by David Safier
As I write this, the first episode of PBS's new documentary, "Latino Americans," is re-airing — 2-4pm. The next episode airs Tuesday, 8pm.
I haven't heard any comments about the show from Tucsonans more knowledgeable than I am, but for someone like me with a huge hole where my understanding of Latino-American history should be, it's terrific.The mental movies and photos I have of American history don't have much in them about how the growth of the U.S. intersected with the lives of Mexicans who were living in the areas that became part of the U.S. or with the lives of Hispanic immigrants who came here from a variety of countries for a variety of reasons. It's like new characters have been added to the pictures and new scenes added to the movies. The length and depth of my ignorance never fails to astound me, and I'm always grateful when someone helps me become a little less ignorant.
This is important stuff. So far as I know, it's the first time it's been presented on TV in a comprehensive package like this, which is just one more reason why Mexican-American history and literature courses are so important. All of us need a more complete, inclusive education, and Hispanics deserve the opportunity to learn about the history and culture that helped form who they are today.
If you're on Comcast, you can catch the first episode via On Demand. Even if you missed it, watch the next installments. I'm sure PBS will rerun the whole series some time in the future.