POSTED: 11:24 a.m. EDT, May 14, 2007
By Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Now there could be a truce. After initially insisting that he wouldn't make any changes, Burns said last week that he would re-edit the film to add stories about Hispanic soldiers -- not as an addendum as was suggested earlier in a lame compromise, but as part of the film itself.
Like the Hispanic veterans of World War II, they were ignored. That was a mistake. It also made clear that the activists were dealing with folks whose knowledge of Hispanics didn't go beyond salsa lessons and whatever is on the No. 3 combination plate.
A special source of pride are the World War II veterans, who came home to segregated schools, restricted restaurants, and bans on speaking Spanish. So they waged a new battle -- for civil rights. It is a great story. Too bad PBS and Burns missed it the first time around.
Now, Burns seems ready to correct the oversight. Let's hope that he does -- before the corporations weigh in, and the war starts up again. As for PBS, it's a goal of the network to provide educational programming. And on this issue, there is much educating to be done.
Consider the white male reader who, after reading a column on the subject, wrote to inform me that "no 'Latinos' fought in the war. They were Americans."