Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A Hispanic Civil Rights Movement et al

A Hispanic Civil Rights Movement - Washington Post

Crossing the Line - Washington Post

Minutemen Aim to Build Ariz. Border Fences - Washington Post

Juan William’s article on 'A Hispanic Civil Rights Movement' conjures up California, 1944, and 8 year old Silvia Mendez. Long before Brown v. Board of Education, this little Mexican American girl led the way to end segregation.

Mendez v. Westminster, never went to the Supreme Court, because it was won in state court in 1945. The case ended segregation in California and set the precedent for Brown, and two of the central figures in the eventual 1954 case cut their teeth in her fight.

Future justice, Thurgood Marshall, submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the NAACP, with arguments he would later use in Brown. The case happened under the governorship of Earl Warren, who, by 1954, was chief justice.

In no previous time have two destinies, those of Blacks and Hispanics, together one quarter of the US population, been so aligned, even with the economic frustrations of both groups.

Each fights to achieve a level of education for it’s under performing young people, that will make them competitive. Each reels from the rejection of advancing behaviors and ‘acting White’ confusion.

But as Mr. Williams writes, Blacks hesitate to join the Hispanic fight, motivated by a zero-sum attitude that sees a cost to Blacks. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Making our society effective for one is good for all – a long tradition of civil rights.

When Williams’ ‘tongue-tied’ Blacks, and Whites, see patrolling ‘Minutemen’, they should consider how San Antonio, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, San Diego, LA, and SF came by their names, and just how our model of democracy came to possess these Mexican treasures.

James C. Collier


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