OBSERVATIONS “English-Only” Racism THE “ENGLISH-ONLY” movement is KnowNothingism reincarnate, yet the Texas Republicans have taken it up as their holy cause in our state. Before this is over they are going to regret starting this fight. Californians last month voted three-to-one to instruct their legislature to “make no law which diminishes or ignores the role of English” and to authorize any individual or business to sue to enforce that instruction. Obviously Hispanic and Asian-Americans are the targets. By this vote California countenanced racism to the point of sanctioning it. As Senator Gonzalo Barrientos of Austin says, “Everybody knows that English is America’s language.” The real sources of the English-Only movement are white jingoism and white racism. “English-Only” is a right-wing movement aimed at the poor and the handicapped, newcomers and underdogs. With the election safely behind him, a leader in the EnglishOnly movement in California, Republican Assemblyman Frank Hill, has proposed legislation that would require that drivers’ tests, welfare applications, and student financial aid forms at state universities be written in English only. Hill also is writing to the heads of all California state agencies asking for “copies of forms of business conducted other than in English.” And the ugliness is just beginning. California has launched an immigrant-hunt. George Strake, the chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, urged his fellow party leaders on the Republican State Executive Committee to delay their English-Only resolution until after the November election. Republican Roy Barrera, Jr., was running against Democratic Atty. Gen. Jim Mattox, and Strake has conceded that he “didn’t want this involved in election rhetoric with Roy Barrera on the ballot.” Translated from politician English into the plain kind. this means Strake knew that Hispanic voters would turn against Barrera with fury if they found out before the election what his party was planning. So, on Nov. 15, with the election safely over here, too, the GOP executive committee called for amendments to the Texas and U.S. constitutions to make English the official language. Ruben Bonilla, Jr.. of Corpus Christi, the chairman of Mexican-American Democrats of Texas, correctly said the Republicans’ move would only “reopen healed wounds of prejudice and bigotry.” The Democratic speaker pro tern of the Texas House, Rep. Hugo Berlanga of Corpus Christi, said truly that the GOP proposal “smacks of bigotry and racism.” Gov. Mark White also denounced the proposal, making the point that there is no reason why Americans cannot be competent in more than one language. Let’s work that point on out. With a multilingual population we will be stronger, abler to understand other nations, abler to conduct our foreign policy through competent emissaries. Instead of persecuting bilingual or multilingual Americans, we should be proud of them. If the English-Only bigots think Texans are going to roll over just because the Californians voted so stupidly, they have another think coming. From this day forward every so-called Texas leader, every officeholder, every civic and business leader, should be put squarely on the spot about this. We I are not about to let these double-talking hypocrites sell us their coded racism. Our 14 Arms Race Mongers Late in November, almost a month earlier than expected, the Reagan administration intentionally violated the SALT II arms control treaty with the Soviet Union. This happened, as anticipated when a B-52 bomber equipped with cruise missiles flew from an Air Force base in San Antonio to Carswell Air Force Base near Fort Worth. Whom did you vote for in 1986 for your congressman? Whom will you vote for, if you vote at all, in 1988? You won’t be able to say you don’t know whether your congressman tried to stop the nuclear arms race. In August 1986, 14 Texas congressmen voted against a proposal that would have bound President Reagan to stay within the provisions of SALT II as long as the Soviet Union did. The other 13 congressmen voted in favor of so binding the President. We may have never before have had such a clear test of where our congressmen stand on the nuclear arms race. Here again are the 14 arms-race mongers who represent Texas in Congress: Charles Wilson, D-Lufkin; Steve Bartlett, R-Dallas; Ralph M. Hall, D-Rockwall; Joe Barton, R-Ennis; Bill Archer, RHouston; Jack Fields, R-Humble; J.J. “Jake” Pickle, DAustin; Beau Boulter, R-Amarillo; Mac Sweeney, R-Victoria; Charles W. Stenholm, D-Stamford; Larry Combest, RLubbock; Tom Loeffler, R-Hunt; Tom DeLay, R-Sugarland; Dick Armey, R-Denton. If you live in the district of any one of these congressmen you have lost your right to say, can’t do anything about the nuclear arms race.” T. Bonaparte Pickens The trouble with making a corporate raider chairman of a university’s board of regents is, he might become a university raider, too. Consider T. Boone Pickens of Amarillo, the Texas Republican Party’s gift to Wall Street. The faculty at West Texas State University voted overwhelmingly to recommend that the university’s president, Ed Roach, be fired. Oilman Pickens, the chairman of the board of regents of that university, responded to the vote with these words: “They [the faculty] are focusing attention on themselves as to the tenure process. Now, I don’t know a lot of people don’t know what tenure is. The faculty, they believe they will never be discharged from the university. Higher education is going to be restructured just like corporate America is, before it’s over with. . . . The faculty needs to get back to work and not be voting on Dr. Roach.” Pickens, passing himself off as a champion of corporate democracy, has rampaged across the pages of the nation’s newspapers and magazines accusing corporate executives of high-handedness and failure to serve their stockholders. Judging from his ideas about “restructuring” universities, what he actually has in mind is more corporate autocracy but with him as the chief autocrat. So he never heard of tenure he should have heard of academic freedom. R.D. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7
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