Monday, February 24, 2003

Stories You Don't See

Recent media reports were breathless with the news: Latinos are the new biggest minority in America. Latinos have been surging all over the place -- in music, culture and now politics. But the big story of a few years ago has gone missing in the new Hispanic profile.

Back in 1998, California passed Proposition 227 which banned "bi-lingual" education in favor of teaching recent immigrant children in the school systems pure English. The uproar from educators and politicians was deafening. They argued that little brown children would be left behind.

Well, that turned out not to be the case. In fact, the results were so rapid, and so stunning, that the largest educational foe of Prop227 (and I forget his name as I write this) became a convert. He also was branded a traitor to education and his people. But he was right.

Now, politics is catching up. In this story from the Sacramento Bee, we learn of the recall drive that removed a school board member who opposed "English immersion" teaching, in the country's most Hispanic city!
Lopez, one of the California's most ardent advocates of bilingual education, was recalled by a 40-point margin in the most Spanish-speaking city in the United States.

While the issues in the race were many, the one underlying theme that drove the election was Lopez's dogged belief in the need to teach the children of Spanish-speaking immigrants in Spanish rather than English. Lopez was done in by his advocacy of a brand of politics that emphasizes ethnic identity over assimilation, separatism rather than inclusion....

Arturo Lomeli, a Santa Ana dentist who was born in Mexico and who is president of the Downtown Business Association, told the Los Angeles Times that he voted for the recall because he was convinced that Lopez was trying to re-create Mexico in Santa Ana.

"You don't come to the United States and say, 'I'd like to live in a city that looks like Mexico.' ... You want nice things. You don't get them with a Nativo Lopez," Lomeli said.
Couldn't have said it better myself. Black political leaders should pay attention.

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