Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mexican American Legislative Council Pulls the Race Card.....Again

The Mexican American Legislative Council (MALC) is suing the State of Texas, Governer Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Strauss "to prevent the use of flawed census data" according to MALC's website. Really? Come on MALC, how many more times will you cry wolf?

Court documents filed by MALC on April 5, 2011 claim that 
"the population being used for the States 2011 redistricting efforts severely undercounts Latinos. The 2010 census process and procedures resulted in substantial omissions in Latino Population."  

The lawsuit claims that this took place particularly in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Webb and El Paso counties. The claims go a step further and state:
"using the defective 2010 census data discriminates against Latinos and is not legally enforceable." 
Let's play devil's advocate for a second here. Let's say this absurd claim is true and the census numbers were flawed. Once again just an assumption. How can MALC come out and sue because it discriminates against Latinos only? How about the rest of the people who are not Latino? Can they be discriminated against because they are not Latino? Or is MALC stereotyping and saying that the only people who live in the colinias are Latinos? Are they saying that Latinos are the only ones poor enough to live in the colonias? Are they saying every other ethnic group is financially better off or at least smarter than Latinos and would not live in the colonias? That wouldn't exactly be doing justice for the Latino community if you ask me. As a Latino I hate being stereotype yet MALC is doing that to it's "own people." I know in El Paso the population of Latinos is over 80% but that still leaves a little under 20% of the people of other ethnic backgrounds, Latino is not a race like some people think. So if the colonias are a microcosm of the rest of El Paso county then chances are you might have residents who are not Latino. This lawsuit would then discriminate against them for not being Latino. Once again I'm just playing devil's advocate here.

Now lets debunk the claim. MALCS website says:
"After promoting, advertising and educating the community in these counties on the mail-in counting strategy, the Census Bureau announced on the day the Census was to commence that this strategy would not be deployed for the colonias. The decision to forgo one of the most relied upon strategies for the very population known to be hardest to count had a devastating effect on the ability of securing a complete count. The resulting undercount of Latinos along the border region of Texas was between 4% and 8% of the population for the region"

Yet in a story written by the El Paso Times on March 11, 2011 you can find these statements:
"According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Agua Dulce reached a population of 3,014 in 2010 -- an estimated 1,600 increase from 2009."
"Similarly, the Sparks neighborhood just south of Horizon City also doubled in size. In 2000 the area had 2,974 residents. A decade later the area is bustling with more than 4,500 people"

Agua Dulce and Sparks are both colonias is El Paso County. So this article would lead us to believe that at least in El Paso County the colonias were counted in the 2010 census and contradict the lawsuit's claims.The articles also says that the growth in the area's population has County Commissioner Willie Gandara Jr. looking for funding to help out the people in those colonias. You might remember Willie Gandara Jr. had said that the whole City of Socorro had been purposely left out of the census count in 2010.  Now many people don't know but I had applied to work for the census bureau in the Horizon and Socorro area. I wanted to do what I could to make sure that the numbers were as accurate as possible. In fact I took the test, I got a 100 by the way but was not hired for a technicality, in front of the Socorro Police Department headquarters. So Gandara's accusations are unfounded. As an employee of the Census Bureau you are not allowed to divulge any information. But since I was not officially hired I guess I can talk about what I saw. I kept in contact with a couple people who worked  at the Census. They were pretty upset when they heard that Willie Gandara Jr. and groups like MALC would accuse them of not doing their jobs right. According to a former Census employee who would rather remain anonymous, they knocked on thousands of doors, they walked hundreds of miles in the heat, they talked to people in both English and Spanish, they went into neighborhoods where there were no paved roads, they had to deal with dogs that weren't tied up, they had to deal with people that did not want to open their doors, but they did their job to the best of their abilities. So for anyone to say or to insinuate that they did not do their jobs properly is ludicrous. MALC should throw some walking shoes on and start knocking on doors and see for themselves what these Census workers had to endure instead of just screaming out Racist. At the end of the day this is all political. Redistricting could potentially affect "Latino" districts that traditionally favor the Democrats. Democrats are trying to gain power in the State of Texas and redistricting could potentially wipe out their strongholds.

But let me leave you with this. When are we going to stop treating people according to their skin color? Redistricting should have nothing to do with your skin color, ethnic background, religious beliefs, financial or marital status. Latinos want to be treated equal yet MALC wants Latinos to be treated different. Special treatment is being treated different from everyone else. Minorities, not just Latinos, have to fight for equal opportunities and stop demanding equal outcomes. We need to raise our and meet own expectations and not expect others to drop their requirements so we can compete. Fair is fair and equal is equal. Stop pulling the Race card. That only keeps the people down who have worked so hard to overcome the stereotypes and who have made great strides towards equality.

OK one last thing. Lets look at MALC. What do they stand for? According to their bylaws: Section 1.02.  PURPOSE.  The Caucus is a nonprofit organization the purpose of which is to serve the members of the Texas House of Representatives, and their staffs, particularly in regard to matters of interest to the Mexican-American community of this state, with the goal of providing a strong cohesive voice on those matters in the legislative process.

So what about those who are not Mexican-American? We can get into the whole I was born here and not in Mexico thing but I won't. But let's talk about those who have roots in Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic,  El Salvador, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala or any other Latin country? The term Latino encompasses people from over 20 nations and cultures. So does MALC only have the interest of those who originate from Mexico in mind? Or is this another self inflicted stereotype and for some reason MALC believes that everyone who immigrates, legally or illegally, to the US is of Mexican descent? Come on guys for being State Representatives it looks like you guys didn't think this through. The name of your group tells your constituents that you only care about those of Mexican Descent so Latinos who are not of Mexican descent might feel like you are not representing them properly. Are they going to have to get a caucus for every nationality and ethnic group? That sounds like a lot of work just to get represented properly by those who they elected to represent them in the first place.

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