Precious Knowledge

I’ve seen this trailer for the film PRECIOUS KNOWLEDGE for a while now and wanted to share with VL readers. A film by Dos Vatos Production, the film focuses on youth at Tucson High School enrolled in their Mexican American Studies Program and discusses the isolation and targeting of ethnic studies in the US. Here is what Dos Vatos shares about thie film:

Arizona lawmakers believe Tucson High School teachers are teaching victimization, racism, and revolution in their Ethnic Studies classes. Meanwhile Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies Department have data showing that almost 100% of their students graduate from high school and 82% attend college.

Why is studying Mexican culture and history controversial? What is Ethnic Studies? Why is the national dropout rate so high for Latino youth 50%?

The Dos Vatos Productions team filmed a year in the classroom to find out why the Mexican American Studies program is so popular with students, so misunderstood by the public, and discover what actually happens in the classroom.

PRECIOUS KNOWLEDGE illustrates an epic civil rights battle as brave students and teachers battle with lawmakers and public opinion in an effort to keep their classes alive.

Check out the trailer below, and if you want to find out more visit the Precious Knowledge facebook page.

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4 comments on “Precious Knowledge
  1. VL thank you for bringing up this topic which below the surface is multi-dimensional and makes an important statement about the theme of success and failure amongst Latinos..

    One thing I have observed at one time or another during my life is the effect institutional racism has had on the psyche of Latinos.
    For centuries we have been systemtatically indoctrinated,taught to look upon ourselves as inferior,unimportant,irrelevant to humanity.Over centuries this evil has had an incredibly destructive effect on our minds and culture.So many of us have internalized this hatred to the point of the loathing of one’s self,family and people.

    White European american culture has to a great extent successfully corrupted,defiled our minds and spirits creating in us a cancerous psychological tumor -a self-feeding closed-loop matrix which attracts,perverts,focuses and integrates destructive negativity and normal human problems into a vortex of self-destruction designed to kill and maim the host.

    No wonder so many Latino kids fail in school and dropout.Poverty,misery and self-loathing kill their spirits.They give up and the spiral of self-hate and self-destruction just keeps growing expanding with disastrous effects upon those close to them and society as well.

    Mexican American Chicano studies counters this racist matrix of evil.That’s why racists hate,fear and despise Chicano Studies so much.

    Knowledge liberates the Chicano youth,liberates their minds and their spirits because they learn truth,they develop self-respect for themselves,their people,history and culture.They learn of the greatness of their history and of how their history has been conquered,exploited and oppressed by white european american culture and civilization.

    Knowledge is truly liberating and through knowledge we go a long way towards healing ourselves restoring balancing our spiritual and mental equilibrium.

    Latino-Mexican american-Chicano studies are curative medicines for our oppressed psyches.

    The racists do not want us to have this medicine.
    Such medicine is a threat to their control over us,their power over us.

    We must fight for these studies tooth and nail as if we were fighting for our very lives.

  2. I think it’s important to note that people must stop using Hispanic/Latino as a synonym for Mexican/Chicano. If you’re talking about Mexicans/Chicanos, and this film is certainly focused on that ethnic group, then call it that instead of saying it’s about overall Hispanics or Latinos. I am not a Mexican, but I am “Latino” (a term that has become almost meaningless it’s so vague) and there needs to be an understanding that it is not at all a monolithic group and it’s totally arrogant to assume that the Mexican/Chicano experience is everyone’s experience (I’m especially tired of this assumption).

    They’re by far the most important ethnic group in the entire United States by their sheer size and exponential growth. No other group, Latino or otherwise, is as critical as they are and we need to focus on their wellbeing *exclusively.* I understand that other Latinos want it to be about us, too, but it’s not really. They’re the group that matters and the entire country depends on their success–or failure.

    The “Hispanic/Latino” high school dropout rate is high but it’s only a national crisis because the Mexican/Chicano dropout crisis is at the heart of it and it should be called out as such. Just look at the Pew Hispanic Research studies on the comparisons between different nationality groups and you’ll see some stark differences. Colombians and Cubans, for example, aren’t suffering a dropout crisis and although Guatemalans, Salvadorans, and Hondurans are, they’re not as huge a group as the Mexicans.

    Let’s stop playing around and pretending all Latino groups go through what they go through–good or bad–or that we’re all as central as they are. I’m just saying what’s obvious. Hell, the U.S. doesn’t bother to celebrate Chilean/Argentine/Brazilian/Venezuelan, etc. holidays does it, but it does celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

  3. Hola and thanks for commenting. I don’t disagree with the fact that Latinos are not a monolith, I write that as a Rican. There are nuances to the struggles of each individual geographic, ethnic, and language group within the Latino diaspora. That said, my challenge to you is, how does this argument relate to the attack on Chicano/Latino studies in Arizona?
    Is Latino history being taught anywhere in the country? I would argue not. And I would also challenge you on the Cinco de Mayo point. Where is Cinco de Mayo celebrated? By non Latinos using it as an excuse to get drunk while insulting Mexican culture? I know where I live there is a community Cinco de Mayo festival, sponsored by an alcohol company, but I live in a community that is largely Mexican.

  4. CFT: Excellent post.

    Jackstowne: I agree with you that the term “Latino” is rather useless. To use one example, there are no Mexican-American reporters or anchors on ANY of the cable stations, but they have a few Latinos, so presumably that is supposed to represent us as well. That’s why you had Soledad O’Brien defining all “Latinos” in CNN’s Latinos in America, when she knows little or nothing about Mexican-American people.

    We need civil rights groups that deal exclusively with the myriad issues facing Mexican-Americans.

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