WAR WAS ALSO ABOUT RIGHTS – AND STILL IS

September 22, 2007

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(Poster inviting veterans and community to anti-school segregation event in Taft, Texas)

As a critic of much what passes for news in the mainstream (MSM), I have to give credit where it’s due. This piece by the Washington Post’s David Montgomery is one of the best I’ve seen in the MSM. He tells well the story Chicano, Puerto Rican and other activists have, been telling for years about the racist realities WWII veterans came back to – and fought against. Take this quote for example:

“But the rhetoric flying over “The War” on PBS has obscured a richer story about the Latino experience in World War II, and the battlefield courage of those men is but the beginning chapter. In a sense, you can’t fully understand phenomena like C¿sar Ch¿vez, Chicano power, Latino civil rights activism, those big immigrant-rights marches of last year, Daddy Yankee and the recent Democratic presidential candidates’ debate in Spanish on Univision without a feel for World War II — and the bittersweet homecoming.

When have you ever heard mainstream media talking about this? Nunca. While Montgomery and the Post are to be lauded for doing something different, more credit goes to Maggie Rivas and the Defend the Honor folks who initiated and continue this critical work. Their work is an extension of the work started after WWII.

We are more than likely not going to get the editing we want from Burns. But, as the article makes clear, this is as much about the present and about how Latinos edited and continue editing the narrative of rights in this country as it is about war.

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