Villanueva, Gramsci, and FACTCS

Page 136 of Victor Villanueva’s Bootstraps describe a plan for education in which “Those who comprise the various cultures within the classroom would be encouraged to discover their own folklore.

Blunder of Memory

I was born, a second generation Mexican-American, in South Texas (specifically the Rio Grande Valley). Both my parents grew up as migrant workers: my dad picking tomatoes, onions and citrus, my mom the same in addition to working at the pickle factory in Michigan (I think Vlassic, if I'm not mistaken). My dad used to tell me stories about he and his 6 other siblings growing up as migrant workers. Their "payment" for helping out the family (they started working the fields from age 8 sometimes) was to be able to choose the cereal they bought at the store.

News Flash: Language is Important

Good job, Richard Rodriguez—There is nothing like starting out a text with a Robinson Crusoe reference. I want him to be some sort of hipster—making allusions to this novel ironically. But no. Here we have a text that succumbs, or even accepts, the role of the Anxiety of Colonial Influence. And in a way, it makes this book difficult to read as I’m trying to be the sympathetic reader. I know why.

Speech and Action

In Richard Rodriguez’s Hunger of Memory, “black English” and affirmative action are both condemned. Although these condemnations may at first seem unrelated, closer examination suggests that Rodriguez uses superficial critiques of language and social policy to attack those who are racially or economically underprivileged. Contradictorily, Rodriguez denounces the use of “black English” in school, claiming it is separatist, while opposing affirmative action, a program that leads the marginalized into the mainstream.


I have to admit that I was a bit excited about reading this very personal story of Richard Rodriguez, that is, before I actually read the book. I was with him for a few pages, as I thought it might be a bit difficult for such a young child to make sense of his bilingualism, especially in light of his family's encouragement to speak English at home.

(More) Hunger of Memory

So, anyone I've talked to (or read on this blog), seems to agree: Richard Rodriguez is a jerk who doesn't like his mother. But just in case you want perhaps a little more clarification of what he is discussing in Hunger of Memory, here's an interview with him that Patti Poblete (for those of you who know her) sent after we were talking about the book:

I'm going to assume that this interview won't change any minds about Rodriguez, but here it is nonetheless.

the education of Richard Rodriguez

I don't like Richard Rodriguez.

The first time I encountered his work, it was right before I taught composition for the first time, and I was flipping through the two anthologies I could choose from, and I encountered an excerpt from "The Achievement of Desire." I tried teaching with it twice before I gave up. I like to teach texts that students think about, that they react to, that they examine critically...but their universal reaction to Rodriguez's work was, "Why does he think the way he did it is the only way it can be done?"

Hunger Games of Memory

Man, I disagree with Rodriguez a lot. Like, mostly. More than half. But you have to place him in a time before some of the good came out of what he decries. Affirmative Action is an issue and a topic that requires more scrutiny than I can give it, but I do think that Rodriguez' issue with it stems from one: his schooling before any type of cultural studies, and two: his insistence on separate private/public language spheres and no bi-lingual education.

On Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez

In a weekend of plowing through readings for courses and projects, I divided my Saturday between Hunger of Memory and Tim Dean’s Unlimited Intimacy. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that my understanding of the former is intertwined with my feelings about the latter.

Using the Master's Tools?: The Woodson Version

So far in class, we have only begun to talk about this idea of “using the master’s tools” when discussing both the Booker T Washington and the WEB Du Bois texts. Woodson’s text also is dealing with this issue and in that way, he takes both Washington and Du Bois head on (especially Du Bois). As I read the text, I keep pulling out quote after quote of critique so I won’t include them all here, but Woodson’s style really brings the point home, so yes, this might be a blog post full of quotes.

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