Tensions Rise on ‘Imaginary’ Border, Academically Speaking

If the tussle over a title and a hyphen is any indicator, Texas’s forthcoming Mexican American studies course will be contentious on immigration policy.

With Hispanics constituting 53 percent of the state’s K-12 population — projected to top 60 percent by the end of the decade, thanks to continued legal and illegal migration from Mexico and the new arrivals’ high birth rates — Texas is developing the nation’s first free-standing Mexican American curriculum.

“We need a curriculum that reflects that student population,” says Christopher Carmona, an assistant professor at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and a leader in developing the course.

For months, everyone was stuck on the title page.

The State Board of Education initially labeled it “Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent.” That was unacceptable to Latino activists, who wanted MAS — “Mexican-American Studies.” In a compromise — “Ethnic Studies: Mexican American Studies” — the hyphen was dropped because some board members thought it was un-American.

The course syllabus remains a work in progress. But if past is prologue, the massively funded ethnic identity lobbies will promote a revisionist history of the American Southwest.

Surveying the rough-and-tumble Texas of the 1800s, online lesson plans available at MAS TX Education highlight alleged depredations inflicted by American settlers: “Mexican Americans were pushed into violent actions as a last resort as they became victims of discriminatory and hence oppressive Anglo society. As a minority in his own homeland, the Mexican American became fair game.”

Regardless of the historical accuracy of those claims, the intent of the authors is to call into question the legitimacy of borders today and establish an implied right of people to cross it. According to MAS TX Education, the border is “imaginary.” To wit:

“In 1924, the [U.S.] Border Patrol was established and now that imaginary line called the border became a real barrier for people going back and forth between Mexico and the United States. The need for documentation suddenly became a bothersome reality.”

Such pedagogy carries a strong whiff of revanchism (translated: reconquista), as well as rationalizations for flouting U.S. sovereignty. All this comes as a beleaguered U.S. Border Patrol is the most assaulted law-enforcement agency in America (another fact missing from the MAS talking points).

Of course the teaching of history isn’t really the objective of the identity politics industry. Without question, American history should be taught accurately – warts and all. Among the many important historical realities that would argue against the advocates’ assertion that the border is “imaginary” is the fact that Texas’s history as part of Mexico was remarkably brief.

Like the rest of Mexico, Texas was a Spanish colony up until 1821. Texas remained part of an independent Mexico for just 15 years, opting for its own independence in 1836 (a status it maintained for just nine years before becoming a U.S. state). At the time of Mexican independence in 1821, a mere 3,500 people lived in what is now Texas. Thus, the inferred assertion that Mexicans entering Texas are really just returning to a place their ancestors once possessed is far more imaginary than the internationally recognized line that separates the State of Texas from the Republic of Mexico.

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  1. avatar
    J. R. Alexander: Formerly in NM. on

    It appears the Mexicans are unaware the United States IS a sovereign Nation fully capable of writing, implementing and enforcing Laws. The United States is not a part of or State belonging to Mexico; although some residents in the Southwest still believe that to be the case and proudly fly the Mexican flag and converse only in their native tongue with many not knowing any English.

    Yet, in El Paso, Texas, it is not an uncommon sight to watch school students and adult workers walk across the “Freedom Bridge” to their appointed locations – – funded by the American taxpayer.
    So too in Deming, New Mexico where American-funded school buses are dispatched to the Mexican border – 35 miles South of Deming – to transport K-12 students to the American-funded schools in Deming. Day workers crowd the streets, Walmart Super Center and convenience store parking lots waiting for cash work to take back to Mexico. I have been told by reliable sources the Post Office mail boxes in the Post Office in Columbus, NM are almost all rented by South of the border Mexicans for an American “residence” address.

    So. WHAT is Mexico complaining about? They’re already over running our Southwester States; have infiltrated our political system, invaded OUR sovereign Nation with their claims of belonging here and needing that which is free (healthcare, school meals, EBT, education) to our most needy citizens AND are known to be voting in our elections (according to August 2017 data from the Federal Election Assistance Commission)! What else would they like us to do FOR them? Move out?

  2. avatar

    Good reading info. Is the US going to gear toward MAS (Mex-American Studies, instead of PAS (Purely American Culture)?

  3. avatar

    The colony of Mexico did not extend to what is now the southern US border. It did not even cover a large part of what is now the nation of Mexico. The colony was mostly centered around Mexico City and eastward to the Yucatan. It was just one of the many colonies in North America under the rule of Spain for 300 years. Spain basically gave up on those colonies because they were more of a burden than anything else. As noted, Texas had only 3,500 people in 1821, the year of Mexican independence. It was the same with the other former Spanish colonies that Mexico laid claim to.

    The reason there were so many Americans in Texas is that Mexico had tried for years to get THEIR citizens to leave Mexico proper and settle in Texas but only a handful did, because of the harsh conditions and raids by the native Indians. That was when they INVITED Americans to move there, and eventually those American settlers became frustrated with the rule of Mexico, as it was the settlers who were bearing all the hardships.

    It is also little known that Mexico invited Irish immigrants to move to California because of the same reasons. In the book How The Irish Won The West there is the story of a priest named Eugene McNamara who in 1846 “arrived in California onboard the British ship Juno to negotiate with the Mexican governor of California for tracts of land near San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Monterey for Irish colonies of 1,000 families.”

    The land was subsequently granted but the war with the US put an end to the project. So in spite of all the historical revision, the Mexican claim to the Southwest was brief and, at best, tenuous. They never had any effective control. All you have to do is look at the borders of Central and South America in 1850 to see how drastically different countries are from today. Borders change.

  4. avatar

    When a minority threatens to become the majority and thus change the culture of our country, it is time to place a moratorium on immigration specific to various countries.

    When the minority students can confirm, via professional proctors, that they are fully educated and cognizant on our Constitution and immigration laws then, perhaps, MA studies may be considered as an elective – but never, ever a required course.

  5. avatar
    William Vanderbrink on

    That will be a degree major that will have employers lining up to hire….well, not really.

  6. avatar

    Just what we need – more word salad to obscure the simple fact that the international boundary [ie. “the border”] between the US and the sovereign nation to our south is recognized. The United States didn’t steal “Mexican” land; the nation called “Spain” did that. And prior to that, there was no “Mexico.” There were various feudal nations and the territory was part of an ancient empire or three; ie. the Incas, the Aztecs, and the Mayans.

    • avatar
      Patricia Watkins on

      The truth about all that needs to be taught with no bias. I don’t mind if that is a part of teaching World History, but United States History needs to be priority number one so that every student in America focuses on assimilating into our culture. Unfortunately, the ship seems to have sailed in the border states as far as Hispanic migration. In California, Hispanic surnames are number one now. This is part of the reason that liberal Democrats champion illegal migration. A huge part of their population is Hispanic and Hispanics are the majority of illegals in America. So liberals must pander to them for future voters and increased federal funding for their districts.