While I was watching this show, one of my frequent commenters asked me a question. "Why are Latinos protesting this program?" I visited a few websites and here is the explanation:
The Story Must Be Told and The History Preserved
A 15-hour "documentary" about Americans and World War II, to be broadcast by PBS in September 2007, initially excluded any mention of Latino heroes who fought to defend the United States from its enemies. After much public pressure, producer Ken Burns agreed to include interviews with Latinos and hired a Latino documentary producer. Subsequently, the new material added up to interviews with two Latino WWII Marines, and one Native American WWII veteran -- a total of 28 minutes.
But will it be meaningful? Defend the Honor is concerned that the new material was added simply to silence critics, and does not address the unique WWII Latino experience. For instance, in a major national meeting with the Television Critics Association on July 18, the critics were provided, in advance, boxed DVDs of the series -- minus the new material on Latinos and a Native American. Without access to the new material, television critics could not evaluate it and ask questions in open forum at their meeting with Ken Burns, associate producer Lynn Novick and PBS CEO and President Paula Kerger. Burns comments, as reported throughout the country, indicated he saw the issue of Latinos being omitted from the documentary as a "political" issue which he was able to "rise above."
About the Protests:
Four protests of the documentary are planned at local PBS stations Sunday in California; a Capitol rally is to be held in Austin, Texas; others will hold exhibits, commemoration days and panel discussions in their cities. Some events have already been held and others will continue through the month. Organizers said they want to inform people that Hispanics who fought discrimination and racism at home served valiantly in the war and on the homefront.
Eighty-seven year-old Carlos Alvarez remembers his first experience of war, when he dodged the bullets of Japanese gunners and airplanes in the Philippine jungles during World War II. Now, 60-plus years later, he's on the front lines of a media war pitting grassroots Latino groups against the multimillion-dollar guns of PBS, its corporate sponsors and legendary filmmaker, Ken Burns. 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 would "make people think and realize World War II was not fought and won solely by white males."
Though "The War" now includes 28 minutes of footage of two Latino veterans, most major leaders of Latino organizations, members of the Congressional Hispanic Congress and a constellation of grassroots groups across the country remain dissatisfied.
. WW2: Latino Soldiers in the Phillipines