Mexican American Heritage textbook
This is the book that's causing all the ruckus in Texas. Photo courtesy of Momentum Instruction

Protesters packed a Texas hearing considering a school textbook about Mexican-American heritage that has been sharply criticised as demeaning and racist.

The Board of Education held the hearing at the state capital in Austin over whether the commissioned textbooks would be offered to all Texas public schools in the face of mounting protests.

Board member Ruben Cortez said after the hearing that he expects the panel to reject in November the textbook in a vote.

"Imagine Donald Trump or David Duke writing a book about African-American studies, that's what [this publisher] has done on Mexican-American studies," said Cortez, reported NBC News.

The book has "so many shocking similarities to the conversation that you hear on national news," he added, referring to the presidential election. "This book seems like it's written by the Trump campaign."

Educators and experts have listed 141 errors in the new book, which was published by a company headed by a conservative former Board of Education member and includes inaccurate dates and facts about Mexicans' history in the US.

But particularly disturbing for protesters are sections in the book presenting Mexican-Americans as lazy and even violent.

This is "about the integrity of Texas and the ability of Texas to tell the truth. It's about respecting our cultures traditions and respecting us as human beings," said Juvenal Cardona, a member of the veterans GI Forum who spoke recently against the book at a press conference in Houston.

"These are some of the most insulting stereotypes imaginable. This book offers one thing: hate," Cortez said last week after a 54-page report by a state committee on the book's inaccuracies was released. According to the report, the book includes 68 factual errors, 42 interpretive errors and 31 errors of omission.

Political Trojan horse

Cortez called the book a "political Trojan horse" intended to introduce attitudes "dripping with racism" into public schools. One of the most lambasted passages in the book, entitled Mexican American Heritage, addresses Mexican-Americans' "poor work ethic."

"Mexicans were viewed as lazy compared to European or American workers. Industrialists were very driven, competitive men who were always on the clock and continually concerned about efficiency," the book states.

"They were used to their workers putting in a full days work. In contrast, Mexican labourers were not reared to put in a full day's work so vigorously. There was a cultural attitude of 'mañana,' or 'tomorrow,' when it came to high-gear production."

Other passages claim that "drinking on the job could be a problem" for Mexicans and that "Chicanos" were "opposed Western civilisation and wanted to destroy this society."

The book is the first Mexican-American history book ever considered by the Texas Board of Education.

The book was published by Momentum Instruction whose CEO is right-wing former Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar. Dunbar rejected claims of racism in the book and insisted that there is no hidden agenda in the presenting the Mexican-American history.

"We have no agenda other than trying to make sure that book presents the best material for the students," Dunbar told the Dallas Morning News.

Texas's Hispanic population is the second largest in the nation at 10.4 million, about 19% of the entire nation's Latino population. According to the Pew Research Center, 87.5 percent of the state's Latino population is of Mexican descent.