costume crossing blades with one of my little brothers. Even after Zorro’s popularity fell off and my friends turned towards new heroes, I remained loyal to him. Somewhere along about this time, being a Mexiclm began to lose its charm. By the time I was nineteen the main thing I had to bring to college was a keen sensitivity about being of Mexican descent and a strong obsession to show the Anglo boys I was just as good as they were. The wonder was that I was able to avoid academic expulsion for a whole year. More than ten years have passed since then. Behind the security of a graduate degree, an above-average income, and an admiring wife and family, I can afford to be philosophical about being a minority group member and even feel. I have some authority to make judgments about the civil rights laws. \(Although the Negroes have paid the highest prices for their enactment, no one, I am sure, will argue that Most of my difficulties lie in the fact that I look like a Mexican, but _think like an Anglo. I never experienced the ghetto life so well known by many Mexicans; on the contrary, all of my neighborhood friends and school chums were, with one exception, non-Mexican. Since I also felt at a very early age the need to compete with my Anglo friends, it was necessary to act and think as they did. I remember being at home on leave from the service and hearing my youngest brother plaintively ask my mother : “Why aren’t we Irish?” In my early days that question never entered my thoughts. I just set out to become just as Irish as I could. The day came when I began being truthful with myself. To do this I had to strip myself of the protective illusion that rewarded my identification with the strong white group and of the snugness that sprang from thinking I was essentially superior to most Mexicans. Instead, I had to experience the full strain between the American culture, traditions, and mores, on one hand, and on the other such basic and emotional things as the culture which gave me my religion, my “foreign” appearance linking me to the Tarascans of Michoacan, the birthplace of my father, the good feelings I know when I hear the sound of a friendly Spanish voice. The tug of war inside of me about being an American, and a Mexican, goes on, but its effects are much more controllable. Even so the pain is real and deep and it results in a kind of paralysis of the spirit. Yet something remains strong, alive, and effective in me. I was dealt a bloody nose. For a time I wandered around in a daze, but now I feel fine. THE IMPORTANT THING is that I am left with some understanding and concern for those who were hit much, much harder than me. Some of them were kicked savagely in the groin and move around blindly, emotionally paralyzed, ready to hit back at anything that reminds 6 The Texas Observer them of their pain, be it their own wife or the policeman who asks to see their driver’s license. God help us if this kind gets control of the Negro movement. The rub of a civil rights law is that it cannot, as so many believe, in itself bring respect and dignity to members of minority groups. Respect doesn’t come by fiat of laws; it is something that is earned. That takes time; yet, so many of us, Negroes and Mexicans, want it now. So there will be strife and hard times until enough of us are contributing as teachers, as politicians, as workmen, as businessmen and as citizens to the development of our communities. In the meantime our emotional shortcomings will have to be put up with. And there too lies a rub. It is better that the psychology of minority group members be ignored by everybody. There is too much danger in becoming overly mindful of it. It would tend to take away our sense of responsibility and choice. It is so easy to pin all of one’s troubles on something obvious like racial discrimination and forget that life in general is full of devilish undercurrents. Discrimination is only one thing that limits a man’s opportunities to give life his beSt efforts. What we must have now is heated concern about how the civil rights laws will be given life in our particular communities. The problem of racial discrimination, or the dogma of inherent in Fayetteville, Ark. The Fulbright paradox is upon us again, and some people still find it a poser. Here is Sen. J. William Fulbright, a man so hamstrung by his Arkansas constituency that his voting record on many issues is indistinguishable from James 0. Eastland’s . yet the same man, it seems, is jeopardizing his career through his public position on Vietnam. No one, of course, need agonize over the puzzle for long, for the “answer” was reduced years ago to a disarmingly smooth liberal cliche: Arkansas’ junior senator is a “prisoner of the South,” a flawed hero trapped by his home state’s racial and economic politics, a true progressive wounded by compromise. The explanation still seems serviceable. How sad, his compassionate friends nod once again, that he comes from the South; but for that he would have made a great Secretary of State. Some of Bill Fulbright’s home folks don’t see things just that way. To many Delta planters and Little Rock bankers, El Philip Carter also writes lyric poetry, the first three pages of novels, and letters to bill collectors, and signs his name -to the backs of Newsweek’s checks. feriority, lies buried within very complex historical and sociological roots. Nevertheless, the American scene provides attitudes and feelings that will loosen the tight grip of the past. There has already been much improvement in recent years mainly because of courageous Negroes who recognized the power of Gandhian methods of non-violence. Yet even this would have failed had they not been supported by the compassion of the American people. There is our real strength. However we may be judged by others, we are a compassionate people .: Perhaps our compassion comes from our knowing that most of us are at most a couple generations away from being members of minority groups ourselves. Fortunately, our compassion does not have to persist alone, but is sustained by an implicit consensus about certain principles of social justice. We feel guilt about the incompatibility between our laws and traditions, and the humiliation and distress of the down-andouters among us. Pragmatists, we will not indefinitely allow pockets of poverty that weigh us all down. No matter what the sources, the power of our idealistic feelings and our hidden aspirations is actual and real. Knowing, believing, and using this seems to be the only basis for confidence in the future. Gilbert J. Murillo, 306 Brahan, San Antonio, Tex. Dorado oilmen and merchants in Fayetteville, Fulbright is Arkansas’s most glitteringly substantial natural resource. He is, his proud backers proclaim, a brilliant statesman \(“whether you agree with him national prestige enhance the whole state and, they add, he is a resourceful and willing champion of every vested interest from Lake Village to Siloam Springs. Sen. Fulbright today is free to have his say about Vietnam because long ago he proved his worth to Arkansas’ powers that be. Fulbright’s independence , on foreign policy may sometimes be discomfiting, but it is hurting nobody’s pocketbook and has nothing to do with race, and besides, it’s always worth listening to what the state’s world-famous citizen has to say. One of Fulbright’s most ardent supportRock millionaire and political wheelerdealer wholike most of the big men behind Fulbrightalso contributes heavily to the campaigns of Gov. Orval Faubus. “The people of Arkansas,” says Stephens, “have always gone along with Fulbright. He may be right or he may be wrong on this question of Vietnam, but we’ll keep OUR NEIGHBOR, SENATOR FULBRIGHT Philip Carter
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