Scholarship Case Splits Minority CommunitiesThe court case...


November 26, 1994

Scholarship Case Splits Minority Communities

The court case attacking the Benjamin Banneker Scholarship Program -- Podberesky vs. University of Maryland -- can only be described as a tactic to create future racial divisiveness between the Latino and African-American communities.

Daniel J. Podberesky's parents stated the court case is a crusade against affirmative action programs that deny their son equal access to financial aid at the University of Maryland.

It is my opinion that the argument for equal access is part of a much larger agenda to bring division among two communities whose legacies have been inextricably tied to two major historical forces -- U.S. colonialism and white supremacy.

The Latino community must analyze this issue from a racial and historical context -- the historically divisive role of the Hispanic-European in the Latino community and how the media creates a reactionary Hispanic image that supposedly represents the political sentiments of all Latinos.

The Podbereskys exemplify the historical pattern of Hispanic-Europeans, who in their quest to seek favor with the European-American status quo, have continually undermined the attempts by Latinos of color to position themselves politically.

This pattern has political roots in the annexation of the west with the signing of the 1848 Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty, where in the )) territory of New Mexico, Mexicans of color were betrayed by those descendants of Spanish descent.

The Hispanic Europeans dissuaded and duped Mexicans, who are Spanish-speaking people of mixed Indian heritage, from organizing any resistance to the U.S. troops. The Hispanic Europeans were rewarded with political positions in the territorial governments.

Even to this day, those who call themselves "Hispanos" make a clear racial distinction between themselves and those of Mexican-Indian descent.

In another major episode, the establishment of the state constitution of California, the U.S. occupiers only allowed those Spanish-speaking residents of European descent to participate in the political process.

Mexicans of Indian or African descent were not allowed to vote and remained disenfranchised until the establishment of California as a state.

. . . To represent the views and serve as the spokespersons of the so-called "Hispanic" community, the English-language media has repeatedly turned to conservative Hispanic Europeans such the former U.S. Senate candidate and television political analyst Linda Chavez.

Ms. Chavez has publicly stated that she is of Spanish-European descent and her ancestors were in the U.S. before the Europeans aboard the Mayflower.

Her ancestors were part of the "conquistador" class of Spaniards who managed to maintain racial purity and have historically distinguished themselves from the Mexicans and other Latinos of mixed Indian and African descent.

The majority of Latinos in the United States are people of color.

There has been very little effort to present a balanced view of the Latino community's political opinions except for those of the Hispanic-European.

Even in the Spanish-language press you will find that the images shaped are those of the Hispanic-European.

Where are the voices of the Latino community on issues that are irresponsible and divisive?

. . . There will be a backlash which will unjustly accuse Latinos of destroying a program which is designed to provide limited reparations to the African-American community for past racist admissions practices at the University of Maryland.

Latinos of color are in a no-win situation and are again the unwitting pawns of a white supremacist strategy of divide and conquer.

Mr. Podberesky's decision to file suit does not have the interest of the majority of the Latino community at heart. It is only an opportunistic attempt to mock the awkward efforts of the University of Maryland to affirmatively address its past racial problems.

It is a monumental insult to the Latino community for Mr. Podberesky to use his son's partial Latino heritage to attack the affirmative action policies of the university and to create the illusion of discrimination against other "minority groups."

Chris Rodriguez


Tax Change Benefits the Middle Class

I would like to respond to the analysis in William E. Norton's Nov. 19 letter.

* Capital gains tax reduction: As a professional tax preparer, I believe that Mr. Norton would be surprised at the number of middle-class taxpayers who indicate investment activity on their income tax returns.

More numerous middle-class individuals have an interest through their participation in employee stock option plans or pension plans which invest the contributions and earn capital gains.

As far as the point concerning capital losses on homes, the tax laws currently do not allow the deduction of losses on the sale of your residence. Thus any change in capital gains tax rates would moot.

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