An Experiment in Anglo-Latin Relationships AUSTIN If a state is suffering from “cultural indigestion,” the vivid term used by Dr. George Sanchez of the University of Texas to describe LatinAnglo relationships in Texas, it seems reasonable that many people in the state must first be fully aware of the nature of the “indigestion,” how and why it is harmful, and then they must want to cure it before anything can really happen. As a culture we have failed to reasonably incorporate the Latin minority into the larger Anglo group. One and a half million Spanish-speaking people, about 18 percent of the state’s total population, on an average have the least education, the lowest wages, the poorest health, the highest death rate from T.B. and infant diarrhea, the worst housing, and the least respect as human beings of any group in Texas. Subtle and eroding prejudices, which canot be touched by law, are still with us. Early in July, 1959, a flyer for a real estate development on a lake near Austin flaunted its discrimination in parentheses : “500 TEXAS GOLD STAMPS will be given you at the time of inspection. THERE IS NO OBLIGATION TO BUY. You will .receive ABSOLUTELY FREE 500 TEXAS GOLD STAMPS, just for your inspection of our subdivision. This offer is being made to you through the U. S. Mail and is not a The phrase is not an infrequent one. Unequal job opportunities and a vastly different wage scale for Latins and Anglos remain common. In San, Antonio, for example, as much as a $150 a month differential between an Anglo and a Latin secretary or bookkeeper was found by .a GI Forum job placement survey in 1958. About 200,000 Texans, 95 percent of whom are Spanish-speaking, are seasonal migrants each year ; their individual annual wage averages only $900. The federal government has set up standards of pay and decent living for the seasonal agricultural workers brought in from Mexico; there are no such legislative protections for our domestic migrants. We have adopted and adapted and About the Author AUSTIN Our guest columnist this week, Mrs. Beulah Hodge, has served on the staf f of the American Friends Service Committee Southwest regional of f ice in Austin since 1957 as executive director of their four workshops in cultural relations for those interested in the Spanish-speaking people of Austin. Mrs. Hodge, a graduate of Carroll College, Wisconsin, and Cornell University \(from which she obtained an ried to a drama professor and has a daughter. Before she began her work for the Friends,_ she was a member of Austin and worked with the P.-T.A., League of Women Voters, Texas Social Welfare Assn., and East Austin Community Assn. The Dickie Bird Strikes Again St. Louis Post-Dispatch are proud of much of the Latin’s culture : his cowboy boots, his sombrero, his ways with cattle, his place names, his music, his folk arts, his food. At the same time we have continually downgraded the human being. These problems are here, complete with national and international ramifications. WE KNOW many of the possible cures, and we have ‘the means to effect those cures, if we will use them. Corrective legislation in welfare, health, education, and labor areas is required. Welfare needs must be wisely .met, helpinc , people to help themselves. Research is a necessity. At the Governor’s Conference on Children and Youth held December 5, 1959. the best informed professionals and lay people in the state could not make recommendations pertaining to children of migrant workers because “there is so much to be learned. We need studies and -basic research to get ready to solve the problems we know are there.” Education for Spanish-speaking children and adults in all areas. including the Anglo valueemphasis on nutrition, sanitation, and citizenship. is basic to any satisfactory solution of the Anglo-Latin problems facing us. Equally basic is the necessity for a change in Anglo attitudes toward the Spanish speaking. The “Migrant Ministry” of the Texas Council of Churches, the “Bishop’s Committee for the SpanishSpeaking” of the Catholic Church, the U. S. Department of Labor, some of the state agencies, and many others are working hard and well in these areas. But their efforts are not enough. The majority of present problems are not being solved and future problems are actively .in the making as new immigrants steadily flow from Mexico into Texas, each of them expecting and having the right to enter the mainstream of American life. WASHINGTON Texas’s image as a Western region with a growing liberal sentiment is being hurt by the state’s steamroller-like promotion of Lyndon Johnson for president. Hearing nothing but the din of propaganda from the LBJ for President clubs, national liberals are fast writing off Texas as a political provincial. The state’s insistence on a candidate so obviously branded with Southern regionalism leads liberals to assume that Texans have little interest in national issues. Texas politicians riding the crest of Johnson’s high popularity may answer these liberals with a “so what ?” As the political winds blow in the Texas of February, 1960, the politicians may be quite secure. But come the realities of the convention in July, where will Texas and its politicians find themselves in the national Democratic scene? They, along with the Talmadges, the Byrds, and the Eastlands, very likely will be on the outside looking in, if the party follows its traditional role of nominating a liberal for president. The nomination of a liberal, even if Texas gives him support at the last moment, will leave Johnson with a diminished role in the national election. True, any nominee will seek the support of Johnson, the same as they would of any other regional or state political leader. But once a liberal Democrat is elected, Johnson’s role as an influential national leader will start a rapid decline. And when this happens, some of Johnson’s followers ‘ in Texas may wonder why they were not out working for Humphrey, Stevenson, or Kennedy. It is unlikely that a liberal president in the White House would allow the conservative Johnson to have an important voice in party policies. The liberals, so badly crushed during Johnson’s seven-year reign as majority What can be done to trigger the special of fort, the tremendous desire, and the will that are needed to cure our “cultural indigestion”? It seems possible that something resembling the “‘Workshops in Cultural; Relations for Those Interested in the Spanishspeaking People of Austin,” sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee, is a logical first step for cities all over Texas. The American Friends.Service Committee, whose Southwest Regional office is located in Austin, is a Quaker organization which attempts to relieve human suffering and to seek nonviolent solutions to conflictspersonal, national, and international. Its community relations program involves work in the fields of housing, education. recreation, and employment, and in the general field of community counseling. In each case the aim of the work is to help eliminate the barriers of prejudice and discrimination which impede the full development of each human being. The committee experimented with four workshops in Austin from the fall of 1957 through the fall of 1959. During these two years, 431 Ariglo and Spanish-speaking people were involved as members of a steering committee, as participants, or ‘as resource guests. The participants included executives and staff from most of the public and private service agencies in Austin, state as well as county and city, in the areas of health, welfare, education, and government ; ministers; housewives ; and a few businessmen and women. Resource people were primarily Spanish-speaking . . college students, professors, businessmen, housewives, and professional workers. Policemen, school teachers, Y.M.C.A. personnel, homemakers, welfare case workers, school principals, and nurses had at these workshops an opportunity, many for the first time, to cut across occupational, social and cul leader, would assume new importance. It would be they, not Johnson, who would be close to the White House, if it is occupied by a Democratic liberal. And many of Johnson’s Senate friends May find it less profitable to curry favor with the Texas leader. For then the center of political prestige and power will be -in the White House and, not in the Majority Leader’s office. Johnson, if he wants to remain as Majority Leader, will have to revert to :being little more than a message-carrier for the new president. Out of this changing political picture Yarborough may emerge as Texas’s most influential voice in 1ATashington. Yarborough is close to many of the liberals who undoubtedly would occupy the favored positions in a new administration. Certainly, many of these liberals, particularly those who have been snubbed by Johnson, will prefer to work with Yarborough. But the comparison with Johnson is unnecessary because Yarborough stands by himself as a leading liberal in the Democratic Party. His voting record is .with the liberals after his vote against Johnson in the Senate caucus earlier this year. Many Texas liberals may wonder, too late, why they also didn’t have some of the same kind of courage: As Johnson romps through the Texas primary and to Los Angeles with almost all of Texas seemingly behind him, Yarborough and a small band of liberals appear as the only protectors of the once emerging liberal image of Texas. Before the current Johnson boom wagon, it looked like. Texas politics were finally coming out of . the magnolia trees. Now it appears Texas is going to the national convention supporting a Southern conservative. As Mississippi and Georgia go, so goes Texas. ANWE AND JAKE LEWIS tural lines and work on and think together about a mutual basic concern. Each workshop was composed of six two-hour sessions. held over a sixweek period. The programs included a problem inventory with each workshop member writing down those problems he believed stemmed from Anglo-Latin cultural differences ; a lecture on the cultural-historical backgrounds of Spanish-speaking people in the Southwest, with emphasis on the waves of migration from Mexico into this country and their effect on Texas ; discussion of Latin and Anglo values; role playing \(the acting done Anglo-Latin problem common in some respects to all partiCipants \(dif ficulties of communication, oral and otherwise, between Anglo and SpanishSpanish-speaking guests who gave brief summaries of their varied lives. each also sharing some particular inwhich was remembered most vividly about a relationship with an Anglo agency or person ; and a general discussion. THERE WAS an increased understanding of the historical and cultural backgrounds of the Spanishspeaking people of Texas. Simultaneously there was an increased understanding -of middle-class Anglo culture, with some idea of the conflicts inherent when two cultures exist in the same geographical area, and one is oppressed. As an Anglo workshop member said, “It has helped me to see that it is not so easy to just walk into a home or situation and expect to become an accepted part of the feelings and attitudes of these people unless I can understand and accept the basic differences which may exist.” It was realized that many of the problems are not strictly those of just the Spanish-speaking, but those of any low-income, minority group against whom prejudices have built up. There were workshop members who admitted that they had come to the sessions thinking they had no prejudice, but who suddenly realized that they were making wide, unwarranted generalizations and thinking in paternalistic terms. It was realized that generalization is always dangerous, that one must continually think in terms of the individual, that there is always a need to break up stereotypes and to accept people for themselves, regardless of their group membership. From this it seems feasible that Latins and Anglos coming together in a mutual desire to understand each other, in workshops or in any similar positive situation throughout Texas, may be a good first step toward ending our “cultural indigestion.” BECLAII HODGE ‘We-All from the Deep West, Suh The Washington Post THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 5 February 26, 1960 A Turn-about
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