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Keywords:

  • border culture;
  • ethnic studies;
  • generation;
  • intersectionality;
  • Mexican American studies;
  • multicultural education;
  • Latino youth;
  • public schools;
  • race

This article reviews the circumstances behind the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction's attack on Mexican American/Raza Studies, which led to the battle at the Tucson Unified School District's board meeting. Additionally, I provide a theoretical explanation of why those who are vehemently outspoken against Ethnic Studies tend to be White senior citizens while those speaking in favor are often youthful Mexican Americans. Drawing from Margaret Mead's scholarship on culture and generational distinctions, I delineate the various roles older and younger generations may play in figuring race and culture in contemporary border society. The generational dynamic between Whites and Latinos represents another moment in which the “intersectionality” of race complicates social practices and relationships. The perspectives of teachers, students, and community members are presented to provide a qualitative analysis that highlights how multiculturalism in public schools has become an issue of almost equal significance to immigration in Arizona.