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think we all was, except hershe was scratching and kicking and cussing, but somebody grabbed the knife off her before she could do any hurt. Then somebody hit her to shut her up, and I hit her, and we all started hitting her. If the Shore Patrol hadn’t come up about then I guess we’d of kilt her.” Strangely, I remember nothing else that either of us said during what must have been a sizeable remainder of the late-night highway. I don’t remember where I dropped him off in town. I never clearly saw his face; I didn’t ask his name. Call him Ishmael, for like the first of that name he had been thrust into the wilderness, \(unjustly, for it had not been he who mocked, somehow committed to a cruise whose object is a coming to grips with that great White Whale to which he is fatally bound by a hatred and love beyond his reckoning. LI A Guest Essay The American of Mexican Descent Austin It is my impression, after a quarter of a century of observation, that with rare exceptions, the common man in Texas fares badly at the hands of the persons he elects to public office in statewide politics. This impression is based on a careful study of many facets of public activity or inactivity on the part of highly placed public servants, so-called, and of governmental agencies and institutions. This is not the place to document the neglect which has been the lot of the ordinary Texan, but it does not seem out of place to take passing notice of typical political miscarriages. It does not take an economist to note that taxation in Texas is regressive, rather than progressive. That is, those Texans least able to pay bear a tax burden that is out of proportion ; and those most able to pay get what is virtually a free ride. Only within the sanctity of the home can one say “state income tax,” and then only if only the most trusted members of the family are listening. And so it goes with corporation taxes, with pipeline taxes, and with other revenue means so assiduously avoided by our legislators. But sales taxeson food, on clothing, on tobacco, on beer \(the poor or indirect ones! The poor, suffering school teachers need a salary increase \(and they very worthy cause comes to the fore. More sales taxes. The legislature is so good to us, who needs enemies? Speaking of school teachers, having been one for 43 years, I touch a very sensi Dr. George I. Sanchez is director of the Center for International Education, College of Education, at the University of Texas. Born in Albuquerque, a descendant of early colonial settlers in New Mexico, he was a school teacher and principal in that state; held a high post in the Venezuelan Ministry of Education; has been a professor of Latin-American Education at U.T. since 1940 and was chairman of the department of the history and philosophy of education there eight years; has written six books, mainly in the areas of the education and culture of Latin-American peoples, and is author and editor of some 20 schoolbooks brought out by Macmillan. 26 The Texas Observer George I. Sanchez tive spot. With the tremendous economic resources Texas possesses, it has one of the most benighted educational programs in the nation \(please do not bring in the plight of Mississippi, of Alabama, or even of Kennon-Negroes from the draft of World War II for educational reasons was the highest in the last two states mentioned-64 per 1,000. The next highest rejection rate \(nonbe said on education in Texas? At whose door may the blame rest? That of the educators? Yes, because they have been so timid”intimidated” is a better word for it. I speak from some experience in these matters; for among my 43 professional years are interspersed years when I headed the educational “lobby” in a neighboring state and when I served as president of the state teachers association there. I know what a forthright stand by educators can do towards improving public education. That stand has not been taken in Texas. This, of course, does not take blame away from the legislature, from the governor, or from the other members of the political apparatus. Only fellows like my esteemed friends, J. Frank Dobie \(don and Walter Prescott Webb, dared stand up to the intimidators. For intimidation it is, and I’ll bear witness to it. I turn to health and welfare; public, that is. My statistics are outdated; so, check on the death rate from tuberculosis per 100,000 in Texas as compared with that of other states. Check on the deaths from infant diarrhea. We should hang our heads in shame. Look into the facts of yearly income \(please leave the multimillionaires at our slums, some virtually in the shadow of the capitol of the great State of Texas. Need I say more? Oh, yes, the Americans of Mexican descent . . . poor guys. They have the misfortune of being not only the people at the bottom of the economic totem pole, but they are not quite acceptable as Americans. It has been a matter of much cynical amusement to me when, treated as a “Meskin,” I suddenly turn on my English and “pull rank.” A dirty trick, truebut what would you? What I have said about the ordinary Texan, I say, doubled in spades, about the mexicano. Now, politics. The mexicano of Texas has not yet awakened to the fact that he can be a very potent force in politics, nor has he achieved any sort of political cohesiveness. This lamentable state of affairs is evidenced in the treatment which he allows to be given him. It was not very long ago when, in many parts of Texas, mexicano children were required to attend segregated schools, in some places all the way through high school. Public school segregation of mexicanos took place even in towns and counties where they constituted the majority of the population. It took a non-Texan to initiate the battle in federal courts a battle which proved such segregation unconstitutional. Similarly, mexicanos were listed as a “race” apart during the early months of the draft for World War II. It took intervention from Washington to cause state draft officials to discontinue this practice. One finds few mexicano appointees in state agencies. In private employment differential treatment as to wages and advancement is not uncommon. If the American of Mexican descent in Texas had exercised his political power, these things would never have happened, and current discriminatory practices would end. Nowhere is the mistreatment of this population group more evident than in the field of labor. The Texas mexicano is continually displaced by cheap labor from Mexico wetbacks, braceros, commuters. Thousands migrate annually to seek a living wage in Colorado, Michigan, and elsewhere. Public Law 78 \(the “bracero midst much groaning and moaning on the part of economic vested interestsinterests that have continued to militate for its reenactment. Only recently, the governor of the state was in Mexico, where he spoke in behalf of a new bracero agreement. He was widely quoted in the Mexican press as stating that the bracero did not displace native labor! Has he checked with the Texas Employment Commission as to how many agricultural migrants, U.S. citizens, they count yearly? Even cursory observation along our principal highways reveals