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Harvard Chicano

January 04, 1991

Ruben Navarrette's column "Am I Mexican Enough for the Role That Society Has Assigned Me?" (Opinion, Dec. 23) is an experience most U.S. Mexicans and probably other Third World minorities can identify with.

The colonization of Mexico by Spain and other European countries preconditioned Navarrette's ancestors and parents to be subservient and submissive to light-skinned people. Consequently, when they're confronted with white racism in the U.S., they accept it and negate their ethnicity and culture as a survival tactic. This denial of being Mexican and its culture is further impacted by undocumented parents whose fear of being deported forces them to prompt their children with "don't say you're Mexican. Tell everyone you're an American citizen, don't challenge the autoridades ."

Contrast this subservient attitude of Mexicans to that of African-Americans who have fought for their identity and instruct their children to demand justice. The ultimate damage of this conditioning to the U.S. Mexican community is our low-key, non-threatening politicians who won't confront the autoridades on our behalf.

A racist society that is intolerant and non-accepting of the human rainbow creates shallow, insecure and emotionally weak people who further weaken society's fabric. Rejection by the dominant group drives them to join gangs in their desperate need for identity and a sense of belonging.

Every race has its own unique beauty and the truer one is to that beauty, the more exotic and desirable one is. When a human being is proud of his ethnicity and culture, he radiates beauty and self-worth and is a joy to be around. If a person is made to feel inferior, different and unworthy, he acts accordingly.

Yes, Ruben, we should all strive to be true to our origins so as to compliment, contrast and ultimately blend into the great masterpiece humanity was meant to be.

AL BELMONTEZ

VIRGINIA READE

Mexican-American Political Assn.

South Gate

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