POS334-L: THE RACE AND ETHNICITY BOOK REVIEW DISCUSSION LIST

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Subject: Review: OUT OF THE BARRIO (Ruiz)

Subject: comment on: Pedro Ruiz's of Chavez

Subject: Review: Out of the Barrio (Spescha)

Subject: Professor Sayers

Subject: Reply by Blair H. Nelson

Subject: review-Pedro Ruiz

Subject: OUT OF THE BARRIO by Linda Chavez

Subject: Chavez review (Jackson)

Subject: Chavez Review Commentary

Subject: Response to comments on Chavez



Date: Sun, 2 Apr 1995 17:36:41 -0500
Subject: Review: OUT OF THE BARRIO (Ruiz)

Chavez, Linda. Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of
             Hispanic Assimilation; (Basic Books 1991)

                             Reviewed   By:
                             Pedro J Ruiz
                         New York University
                               3/25/95


In 1982 I moved to New York from Puerto Rico with the same ideal as many
Puerto Ricans did during the Great Depression, looking for an opportunity to
make something of myself as a professional and as a person. My fears were
similar to those that begun this journey, new country, new language, no
friends or family, would I be able to survive and make it on my own. The
only difference was I know, the ones that had "survived", were those who had
become part of the mainstream. Those that assimilated to the American way of
living.

Reading Linda Chavez'es book made me think of the differences between my
feelings and beliefs, same as many other immigrants. About what it takes to
succeed in a foreign country, compared to what the leaders of each immigrant
group, that supposedly know what's best for us, have to offer. Linda Chavez
in chapter three states clearly that there is a difference. I agree with her
assumption; "They assume (politicians and policy makers), after all, that
these leaders speak for the twenty million people. And for the past two
decades, Hispanic leaders have convinced politicians and policy makers that
Hispanics wants and deserve special treatment...", In  doing so, these
leaders have enhanced their own power, but their methods jeopardize the
future integration of Hispanics into the society."

She asked very important questions. When did these leaders give up the fight
to help Hispanics join the mainstream? If we take away all the benefits that
we have gained over the years, how many Hispanics and other immigrants would
be living here today, assimilating and becoming part of the mainstream? I
believe close to 100% of the total living here today.

Politics and power have ruled over many philosophies of an idealistic view
of life. Why should this situation be any different? I agree that leaders
should promote and fight for equal opportunities and rights for their
groups, but not demand extra rights in addition to the ones established. By
doing so we are pigeonholing Americans that have lend a hand. If I have a
roommate, I would be more tolerant and accepting of him if we divided all
the responsi- bilities of money, house chores, food, cooking, etc., than if
he demanded, after a week, that on top of all this I do his laundry. Why
should I do his laundry if it's my apartment and I treated him as an equal
from day one? It sounds ridiculous, but this is what we are in many ways
asking from Americans. My response would be, get out and never come back
again. This is what Linda Chavez is trying to explain throughout most of her
book. We need to be critical about what is happening to Hispanics and what
the future entails. "But if Hispanic organizations continue to insist that
millions of newcomers be awarded special status once here, they may find
doors closing to future Latin immigrants." There are many groups fighting
for equality. Why do we need, above them all, special treatments?

There are two other issues that Linda Chavez discusses in her book that I
agree with. English Only and why are Puerto Ricans communities the most
poorest, uneducated and disadvantage minority group?

When hear people speaking and discussing about English Only, I think of the 
biblical story of the Tower Of Babel. Together when they all spoke one
language they were able to communicate, live together as one big family and
build the tower. But, when they all were speaking a different language, it
was the fall of the community and the beginning of many nations. If United
States is and should continue to be a nation of immigrants, then we as new
comers, should be obligated to learn the language, values, etc. of this
nation. Bilingual education works only if it produces individuals that will
become part of the mainstream some day. I am an advocate for a maintenance
bilingual model, in which individuals native language is preserved, but
giving equal weight to English. Producing truly bilingual individuals. This
way they can communicate with their families as well as with their community.
It's the families responsibility to teach the cultural and heritage aspects
of their native country to their children. Through the yeas many immigrants
have opted English only instruction for their children because this would
help them become accepted and part of the mainstream, closing the gaps they
were confronted with when they arrived.

It's sad to hear that Puerto Ricans are doing so poorly in all aspects,
specially knowing that we have many advantages over other minority groups.
It's hard to live with an image of a dependent, blood sucking, stagnated and
uneducated individual. But as Chavez explains: "Only the Puerto community
(educated and uneducated, disadvantaged and the ones that have progressed)
can save itself, but the healing cannot begin until the community recognizes
that many of it's deadliest wounds are (have been) self-inflicted.

Linda Chavez has presented a history of facts that have lead Hispanics to
were they are today. Its an awakening, not only to political issues, but
about regaining the pride, hard working ambition and self-esteem of the
Hispanic community. It's time to think what we really want and need and how
we want non-Hispanics to view us today and in the future.

Pedro J Ruiz (ruizp@acfcluster.nyu.edu)





Fri Mar 03 08:02:23 1995
From: "marilyn hurtado" (by way of pos209s1@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu (Gary Klass))
Subject: comment on: Pedro Ruiz's of Chavez

March 29, 1995


Pedro Ruiz raises some very interesting points that I would like to
discuss.  Ruiz advocates on what Linda Chavez writes about in "Out of the
Barrio".  So most of what I counter argue will be both towards Ruiz and
Chavez.


    Both argue that the leaders chosen to represent the Hispanics in the
United States are invalid because it's misrepresentation of what Hispanics
really want or really need. In general, most leaders do not represent the
majority in any country.  To single out the Hispanic community is
unrealistic.
     They state that leaders want Hispanics to have special treatment when
coming to the United State; who and when did leaders ask for special
treatment other than equal rights and opprtunities. Special treatment and
opportunities are two different subjects. What types of special treatment
does Ruiz and Chavez refer to; affirmative action?  Affirmative action does
not give special treatment to minorities; it allows opportunities to be
dispensated towards disadvantaged groups.
    Both state a simple solution of assimilating into society. Ruiz argues
that Hispanics should learn the language and values of the United States. I
totally disagree with learning the values of the United States. Maybe Ruiz
does not want to be an individual with unique values, but I can say that I
do not want to think and act like everyone else in this country. I believe
that everyone should learn to speak the same language in order to be one
nation and communicate, but that's it.
    Ruiz writes a laundry analogy that is totally irrelevant to equality or
special treatment. In an idealistic world it sounds easy to split
everything equally; but what Ruiz forgets to assess is that nothing is
equal in this country. We do not start off equal with the same
opportunities or obstacles. It seems that both Ruiz and Chavez make
assimilation sound easy as 1,2,3.
    What about racism, which deters minorities from achieving
assimilation?  I do agree with Ruiz on one point:  He states that Puerto
Ricans are the most disadvantaged minority group due to self-infliction.
That, I do believe.  With the opportunities that Puerto Ricans receive
because of being U.S.  citizens, should give them a head start on language,
social, and economic skills.
--
Marilyn Hurtado
Political Science Dept.
Illinois State University



Date: Wed, 12 Apr 1995 14:26:02 -0500
From: JQS5514@ACFcluster.NYU.EDU (by way of gmklass@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu (Gary Klass))
Subject: Review: Out of the Barrio (Spescha)

Book Review
Julia Spescha
New York University
April 2,1995
Professor Sayers                     

Out of the Barrio: Toward A New Politics of Hispanic
Assimilation. By: Linda Chavez

     In the book Out of the Barrio, the author Linda Chavez
claims that the stereotype of Hispanics being a forever
underprivileged class of people who are constantly discriminated
against is a mere myth and that in fact Hispanics are doing
progressively better. She says that for many years Hispanics have
tried to use the same arguments that blacks have that they have
always been directly discriminated against. These have been the
arguements they have used to explain why they have failed to do
well in society and prosper in jobs.
     To critically analyze Chavez's arguments, however, it is
imperative to gain an understanding of her economical and
political background. First of all, although Chavez spends the
majority of her time chastising Hispanics, she also happens to be
Hispanic. She, however, stands out amongst most Hispanics because
of the level of success she has been able to achieve. Chavez, a
conservative politician, political activist and writer has been a
U.S. representative for the State of Maryland and the leader of
U.S. English. She has also written articles in various
conservative magazines and newspapers such as Forbes and the Wall
Street Journal scolding Hispanics for manipulating the social
welfare system in order to consistently secure government funds.
But, what we fail to learn as readers is how Linda Chavez became
a successful U.S. politician. It is apparent that she has been in
the upper levels of society for so long that she has an
unrealistic impression of the current everyday realities of most
Hispanics.
     She opens her book by claiming that many Hispanics today
refuse to assimilate into society. She says that, in fact, the
numbers of Hispanics are so high that it is much easier to live
in their own private enclaves. She argues that by living in their
own separate communities they are not obligated to learn English
or become part of the American society. She cites examples of
large numbers of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans who live in
separate groups along the U.S.\Mexican border. She also refers to
groups such as the Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Hispanics from
Central America etc. that form their own enclaves in large cities
such as New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. She then goes on to say
that the people who make up these enclaves should assimilate into
the American society such as immigrants have always done
historically (she cites cases of the Europeans: Italians, Poles,
Swedes, Germans, etc.).
     What she fails to recognize is that times have changed. It
use to be that when immigrants came to the U.S. there were enough
jobs, especially industrial jobs to go around. More and more the
U.S. is replacing its industrial jobs which often paid well and
included benefits, with part-time, low-paying, jobs in the
service industry. Presently, it is difficult enough for native
born English speaking Americans to find a job. The problem is
only exacerbated if you happen to be Hispanic and English is not
your native language. I think Chavez, who has reached great
heights in her economic and political life, has lost touch with
how things have changed.
     Her concluding chapter is an arguement again is for why
Hispanics need to assimilate into the American culture. She says
the only real way that they are going to become successful is by
becoming full participants in the social, political, and economic
way of life here in the U.S.
     However, she seems to fail to take many important factors
which deter this from happening into consideration. Most
importantly , in order to participate fully in society, society
must provide the opportunities to do so. As a Republican she
should know what the present economic circumstances are.
Currently the Republican local, state, and federal governments
are cutting funds left and right. One major place that they are
slashing the budget is in education. Students, and especially
non-natives such as Hispanics, are being deprived of special
academic programs, tutoring programs, and financial assistance.
Without receiving these essential benefits, it will be next to
impossible for Hispanics to receive the kind of education they
need. And without education they will certainly not be able to
reach the kind of progress, Linda Chavez describes.
     Although Chavez presents a few compelling arguments
underlying the rationale for Hispanics to try to assimilate more
into the American culture, she maintains an unrealistic
perspective of the types of barriers Hispanics are currently
facing. This is especially true with the inception of the new
Republican climate.


Date: Wed, 12 Apr 1995 16:13:32 -0500
From: "R. Scott Cooley"
Subject: Professor Sayers

A few of the comments of Professor Sayers deserve rebuttal.

Professor Sayers wrote that, while modern-day Hispanic immigrants face poor
job prospects, "It use (sic) to be that when immigrants came to the U.S.
there were enough jobs, especially industrial jobs to go around."  This
simply is not the case.  In the late 19th century, the U.S. experienced a
number of economic contractions far more severe than anything that has
occurred in the post-World War II era.  Employers regularly posted "Irish
need not apply" on their doors, and Italians, among others, also were
subjected to significant discrimination well into the 20th century.  (Do
the names Sacco and Vanzetti sound familiar?  I hope so.)

Sayers wrote that, "To critically analyze Chavez's arguments, however, it is
imperative to gain an understanding of her economical and political
background" and to know Chavez "happens to be Hispanic."
One's arguments should be evaluated on the basis of their
factual content, logic, reason, and constructiveness.  To disregard
Chavez's opinions because of her socioeconomic status, political
orientation, or ethnicity is simply bigotry, albeit the politically correct
kind.

The professor's final assault on the truth occurred when she said Hispanics
are hindered by "present economic circumstances" caused by "Republican
local, state, and federal governments"  that are "cutting funds left and
right," particularly for education.  The Republican Congress (the first in 40
years, by the way) has not passed any budget resolutions that have been
signed into law.  Until the November 1994 elections, a majority of the
nation's governors were Democrats.  Somehow, though, it is the Republicans'
fault.  Hmm.

Finally, the nation's per-pupil educational expenditures actually rose in
the 1980s (even after adjusting for inflation), as they did in the 1970s and
1960s.  Decreasing educational budgets cannot be the cause of a problem if
they do not exist.  Furthermore, even if funds for bilingual education were
reduced dramatically, the nation would still be spending far more on
immigrant-assistance educational programs than it did in the mid- to late 19th
and early 20th centuries, when the nation experienced a tremendous influx of
(among others) non-native Italians, Eastern Europeans, Poles, and Jews of
various nationalities.

It is unfortunate that so many discussions of immigration and acculturation
are removed from their historical context, but it is an even greater
tragedy when current events are compared to an anti-historical past that
exists only in the imaginations of a few academicians.

R. Scott Cooley
rscoole@ilstu.edu

"All the heretics I have known have been virtuous men."
--Benjamin Franklin


Date: Wed, 12 Apr 1995 19:01:28 -0500
From: "blair nelson"
Subject: Reply by Blair H. Nelson


In message Wed, 12 Apr 1995 12:46:57 -0500, JQS5514@ACFcluster.NYU.EDU  writes:

>  The problem is only exacerbated if you happen to be Hispanic and English is not
> your native language. I think Chavez, who has reached great
> heights in her economic and political life, has lost touch with
> how things have changed.

     In the end, the real disagreement is should the American citizens be
forced to finance the immigrants who come to this country with limited
marketable skills or at least the potential to achieve them?  With the
mounting financial problems we face today, how far can the dollar of U.S.
citizens be stretched?  When you comment on the changes taking place in
Washington about the cuts that are forthcoming, I think you are mistaken
if you believe by throwing money at the education problems, they will go
away.  Since the 60s we have spent more and more on education, and people
are dropping out of high school at an alarming rate.  Furthermore, if they
do graduate, many still can't read, and these are students whose only
language is English.


Date: Wed, 29 Mar 1995 15:28:06 -0600
Reply-To: mvhurta@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu
From: "marilyn hurtado"
Subject: review-Pedro Ruiz

March 29, 1995

Pedro Ruiz raises some very interesting points that I would like to
discuss.  Ruiz advocates on what Linda Chavez writes about in "Out of the
Barrio".  So most of what I counter argue will be both towards Ruiz and
Chavez.


    Both argue that the leaders chosen to represent the Hispanics in the
United States are invalid because it's misrepresentation of what Hispanics
really want or really need. In general, most leaders do not represent the
majority in any country.  To single out the Hispanic community is
unrealistic.
     They state that leaders want Hispanics to have special treatment when
coming to the United State; who and when did leaders ask for special
treatment other than equal rights and opprtunities. Special treatment and
opportunities are two different subjects. What types of special treatment
does Ruiz and Chavez refer to; affirmative action?  Affirmative action does
not give special treatment to minorities; it allows opportunities to be
dispensated towards disadvantaged groups.
    Both state a simple solution of assimilating into society. Ruiz argues
that Hispanics should learn the language and values of the United States. I
totally disagree with learning the values of the United States. Maybe Ruiz
does not want to be an individual with unique values, but I can say that I
do not want to think and act like everyone else in this country. I believe
that everyone should learn to speak the same language in order to be one
nation and communicate, but that's it.
    Ruiz writes a laundry analogy that is totally irrelevant to equality or
special treatment. In an idealistic world it sounds easy to split
everything equally; but what Ruiz forgets to assess is that nothing is
equal in this country. We do not start off equal with the same
opportunities or obstacles. It seems that both Ruiz and Chavez make
assimilation sound easy as 1,2,3.
    What about racism, which deters minorities from achieving
assimilation?  I do agree with Ruiz on one point:  He states that Puerto
Ricans are the most disadvantaged minority group due to self-infliction.
That, I do believe.  With the opportunities that Puerto Ricans receive
because of being U.S.  citizens, should give them a head start on language,
social, and economic skills.
--
Marilyn Hurtado
Political Science Dept.
Illinois State University


Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 15:25:39 -0600
Reply-To: mrdiaz@acadcomp.cmp.ilstu.edu
From: Monica Diaz
To: gmklass@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu
Subject: OUT OF THE BARRIO by Linda Chavez


Review of: OUT OF THE BARRIO
Reviewed by: Monica R. Diaz
Illinois State University
March 27, 1996


Hispanics are the fastest growing minority population in the United States.
Yet, big numbers in this country will do nothing but harm to Hispanics as a
population and the United States as a country if they do not assimilate
according to author Linda Chavez.  Hispanics need to learn English,
integrate themselves into white neighborhoods, not look for handouts and
special treatment, and intermarry with non-Hispanics. 

Hispanics have jumped on the "civil rights bandwagon" with the
African-Americans, competing with them as to who is the most disadvantaged
minority group in this country.  Chavez contends that the two ethnic groups
are involved in this twisted competition in which they are vying for the
most civil rights entitlements they can get.  This is one of the major
factors holding Hispanics back in this country.  Hispanics have not been as
blatantly and harshly discriminated in this country as African-Americans
have.  According to the author, most Hispanics were doing fairly well until
the Hispanic leaders began to pursue the civil rights agenda.  Now they have
dug Hispanics so deep into entitlements that it is holding a significant
number of them back. 

However, this does not mean that all Hispanics are fairing poorly in this
country.  On the contrary, Chavez argues that a large number of Hispanics
are doing very well economically and politically.  There is an emerging
Hispanic middle class that is also moving out of Hispanic-concentrated
neighborhoods.  The reason that it looks like a large number are not doing
well is that the large number of recent legal and illegal immigrants are
distorting the  numbers.  They come to the United States and are scraping at
the bottom the way that the vast majority of previous immigrants have done,
and this is distorting the statistics on how well the Hispanics that have
been here for generations are doing. 

Chavez contends that the reason some Hispanics are doing well in this
country is that they have assimilated.  They have learned English, got an
education and a significant number of the have married non-Hispanics (namely
Caucasians).  They have not isolated themselves and adhered to their
mother-tongue and culture.  This type of people will usually push for
English-only policies.  They want English to be taught to students in the
public schools, not Spanish.  They want more of the Eurocentric school of
thought to be taught to their children, not their own culture and history.
They want to fit in, because fitting in, according to this ideology, is the
only way to get ahead.  They need to shun their culture and heritage. 

Some bilingual education is needed in order for Hispanics to be able to get
ahead in this country, and the author readily agrees with this.  However,
she disagrees with the way that bilingual education has gone in the last two
decades.  In areas where there is a high concentration of Hispanics, the
bilingual programs have turned into Spanish (language and cultural)
maintenance programs.  In these programs, the main concern in no longer to
teach English to Spanish(only)-speaking.  Rather, they have turned to
teaching these children only in Spanish and teaching their history and
culture.  This is available at federal cost, and is available from
elementary through high school.  the author believes that this is
detrimental to Hispanic children, because they really need to know English
to be able to further they education and have a career or get a good-paying job.

In addition, the author does not believe that voting ballots should be
available to constituents in Spanish.  She believes that this creates a very
corrupt voting and elections method.   The majority of the people that do
not speak English (as far as hispanics are concerned) are either recent
(legal) immigrants or illegal immigrants.  In either case, they are not
citizens and should not be able to vote.  However, Hispanic leaders push for
ballots in Spanish for their own political advancement.  This way when they
can show that a significant number of Hispanic voters (English and Spanish
[only]-speaking) exist in an area, they can call for gerrymandering a
district that will assure a Hispanic district.   These districts are then
able to elect a Hispanic into office who they feel will properly represent
them.  Chavez also disagrees with the idea that only Hispanics can represent
Hispanics.  This is not assimilating into the mainstream. 

Although the author believes that U.S. Hispanic citizens are doing well
(especially Mexicans and Cubans), she says that there is one
exception--Puerto Ricans.  Puerto Ricans are worse off than
African-Americans (economically) in this country according to Linda Chavez.
Half of the total population of Puerto Ricans in the United States
(mainland) is concentrated in New York City, so these are the Puerto Ricans
that Chavez studied.  She found that about half of the Puerto Rican
population in New York City were receiving some form of welfare (e.g. food
stamps,  AFDC).  About forty percent of  New York Puerto Ricans are not
married and have children.  Also, a significant number of them are
unemployed.  She does say that there are some signs of hope for the Puerto
Ricans.  She notes that not all Puerto Ricans are poor across the country.
Actually, they are doing well.  However, on the same page as the "signs of
hope" for Puerto Recant, chafed turns around and states that "Puerto Recant
appear to be the one Hispanic group that truly fits the model of a
permanently disadvantaged group.."   She contradicts herself.

Linda chafed paints a very idealistic picture for Hispanics to follow.  She
does give any kind of mention to the fact that it is not always so easy for
Hispanics to assimilate.  She, on the other hand, makes it sound so easy by
comparing Hispanics with other groups that have assimilated in the past
(Irish, Germans, Jews).  First of all, these other groups that she compares
Hispanics to are easier to assimilate in a Caucasian society, because they
are (or look very similar to) Caucasians! Second, American society is very
different today.  More and more one needs a good education to live the
American dream and be able to assimilate.   Is it REALLY possible for people
living in gang-infested neighborhoods (because that's all they can afford)
to really assimilate into American culture?  How easy is it for children to
get a good (or at least something comparable to what is considered a good)
education in the urban schools that do not have adequate facilities,
teachers or books.  Do they really have a fair chance?  These are factors
that chafed seems to conveniently ignore.  And how could she, when the
highest concentration of Hispanics is in the urban areas?  They  are the
ones receiving the benefits from the civil rights entitlements that she is
so against.

She also seems to have something against Puerto Ricans.  Her study of Puerto
Ricans seems to be distorted, because she concentrates on Puerto Ricans from
New York City only.  She then generalizes her findings to ALL Puerto Ricans.
But then, as I have pointed out, she contradicts herself.  She does not even
for a moment consider that maybe living in New York City (especially in
poverty) might having something to do with the way Puerto Ricans living
there are.  In addition, she seems to be attacking Puerto Ricans instead of
the real problem--the welfare system.  When referring to other Hispanics,
she says that the welfare system is holding them back.  However, when it
comes to the Puerto Ricans there is a double standard.  She makes it seem
like they are the problem, not the welfare system.

Another conclusion Chavez reaches as far as Puerto Ricans are concerned is
that they do not show signs of assimilation, because most do not speak
English.  First, they may not have assimilated, but they have learned
English.  Even if they are recent arrivals from Puerto Rico,  English is
also spoken in Puerto Rico since it is a commonwealth.  As a result of this,
Puerto Ricans learn to speak English faster than most other Hispanic groups.
This is evident in Chicago; more people in Puerto Rican neighborhoods and
stores will be able to speak English than Mexicans.  In addition, there is a
significant number of Puerto Ricans in political offices in Chicago; more so
than Mexicans who have larger population in Chicago than Puerto Ricans.  And
for the most part, the Puerto Ricans have accomplished this in Chicago
without assimilating; they may have integrated themselves somewhat, but they
have not assimilated to white America.  Therefore, it seems that Chavez
needs to restudy Puerto Ricans, maybe taking a significant look at Puerto
Ricans in Chicago.

Hispanics should not have to assimilate in this country.  They should,
however, integrate themselves.  Hispanics should learn English, but should
retain their Spanish.  Knowing two languages for Hispanics helps when
commuting to the native Spanish-speaking country, communicating with family
members and conducting business with people who only speak Spanish. People
in the United States just have to accept this, because it are so close to
Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries (not to mention that Puerto Rico
is a commonwealth).  In Sweden, they speak different languages (French,
German, Spanish and Swedish) and that is one of the most successful and
peaceful countries.  So what is wrong with the U.S.?  English as a second
language should be offered to children in public schools so that they can
get ahead; the author makes a good point there.  However, other languages
(as a sort of second-language class) should be offered at the elementary
level also, so that U.S. children can learn a different language starting at
a young age.  Languages are part of the world that we all live in, so why is
should it be the "American way" to shun them?

Hispanics should not shun their cultural identity.  Group solidarity will
promote the retention of the Hispanic culture.  The Hispanic culture is a
very rich culture that should be respected (along with other cultures).  It
is part of who a Hispanic person is.  A Hispanic individual can be
successful and still speak their language (along with English) and be proud
of their culture.  The appreciation of different cultures should also be
taught in the public schools, maybe then Americans such as Linda Chavez
would not be so intent on wanting them to disappear from American existence.
And yet there are some Caucasian Americans who also seem to appreciate the
Hispanic culture (e.g. food, pinatas, quincenieras).  Therefore, cultural
genocide does not have to occur in order for Hispanics to assimilate,
integration of the two cultures seems to be a better solution.
--
Latinos Unidos ,

Monica R. Diaz


Date: Fri, 29 Mar 1996 10:33:13 -0600
From: Johnna Jackson
Subject: Chavez review (Jackson)

Out of the Barrio:  Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation
      By Linda Chavez

Reviewed by Johnna Jackson
jmjacks@acadcomp.cmp.ilstu.edu.
March 29, 1996


        Assimilation or separatism seem to be the only alternatives for
Hispanics in America according to Linda Chavez.  For Chavez, assimilation is
the key to Hispanics succeeding in American society.  She even cites surveys
saying that 87% of all Hispanics believed that it was their "duty to learn
English" and that most Hispanics, if born in the United States, know English
and possibly only English.  She has a lot of good points, but sometimes I
think she is peering through rose-colored glasses.

        Many times throughout the book she talks of how Hispanic leaders
have gone about advancing other Hispanics in the wrong way.  For instance,
when the Civil Rights Movement was really getting going many Hispanic
leaders jumped on the bandwagon proclaiming how disadvantaged and
discriminated against they are. It is true that some good progress was made,
such as, getting voting ballots printed in English and Spanish.  But
gerrymandering districts so that a Hispanic is almost assured to win creates
a backlash of sorts.  First of all, many of these districts were made up of
a lot of illegal immigrants that were counted anyway.  Second of all, a lot
of the districts were poverty stricken barrios.  The results were that to be
assured of a Hispanic representative in government these people would have
to remain in these poor areas.  It seems that there was advancement
available for the leaders, but not the people they represented.  Also, much
of the voting process was reconstructed when an organization called the
Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) claimed that
proportionately fewer Hispanics voted or were elected compared to
non-Hispanics. It was not taken into consideration that maybe the number was
fewer because not as many Hispanics were eligible to vote compared to the
number being counted and represented.  What is amazing to me is the fact
that they were putting their voting rights (or voting disadvantages) on the
same level as blacks when in most states with a large Hispanic population
had representatives in government and were not outwardly prohibited from
voting as blacks were in the South.

        Bilingual education also becomes a major factor in how Hispanics
choose to acclimate themselves in America.  Many leaders feel that Hispanic
children should be taught in their native language and then given separate
English courses in school.  Chavez believes that while Hispanic children
should maintain their ethnic and cultural identity, that it is the parents
responsibility to instill this in the child.  She believes that children
should learn English as their second language to better assimilate
themselves and to become more productive in society.  She believes that
English proficiency should be taught quickly because as far as she has seen,
being taught in their native language has only held them back.  The whole
chapter on bilingual education discusses laws, opposing sides and different
approaches to bilingual education.  Hardly anyone agrees on the subject.
Over the years the program has been expanded, rearranged and over-hauled
without much change in the effects the program has on children.  There is
one thing that I do agree with Chavez on.  No one should force a child into
a program that they or their parents may not want or need.  Each child
should be screened to see if bilingual education is for them, not just rely
on their surname for placement.  Also, better information should be
available for the parents, so that they can make their own decisions
regarding their individual child.

        In the other chapters Chavez goes on to explain the backlash that
asking for special treatment can create.  Whether or not the U.S. has a
common language and district gerrymandering to give Hispanics extra
political clout has given rise to frustration and separatism.  This
resentment from non-Hispanics has resulted in the call for stricter
immigration laws and regulations and for an official English movement.

        Chavez goes on to discuss the increase in economic mobility, social
integration and the emerging middle class.  Chavez believes that Hispanics
have come a long way in the fight of economics and class, but bring
themselves down with the self-proclaimed cry of the number one disadvantaged
group in America.  By doing this they create a stereotype that is very
oppressive.

        In contrast to this stereotype she says that intermarriage with
non-Hispanics has elevated their status, along with Hispanics strong work
ethic, and most have at least completed high school.

        As I stated before, Chavez makes some good, well-founded points, but
she also seems to underestimate the toll that poverty and a poor education
takes on a child.  The impression that I get from her is that if the
Hispanic child would just learn English and try really hard then everything
will be just rosy.  She doesn't seem to comprehend the advantages that come
with going to a school that provides opportunities.  I do agree with the
fact that a child would do better in American society if they were to learn
English, but I also believe they should maintain their own language and
culture along with it.  Because if the statistics are true that pretty soon
Hispanics will no longer be a minority, then bilingualism can only help,
economically and socially.
--
Johnna Jackson
JMJACKS@acadcomp.cmp.ilstu.edu


Date: Sat, 30 Mar 1996 14:26:06 -0600
Reply-To: rhuck@catseye.marble.net
From: Rob Huck
Subject: Chavez Review Commentary


Monica Diaz makes some interesting points, and actually we agree on many
things.  Like Ms. Diaz, I believe foreign language instruction should be
offered beginning at the elementary level and it should be required for
all students.  I also hope that Ms. Diaz is sincere in her belief that
Hispanic immigrants should be required to learn English.  However, Ms.
Diaz's rhetoric does not match the actions of Hispanic political
leadership.  Instead of pressing for government policies which promote
integration, the Hispanic leadership instead lobbies for special
treatment.  I should know.  I work for a social service agency.

My job is to decide disability claims for Social Security and
Supplemental Security Income.  If a person becomes disabled, he or she
can apply for disability payments from Social Security or SSI.  The claim
is then sent to my office for a determination.

If someone who speaks only Spanish applies for disability payments, he or
she is guaranteed to have the claim handled by someone who speaks
Spanish.  We also send letters to Spanish-speaking claimants in Spanish. 
We do this for no other ethnic group.  I currently am handling three
claims for people who speak only Russian.  I do not speak Russian and we
have no letters to send to these people in Russian.  In other words, my
agency blatantly discriminates against people because of their ethnic
background.  We have disability adjudicators who can speak Russian, but
we do not guarantee Russian-language service for our Russian claimants. 
The same is true for any claimant who speaks any foreign language other
than Spanish.

I have no problem with offering social services to people in their native
language.  That is necessary in my job.  However, because of political
pressure from the Spanish-speaking community, we are prohibited from
treating all of our claimants equally.  This is not integration.  This is
preferential treatment.

Ms. Diaz also fails to address the deep flaws in ESL courses.  I tutor
ESL, so I have a good background in this area.  My student speaks
Russian.  I do not.  Even if I did, I would never think of speaking a
word of Russian in my lessons.  My student can speak Russian at home. 
You cannot learn a foreign language by speaking in your native language. 
I would be hurting my student if I spoke Russian to him.  ESL should be
temporary and conducted only with the understanding that students will
learn English fluently in a given amount of time.

Ms. Diaz also fails to realize that many students are placed in
Spanish-only classes simply because of their surname.  A co-worker in my
office is from Cuba, but has been in the US since the late-60s.  He
married an Anglo and his two children do not speak Spanish.  Despite
this, the local school district attempted to put his children in
Spanish-only math and science classes simply because they had a Hispanic
last name.  It took my friend nearly two months to get his children out
of these classes.  Is this integration?  Why do Anglo-Hispanic children
who speak only English require Spanish-language math and science
classes?  This is not integration.  This is a Spanish-language
bureaucracy attempting to justify its continued existence.

Ms. Diaz may have noble ideals, but she should look at the real affect of
the Spanish-language lobby.  They seem to be doing much more harm than
good.

==============================================================================
Robert Huck rhuck@catseye.marble.net

"We are not barbarians!  We are not Neanderthals!  And we are not
the French!"
Frasier Crane
==============================================================================


Date: Fri, 5 Apr 1996 12:28:12 -0600
Reply-To: mrdiaz@acadcomp.cmp.ilstu.edu
From: Monica Diaz
Subject: Response to comments on Chavez


First, I would like to thank Rob Huck for taking the time to read and
respond to my book review.  Second, I would like to respond to some of the
comments made by Mr. Huck regarding my review. 

My rhetoric does not match that of Hispanic leaders (or that of Ms. Linda
Chavez for that matter), because I never claimed to think like them.  I
think that Mr. Huck assumed that I agreed with Hispanic leaders.  I do not.
I am also not a conservative like Ms. Chavez is.  I prefer to think of
myself as independent.  That is why I think that the two cultures (Latino
and American) should integrate not segregate or assimilate. 

I do have a few questions that I would like Mr. Huck to answer.  In what way
is the Spanish-speaking community so strong that they are preventing your
agency from treating others equally?  How exactly are they doing that?  And
how are they getting preferential treatment as a result?

As for my comments on bilingual education, I simply wanted to state that it
is necessary in this country.  I failed to address the deep flaws of
bilingual education, because that was not my main focus.  I do realize that
there are flaws in bilingual programs, and they need to be revamped.
Students should not be taught in another language, because it is detrimental
to the student's future.  I did not include this because I refuse  to
comment on EVERY aspect in a book review, it would be too long.  Besides,
there are a lot of other issues that I did include in my book review that I
felt were more significant to discuss.  

Mr. Huck ASSUMES that I fail to realize "that many students are placed in
Spanish-only classes simply because of their surname".  And I would like to
know how Mr. Huck reached that conclusion. I do not agree with this
practice, and I do not understand where in my paper I may have given that
impression. 

Finally, I not only consider myself to be independent (politically), I
consider myself to be a realist.  Therefore, I believe that my "noble
ideals" are based on a real perspective.  I think that Mr. Huck either
misunderstood my position on some of these issues or he assumed a whole lot.
Maybe it was a little of both.  Perhaps in the future, Mr. Huck will be
noble enough to ask one to elaborate where their is uncertainty.
--
Latinos Unidos ,

Monica R. Diaz