May 10, 2002

The Public Forum -- El Foro Publico

Órale gente at La Prensa- San Diego

Tezzy, I’ve noticed that you’ve passed the pipe homes, and the new smoker knows how to work the smokes screens of society. Muy bien ese.

It comes as little surprise to me to see the tensions that every Chicano goes through in his or her life in the states within Acuña’s words (“An Open Letter” published April 26, 2002). The existencial question is a simple one: How do we balance our ethnicity with our bi-nationalism? not an easy task ‘cause we’ve been burned before in the eyes of the society we have lived in lightning speed for daring to be different and ourselves for a second or two.

The case is also simple: we live in fear of being portrayed as traitors in our country for being and believing who we are, in other words, we live in constant fear that our americanism will be questioned if we dare stray from the “norm”. So the tensions, for example, in Acuña’s letter betrays this issue by having to assert himself as “of Mexican extraction” to put forth his case. Credentials? Papers?

In my opinion, I believe that we live mentally colonized by this superpower who checks us through norms and societal policing. Acuña’s words admit we are bieng ignored and constantly have to remind the powers-to-be that we exists.

I don’t have an answer to this conflict that ails every mexicanamerican/chicano and the mujeres too. However, I do believe that it is high time de ponernos al tu por tu and that we start acting more like US citizens and express our thoughts just as they are without fear, or needing to express ourselves due to our backgrounds and be who we are. This is the next step in the chicano movement, to move forward without having to fear that our names are not american Smith-like but Acuña, Muñoz-like instead and if Kennedy doesn’t know that America is also hispanic, in our case, Chicanos of high ranking academic pull then he is more ignorant than I ever imagined.

Julio César Martínez
via e-mail

Comparing Bersin to Hitler is Over the Top?

The San Diego Union-Tribune states that comparing superintendent of schools Alan Bersin to Hitler is over the top. I would say that Bersin acting like a leader of the third reich is over the top. I would say that board president Ron Ottinger’s unconditional support for the autocracy that Bersin has created out of our school system is over the top. And the Union-Tribune’s unflinching praise of Bersin’s inhumane approach to working with others is over the top.

And what’s with Ottinger’s call for an end to the overheated rhetoric that is poisoning the debate over school reform? What debate? Debate isn’t allowed in San Diego City Schools and that’s the problem.

Bersin and Ottinger act as though their ideas on education reform are superior to other notions and resist opposing views. They relegate parents, educators, and students to second class citizenship. Anyone who dares to question is admonished and dismissed with, “No excuses, no exceptions.”

Bersin has created and the U-T and Ottinger have kept alive an unbelievably depressing environment of disenfranchisement in San Diego City Schools wherein it is easy and natural to want to strike back and compare what’s going on to hateful fascist concepts like Nazism.

Bersin and Ottinger’s blatant disrespect and disregard for any input from stakeholders, at every turn, in the reformation of our school system is much more aligned with supremacist thinking than with the American concept of democratic participation. And their actions, over the past three or four years, make any plea for civility both hollow and shallow.

Ernie McCray
San Diego

Stevens 100% correct

Thank you for publishing San Diego City Councilman George Stevens’ letter, ‘A challenge to California’s Equal Opportunity’ (published May, 3, 2002) Councilman Stevens is 100% correct. Cold and hurtful efforts by non progressives like Mr. Ward Connerly are a sign to the wise that the beast of racism is being sent back to us but now packaged as a seemingly color blind creature. Let’s not be fooled. The problem of racism will only get worse if public agencies and private employers are not obligated to turn in data on who they’ve hired. Without public data on race, racism will be given an even bigger shadow in which to hide. Data opens the eyes and declares the truth and is vital in the ongoing fight against racial disparities in education, traffic stops by police, and public and private hiring. Councilman George Stevens deserves a round of applause for protecting honesty and diversity for all our families.

Virgil Pina
Chairman City of Chula Vista
Human Relations Commission.

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