Education

Join the Demonstration Against Linda Chavez, 1991


Historical Context
Born in New Mexico, Linda Chavez started her public career with the American Federation of Teachers as a union official and editor of its prize-winning journal. She promoted liberal educational and political views.  As her ideas changed, however, she became an outspoken voice for the small but growing segment of Hispanic conservatives, and Ms. Chavez became a determined critic of organized labor and affirmative action. As the author of "Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation," she focused on the neglected story of Hispanic progress and achievement while criticizing bilingual education and affirmative action programs.

A controversial former Democrat, Chavez has held a number of political positions, among them White House Director of Public Liaison and director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights under President Reagan. She won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate from Maryland, but lost in the general election.  In 2001, President Bush nominated her as Secretary of Labor, but Chavez was accused of hiring an illegal immigrant and the nomination was withdrawn.

However, she remains very active as a prominent print and TV commentator and as president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a conservative think tank that favors traditional values and the assimilation of immigrants into mainstream American society.

When Chavez came in 1991 to speak at Hostos Community College, a City University of New York school established in The Bronx as a bilingual institution to meet the needs of Hispanic students, she unleashed a storm of protest. Many students and faculty at Hostos saw affirmative action as a positive policy that compensated for unfair discrimination against minorities. They defended bilingual education as a desirable means for preserving Hispanic culture.
Essential Question
How do cultural beliefs drive political viewpoints?
Check for Understanding
Identify the main idea of this poster and explain why the students were expressing this viewpoint.
[click to enlarge]
Flyer - Linda Chavez, Enemiga del pueblo/ Enemy of the Puerto Ricans and Latin People, Hostos Community College Archives, HOS_GeMe_B2_CTCFSGO_774
Document Description
Leaflet announcing a demonstration against Linda Chavez, “Enemy of the Puerto Ricans and Latin People,” at Hostos Community College, in Spanish and English, November 7, 1991
Questions
  1. Why does the leaflet urge students to demonstrate?
Historical Challenge
Using the Internet, look up a current catalogue for Hostos Community College. How many students are enrolled? What ethnic groups do they represent? List three courses taught in Spanish.
Research the campus protests of the 1960s. What speakers might have created large protest demonstrations during that time period?
Interdisciplinary Connections
English Language Arts: Using the Resources section below, go to the Center for Equal Opportunity website. Read one article by Linda Chavez on education or immigration and write a summary of the article. What is your opinion of her views?
Art: Make a poster that might have been used during this demonstration against Linda Chavez at Hostos in 1991.
Resources
  1. http://mediamatters.org/items/200406220009