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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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PROGRAM INFO

Title:
Growing Up Chicano
Program #
1978-18
Themes:
Culture, Identity, Politics

Series:
Elections, Profiles
Host:
John Wheat
Guest:
Gonzalo Barrientos
Date:
Apr 4, 1978

Growing Up Chicano

Rep. Gonzalo Barrientos discusses growing up Latino in Texas, and his experiences as a Chicano politician. As the child of migrant farm workers, Barrientos grew up in a Spanish-only household. He gradually learned English from black children on the farms where his parents worked. Because he attended a separate school for Mexican Americans, he did not have much contact with Anglo children until the 1948 case of Delgado vs. Bastrop ISD, which ended the segregation of Mexican American and Anglo children. Growing up, Barrientos says, he never felt like a citizen or an American and he spent much of his youth trying to prove himself to others—a sense of citizenship came years later and with it the realization that he did not need to prove his worth.

As a politician, he has tried to represent a majority of people and not just the Chicano community. He explains that he is able to use his bilingualism on the campaign trail to reach more people. Barrientos advocates bilingual education and talks a little about the discrimination he has faced for that stance. He also discusses the importance of helping Mexican Americans get a good education and good jobs. Barrientos also talks about the diversity of the Hispanic community and argues that diversity constitutes the very strength of the country.

 

Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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