Latinos Omitted From Ken Burns’ ‘War’ – A Blessing in Disguise? – Full Story
New America Media, Commentary, Roberto Lovato, Posted: Sep 25, 2007Editor’s Note: Ken Burns’ World War II documentary is stirring controversy because of its lack of Latino representation. But NAM contributing editor Roberto Lovato says that in the scheme of things, perhaps it is a good thing.
PFC Peralta and his fellow cadets are but a few of the thousands of Latino children targeted for early indoctrination into the military by programs designed for the very young. The Coastal Patrol Cadet Corps website states clear goals: “Our activities are designed to build upstanding Americans, with physical and mental stamina, discipline and obedience. Instructions are given in numerous categories, including military discipline, leadership, infantry drill, rifle drill, seamanship, navigation, first-aid, communications, boat handling, drum, bugle and band instruments.”
I asked PFC Peralta if he knew anything about the Latino PBS “The War” controversy about Latino representation raging across the country. “No. I don’t know nothing about that,” said the son of immigrants from Puebla, Mexico. But he had, he told me, already made up his mind about the military: “I’m gonna be the captain of a navy ship.”
Since learning that The War initially excluded him and the more than 500,000 other Latinos who fought, were injured or died in World War II, Alvarez says he was “upset but not surprised” by what he calls “Mr. Burns negligence for omitting the Hispanic WW II experience.” Rather than fume about it, he and other friends in Brawley, CA collected money and took out a full page ad in their local newspaper. The former Private First Class, in the Army’s 7Th Cavalry’s Troop G, hopes that his campaign will “make people think and realize World War II was not fought and won solely by white males.”