Students are learning about Hispanic leaders in U.S. politics.
By Samantha L. Alonso
This college is now offering a Mexican-American politics course, taught for the first time this semester.
GOVT 2311 is part of the Mexican-American studies program, which was created in fall 2016 and offers an associate of arts field of study degree.
The class focuses on Mexican-Americans in the United States and the political influence Chicanos have in political office.
The course covers “Mexican-American politics and what it’s about and explores the effects of the Mexican-American political system and Chicano political influences on a national and local level,” said Dr. Michael Sanchez, professor.
“It gives an understanding of different groups in the political process,” he said.
Sanchez is trying to have Mexican-American Politics implemented in the core as a substitute for Federal or State Government.
Students taking GOVT 2311 hope to have a broader view of politics.
Johannna Mcneely, political science freshman, says she wanted to learn more about how politics in her community fit into the bigger picture.
“I wanted to learn something outside of the core,” Mcneely said.
Criminal justice sophomore Manuel Garza recalled participating in the local Chicano movement with his parents.
“I was involved way back in the ’60s and ’70s with my parents with the Chicano movement when one party controlled the city, and now it’s broken down into different districts,” Garza said.
There are seven students enrolled in the class, but the program is hoping to expand, said Dr. Lisa Ramos, Mexican-American studies coordinator. The class is offered only in the spring.
Mcneely described what students have been studying.
“So far we’ve learned about the Chicano movement, and we’re starting to go into how the government works from the top, the difference between Republicans and Democrats, the origin of the words Latino and Hispanic, and the preference that people have shown in Latin America and Mexico,” Mcneely said.
Sanchez, who has a Ph.D. in political science, was a lecturer from 1999 to 2004 at universities including Texas State University and Our Lady of the Lake University, and he has taught here since 2005.
Ramos said Sanchez had expressed interest in teaching Mexican-American Politics and had a course syllabus prepared for it.
“The majority of the (San Antonio) population is Mexican-American, and students have often not learned about Mexican-American culture or history,” Ramos said. “If you work here or live here, it’s important to understand the predominant culture.”
The Census Bureau predicts the Hispanic population will account for 29 percent of the total U.S. population by 2060; it is the third fastest-growing population.