Monday, April 3, 2006


Joe R. Hicks, writing, somehow, in the LA Times – perhaps I should say, LAs Tiempos? – has some telling points to make. While noticing the generally uninformed motives of the truants, in their escapades – called “protests” – he observes that the student walkouts occurred on the day given to commemorate Cesar Chavez.

“The great Chicano labor organizer held a march in 1969 from the Coachella and Imperial valleys to the Mexican border. Chavez and the United Farm Workers were protesting the use of illegal immigrants as strikebreakers. Further, Chavez believed that illegal immigration was antithetical to the wage interests of the migrant workers he represented.”

There is much talk of racism. I find - always, in my experience - that it issues from racists. This is an example. What Chavez actually stood for, actually cared about, actually achieved, is irrelevant. What is relevant is his race. Because of his skin color and his accent, they identify with him. Pathetic.

Once upon a time, there was a man who was a teacher. Generally he taught teens, but one year he had a class of little ones, mostly Spanish-speaking background, but that class had some black children – it’s okay to say “black”, right? One little boy did have some pretty aggravated behaviour problems, but the man was a patient man, and the boy made good progress. One day the man had the child stay in for recess (remember recess?), and the little boy was extremely sad that none of his protestations or excuses could get him out of this. And then he said, “It’s because I’m black.” The man squatted down, and took hold of the boy's hands, and looked him in the eyes, and talked to him a bit. And the child threw himself into my arms like he’d never let go, and sobbed to break your heart. Gentleness matters.

Here’s the point. Some stupid adults had taught this child a very evil excuse. I suppose they’d never heard that most famous idea of Martin King’s – about the content of a man’s character. May the Lord rebuke them.

Well? Chavez stood for something too. And the stupid, stupid, stupid adults who should have been teaching these ignorant teenagers something, taught them that Chavez was Mexican. Brilliant.

Education: from the Latin root, educare, "to lead forth, from within".


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