Uh, and just what were their contributions to America?

Blogging will be light this morning. I was away from my computer almost all weekend, and am still desperately trying to assimilate everything that happened around the world, whether it’s Israeli concessions re Jerusalem, new revelations about Haditha (and why am I not surprised to find Al Qaeda’s fine Italian hand manipulating the media?), Hillary’s giggle abandoned in favor of full fledged lecture mode (although I think she was on the right side of the argument), the surprising benefits of basics when it comes to education, or any other story that swamped my brain this morning. Add to that the fact that I have 900 pages of Legislative history to peruse by 2:00 today (taking time out for pleasant lunch break with my mother), and you’ll appreciate that it’s hard for me to get into anything in more than a trivial way this morning.

But that doesn’t stop me from that moment of trivia. I mentioned that yesterday I had a very nice day in the City taking part in the Fleet Week festivities. One of the things the Navy handed out was a plastic card with rulers on one side (inches and metric), plus some nice flag history. The other side is entitled “Notable Hispanic Americans in U.S. History” and has a nice collection of famous Hispanic men and women, who were either born in or came to America, and then made their mark. Included on the list are Dennis Chavez, a US Senator; Desi Arnaz, a gifted performer; Chi Chi Rodriquez, the wonderful golfer; Jaime Escalante, the educator; Rita Moreno, the actress and dancer; Joan Baez, great singer and wacky activist; Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the principled Congresswoman; and Ellen Ochoa, the scientist, physician and activist. It’s an impressive list.

There were a few other faces and names on the card that were less impressive and a little more confusing. For example, Henry Cisneros. I know he was a shining light of the Democratic party, but didn’t he kind of fade away into a morass of sexual and financial corruption scandals? It seems to me he dimmed his own light significantly, and is not the kind of person you want to boast about.

Even more confusing were two names on the women’s side of the list: Frida Kahlo and Rigoberta Menchu. As far as I know, while both are “American” in terms of being Latin American, neither had anything to do with “U.S. History” (which is what the card says). With regard to Kahlo, although she spent a few short years in New York, she was, first, last and always, a Mexican painter.

Menchu’s inclusion on the list is even more disturbing: not only has she no connection with the United States (having been born in and lived her life in Guatemala), this Nobel Prize winner is one of the great frauds of the 20th Century. Her award winning, top-selling, much-taught biography is false from first to last (one more in a long line of “fake but accurate” Leftist moments, I guess).

All in all, I found the card a surprising handout from the United States Navy.

UPDATE:  It’s a good thing I already did my apology about typos and thinkos, because I had a doozy in the post title (“there” for “their”).  I’ve fixed it but I’m still shaking my head at myself.


6 Responses

  1. The point of this sort of thing is not factual education but feelings. It doesn’t matter if Cisneros was a crook, Frida Kahlo was a Communist, or Rigoberta Menchu was a fake. That’s not the point.

    The underlying subtext, by the way, is quite racist: “Those Mexican kids don’t need to know any real history because they’re just going to grow up to be gang members and tomato-pickers anyway, so we’ll tell them something to make them feel good.”

  2. They left out Che Guevara. Must have been an oversight.

  3. The hell with Che. There is he is dead as Julius Caesar but a fraction as august. I liked better the picture of the girl in the pink Ranger Up T-shirt on that link.

  4. Just last week I read about someone from my neck of the woods, Albuquerque, who definitely sounds Hispanic from his last name, who was awarded the Navy Cross for heroic action in Iraq.

    I’m bad with names. I should take notes.

    QandO had a post about him.

  5. Well, zhombre, check out the story behind Grace.


    Rangerup also has some funny stories of the week

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