Things That Matter

John Oliver Exposes Just How Badly Latino Students Are Getting Screwed

On Sunday, “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” focused its attention to school segregation in the U.S., a problem that is still very much alive and well. After briefly covering segregation’s evolution — from Brown v. Board of Education to its present form — Oliver turned the bulk of his commentary towards those most affected by segregation: students from working class and minority backgrounds. While the whole episode is worth watching, there were several key points that are worth taking a deeper look.

New York state has the most segregated school system in the U.S.

CREDIT: Mista Makaveli / YouTube

This might come as a surprise, but as Oliver pointed out, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 mainly targeted segregation laws that were prevalent in the South. Meanwhile segregation in states like New York went largely unchecked, leading to the current problems found in the state’s school systems. Even Malcolm X called out New York’s problem with segregation back in 1964. All these years later, one troubling fact remains: “Fifty-five years after the Brown decision,” according to The Civil Rights Project, “blacks and Latinos in American schools are more segregated than they have been in more than four decades.”

Latinos face the highest levels of segregation in California.

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CREDIT: RT AMERICA / YOUTUBE

Los Angeles, the city with the second highest population of Latinos in the U.S., is also home to the highest level of educational segregation among Latinos. Schools in Los Angeles’ lower income areas — like Inland Empire — are attended by Latinos whose families lack the resources necessary to give their children the educational advantages that middle class children have access to. As a result, many Latinos get left behind at a young age.

Educational segregation affects students for their entire life.

School Segregation Is Still A Problem In The U.S., John Oliver Breaks It Down
CREDIT: LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER / HBO

“Black and Latino children,” Oliver points out, “are more likely to attend schools with inexperienced teachers, which are then less likely to then offer a college prep curriculum.” If you are a part of a school system that lacks the resources necessary to teach its students, then imagine how hard it will be to keep up with college students or professionals who come from qualified schools. This game of catch-up can haunt poorer minorities their entire life, and many of them will drop out of school or end up incarcerated. These unfortunate statistics then trickle down to their children, who are likely to struggle from similar economic and social setbacks.

Segregation severely damages these student’s self-esteem, leading to long-term feelings of inferiority.

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CREDIT: THE CYCLE / LEAN FORWARD / MSNBC

During the show, John Oliver introduced his audience to Chanel Smith, who appeared on MSNBC. In her brief clip, Chanel summed up what it feels like to attend a segregated school: “When we go and contact with these white children — or should I say caucasian — they don’t know how to act because they believe that they’re better than us. And we don’t know how to act because we believe that they’re better than us.” Facts and figures are great for building a case, but Chanel’s testimony highlights exactly what is at stake on a personal level.

READ: This Undercover Reporter Traveled To The Border To “Hunt Mexicans.” Here’s What He Saw

Desegregation isn’t about parents and their children.

CREDIT: VOA NEWS / YOUTUBE

Oliver argues against the perception that desegregation violates a parent’s right to choose where their child gets an education. A desegregated school benefits everyone, and, as Oliver states, kids won’t be kids forever. One day they’re going to be adults who need to work with other adults from diverse backgrounds. By keeping them in segregated schools, we’re preventing students from acquiring the real world education they need to function in today’s increasingly diverse socio-economic world.

Be sure to check out the entire “School Segregation” episode of Last Week With John Oliver Tonight.

CREDIT: LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER / HBO

READ: What It’s Like Attending A Black College As A Latina

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The Significance Behind Today’s Google Doodle of Puerto Rican Activist Felicitas Mendez

Things That Matter

The Significance Behind Today’s Google Doodle of Puerto Rican Activist Felicitas Mendez

Today’s Google Doodle is an eye catching image: an illustration of a smiling brown-skinned woman. She watches children of all colors go into a sun-drenched school, palm trees lining the walkways. A man in a suit escorts two of the brown-skinned children into the building.

The Doodle is of Puerto Rican activist Felicitas Mendez, a woman instrumental in the fight against school segregation between whites and Latinos in the 1940s.

Born in the town of Juncos in Puerto Rico, Mendez moved to the mainland United States when she was 10-years-old. It was here that she experienced her first taste of American racism and inequality.

Because of their mixed-race Puerto Rican heritage, Mendez (née Gómez) and her family were racialized as “Black” by white Americans, and therefore subject to anti-Black discrimination. But when her and her family moved to Southern California to work the fields, she was racialized as “Mexican” and discriminated against by anti-Hispanic racists.

Felicitas Mendez and her husband, Gonzalo Mendez, were the key figures behind the landmark anti-segregation case, Mendez vs. Westminster.

Mendez vs. Westminster was a California civil rights desegregation case which successfully ended the segregation between Latino and white students in the state of California.

As the story goes, the Mendez family moved from the integrated town of Santa Ana, California to Westminster, California, where they were shocked to discover the students were divided into “white” and “Mexican” schools. Since the doctrine of “separate but equal” schooling was a myth, Mexican schools received far less government funding and gave inferior education.

The school for Mexican students was so bad, that Mendez’s daughter Sylvia (an activist in her own right) later described it as a pair of wooden shacks on a dirt lot, surrounded by an electric fence.

school segregation
via Getty Images

Instead of going along with Westminster school district’s policy of segregation, Felicitas Mendez and her husband decided instead to challenge their policy.

In 1945, on behalf of roughly 5,000 Hispanic-American school-aged students, Mendez and her husband filed a lawsuit against Westminster School District of Orange County. And they ended up winning.

The Westminster school-board appealed, but to no avail. In 1947, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s ruling in favor of the Mendezes.

This lawsuit, Mendez v. Westminster, would eventually become the spark that ignited the larger fight against school segregation throughout the nation. Shortly after the win, then-California Governor Earl Warren ordered all California public schools other public spaces to desegregate as well.

Mendez’s experience as being labeled as both Black and Mexican at various points in her life made her an active anti-racist, sensitive to the plight of people and children of all colors.

“We had to do it. Our children, all of our children, brown, black,
and white, must have the opportunity to be whatever they want to be, and education gives them that opportunity,” she said in a 1998 interview.

As today’s Google Doodle illustrator Emily Barrera says: “When I see Felicitas, I see a strong woman, a fighter, a mother, a pioneer in the Civil Rights movement, fighting for the same rights as her own family and heritage.” And that is what she was. A brave activist, yes. A fighter, yes. But above all, a loving mother who wanted a better future for her children.

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We Just Created The Latino Thirst List To Include Your Favorites And Here It Is

Entertainment

We Just Created The Latino Thirst List To Include Your Favorites And Here It Is

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Sit back and get ready to take a tour of some of the hottest Latino celebs to grace your screen — a lot of them picked by you in these comments, lovingly organized in list form by us. Thank you/you’re most very welcome.

Bruno Mars

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Bruno Mars, né Peter Gene Hernandez, stormed onto the music scene back in 2010 with the release of his “Doo-Wops & Hooligans album, which brought us hits like “Just The Way You Are” and “Grenade.” Jump to 2014 and the release of “Uptown Funk,” and it was clear that this man had swag for days. Like, literally, so much swag just drips of him and his smooth moves that we don’t know how to handle it.

Jesús “Chino” Miranda

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If you’ve never heard of Jesús “Chino” Miranda, then you have been severely missing out. This walking statue of perfection is part of the wildly popular Venezuelan reggaeton duo Chino Y Nacho. Though he has gotten rid of his flowing locks of hair, this Venezolano will still make your heart melt when you catch a glimpse of his beautiful smile. ?

Ricky Martin

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All the way from Puerto Rico, Ricky Martin has been driving women and men crazy with his gyrating hips long before he had the U.S. dancing to “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” Now a father to twins, he’s the perfect example of Latino men aging like fine wine. Every year gets better and better, and we will continue to be here for this man.

Tristan Wilds

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You might think that Tristan Wilds got his big break thanks to Adele’s music video for “Hello,” but this Dominican slice of heaven has been in the game long before that. Do you remember a little movie called “Red Tails” or the CW revival of “90210“? Either way, Wilds has proven to be a damn good actor with a smile that could light up all of Hollywood.

Rafael Amaya

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Don’t look at Rafael Amaya straight on unless you are ready to deal with his sultry eyes piercing through to your soul. This Mexican telenovela star has made quite the name of himself as a telenovela tour de force. From his uncredited appearances on “Ugly Betty” to playing Aurelio Casillas on “El Señor de los Cielos,” there is never a time when women and men don’t swoon over this 6’2″ drink of water. ????

Thiago Silva

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This Brazilian-born futbolista might look like just another boy next door, but don’t let that fool you. Thiago Silva is all over the place, literally, playing fútbol for the Brazilian national team, as well as Paris Saint-Germain. The best part about this sexy af athlete are those plump and pouty lips. Like, who wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of a Silva kiss?

Mauricio Ochmann

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Another Mexicano from the “El Señor de los Cielos” cast, Mauricio Ochmann has the kind of attitude and temperament suitable for a future hubby. Not to mention he was the total heart throb in “7 Mujeres 1 Homosexual Y Carlos.” Those puppy dog eyes are enough to make us weak in the knees and fall into his oh-so defined arms. Plus, who doesn’t love a good-looking straight man who is totally down for complete and total equality for the LGBTQ community? Answer: NO ONE.

Oscar Isaac

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Guatemalan-Cuban actor Oscar Isaac is just the right amount of no-f*cks-given rolled into a very handsome package. Not only has he proven his acting chops over and over again in movies like “Ex-Machina,” this dude has so many other talents. Remember when he showed the world the best way to eat Flamin’ Hot Cheetos? Sorry, I seemed to have lost the ability to breathe.

Carmelo Anthony

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Carmelo Anthony, a prolific scorer in the NBA, is the 6’8″ puertorriqueño dreamboat the New York Knicks needed when he was traded over from the Denver Nuggets in 2011. But it isn’t his reliable shooting record we care about, no. We are here for this rugged good looks and those ever-so-sexy tattoos he has creeping up around his jersey.

Aarón Díaz

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This studmuffin all the way from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, has always had a way of stopping people in their tracks and taking the breath right out of ’em. Even when Aarón Díaz is posing with his adorable daughter, dude knows how to put those hypnotizing eyes to work. We are all still trying to figure out why in the hell Kate del Castillo let this prime hunk of man out of her life.

Laz Alonso

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Laz Alonso, a first generation Cuban-American, has been heating up screens both big and small. Not only did this Cuban vision of beauty play Fenix in “Fast & Furious” (still waiting for him to handcuff me, if we’re being honest), but he’s also been in “Avatar” and, most recently, “The Mysteries of Laura.” ? *sets DVR for a show I’ve never heard of*

Édgar Ramírez

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by @patrickjamesmiller for @variety #tb #latergram

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What is it with these hunky Venezolanos all over the place?! You might recognize Édgar Ramírez from “Joy,” where he acted alongside Jennifer Lawrence. Does he have great acting skills? Sure. But can we take a minute and just admire the sexual appeal that comes from being a hairy and buff Latino. Seriously, there is nothing better than finding that perfect, cuddly teddy bear, even if you have to stand outside looking through his window. #NotPersonalExperienceOrAnything ?

Romeo Santos

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I miss U ❤️

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Every girl, guy, dog and cat just could NOT get enough of Aventura, especially the Dominican-Puerto Rican Romeo Santos. Not only can we not stop looking at his trademark dimple, we also just want one or two hours holding his muscle-bound arms. Just imagine how great it must feel to have him hold you like you were the only person in the world. ? Tell me that you love me / And you need me ? Please!

Alexis Sánchez

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If you’re not a football fan, get ready to start caring. Arsenal fans really lucked out when Alexis Sánchez started to grace their pitch in 2014. This Chilean dreamboat is everything you could ever want in a futbolista fantasy. How can you NOT watch an Arsenal game when you get to keep your eyes on those rippling shoulders and perfectly styled hair? Seriously. #TeamAlexis or GTFO.

Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez

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Yes. Gingers exist in every race and ethnicity, and Mexican pro boxer Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez is one of them. The World Boxing Council middleweight champion has been killing the boxing game just like he is knocking us all out with his chiseled jaw and shredded abs. Tbh, it’s a little hard to watch him in the ring. Not because we don’t like his boxing style or kickass performance, but because we just don’t want to see that pretty face damaged.

Laith Ashley De La Cruz

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If you’ve never heard of Laith Ashley De La Cruz, well, now you’re welcome. De La Cruz is one of the hottest Latino Instagrammers, with more than 70,000 followers. This Dominican model first made his appearance in Barney’s “Brothers, Sisters, Sons & Daughters” campaign celebrating the beauty of trans models. De La Cruz was only one month into his transition when he was photographed by Bruce Weber. But, like, for real. Those lips are perfection!

Kid Cudi

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Kid Cudi is probably what all your dreams are made of. Not only does the man know how to get you and all your amigos dancing and vibing, he is also the most adorable musician on Instagram. The best part is this Mexican-American singer doesn’t take himself too seriously, and he isn’t so self-involved that he just fills his social media with selfie after selfie. Instead, this man sticks to giving the fans what they want… a good mix of sexy selfies and sexy performance photos. #Range

Michael Peña

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We all fell in love with Michael Peña when he played Cesar Chavez, and he sure knew how to scare the hell out of us in “The Vatican Tapes” as Father Lozano. Tbh, he was probably the main reason you went to see “The Martian.” Every time this Mexicano hits the big screen, we are all reminded that the “boy next door” look never looked so good. It’s a good thing we don’t live in his neighborhood or we would seriously never get anything done. *peers through blind*

Miguel

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MOXY

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Seriously. Can anyone, ANYONE, point out a moment in his career when Miguel didn’t ooze sex appeal? Didn’t think so. So, instead of trying to figure out if his sexuality and appeal have any restrictions, let’s just sit back and stare intently at this gorgeous smile and beautiful hair. Maybe if we stare heard enough he’ll eventually Adorn us with some of that loving. ?

Adam Rodriguez

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Adam Rodriguez is the professor we ALL wish we had while we were in school. Attendance would be high and consistent af if this Puerto Rican/Cuban papi was the one dropping all that knowledge. And that adorably cock-eyed smile just makes it all the better, amiright? Does anyone know if the “Jane the Virgin” sex bomb does private tutoring? I promise not to kiss his sweater. ?

Mario Lopez

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I'm ready for Opening Day! @MLB @Dodgers #LA #CapsOn

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Since his “Saved By The Bell” days Mario Lopez has cornered the market on sexy Latinos in mainstream media. And while he might always have a clean-shaven look, his swole arms and come-over-here smile are EVERYTHING. Ahem, did I mention I love the Dodgers? This picture had no sway on that opinion.

Pedro Pascal

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The whole world collectively cried when this Chilean heartthrob was (spoiler alert?) violently killed off on HBO’s hit show “Game of Thrones.” It’s like the creators of the show just wanted GoT to lose all of the sexiness he brought to the television screen. Thankfully, Netflix jumped on the opportunity to have this man up their sexy Latino content with his role in “Narcos.”

Prince Royce

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Hi @calvinklein

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Is there anyone left who hasn’t fallen head over heels for this Dominican singer? Seriously. Those lips and smile are enough to make any woman or man drop everything and hang on every last word he sings. Plus, it’s not easy to out-sexy Jennifer Lopez like Prince Royce did in the “Back It Up” music video. All you need to do is call and I will be there to stand right by you, boo!

Ezequiel Lavezzi

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🌅

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Hebei China Fortune is definitely fortunate (?) with the addition of this smoking Argentine vision of beauty. While he is drop-dead gorgeous in his soccer uniform, his fashion sense makes him the best dressed player to ever grace your computer screen. Like, what was Paris Saint-Germain even thinking by letting this guy go? Though, you can’t really blame him for going after the offer to make him the richest soccer player in the world.

Richard Cabral

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You no doubt know about this man from his Emmy-nominated role on “American Crime,” but this dude has a past that would make most people scared. The former gang member has really been able to turn his life around and, in turn, has become an inspiration to millions. It also doesn’t hurt that Richard Cabral is so damn fine! There is something about a skinny dude with long hair and tats that gets your attention.

Al Madrigal

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Made it.

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Al Madrigal gave all Latino Jon Stewart fans someone they could finally relate to. As the senior Latino correspondent, he was able to give his reporting that Mexican twist we didn’t even know we were missing. As his career has grown and we’ve watched him report story after story, we have slowly and surely fallen in love with this adorable goofball’s cute looks and sense of humor. #TeamAlMadrigal

 Javier “Chicharito” Hernández

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No sexy Latino list is complete without everyone’s favorite futbolista, Chicharito. This man has brought so many people over to the world of fútbol (this writer included). From his playful smile to the funny videos he’s been part of, there is nothing this guy can’t do. There’s just one question: When are we going to Germany to watch our favorite Mexicano fútbol star take on Europe?!

READ: Here Are 11 Sexy Latino Men with Their Kids to Give You All the Feels

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