Snapshots

Fear and Failure in Arizona » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

When you rarely win, you learn not expect much. I never considered myself poor but when I was growing up I never remember my parents telling me that I was going to college or encouraging me to enter a profession. Indeed, when I would read my maternal grandmother who I loved dearly would say, “Hijito, no léas tanto, te vas a volver loco! (Son, don’t read so much, you are going to go crazy!)

It was only later that I learned that my grandmother, like many others, instinctively did not want to raise my hopes too high and get hurt. What was the purpose of reading if it was not going to put food on the table?

This scenario was played out in many ways. My grandfather, a janitor with the Southern Pacific (SP) roundhouses in Tucson and Los Angeles, got angry with my uncle for not taking his advice and remaining a laborer and becoming a machinist apprentice.

My grandfather knew our limits in this country and knew that my uncle would be the first Mexican American machinist if he made it through the system. What would happen if his hopes were too high and proved to be false?

Throughout my life, these situations played out thousands of times. I remember talking to an African American mother and telling her that her son was very bright and that she should encourage him to read.

The woman shrugged her shoulders and said, “He’s a big kid, he’ll do well in sports.”

My experiences can be multiplied in the thousands. Hence I was not too surprised at the reaction of many Tucsoneses to the news that the Unitary Plan ordered by Federal Judge David C. Bury had been delayed by two to seven weeks.

Bury, a George W. Bush appointee to the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, granted Special Master Willis Hawley extra time to complete his plan which would mark the future of the education of Latinos in the Tucson Unified School District.

Normally, it would seem no big deal – two to seven weeks. But, this is a community under siege and the delay dashes high hopes that the Mexican American Studies program would be reinstated by the fall.

It delays the process which requires mandatory community forums.

Did the group have false expectations of success? Yes, they were probably expecting too much from the system.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: Fear and Failure in Arizona » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

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