Textbook about ‘lazy’ Mexicans causes stir in Texas

Cynthia Dunbar, from Richmond, studies a curriculum version during a break in the meeting of the State Board of Education Friday, May 23, 2008, in Austin, Texas. T  AP Photo/Harry Cabluck
Cynthia Dunbar, from Richmond, studies a curriculum version during a break in the meeting of the State Board of Education Friday, May 23, 2008, in Austin, Texas. T AP Photo/Harry Cabluck

AUSTIN, Texas (CBS/AP) – The Texas State Board of Education is seeking to include textbooks on Mexican-American studies after activists last year demanded the subject be formally included in state curriculum.

The first book to be considered may turn out to be a disaster, though.

Protesters gathered outside a hearing Tuesday, as the board considered including the “Mexican American Heritage” textbook for all students. The board is expected to make a final decision in November.

CBS Austin affiliate KEYE-TV reports an advisory committee made of historians and scholars against the book found 141 total errors.

“They call them lazy, and they call them threats, cultural and political threats to American society,” said University of Texas history professor Emilio Zamora.

Zamora added some of the language used is “disparaging.”

Additionally, the book describes Mexican-Americans as people who “adopted a revolutionary narrative that opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society.” It also links Mexican-Americans to undocumented immigrants, saying illegal immigration has “caused a number of economic and security problems” in the U.S. that include “poverty, drugs, crime, non-assimilation, and exploitation.”

The book is produced by Momentum Instruction, a company that appears to be owned or operated by Cynthia Dunbar, a member of the Texas State Board of Education from 2007 to 2011. Dunbar, a right-wing Christian activist who questioned the constitutionality of public schools in 2008, labeled the education system “tyrannical” when she published her book, “One Nation Under God,” while serving on the board.

The Texas Board of Education’s members sanction textbooks for use statewide in a process that has for years been marred by ideological fights over lessons on subjects including evolution, climate change and the influence of biblical figures such as Moses on America’s Founding Fathers.

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