Author turns down speech after protest
Press-Telegram Wire Reports (Long Beach)
June 10, 2005
HAYWARD — Hispanic essayist Richard Rodriguez has declined an invitation to
speak at the Cal State East Bay commencement set for Saturday after some
graduating students threatened to boycott the event.
Rodriguez, son of immigrants from Mexico, is the author of "Hunger of
Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez," which reflects on being Hispanic in
America. The book is widely used in colleges. He believes that belonging to a
society requires accepting a common language and tradition.
His work drew criticism from some students here for his views against
bilingual education and affirmative action.
"I'm a bilingual educator," said student Leah Perez, 32, who
is graduating with a master's degree in urban teacher leadership. "He believes
in assimilation and rejection of one's cultural identity, and we don't feel that
is what we stand for in our program, and we don't want him representing us."