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REDUCING THE LATINO EXPERIENCE

Normally I do not read Eugene Weekly, until a recent article titled "La Lingua" (5/1) caught my attention. The article elaborated on the barriers being faced by local Latinos, in particular Latinos who have assimilated into the English language and those that have retained their ancestors' language of Spanish. Although the article attempted to illustrate the experience of Latinos, I believe the article gravely reduced their experiences. Additionally, the article was nothing short of a token attempt to understand Latino experiences, which resulted in a White publication cashing in on people of color.

Experiences (barriers being faced) were reduced to conflicts between English speaking Latinos and those who speak Spanish. The author then further attempted to show racial tension between the respective groups.

Barriers faced by Latinos are hardly those of inter-group conflicts and racism. Who has one of the highest rates of unemployment in Lane County? What students have been the victims of hate crimes at the University of Oregon? What group has been reduced to having their national holiday underneath a highway? What group gets pulled over by police at higher rates than the white population? The answer is Latinos. So to reduce barriers to inter-group tensions is a mischaracterization of the Latino experience and a slap in the face to a people.

Although the title "La Lingua" caught my attention, it was not because I felt pride. The article drew me in because of its token appearance. Tokenism occurs when people in power appeal to the majority' prejudices of fairness and equality but do little to actually fulfill such values.

In the case of the article, tokenism is evidenced in no one noticing the obvious grammatical and spelling error in the article's title "La Lingua." There were further Spanish errors throughout the article.

The point, of course, is not to quibble about proper punctuation, etc. The point is to interpret why this was allowed to occur in the first place. My experience has been that tokenism occurs because white people (holders of power) generally tend to do the minimum when it comes to understanding and appreciating the cultures of people of color. In other words, enough is done to appear fair and supporting of equality, but in reality no power is given to those whom they claim to help.

Other examples of tokenism are the following: The UO supports diversity, yet underfunds its Ethnic Studies program. The UO promotes multiculturalism, yet does not give the Office of Multicultural Affairs enough power to hold other departments accountable for their institutional racist practices. The city of Eugene welcomes people of color, yet has had few city officials of color. In my case, I get to participate in University committees, centers and institutes, yet am limited to catering to white values and needs. Lastly, EW runs an article on Latinos, yet does a poor job at representing the Latino experience and in writing the article.

Forty years have passed since the Civil Rights Movement. Although some racist practices were eradicated, similar institutional practices, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors continue to live on. The article "La Lingua" is only a kernel that represents a system of racist reductionism and tokenism that the white population continues to bank on. Forty years have passed, but the racist system of yesterday is yet to be truly uprooted.

Javier Ayala
Eugene

EDITOR'S NOTE: This letter and at least two responses to it can be found in the UO campus paper at www.dailyemerald.com

 

ROGUE RULE

Tom Hunnel's letter (5/1) criticizing my commentary on war tax resistance (4/10) adds an important war tax resistance strategy that my piece failed to mention. He is quite right that one of the important ways of reducing tax liability is to increase contributions to tax exempt organizations. In this way a person can not only support causes one believes in, but can substantially reduce financial support to the war machine. I thank Mr. Hunnel for this criticism.

I do, however, stand by my recommendations that people consider living below taxable income as a way of denying funds to the military and walking more lightly on the earth and of becoming self-employed in order to get out from under the withholding tax system, thus regaining power over whether to pay or not to pay.

It is quite true that a decision to not pay can be very costly, eventually risking home (but only for those who own one), garnished wages and liens on assets. In practice, the IRS rarely seizes homes — bad publicity — they usually go after cash.

We now live in a rogue state that is attempting to rule the world. Most of our presidents, representatives and senators are bought. More sacrificial forms of resistance may be necessary if we are to help bring it down.

Charles Gray
Eugene

 

OPEN COMMUNICATION

I was surprised and disturbed by the lack of response to the EW's lengthy article concerning Clear Channel, the FCC and media manipulation. On June 2, the FCC plans to pretty much do away with any regulation on media, and if you think it doesn't affect you, think again. It will effectively eliminate the First Amendment by having all the media controlled by a powerful few who will have almost total control over what information you get on radio, TV and in print — and when the government gets control of them, there will be no free press. Members of Congress from both parties have written to the FCC alarmed by it intentions.

Consider this: Michael Copps, one of the FCC's committee members is actively being discouraged from his investigation by Chairman Michael Powell (son of Colin Powell). Powell is denying requests for more public forums on this controversial ruling. The mainstream media is not reporting on this issue for the simple reason that they stand to gain an enormous amount of unfettered power as a result of the ruling.

Barry Diller, CEO of USA Interactive and one of the media giants, recently gave a speech in which he warned of the consequences of this deregulation including the loss to public service, the stifling of new and independent voices, and the power these few media owners will have over the people who regulate them. As it is now, five companies control 90 percent of the media.

I urge everyone to contact the FCC at www.fcc.govand inform them that the airwaves are owned by the public, not the media companies and it is the duty and obligation of the FCC to act in the public interest not the corporate ones.

Alisa McLaughlin
Eugene

 

LA IDIOTA

I was up in Babylon, so I didn't see the Weekly until coming back down-valley on Saturday, but your cover title (5/1) jarred. Y'all talk Spanish like our el presidente Arbusto himself! (And he talks it real good). Try "La Lengua" nex' time, eh?

Ricardo Martin
del Valle

 

NUMBER CRUNCHING

Let's see, last fall we had 58 law enforcement officers, an armored vehicle and National Guard presence to encounter four unarmed suspects in a marijuana operation that didn't exist. In April, 30 EPD officers, 14 police cars and eight motorcycles were deployed to cite 10 people for disorderly conduct when they walked to support a tree
sitter.

So why is it that we can only afford one teacher to guide 30 elementary school students through a whole day of learning? Can it be that we have a problem with priorities?

William Schwall
Eugene


NO ENDORSEMENT

I am pleased to know that The R-G endorses Michael Rose for the LCC Board of Education. But sadly, it does not endorse Roger Hall, and neither does Lane Community College Education Association (LCCEA). According to the postcard I received from LCCEA, Lane's faculty "strongly endorse" Marston Morgan. I am taking this opportunity to say that this Lane faculty member does not endorse Marston Morgan.

Mr. Morgan would "radically expand class size and use teaching assistants where feasible to boost academic offerings." I have two questions about this plan: How does he expect to adhere to the workload that is dictated by our faculty contract, and how does he propose to use "teaching assistants" in a community college teaching format? We already employ far too many underpaid part-time faculty. Mr. Morgan seems to confuse the community college format with a university format.

The R-G writer states that Dr. Hall's decision to run again was "last minute." I find the "late hour" decision irrelevant. Couldn't it be that Roger Hall's decision to run again came after much deliberate contemplation, that he decided to continue his dedication to the college because of current challenges?

Our crisis at Lane is about state funding; it is not about leadership. Let's keep our excellent board leaders for another four years: Roger Hall and Michael Rose, two men who have served us well and will continue to do so, we can be sure. We need these experienced and committed leaders to help us through our budget crisis and into the future.

Karen Locke
Eugene

 

LES MISERABLES

Greedy Americans — lusting after Iraqi oil, while knowing nothing of their own past — should not be too hard on the French. France sent thousands of soldiers to America to help the Revolutionary Army conquer the British tyrants. The French Navy trapped the British Army at Yorktown to make it possible for coalition forces under Washington to end the war. France provided approximately 80 percent of the powder used by the Americans in an effort to overthrow the British government by force and violence.

Without the French, Americans would still be singing, "God Save the Queen." Without any sense of history whatsoever, the Americans of 2003 find themselves roughly in the position of the German people in
1983.

Jack Radabaugh
Eugene

 

GRANNY TOUGH LOVE

The only problem with the Eugene Police and Interagency Narcotic Enforcement Task Force (Letters, 4/24) is they don't have enough grandmothers on staff. Yes, I said grandmothers.

Grandmothers are the only ones who care a great deal about the younger generation — but are still very firm! One grandmother could accomplish in one hour what it took law enforcement a week and hundreds of man hours to accomplish. Ten to 20 percent of all law enforcement agencies should be grandmothers

Frank Skipton
Veneta

 

HOOP-JUMPING

It was a real hoot reading the quotes from the Axis of Fantasy regarding the Eugene business climate. I laughed so hard I sprayed my Pabst all over the page. Soliciting Kelly-Bettman-Taylor's views on this matter is like asking Anita Bryant what the happ's are in the San Francisco bathhouse scene.

The outfit I'm involved with spent a couple hundred grand last year doing a little infill remodeling to put two businesses downtown so we could get our diverse work crew back in action. I would characterize our dealings with the city as schizophrenic. Some of the officials bent over backwards to help us while others threw up one roadblock after another. Man, by the time I completed the process I felt like an otter carcass being bashed around by the waves in Devil's Churn.

In fairness, a lot of the hoops are a result of federal and state regulations. And once you manage to get the doors open, the departments providing essential services, such as police and fire, are very reasonable to deal with. The danger lies in fringe areas of bureaucracy. The new city manager might want to look at deletions there at budget-cutting time.

Tom Tracey
Eugene

 

YOU TRY IT

To Dub Taylor (Letters, 5/1): Instead of bashing, why don't you write a film review, submit it to the letters section, and show the world what you are capable of creating — week after week? Lois Wadsworth's film reviews reflect very accurately the general feel of the films, be it good or bad. I would have never watched movies such as Vertical Ray of the Sun and Black Hawk Down were it not for her compelling reviews, and I have thankfully avoided wasting my money on the vapid tripe Hollywood tries to force feed its apathetic viewing audience.

Lois is a highly respected voice in Eugene (I still read her reviews and I'm 2,000 miles away), and she has been saving film audiences from wasting their money for years.

I, for one, wish Lois many, many more years of happy reviewing at EW.

Luke Galvin
Milwaukee, WI.

 

GIMME MEAT

I just read a letter in the recent issue (5/8) attacking the comic strip "Red Meat." I want everyone at EW to know that I absolutely love it! It is my favorite feature, the first thing I flip to when the new issue comes out. The humor is dark, cynical and sarcastic. Anyone who doesn't appreciate it probably shouldn't read it. I don't find anything funny about "Peanuts" or "Zits" or "Family Circus" or any of the other asinine, watered-down strips that flood the comics pages of the R-G. So, I don't read them.

Ignore any criticism concerning "Red Meat." My friends and I think it's brilliant. Clippings adorn my fridge. Thank you for continuing to print "Red Meat" and the other fine comics in your publication.

Sabrina McNamara
Eugene

 

BUCKING UP

In contrast to the typical "gripe du jour," I want to share some "old-fashioned power tools" we can dust off and use for today's issues.

Folks who lived through the Great Depression following the stock market crash of 1929 had it much harder than we do. They seem to have been strengthened by it. They developed unknown gifts, talents and inner stamina. Working from noble hearts, they dove from job to job and household to household to survive. They are justifiably pretty damned proud of themselves for accomplishing it.

Granted, Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath is not cheerful, but the characters are ingenious and innovative. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie was first printed in 1936. Through its charmingly dated prose, the essence of the survivors of those times is captured, despite the seemingly manipulation-encouraging title.

On a personal note, I'm married and only slightly employed at 41 years old. I'm finding many places to which I've applied shutting down, and one night I panicked and called my father. He was nine years old when the market crashed. Though things were tight in those days, it could have been worse. His parents owned a small bakery; everybody needed to eat, so they did pretty well. My mother and her parents needed to move in with relatives while my grandfather, a pharmacist, worked miles away in another town and could only visit on weekends. Instead of Thanksgiving turkey they had opossum.

They lived through it. We can learn from them. All we need to do is ask them either in person or in print.

G.B. Koerner
Eugene

 

EYE EXAM

Did anyone else fail the recent version of EW's eye exam? I can now no longer read the teeny-tiny print of the "Movie Clips" without bright light and a magnifying glass. The new format on the movie page instituting the miniscule print presumably will create one or two new inches that can be run as an ad. I guess someone thinks that's progress

Julie Rogers
Eugene

 

BIG BAD COMMITTEE

Recently the Fish and Game Commission decided to convene a 14-member advisory committee to develop a wolf management plan for Oregon. It's hoped that such a plan will work to help restore the wolf to Oregon and to maintain viable populations of this native species.

However, given the makeup of the proposed committee, such a positive outcome is unlikely. Out of the 14 "slots" on the committee, only two to four can be reasonably be assured of being advocates for the wolf. Most of the committee will consist of groups or individuals who have in the past displayed antagonistic or even outright hostility to wolf restoration. These include the proposed inclusion of a livestock producer, a hunter, trapper, eastern Oregon county commissioner, range/forest land conservationists, resident of rural Oregon, public land manager and two at-large public representatives.

Polls have shown the more than 70 percent of Oregonians support wolf restoration. Too bad it appears the Oregon Fish and Game Commission seems unlikely to put together an advisory committee that truly represents the views of most Oregonians. Failure to do so will only ensure years of contentious debate and perhaps litigation.

Brooks Fahey
Predator Defense Institute
Eugene

 


LETTERS POLICY: We welcome letters on all topics and will print as many as space allows. Please limit length to 250 words, keep submissions to once a month, and include your address and phone number for our files. E-mail to editor@eugeneweekly.com,
fax to 484-4044, or mail to 1251 Lincoln, Eugene 97401.


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