THIS WEEK ON LATINOPIA: DIVERSITY, WHAT DOES IT MEAN AND FOR WHOM? RICARDO ROMO ON DIVERSITY AND THE FUTURE OF COLLEGE ADMISSIONS, FRANK SOTOMAYOR ON THE DAWNING OF DIVERSITY AND A GENERATION OF LEADERS AND JESÚS TREVIÑO ON DIVERSITY IN MEDIA.
On June 29, 2023 the Supreme Court handed down a stunning ruling that essentially undoes decades of acknowledgement that minorities in America experience unequal opportunities and avenues to rectify institutional racism. Instead the Supreme Court decision, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in dissent of the majority opinion, cements “a superficial rule of colorblindness as a constitutional principle in an endemically segregated society where race has always mattered and continues to matter.”
This week we look at diversity. We begin with Ricardo Romo’s Tejano Report, looking at the early beginnings of affirmative action on campus. He reflects on his own experiences recalling how in 1962 he was the only Latino student in a dorm of 400 and the only non-Anglo on an athletic scholarship. Romo later got involved with the Upward Bound program at Occidental College in Los Angeles that supported Black and Latino high school students and gave them the promise of a college education. Since 1965, the Upward Bound program has inspired generations of low income Black and Latino high school students to imagine themselves at college. In 2020, many of these students returned to Occidental College to celebrate 55 years of the successful program.
Acclaimed Los Angeles Times journalist Frank Sotomayor (not related to the Supreme Court justice) echoes Romo’s sentiment in his book, The Dawning of Diversity, How Chicanos Helped Change Stanford University. In this Latinopia interview with Sotomayor, he speaks about how the book and diversity at Stanford University came about. Once again, what many thought impossible became a reality due to the hard and committed work of Latino educational activists. Sotomayor signals the impact and legacy of diversity at Standford with the accompanying video A Generation of Leaders. Check it all out!
And lastly, we are reminded that when it comes to diversity, we must get out of the traditional, dichotomous thinking that diversity means Black and White. Treviño reminds us that one of the most glaring inequities is to be found in mainstream media. He argues that diversity in films and television must always mean Latinos as well.
It looks like the continuing struggle for justice and fair play in American society will continue, it appears with less help from the Supreme Court, than we would like. But it is the struggle that we must own, embrace and persist.
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