Yearners

To defeat Republicans in YEARNERS, Democratic party leaders invite wealthy Herson Moya to consider a run for Texas governor. But Herson is then left with family members and friends to figure out how campaigns are won. Events at scenic locations and homes in New York, Texas, by a beautiful Pacific coast finca, and in cities in Mexico bring out the views of 15 Latinos, Latinas, whites, and blacks living in the U.S., Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico before Maria.

Herson decides that his problem is how best to use the $30 million he sets aside of his own money for a run. Not interested in bashing a Republican or another candidate after the excesses of Trump, he challenges his advisory team to arrive at a better way to campaign.  Herson wants to highlight his views on immigration, education, prisons, guns, abortion, the economy, transportation, and the state’s environment and infrastructure needs. He hopes  to bring back good government, a difficult goal for a Mexican American, given what voters and acquaintances tell him when he visits the five regions of Texas. The ending invites screen writers, directors, and producers to consider a film about Latino and Latina characters more attractive than the media have so far offered!

YEARNERS shows why disenfranchised voters usually ignore politicians who promise to promote the common good. YEARNERS is a great read and education!

A Mexican Revolution Photo History

In 1846, ten years after the Alamo, President James K. Polk and Congress declared war on Mexico. Following the two-year war, Mexicans progressively lost land and most of their liberties in a country that has since experienced widespread poverty, little public education, and lacks infrastructural amenities. In the early 1860s, France forced Mexico into another war to take advantage of Mexico’s rich resources. Porfirio Diaz emerged and dominated Mexico for more than forty years, eventually causing the Mexican people to become revolutionaries during the first decade of the 20th century. The Mexican Revolution is still impacting the U.S. and the rest of the world today.

Using original photographs taken by many Mexican and international hands during the conflagration and available in the public domain and in rare-book collections, Portales narrates the causes of the Mexican Revolution. What is different here is that Portales shows how the presidents and the leaders of the U.S. were involved. Instead of using the pictures of the revolution like other photographic books, this volume explains the alliances and deceptions, describing developments that followed, clarifying who did what to whom, and when, between 1906 and 1928. Full of great revelations!

Latino Sun, Rising

Latinos now constitute the largest minority population in the United States, forming a growing part of the middle and upcoming professional classes. In this book, a Mexican American educator takes stock. Despite recording indifference and social resistance, Marco Portales personally attests to how Latinos are progressively improving many areas of American life under a rising sun.

On the beach at Corpus Christi, in classes at UT/Austin and SUNY-Buffalo, waiting tables in Chicago, living in London, teaching in the English Department of UC/Berkeley, and raising a family next to NASA in Houston, Portales’s life benchmarks the visible progress of Latinos. By vividly recreating his parents’ World War II generation and his own, Portales encourages readers to consider Latino advances from the days of his happy youth in Edinburg, Texas during the Eisenhower fifties to the unfurling of ethnic identity and consciousness in American culture after the transformational sixties.

Quality Education for Latinos and Latinas

As educators, researchers, and legislators continue to debate how best to improve teaching at the schools, the vital relationship between teachers and students often gets lost. For Rita and Marco Portales, how a teacher interacts with every single student in a classroom from the first day is the central factor that determines whether a student will enjoy being educated or not. Too many Latino and Latina students in particular frequently face teacher biases and racism or its vestiges due to many social reasons, including inadequate English-language skills. Classroom teachers and administrators often ignore, downplay, or fail to address cultural differences that need attention, and education schools and programs at our universities have not helped.

Shunning trendy education theories and practices that change every 3 to 5 years, QUALITY EDUCATION zeroes in on how teachers and students actually interact on a daily basis inside and outside of the classroom. To reduce and to eliminate serious barriers, and especially to help Latino and Latina students acquire a quality education, the Portaleses show why a good teacher-student relationship is essential in the education of every student. Teachers and students need to begin by respecting each other, not by traumatizing each other.

In the book’s second part, Rita and Marco Portales recommend strengthening the print and oral skills of ALL students every single year, starting in kindergarten and in every course in college. Why? Because writing and excellent oral communication skills are necessary components of a quality education. When educated as the Portaleses propose, students will be transformed into confident adults that employers want, hire, and endeavor to keep.

Crowding Out Latinos

Marco Portales singles out the “public consciousness” of the United States, and demonstrates how Latinos and Latinas are often represented as undesirables even though the great majority of Spanish-speakers seek inclusion. Despite the best efforts of many Latinos, particularly Mexican Americans, this study examines the ways in which education and the media immobilize Latinos and Latinas, shaping and keeping them in their place, and discouraging them from advancing today.

Portales analyzes contemporary portrayals of Latinos and Latinas in the media, in representations in Hollywood movies, in American and Ethnic Literature, and in his life and work in Texas, New York, and California.  By examining books by Americo Paredes, Sandra Cisneros, Ana Castillo, and the famous Hollywood actor Anthony Quinn, he calls on readers to work on changing the perception that Latinos are second-class citizens throughout the United States.  This book was written long before Trump became president, but it has proven to have been on target!