After World War II, Mexican American veterans returned home to lead the struggle for civil rights.
Many of their stories have been recorded by the Voces Oral History Project founded and directed by Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez at the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism.
In her new book “Texas Mexican Americans and Post War Civil Rights Rivas Rodriguez tells the stories of three lesser known battles in Mexican American civil rights in Texas.
Rivas Rodriguez recounts the successful effort led by parents to integrate the Alpine, Texas, public schools in 1969—fifteen years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that separate schools were inherently unconstitutional.
Also described is El Paso’s first Mexican American mayor, Raymond Telles, and how he challenged institutionalized racism to integrate the city’s police and fire departments, thus opening civil service employment to Mexican Americans.
The final account provides the first history of the early days of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and its founder Pete Tijerina Jr. from MALDEF’s incorporation in San Antonio in 1968 until its move to San Francisco in 1972.
The city and school districts of Jerome are taking unprecedented steps to engage a rapidly growing Hispanic community – the fastest growing in the Magic Valley. But Hispanics here say the government isn’t doing enough to bridge the divide.
Many Hispanics, especially in the Stoney Ridge subdivision where a 2-year-old boy was hit by a car and died last year, distrust the police. Authorities say crimes go unreported. Hispanic business owners sometimes aren’t aware of city building codes. And the school district struggles to keep Spanish-speaking parents informed.
With a third of the city’s population now Hispanic – and a majority of the school district’s children non-white Hispanics for the first time – it’s more important than ever for the groups to amalgamate. The wave of Hispanics flooding into Jerome shows no sign of cresting anytime soon.
This is a two-way street. Hispanics can’t passively rely on the government to accommodate them. And the government must do more to foster a smoother and faster integration of this rapidly growing group.
No more evident is this gap than in the language barrier.
For their part, Hispanics must strive harder to learn English. The city government, police and school district all say the No. 1 obstacle to better engaging Hispanics is their inability to speak English. Some 28 percent of Jerome residents speak a language other than English at home, and 15 percent is both foreign-born and speaks English less than “very well.” English-speaking children often serve as interpreters for their Spanish-speaking parents.
Hispanics are also woefully underrepresented in local government. There are no Hispanics on the city council or county board. It’s imperative Hispanics become more politically active in their new community if they expect to have a voice in how the city is managed.
While the city and schools have taken new steps to engage Hispanics – mostly through translating documents into Spanish and trying to boost the number of Spanish-speaking employees – they must be more proactive. That means recruiting more Spanish-speaking police officers, teachers and city employees like Esmeralda Chavez, a Jerome native hired as a city planner a year and a half ago. She’s become the face of the Spanish-speaking community at City Hall.
The school district has some bilingual employees, but it can’t say how many because it doesn’t track how many of its employees speak Spanish. The high school football team wants more Hispanic athletes, but it isn’t actively recruiting coaches who speak Spanish. The police department wants more Spanish-speaking officers, but it must be willing to compete with other Magic Valley departments willing to pay more for bilingual officers.
Younger Hispanics and forward-thinking city officials are making the most headway. Members of Jerome High’s Latinos in Action help by interpreting at parent-teacher conferences. Chavez, the city planner, appears regularly on Spanish-language radio to talk about city issues.
These are important steps. But it will take much more from Hispanics and the city’s largest institutions. As our special report, “El Nueveo Jerome,” is showing, it truly is a new Jerome.
A minor skirmish warrants recording. On March 15, 1864, a force of 25 men of the 2nd Texas Cavalry (U.S.) — as opposed to and not to be confused with the 2nd Texas Cavalry (Confederate States of America) — had ridden from Brownsville and were in the vicinity of Charles Stillman’s Santa Rosa Ranch, about three miles east of present-day Sebastian, Texas. They may have been on a mission to secure cattle (beeves) to bring back to Fort Brown to provision the Union troops stationed there.
In any event, the party under the command of Second Lieutenant Santos Cardena were met and attacked by a “largely dispersed force.” It is very likely that these men were part of a reconnaissance force sent out by the CSA’s Col. John “RIP” Ford to feel out the Federals in the area.
A two-hour gunfight ensued. The reported casualties for the Union soldiers were one killed, two missing and one wounded. The extent of enemy casualties was unknown.
The 30-year-old Cardena had been recruited and commissioned by Texas Unionist Brig. General Edmund J. Davis on December 10, 1863.
If the Second Texas Cavalry of an estimated 958 did not distinguish itself, one can find many reasons for its mediocre performance.
Provincial and hardly knowledgeable about the outside world, many of the recruits had at most been U.S. citizens for but a decade and a half and very isolated from mainstream America at that.
The complement was poorly trained, lacked proper uniforms, shoes, equipment and regular pay. To top this off, the unit was subjected to “rampant racism” by other Union military.
Haynes himself did not help matters when he appointed his friend, George Washington Paschal Jr., as regiment commander, even as all the officers in the cavalry opposed this move.
Finally, as correction to these negative elements were either slow in coming or not coming at all, the number of desertions mounted. Only a few by the end of 1863, by the end of the war about one-third or 297 Tejanos and Mexicanos had departed, most to Mexico. Those who fled could sell their weapons in Mexico and satisfy themselves for their lack of military compensation.
Recruits had been promised a $100 bonus, a jacket, raincoat, boots, shoes and $13 per month pay. Most, largely illiterate farmers with little communication skills, had enlisted to obtain the monetary benefits and, when Haynes did not fulfill his promises, these very poor men left the ranks. Some who were issued saddles, bridles sabers, guns and other military supplies sold them after absconding to Mexico.
Desertions by Anglos also occurred. A private Strother of the Texas Cavalryman was shot by two guards the night of January 25, 1864, while attempting to desert with stolen property.
Dr. Jerry Thompson was to write, “The lack of equipment available to the regiment made it difficult for the men to receive efficient and effective training.
The Cavalry had been promised 350 pairs of boots by the government, but had received only 40 pairs, resulting in many men doing their morning and afternoon drills in bare feet.
In the dry grass of southern Texas, especially during a time of drought such as this, the terrain was far from comfortable.
Many of the men also did not receive full uniforms, giving the soldiers an unruly appearance.
This put a major damper in new soldier recruits for Haynes.
However, the problems of equipment were minor in comparison to the rampant racism plaguing the Second Cavalry.”
One solution, with which Haynes concurred, was to transfer the unit to Louisiana. Upon hearing of this, turmoil in the camp crested. To emphasize the importance of military discipline the army would need an object lesson and found it in the case of Pablo Garcia, who was part of the Second Texas Cavalry Regiment. Private Garcia was charged with leaving his sentry post at Punta del Monte on May 10, 1864, before being regularly relieved. (This was the Yturria ranch north of what would become Raymondville.) To this he pleaded guilty but not guilty to charges of desertion and to conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline. Captain Edward G. Miller presided at Garcia’s court-martial. Garcia was found guilty of all charges and sentenced to be executed by a firing squad on June 22, 1864.
On the late afternoon of the scheduled execution, fully equipped brigades accompanied by several bands marched to Washington Square. Accompanied by a priest Garcia was apparently then at peace with his Maker. He pushed away the bandage blindfold and bravely faced the 12-man musketry. He was not dead after their action. Two soldiers were called forth, one putting a bullet into his heart and another into his brain. To the solemn tune of the Dead March soldiers of the fort were then paraded by to view the grisly scene of Garcia’s body. They could not help but be stunned by the justice meted for a seemingly minor offense. The citizens of Brownsville also witnessed this sobering scene.
The 1st Texas Cavalry (US) also saw action near White’s Ranch, a site on the Rio Grande southeast of Brownsville, on Sept. 6, 1864, and in the final battle of the Civil War, that of Palmito Ranch on May 13, 1865.
Some were captured by the Confederate forces that were victors in the battle but were quickly released.
As an unusual footnote to this story, I note that two Hispanic Civil War veterans are buried in the small cemetery of Penitas, Texas. One is Sgt. Ignacio Zamora who served in the 2nd Texas Cavalry (U.S.) and had participated in the skirmish at the Santa Rosa Ranch. The second was Pvt. Jose Maria Loya who had also enlisted in the same regiment, but with strong loyalties to his commanding officer, Adrian J. Vidal, followed him into Mexico when the mercurial Vidal precipitously left the Union ranks. Both veterans are honored by headstones provided by the Federal government.
Hablar español en Los Estados Unidos no es un lujo, si no una necesidad.
If you didn't understand the previous sentence then you're at a disadvantage on many fronts. And before you get on a soap box and start preaching about how "this is America! Learn the language…speak English!", stop.
Many people stopped listening to that "English Only" gibberish of the previous decade a long time ago; most of them coming from corporate america.
I was shopping with my wife at the Wal-Mart in my Central Connecticut neighborhood when I noticed a curious thing. The employees were putting up new billboard signs identifying the different sections at the mega store...in Spanish. There it was, side by side, a sign which read "Auto Care", "Cuidado para el Automovil". You can argue there's a need for that "se habla español" service in large Latino hubs like Miami or Los Angeles, but Central Connecticut?
There's a simple answer to that question with a lot of zeros at the end: $1.5 trillion dollars. That's how much it's estimated U.S. Hispanics will pump into the economy this year, a large slice coming from Spanish dominant Latinos.
A recent study by the Instituto Cervantes finds that more people speak Spanish in the United States than anywhere in the world; second only to Mexico.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that up to 43 million people will be speaking Spanish in 2020. This shouldn't be a surprise given the history that language has had in this country. There are nine states that started off as Spanish colonies. Add on the acquisition of Puerto Rico and the consistent emigration from Latin American countries and well, like I said - it shouldn't be a surprise.
Companies see that the best way to grow their business is to better serve the booming Latino population in their language of choice. Sometimes that's English, sometimes Spanish and sometimes both.
Wells Fargo currently has a bilingual television commercial where a young Latino interacts with his loved one by mobile phone. He addresses the person first in Spanish and then in English in a very natural manner which does not alienate English only audiences.
In truth it is increasingly difficult not to come across Spanish being spoken in the U.S., no matter the market size.
The bilingual approach is not exclusive to sales and marketing. Media is also tapping into this dynamic. In 2013, I was part of the team who produced One Nacion, ESPN’s Hispanic Heritage Month television special. The dynamic live program was bilingual and aired simultaneously on the English language network ESPN and Spanish language network ESPN Deportes.
This year, One Nacion will be produced from South Florida in collaboration with the Fusion Network (October 14, 7-8P ET, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes; 8-830P ET on Fusion).
In January I assisted in launching ESPN’s One Nacion Digital, a destination where content in English and Spanish reside together, sometimes intertwining languages reflecting the reality of most U.S. Hispanic households.
This September 1st that initiative expands to radio programming with the new podcast One Nacion with Max (Bretos) y Marly (Rivera). Max works as an anchor on ESPN programs like SportsCenter. Marly is a reporter for ESPN Deportes following all of the major leagues in New York City and MLB nationally. It's an example of diversity driving innovation by applying intersectional thinking. The new bilingual podcast focuses on the achievements and challenges of Latino athletes on and off the field. It also seeks to engage audiences about the social and cultural issues which affect athletes and fans alike.
The skeptics say that eventually Latinos will fall in line like other communities and over time be mostly English dominant. That's doubtful given a 2012 Pew Research study which found that 95% of Hispanic adults, including those born in the U.S. - said it is important that future generations of Hispanics speak Spanish.
No importa si es tu lenguaje natal o solamente sabes algunas palabras; el español es parte de la identidad de los latinos.
Y como vemos más y más...para salir adelante en este país se tiene que entender el español igualmente como él inglés.
Welcome to the United States...aquí Se Habla Español!
Hispanic Immigrants: As Bad As Some Want Them to Be?
When he announced his candidacy for the American presidency, Donald Trump delivered remarks that have echoed across Mexico. “They are bringing drugs. They are bringing crime. They’re rapists,” Trump said.
While the rest of the candidates are finding their footing as they try to court the Latino vote, Trump managed to galvanize the disparate populations of Mexico, both social and political. While the dustup over his comments may have hurt some of Trump’s business relationships, that don’t appear to have bruised him politically. They may even have helped. Trump has seen a bounce in the surveys, but whatever his chances of getting the White House, Trump seems to have tapped into a vein of resentment in America. It is a traditional narrative that those who cross the border are doing so with nefarious intentions, the reality for most Latinos is more complicated.
Donald Trump has remained firm in his allegations that illegal immigrants from Mexico are bringing runaway crime to America. Trump’s claim that there are “hundreds of thousands” of illegal immigrants in US prisons isn’t supported by the facts. Recent data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics say there are approximately 90,000 noncitizens in prison as of 2013. Even that figure doesn’t say much. The noncitizen group bundles both legal and illegal immigrants. In any case, there are not “hundreds of thousands” of illegal immigrants locked up in America’s prisons.
A 2011 GAO report shows that there were only 90,000 persons of illegal, or unknown, immigration status. Local jails reported about 204,000 for the same period.
The fact that so many immigrants are detained for immigration violations as opposed to committing a violent crime makes incarceration stats hard to review. The GAO study shows that immigration violations were the most frequent offense leading to detention – trailed in the far distance by drug and traffic violations.
Another good report of the latest research is in the May 2014 issue of Criminology and Public Policy. The report shows that there is a consensus among scholars that undocumented immigrants are not more likely to commit crimes than American citizens.
The Department of Justice recently released figures for the 2012-13 time frame, Heather MacDonald, with the Manhattan Institute published a table of statistics based on the figures. For the first time, Hispanics have been treated as a separate category instead of lumping them in with white.
The report shows that during the period covered by the study, blacks committed an average of 486,000 violent crimes against whites while whites committed only 99,403 violent crimes against blacks.
The violent interracial crime involving blacks and Hispanics happens the same proportions as black on white crime. Blacks are the attackers 82 percent of the time; however Hispanics are attackers less than 18% of the time.There’s been a great deal of press given to black on black violence, but the latest figures indicate that just over 40% of the victims of black violence are black. People of other races account for almost 60% of the victims of black violence.One in every 15 African-American males are in jail, and only one in 36 Hispanics males are incarcerated.
From the moment he stepped up to audition for John Ridley’s anthology series American Crime, for a role that on paper was familiar to him, Richard Cabral hoped to bring new light to a Latino archetype often misaligned in the media. As Hector Tontz, the gang member implicated in a vicious, drug-related murder, Cabral did just that, and in the process earned a Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Emmy nomination.
Hector is one of the few characters at the end of Season 1 to get a happy ending. He’s a free man, he has a new job, and the future looks bright for him and his young family. It was something no one would have seen coming, and not just because the cast wasn’t aware of their characters’ full arcs at the outset.
“Getting the (pilot) script I was like, “OK, this is a Latino figure. He has some dealings with the street and that was it,” Cabral says. “It was kind of vague, but I felt that reading into the character it already had a sense of a three-dimensional side. It was enough for me to play with.”
When John Ridley screened American Crime for the Shabazz Center and Homeboy Industries—which was instrumental in helping Cabral leave his real-life gang past behind—there were concerns that Hector was just going to be the typical drug-dealing gang banger. “John just kept on reassuring me, week in and week out, ‘Just trust in me Richard,’ ” Cabral says. “After towards the middle of the season I was pretty sold.”
Cabral says the tough topics tackled in American Crime—how a murder affects all the different people of a community—made him and his costars bond deeply on set. “We were in a bubble in Austin,” he says. “Every single one of us went through a dark place. But it was OK because when you looked to the left and you looked to the right we all knew that we were on an individual road but at the same time kind of going through it together. There was a real sense of camaraderie, a strong bond, but not just an acting bond. It was spiritual.”
It’s been a little jarring for Cabral after coming off an experience like that, getting an Emmy nom, and now having strangers know more about him and his gritty past. “This is yesterday—a buddy of mine has a Mexican restaurant,” Cabral says. “He was like, ‘Hey, Richard, I’m looking at you on the news and I’m proud. We’re going to name a burrito after you.’ It’s nothing like changing or helping a person find themselves, but who would’ve thought that I would make it to a point in my life where somebody would be naming a damn burrito after me.”
Cabral is hoping his newfound notoriety will help him do more. “It’s opened a whole different door because it’s not just about being an actor no more,” he says. “It’s about being a voice in the community. There’s so many ways to be a voice and that’s what I’m figuring out. Being an artist, being an actor, it’s about telling stories that could heal, that could open up discussion that could make the community better. There are many (Latino) stories that need to be told and haven’t been told right. If I could help be that voice then that’s what I’m going to do, because this is a reality for me.”
Cabral is one of several cast members returning for Season 2, as a completely different character in a new storyline. “First of all, I’m a hero,” he says. “Me looking like a criminal gang member is going to be thrown out the window. I’m not implicated in the crime. I’m helping trying to figure things out. I’m on the good side.”
Cabral returns to the American Crime set in October. Season 2 will air next year.
Migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border every year leave behind evidence of their journey: backpacks, shoes, clothes, water jugs, toiletries and medicines. The items are eventually forgotten and left to deteriorate, but not by artists, like Valarie James, who've turned them into works of art.
James and several artists created three sculptures called "Las Madres" using materials left behind by migrants. One sculpture is made out of jeans, the other of khakis and the third of burlap.
There are other artists like James who draw inspiration from objects that migrants leave behind during their arduous journey across the border. Some of these artists will be featured in a new segment by NPR's Latino USA scheduled to air Aug. 29.
The segment called "Border World" aims to offer listeners a unique perspective from people — including artists — who live near Arizona's border with Mexico and the many ways that the border has shaped their lives.
"We're telling the story of artists who are trying to use these objects as a way to build empathy, sympathy and understanding for migrants," Latino USA producer Marlon Bishop said.
Another artist who'll be featured is Deborah McCullough, who has collected about 400 toothbrushes left behind by migrants. She uses them in her artwork as a way to remind others that migrants are human beings who cross the border for various reasons, including to reunite with their families or to seek a better life.
Alvaro Enciso is featured as well in the Latino USA segment. He makes art pieces using tuna cans that migrants leave behind. Tuna is popular among migrants given it is high in protein and easy to carry. Enciso also makes crosses that are adorned with the tin of cans and cements them along the border in areas where migrants have died.
When asked why Latino USA decided to highlight these artists in it's new segment, Bishop said they wanted to "find a new way" to get listeners to understand what it's like to live along the border and the interactions that residents have with migrants. He said they saw art as a way to do just that.
"Sometimes art connects with people on another level, and it can touch people in a different way," he said.
Besides artists, the segment will also feature the leader of a militia group made up of former soldiers that police the border, as well as an immigration activist who'll talk about the state of Latinos in Arizona and changes in the state's political climate surrounding immigration.
The segment ends with a look at Sonoran hot dogs, which have become popular in southern Arizona and are seen as example of the cultural back-and-forth interaction between Mexico and the U.S.
Last year, a wealthy Dominican sugar-baron family invested $3.5 million to help fund an organization that would advocate on behalf of Dominican-American voters in the Northeast. That organization, Dominicanos USA, has since registered nearly 80,000 voters. Most recently, the organization released what it calls a "first-of-its-kind" report that asks Dominican-American voters a simple question: What issues do you care about?
Dominicans are one of the fastest growing Latino groups in the U.S. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and American Community Surveys, in 2000 there were some 688,000 people of Dominican descent in the country. In 2012, they numbered nearly 1 million. And for the first time in New York—where the majority live—Dominicans now outnumber Puerto Ricans.
(Related story: "Young Latinos Have Quickest Rebound After Recession")
This study is helpful, especially around election time, when the "Latino vote" becomes a sound-bite monolith—one homogenous group that will supposedly vote the same way. And if you pay attention to what pundits say, it would appear that the only thing Latinos care about is immigration.
But that's certainly untrue, says New York state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who has twice run for Congress, and who is arguably one of the most prominent Dominican politicians in the Northeast. "They have their different issues that are more pronounced in one group than in others."
The study on what issues Dominicans care about was done in combination with Latino Decisions. It used interviews and an 800-respondent telephone survey of Dominicans in Rhode Island and New York.
So what's most important to Dominicans in the Northeast?
As the graph shows, jobs were most important to Dominican-Americans in the Northeast. When asked what needed improvement, nearly all respondents wanted higher pay. That could be in part because Dominican-Americans have a slightly higher rate (28 percent) of poverty than Latinos as a whole (26 percent).
"Those challenges lead to issues with affordability," Espaillat says, "because if you don't have good paying job then you can't afford to pay rent. And that's why you see migration to other states that are nearby."
Espaillat says that job creation and demand for higher pay is most likely tied to rent. In New York, people ages 22 to 34 (the median age of Dominican-Americans is 29) spend more than 40 percent of their income on rent. It's gotten so bad that he's noticed a migration of Dominican-Americans to Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and other surrounding states where rent is cheaper.
"The No. 1 complaint that I get in my district office is housing," Espaillat says. "Dominicans are renters. They live in urban areas, so housing is an important issue."
Dominicans make up 13 percent of the student population at City University of New York, which is located in the Washington Heights neighborhood—the epicenter of Dominican migration to the U.S. And on average, Dominican-Americans tend to have a higher educational attainment than other Latinos.
Among respondents, 23 percent said they want politicians to improve schools and reform education. When pressed further, Dominicans surveyed wanted more money invested in pre-schools, as well as bilingual education.
Dominicans share an interest in immigration with most Latinos. A 2014 poll by the Pew Hispanic Center also showed that when polled as a whole, immigration was the fourth-most important political issue.
Living in New York, Espaillat says, can influence this perspective. The state is fairly welcoming of immigrants. It has a driver's license program for undocumented immigrants and Dream Act legislation.
What will the next generation of Dominican-Americans care about?
"When we get a lot of young students, and they come out as professionals, you're going to see the unemployment and jobs issue come down one slot—one position," Espaillat says. "I think education will also go up, because those folks will recognize their that achievements are directly connected to education. Housing will also be less relevant, because if you make more money you're able to purchase your own home."
Whenever I'm in a situation where I pick up that someone has a Spanish accent, I'll switch to speaking Spanish. I also make the effort with French or Italian, though I'm not nearly as fluent. Speaking to somebody in their first language forges an instant connection that's usually lovely and can make buying a cup of coffee a great story.
But I've noticed that the only time I'm ever questioned about my habit is when I speak Spanish. Apparently every other language - especially French - makes me look sophisticated as I'm asking for a coffee refill or ordering my croque monsieur. Speaking French gets you smiles; c'est magnifique! But if I switch to Spanish I will invariably get a side eye, like I've opened the door and let the savages in. A video that went viral a couple of weeks ago reminded me of this.
The clip shows a Southern California woman berating Norma Vasquez and her son Carlos for speaking Spanish amongst themselves at an IHOP. One — it was a private conversation between mother and son. Two — the name of the establishment is International House of Pancakes. And three — it's in Koreatown. You'd think the diversity of the situation alone would make the rageful woman think twice before going off like a roman candle. But the irony of it was lost on her. She chose to tell this Salvadorean family to go back to Spain. Because you know, that's the only place in the world Spanish should be spoken.
It would be easy enough to blame her outburst on the divisive seeds being planted by GOP presidency hopefuls, struggling to "out-patriot" others in the political race to the bottom. But 'the Donald' didn't start this ugly, he just gave people a target and a licence to attack it.
Can you imagine Ms. Southern California doing this to a French family or a German one? Nein! But she had no qualms about doing this to a Latino family because every xenophobe has put our community in 'Amerikuhs' crosshairs.
This lady decided to go historical, so I will too. Let's look at why English is spoken in America. Let's look at the pilgrims.
Pilgrims were thrown out of England. A fact that bears repeating — they were thrown out of England. The English don't throw anything away — they tried to take half the world through colonization and settled for their art and artifacts when they failed. But with the Puritans they said, 'Yeah, no…leave!' They wanted their belief systems and influences an ocean away.
In the Americas, these little guys took root and their intolerance and confidence bloomed so much so, that not only did they disregard entire populations already living for centuries on this land, they decided to demonize every new wave of immigrant that landed on these shores. Their attitude was enslave, trick or ignore them (think Native Americans) and ONWARD!'
The lie that America is 'white' and should only speak English in order to be 'great' has been perpetuated ever since. It's so ingrained in our national development that we've all accepted it as a default even though it's a fabrication. Don't believe me? Let's go back to our history lessons and what countries settled what lands in the U.S. Whose family was here first — Meryl Streep's or Eva Longoria's? Families like the Longorias (Spanish-Americans) had the Streeps beat by 245 years, but who do we consider the 'American' actress while Longoria gets the subcategorization of Latina Diva?
If you think it may be a select few that are so willfully ignorant, look at Trump's poll numbers. The guy has a vocabulary of five words (total, loser, very, I'm, huge), and has yet to present a viable policy point. Yet all he's had to do to jump miles ahead in the primary race was to declare that Mexicans are rapists and criminals.
Last week, when two men from Boston beat a Mexican homeless man to a pulp, he shrugged it off as people being 'passionate about America being great again'. On Tuesday, El Donald had Univision anchor Jorge Ramos temporarily kicked out of a press conference, telling him to 'go back to Univision'. Is 'the Donald' too busy rating women's appearances and figuring out how to build fences to have read that Univision is America's highest-rated network for three years in a row? Big mistake, 'huge'.
While Trump may seem like an outlier, consider how the other GOP candidates are scrambling to own the term 'anchor baby' instead of showing up Trumps' monstrous campaign. Cruz and Jindal are all first and second generation Americans and they won't even stand up for themselves.
Instead of embracing what makes this country unique, they're doubling down an absurd belief system that will cut them off at the knees. You can't get the keys to the White House without the Latino vote. As Mr. Ramos pointed out yesterday when he was let back in to the room, it simply does not happen.
Speaking of Ramos, more than a few in the media are commenting that he acted inappropriately by blurting out a question without being called on. That's like complaining that an ump is calling a strike enthusiastically at a baseball game. It's a press conference, that's what happens at these highly charged events. Why are the talking heads clutching their pearls over his style when they should be jumping on the fact that Trump tried to humiliate a veteran reporter instead of dealing with the substance of his question?
Now back to Ms. Southern California … I don't know what this woman's story is, but I do know the Vasquez family. Without having met them, I know they're humble, hardworking and sincere. Even as she was being attacked, Norma tried to justify her imperfect English with her effort to speak it. Her son Carlos tried to engage with the non-sensical trembling woman, calmly pointing out the hypocrisy of her ways, displaying a patience and a composure that most are incapable of. This family should give us all hope because they stood up to the lie and exposed it for what it is, fear.
I don't know why some parts of 'English America' are so intimidated by Latinos. But we're dyed in the wool of this country. We always have been and we always will be. Many of us refuse to abandon our heritage and our language because we don't believe in limiting our abilities. That doesn't make us less American, it makes this a greater America.
Whether we're cleaning toilets or running corporations, we're keeping the American Dream alive because we're not afraid of hard work. We know how to confront our deepest fears, it's what got our families here in the first place. It's in our DNA. The question now is, will English-only America be able to confront theirs? Time will tell and a country full of possibility waits for the answer.