Saturday, February 25, 2012

1st Chicano/a Studies PhD and Rudy Acu~na Still Throwing Social Justice Putasos

MSU Beaumont Tower from Wikipedia
Yesterday was an important day, because yesterday, we had the first Chicano/a Studies Doctoral candidate have his dissertation approved. Well technically he's not officially a Chicano/a Studies PhD yet because all the paperwork needs to be filed, but once that's processed and it shows up in the university's system he'll be the first.

It kinda put things into perspective for me, mainly because afterwards he jokingly said, "Okay, now who's going to give me a job?" All the other grad students and professors on his committee chuckled nervously. But those of us who are currently candidates in the same program are having the same question come to mind. When my friend made that comment, I don't necessarily believe that he meant it, because I'm sure he's not too worried about that (he's more than qualified), but the rest of us, I think are. It starts to become a bigger reality as we get closer to completing our dissertations and defending them. Especially in the current climate. Arizona is banning Ethnic studies, and us, Xicanos/as. So where does that leave us, if we're studying in an ethnic specific area? Where are we left, if this thing in Arizona snowballs and begins to be picked up by other states? I'm sure there's other states that have been looking to Arizona as models, even as leaders of what to do if your state is seeking to ban Ethnic studies. What rhetoric is Arizona using, that other states can use so they can apply it to their own pursuit toward a censorship of ethnic history? Sadly that's what we're facing.

UCSB Stroke Tower from Wikipedia
But that shouldn't take away from the accomplishment of my friend who had his dissertation approved yesterday. Aside from that, as far as  I know, there are still only two universities in the nation that offer doctoral programs in Chicano/a Studies. UC Santa Barbara was the first, and (2 years later) Michigan State University became the second. My friend is a student of MSU (but he is originally from the LA area and he received both a BA and MA in Chicano/a Studies from CSU, Northridge), this is really history in the making, makes me wonder if Rudy Acu~na will write about it, if he decides to do a new edition of Occupied America.

Speaking of Rudy Acu~na, he was actually one of the committee members for my friend. Since he couldn't be at MSU his voice was available through Skype. But get this, Acu~na couldn't be there because he was on a bus with 40 students, on their way to Arizona to go protest their anti-immigration laws, anti-ethnic studies laws, and really their anti-Mexican attitudes. What should blow you away about this, is that Acu~na is 80 years old and he's on a bus, on his way to continue fighting the good fight. Shit, I hope I can live to be 80, let alone be able to jump on a bus to take a trip to another state and protest their anti-Mexican bullshit.

Impressive on two fronts. 

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