(Editor’s Note: Ben Hueso, recent candidate for San Diego Unified School Board, will on occasion be writing for La Prensa San Diego. We look forward to publishing his thoughts on education, politics, and other relevant issues to the Hispanic community, bringing his vast experiences and community involvement into his writings and to you the readers.)
By Ben Hueso
Over the years, Latinos made certain gains in ensuring access to education for their children at the collegiate level advocating for affirmative action programs that sought to correct social inequality. Today, all traces of affirmative action have been eliminated in our public universities and access to these universities by Latinos have been eliminated. In many instances, the same individuals that have affirmative action to thank for their educations and careers, have come out against it, or have refused to comment at all. Due to the current lack of cohesion and understanding within the Latino community of how to vote for our best interests, we have lost valuable ground in the battle of allocating resources for our best interests.
Although a small part of a larger concerted effort to deny social justice to people of color, San Diego Padres owner John Moores has come to personify the double standards in our society that promote economic and educational inequality. Through his efforts as a Regent of the University of California, John Moores has sought to undue any system of preference to people of color in the admissions process in taxpayer subsidized schools. The argument he has used to make our universities inaccessible to us is that only those students who have worked hard and have achieved high academic performance should be afforded a taxpayer subsidized education. Even when statistics make it very clear that only those students whose parents have a college education have the highest likelihood of attending college. The intent of affirmative action was to break the circle of poverty by addressing educational equality.
While highly ironic, it is not unusual that the harshest critic of affirmative action in education is a person whom has benefited from affirmative action in business. Several years ago, while making a case to receive government subsidies to build a ballpark, John Moores argued that the Padres organization needed government subsidies to build a ballpark in order to become a more competitive ball club. The argument was that as one of the poorer ball clubs, the Padres could not compete at the same level as other “better run” ball clubs. “Voters, have pity on our poor multimillion dollar ball club and give us your hard earned taxpayer dollars to build us a better ballpark.” In doing so, voters believed that a ball club with more resources would be able to field a more competitive team. The generous voters, feeling completely responsible for not having the richest ball club in America, voted to subsidize the Padres organization and passed Proposition C which has brought us a ballpark and the Padres more wealth. While it is amazing that such contradictory policies should come from someone that has benefited from corporate welfare, it is becoming more commonplace in our society.
While I would not to rush on passing judgment on someone who does not speak our language or understand our plight, I do believe in bridging the communication divide by appealing to someone in their own language. I would say: “Mr. Moores, in each of our children, we have thousands of baseball clubs. They are not the richest baseball clubs and are new to the league, so they haven’t had the opportunity to build an economic base. They need government subsidy to compete with the better financed and better managed baseball clubs. Help us in making our baseball clubs more competitive. Now we need your vote as a UC Regent to give our children the education that they need to lift their families out of poverty and to teach them how to vote. While we know that you certainly gain from our ignorance since we consistently vote for you and your interests above our own, you have to take pity on a group of people that increasingly votes to give away our very small share of the American dream. Of all the ethnic groups, Latinos were your largest support base: 61% having voted to approve Proposition C.”
When you look at the previous two elections and see that Latinos have voted largely against their own interests to elect a governor and a president, you can only feel sadness for the current state of our community. Sixty percent of Latinos in California voted for Schwarze-negger, and 42 percent of Latinos voted for Bush. What we are saying is that we believe our children do not deserve the education that we received. We are generous Christians who believe in giving and not receiving. The people who have need more and the people who do not have need less. Never have Latinos been in a more desperate social situation. While now a formidable social force in terms of population, Latinos are a muscular giant with a very low I.Q.: We direct our muscles at hurting ourselves...
We have to stop trying to gain acceptance as patriotic Americans by bashing ourselves in the heads and not be afraid to identify ourselves as a part of a larger group of misrepresented Americans. We need to wake up everyday and fight for our children. We need to stop encouraging people to take away our futures. We need to understand that the Latino banker is in the same boat as the Latino in prison if we ever plan to lift ourselves by our bootstraps and launch ourselves into the future. While we can’t do anything about the private universities owned by the wealthy for the benefit of the wealthy, let’s not loose our negotiating power to influence policies that favor us in the public universities that we help finance. While we have identified equality in contracting by gaining access to government tax dollars in business, we need to identify equality in the public university as a priority to our community. Let’s send a message that we want our tax dollars to be spent on something we value highly: Our Children. Let’s get together and pass our own proposition. We’ll call it: Proposition C se puede!