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The book that is going to be analyzed in the paper at hand is Blowout! Sal Castro and the Chicano Struggle for Educational Justice. The author of the book, Mario T. García (a prominent historian, magazine designer, and senior advisor at Columbia University) offers the reader a breathtaking story of Sal Castro, his unprecedented courage, and striving for justice (García & Castro, 2014).
The book was written in the US. The process began at the end of the 20th century and took a decade of interviews with Sal Castro to arrange the book in his own words. The time and place of writing were important for contributing since the country was on the verge of taking decisive steps aimed to eliminate racial segregation. Latin American culture was expanding, which required social and educational measures. The book features an introduction, epilogue, and afterword.
Sal Castro, who later became one of the major figures in Chicano history, was a public school teacher for forty years in the East Los Angeles School, which was referred to as Mexican. In 1968, he was the one who inspired his students to take an active part in the student movement called “blowouts”, the primary goal of which was to protest against racial discrimination of Mexicans in educational institutions of the Southwest (García & Castro, 2014). Thus, the narration is set against the historical background of the Chicano walkouts. The book is written in the form of an essay; the author uses the testimonio (a kind of oral evidence of oppositional movements of Latin America) to make his story vivid and compelling.
The key issue that the author discusses in the book is the concept of liberation and unbiased education of minorities (first introduced and identified by Paulo Freire, a Brazilian philosopher of education). To illustrate his ideas, García resorts to the methodology developed by Freire, according to whom, teachers and learners enrich each other through trust, communication, and common experiences, thereby developing critical consciousness that is capable of solving social, cultural, and political conflicts. Such a meticulous approach, not limited to the investigation of Sal Castro’s activities, to the analysis of the problem, makes the author sound credible and reliable (García & Castro, 2014).
For instance, he supports the main points discussed in the book by analyzing Chicago Youth Leadership Conferences, which played a vital role in developing social activism, cultural engagement, and leadership qualities in students. Being rather moderate, they laid the basis for an increasingly radical approach and affected Sal Castro, who believed that they triggered the above-described events of 1968.
The intended audience of the text is broad indeed. It can be interesting to students, teachers, politicians, educational philosophers, historians, and other scholars who study Sal Castro’s personality and activities. The accuracy of the sources is therefore rather high since the author himself is a historian and is unlikely to distort facts to impress the audience. On the other hand, since he was in a close relationship with Sal Castro for more than a decade while the book was being written, it might have influenced his rhetorical strategy, making him less detached and more passionate about the issue. Moreover, his task was to make the story not just informative but inspirational enough to encourage students to struggle for their rights. For instance, García calls Sal Castro “the galvanizing and inspiring figure” (García & Castro, 2014, p. 307).
I believe that the author prepared this document to reinforce students’ movements and to give Latin American and other minority students of today the opportunities of which those in the past were deprived. Since the number of immigrants is on the rise, it is highly important to provide them with equal educational prospects and ensure that they can preserve and exercise their culture freely. The national pride of both the author (who was born in Cuba) and the audience is at stake.
Another reason to write the book was to communicate the significance of Sal Castro’s contribution. This is proven by the fact that transcriptions of interviews with Sal Castro are supplemented, together with the testimony of other actors of the event, to allow the reader to fully engage in the story.
García T.M., & Castro S. (2014). Blowout! Sal Castro & the Chicano Struggle for Educational Justice. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.