This was in line with wider post-World War II U.S. policy towards education, which aimed to increase the number of people in education, to produce a well-qualified workforce, to be able to take the country out of the Depression (Watras, 2003).
During this time, Hispanic-Americans took every opportunity they could, to learn and to 'better themselves', with any educational opportunity being seized upon. Preferred subjects, and preferred learning styles, for the majority of Hispanic-Americans returning from World War II, and during this time, were subjects with practical application, for example, vocational subjects, such as electrical engineering, carpentry, plumbing etc., that could be learnt part-time, allowing paid employment to be continued: subjects, and styles of learning, that would guarantee employment at the end of the course, and allow wages to be earned during the course, in order to be able to provide an income for their families (Stone, 2000). Following these vocations allowed the Hispanic-American communities across the U.S. To be successful and to maintain and to live decent lives.
But, Hispanic-Americans still suffer inequalities, in terms of education, right up to the present day, with new 'tactics' of how to deal with this inequality emerging from within the Hispanic-American community throughout this time: for example, Hispanic-Americans taking pride in their racial background, their 'mestizo' status, and forming the 'Chicano' movement, which held as its moral philosophy that as mestizos, these Hispanic-Americans did not need to assimilate in to white culture, but could rather live within their own culture (Stone, 2000). They argued that this philosophy, and their desire to live by this, should be respected by other U.S. citizens, and as mestizos, they should be entitled to the same civil rights as all those other U.S. citizens (Stone, 2000). This followed directly on from the movements founded after World War II, all of which, as we have seen, campaigned for equality of access to education (Stone, 2000). In recent years, many of these Chicano activists have been incorporated in to leadership positions in government and social movements, and as such, have had influence over policy making and implementation, which has led to the rights of Hispanic-Americans being considered, and accommodated, more than ever before (Stone, 2000).
As we have seen, then, military action by Hispanic-Americans, and particularly, military action in World War II, led to a certain amount of pride amongst the Hispanic-American communities of the U.S., and led to civil rights movements amongst the Hispanic-American communities, which campaigned for a more equal access to educational and employment opportunities for their members. Thanks to such efforts, Hispanic-Americans now enjoy a greater level of equality in the U.S. than ever before seen. That there is still a long way to go should not detract from the value of the actions taken by the soldiers, nor by the Hispanic-American civil rights leaders: it is simply that the U.S. still needs to learn a great deal about other cultures.
Bean, F.D., and Tienda, M. (1988). The Hispanic Population of the United States. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Sanchez-Korrol, V. (1983). From Colonia to Community. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Stone, K. (2000). Latinos In War. The American Military Experience. Goals 2000 - Partnerships for Educating Colorado Students.
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