “ Theater of Night” How To Write a Poem”
11. LATINOPIA WORD VIDEO – DENISE CHAVEZ “Last of the Menu Girls”
12. LATINOPIA WORD VIDEO – PAT MORA “Mi Madre”
13. LATINOPIA WORD VIDEO – MACEO MONTOYA “Cielo Rojo”
14. LATINOPIA WORD VIDEO – JOSÉ MONTOYA “Pachuco Portfolio “
15. Class Assignment#1. Have students select one of the authors found as interviews
or spoken word on the Latinopia site and write a biography of that author. What
characterizes his or her Latino “voice?” What obstacles is that writer speaking about? What is that author’s aspirations? What goals is he or she suggesting? How is the author’s aspirations and goals expressed in their writings? What is the role
of skill or craft in their expressions?
16. Class Assignment#2. Have the students write a poem or short story about something that is deeply important to them.
17. Additional Readings: Conversations with Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Writers by Hector A. Torres, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM 2007; Chicano and Chicana Literature – Otra voz del Pueblo by Charles M. Tatum; University of Arizona Press, Tucson, AZ 2006; Hecho En Tejas – An Anthology of Texas-Mexican Literature Edited by Dagoberto Gilb, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM 2006; Handbook of Hispanic Cultures in the United States Edited by Alfredo Jiménez, General Editors Nicolás Kanellos and Claudio Esteva-Fabregat, Arte Público Press, Houston, TX 1994
IV. THE LATINO VOICE IN ART
1. What is Latino Art? Introduce the students to examples of a portrait painting,
charcoal or pen and ink drawing, serigraph, poster, sculpture and mural (this can be photos or actual art works brought to the classroom). Use this opportunity to define different forms of expression in the plastic arts.
2. Ask the students who their favorite pictorial artist is. What makes a Latino paintings, portrait, mural, silkscreen or drawing “Latino?” Suggested Definition: “Latino art is any artistic rendering –paintings, portrait, mural, silkscreen, drawing or sculpture–made by a Spanish surnamed person, a person of Hispanic descent, or a person who identifies themselves as being Hispanic or Latino.”
3. Latino artists draw pictorials from the world around them. What images exist in
the Latino home that reflect who we are as Latinos? Have students give examples.
4. When did Latino Art begin? How have Latinos been portrayed by non-Latinos in art or photography prior to the emergence of Mexican American, Puerto Rican and Cuban American artists of the 1960s and 1970s? (sleeping Mexican by cactus, Speedy Gonzalez, etc.) How did the civil rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s provoke an artistic renaissance among Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans and Cuban Americans? In what ways were these artistic works similar to the writings made by Latinos during this same period? In what ways was the art different than the writings?
5. Discussion: How did the art work of previous generations of Mexican, PuertoRican or Cuban artists influence the work of the artists of the civil rights era?
6. SOURCE MATERIALS:
7. TIMELINE: 100 Years of Latino Art in the United States.
8. IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Judy Baca, Barbara Carrasco, Wayne Healy, Carmen Lomas Garza, César Martinez, Patricia Rodríguez, Zarco Guerrero.
9. LATINOPIA ART VIDEO – DAVID FLURY
10. LATINOPIA ART VIDEO – GILBERT “MAGU” LUJAN
11. LATINOPIA ART VIDEO – BARBARA CARRASCO
12. LATINOPIA ART VIDEO – MOISES VELEZ
13. Class Assignment#1. Select one of the artists found as interviews or profile on the Latinopia site. What characterizes his or her artistic Latino “voice?” What obstacles are inherent implied in their works of art. What is that artist’s aspirations? What goals is he or she suggesting by their art? How is the artist’s personal aspirations and goals expressed in their art work?
14. Class Assignment#2. Have the students undertake a painting, drawing or sculpture based on something found in their home that reflects who they are and that is deeply important to them.
15.Additional Readings: Chicano Art, Edited by Alicia Gaspar de Alba, University of Texas Press Austin, TX 1998; Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Art, Vols. I and II By Gary Keller, Mary Erickson, Katie Johnson and Joaquin Alvarado, Bilingual Press, Tempe. AZ 2002; Handbook of Hispanic Cultures
in the United States, Edited by Alfredo Jiménez, General Editors Nicolás Kanellos
and Claudio Esteva-Fabregat, Arte Público Press, Houston, TX 1994; Chicano Visions, American Painterson the Verge, by Cheech Marin, Little Brown and Co. Boson, New York, 2002.
V. THE LATINO VOICE IN MUSIC
1. What is Latino music? Introduce the students to examples of different styles of
Latino music such as salsa, boleros, Tex-Mex, conjunto, reggaeton, hip-hop, etc.
Use this opportunity to define different forms of musical expressions.
2.. Ask the students who their favorite Latino musician is. What makes a Latino music distinctly Latino? Is it the musician? Is it what language it is sung in? Suggested Definition: “Latino music is any musical expression–song, ballad, orchestral composition, individual or group performance –made by a Spanish surnamed person (or persons), a person (or persons) of Hispanic descent, or a person (or persons) who identifies himself (or themselves) as being Hispanic or Latino.”
3. Latino musicians often draw on their personal experiences relating to themes like love, romance, rejection, friendship, celebrations, from their life experiences.
What are the life experiences or emotions we find in the Latino home that reflect who we are as Latinos? Have students give examples. How is are these experiences or emotions different or the same as that experienced by non-Latinos?
4. Discussion: How have successive generations of Latino musicians in different styles ad fields influenced subsequent generations?
5. SOURCE MATERIALS.
6. TIMELINE: 100 Years of Latino Music in the United States.
7. IN THEIR OWN WORDS: FLACO JIMENEZ, LOUIE PÉREZ
8. ESSAY: SOME THOUGHTS ON LATINO MUSIC
9. LATINO MUSIC VIDEO – OLMECA “I am Not Alone”
10. LATINOPIA MUSIC VIDEO – OLMECA “Go to Hell”
11. LATINOPIA MUSIC VIDEO – JOEY’S CHEMISTRY “I Wonder”
12. LATINOPIA MUSIC VIDEO – DAVID GARZA “Minority Boys Got Cash”
13. LATINOPIA MUSIC VIDEO – LOS POCHOS “Margie”
14. LATINOPIA MUSIC VIDEO – LAS CAFETERAS “La Bamba”
15. LATINOPIA MUSIC VIDEO – JUAN TEJEDA “On Conjunto Music”
16. Class Assignment#1. Select one of the musicians found as interviews, in performance, or on the Music Timeline. What characterizes his or her Latino “voice?” What obstacles are inherent implied in their music? What is that artist’s aspirations? What goals is he or she suggesting by their song or musical composition? How is the musician’s personal aspirations and goals expressed in their music?
17. Class Assignment#2. Have the students undertake to compose a song, ballad or rap piece based on something that is deeply important to them.
18. Additional Readings: Chicano Soul- Recordings & History of an American Culture by Ruben Molina, Mictlan Publishing, La Puente, CA 2007; Mexican American Mojo by Anthony Macías Duke University Press, Durham, NC 2008;
Lalo – My Life and Music by Lalo Guerrero and Sherilyn Meece Mentes, University of Arizona Press, Tucson, AZ 2002; The Texas-Mexican Conjunto- History of a Working Class Music by Manuel H. Peña, University of Texas Press, Austin, TX 1985; Handbook of Hispanic Cultures in the United States Edited by Alfredo Jiménez, General Editors Nicolás Kanellos and Claudio Esteva-Fabregat, Arte Público Press Houston, TX 1994
V. THE LATINO VOICE IN CINEMA
1. What is Latino Cinema? Ask the students what their favorite Latino film is. What makes that film particularly Latino? Is it just the theme? Is it that the film
was written or directed by a Latino?
2. Suggested definition: “A Latino film is a cinema production–a motion picture, documentary, short drama, webisode or music video–made by a Spanish surnamed person (or persons), a person (or persons) of Hispanic descent, or a person (or persons) who identifies himself (or themselves) as being Hispanic or Latino.”
3. Latino screen writers and directors often draw on their personal life experiences
to make films in many different genres such as dramas (El Norte, Crossover Dreams, Mi Familia) , musicals (Zootsuit, La Bamba, Selena, El Cantante) and action adventures (El Mariachi, American Me). Use this as an opportunity to define
popular film genres and identify Latino films that fall within each.
4. Why have there been so few movies made about Latinos by Hollywood? In what ways have Latinos been systematically barred from entry into the motion picture and television industry? What has prompted Latino writes, directors and producers to write, produce and direct their own film?
5. What kind of themes have Latino screen writers and directors undertaken in the films they make? Have the students select one or two films that most of the students have seen and ask in what ways the Latino experience portrayed in these films the same kind of experiences shared by all Americans? In what ways are these experiences different and unique?
6. How are Latinos portrayed in films made by non-Latinos (Boulevard Nights, Walk Proud, Blood In, Blood Out) as compare to how Latinos are portrayed in films made by Latinos (Mi Familia, La Bamba, Selena, El Cantante)?
7. SOURCE MATERIALS:
8. TIMELINE: 100 Years of Latino Cinema in the United States.
9. IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Victor Millan, Rey Villalobos,
10. FEATURE: TOP LATINO MOTION PICTURES
11. FEATURE: LATINA FILMMAKERS
. 12. LATINOPIA CINEMA – DANNY DE LA PAZ “Blvd. Nights”
13. LATINOPIA CINEMA – REY VILLALOBOS “Uurban Cowboy”
14. LATINOPIA CINEMA – DANNY VALDEZ “La Bamba”
15. LATINOPIA TEATRO – LUIS VALDEZ “El Pachuco 1 & 2″
14. LATINOPIA CINEMA – RUTH LIVIER “Ylse.net”
15. LATINOPIA SHOWCASE – “Pushing out Juan”
16. LATINOPIA SHOWCASE – “Inundation”
17. LATINOPIA SHOWCASE – “La Hora del Té”
18. Class Assignment#1. Select one of the motion pictures found in the list of Ten Top Latino Films. What is the Latino “voice” of that film? What obstacles is the hero or heroine of the film trying to overcome? What is the protagonist’s aspirations? What are his or her goals? How is the film maker’s personal aspirations and goals expressed in the film?
19. Class Assignment#2. Have the students compose a one or two-page synopsis fora motion picture based on something that is deeply important to them.
VI. FINDING YOUR OWN VOICE
1. Introductory remarks. We have seen how Latinos in different fields have found and expressed their voice, often overcoming huge obstacles to attain their goals. But how do you find your own special “voice?” And how do you know when it is authentic and real?
2. Discussion. Incorporate the following questions in the course of a discussion on
finding your own unique voice.
3. First you must begin by defining what it is you want. Shakespeare has said, “To thine own self be true.” What are your goals in life?
4. What are the obstacles that lie in your path to achieve these goals? By what means can you overcome these obstacles?
5. What activities do you enjoy doing? How can these activities or interests help you in achieving your goals?
6. What are the additional skills you will need to accomplish your goals?
7. How will you go about attaining these skills?
8. What is the role of higher education in this pursuit?
9. Suggested Class Assignment#1. Have each student write a brief description or essay of what they aspire to be in life and how they hope to accomplish these goals. Compare these thoughts to the description or essay they wrote at the beginning of the course. How are they different, how the same?
Advisory: This teacher’s guide was developed and is copyrighted 2012 by Barrio Dog Productions Inc. You are free to make copies for classroom instructional use only. Any commercial duplication, posting on the internet other than on Latinopia.com, or other commercial dissemination is strictly prohibited and will prosecuted.