Dr. Enrique Aleman Stolen Education
Wednesday October 1st, The Office of Diversity and Inclusion welcomed Film Producer, Dr. Enrique Aleman, to the Tarleton Campus. Upon his arrival, nearly 300 excited Tarleton students greeted him in anticipation of both viewing and discussing his film, Stolen Education.
“Segregated by race. Punished for being Mexican American. Eight children testified against injustice. This is the untold story of how they changed education in Texas.”
A film documentary based in the small town of Driscoll, Texas, Dr. Aleman illuminates the dark history of discrimination that was so common in 1956. For the elementary school in Driscoll, discriminating against Mexican-American students by segregating them and forcing them to repeat the 1st grade was common practice. Although the school claimed that Mexican-American students were separated on the bases of “language”, the documentary unveils that they were actually segregated for many other reasons. The film brings to life the racial climate of the 1950s to the present, and demonstrates the students’ courage in an era when fear and intimidation were used to maintain racial hierarchy and control. The Mexican-American students won the case, but for almost 60 years the lawsuit was never spoken about in the South Texas farming community where they lived despite its significance. Aleman’s documentary also provides insight into how racism and language discrimination is still prevalent in today’s society.
As the “Office of Diversity” moved into the Q&A portion of the event, the impact of the film on the Tarleton audience became apparent. The students shifted the discussion from their own personal testimonies of discrimination, to the state of racism and discrimination today.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion would like to thank Dr. Enrique Aleman, not only for his passion, but also for giving Tarleton students the opportunity to experience such an emotionally impactful piece of Hispanic Heritage. One student effectively sums up the feeling you left us with: “Thank you so much for getting our story out there. It made me respect on what my parent went through. I wish my mom could have seen this film. She experienced this. With your film out there, this discouragement is less likely to happen to minority students. Thanks again.”