Mexican-American history

Dear Editor: This is in regard to the article about an elected state official taking a group of fifth graders to Sacramento to further their education on immigration. (“Students Testify on Mexican Repatriation Legislation,” 4/2/15) I would recommend they not spend taxpayer money to further political interests.

Case in point: Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia referred to President Hoover’s returning immigrants to the country of origin in the 1930s in a politically negative manner. The information I found indicated Congress initiated a Repatriation Act that did not define who or what country. It passed and Hoover signed. One of the things most remembered about Hoover was that he was a Republican when the nation was in tough times economically.

Right or wrong, it was as lawful as things get in Washington, then or now. Laws with lots of “wiggle room.” Just in case. Or with issues no politician is brave enough to confront regardless of party lines.

I would venture to say the majority of that class is Latino and they are at a most impressionable age. They may listen, believe what they hear, but don’t have a clue to what daily life was like some 85 years ago. That, in fact, it comes close to resembling economic times today. Repatriation is not a commonly used word and yet not many will take the time to look up details of the act, pro or con.

This is an election year. Immigration laws favorable to illegal immigrants will garner many votes. As adults we know that winning elections is paramount to the politician. It promises long term financial security, with yet the bigger promise of power. Politicians are fond of the often repeated statement, “we are a nation of laws.” True, we have zillions of laws, most are never enforced, never funded…until it’s chosen time.

As people who have witnessed the many promises, the many laws, the many programs designed to stop racism, perhaps we should have learned by now that you cannot legislate mutual respect. Racism is taught and perpetuated by adults to children, in the home, in the schools, in the government, and in the media. Everywhere for reasons everyone will not understand.

I believe Ms. Garcia should dedicate more time and expense to educating these youngsters on such issues by elaborating on both sides of the issue. Spend some classroom time with youngsters. Strike up some conversations. Did they know mass immigration has happened as early as the 1920s; do they know why? Do their parents know? Past events that we call history needs to be presented in a manner that causes them to think. There usually are two sides to every story.

It’s okay to cut into their iPod time.

Cathy Zoida




Published: April 23, 2015 - Volume 14 - Issue 02