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Jan. 13, 1997

By Mari Maldonado

Racial remarks make strong impact on youth

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A good friend brought in a Letter to the Editor published in a recent
issue of Low Rider Magazine.

When he first handed it to me I only read the midsection of it and,
although the essence of the letter itself merited attention, I didn't
realize at the time it was written by a former Pecos resident.

Anyhow, the letter was written by Alex Gonzales, who now lives in San
Antonio. The 20-year-old stated that at a young age he and his mother
moved to Pecos, where he attended elementary through high schools.

He continued that while in the sixth grade his teacher, which he named
in the letter, told him he, "would never amount to anything and that I
would end up picking cotton the rest of my life because it was a `white
world' and that I had to be white to succeed."

Let me see, he's 20 now, was probably 11, maybe 12 then...eight or nine
years ago...1988, maybe 1989.

I've heard about this sort of attitude toward minority students when my
mother was in school. It even existed during the early years of my
primary education, but I find it abhorrent that it persisted during the
last decade of the 21st Century and probably continues to destroy many
young lives.

"Well (teacher) this one is for you...(I) am currently pursuing a
degree in computer programming. For the record, I am proud of who I am
and for what I stand for. Being a Mexican-American in the '90s is hard,
but not impossible."

I think Mr. Gonzales holds a very healthy attitude. I'm just sorry he
had to experience the apparent attempt to shatter his dignity and self
esteem and carry it with him at such an early age and for so many years.

He obviously did well for himself and hopefully will continue to do so.

Mr. Gonzales' letter was entitled, "Education is the Key". This is so
true, but also in the sense that part of this man's determination was
sparked by a figure in "education" imposing such a negative attitude on
his being.

It bothers me, however, to think of how many other Hispanic or other
minority children don't endure because they take to heart what a teacher
or other influential figure told them at such a cogent point in their

Although Pecos' population is primarily Hispanic, I see hints of racism
here and there. Always have.

It doesn't bother me anymore, for I figured out that nobody chooses to
be ignorant.

I was extremely antisocial for a good while and it took me a long time
to break out of a shell that was put there by the many stares, scowls
and comments by persons who didn't have the faintest idea of the impact
their actions had - or maybe they did.

My brief college experience really helped to completely break the

I struggled but I finally understood that I am who I am and other
people will just have to learn to live with it.

I'd like to thank Viso Natividad for bringing the letter to my
attention. It made for a very important column topic.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mari Maldonado is an Enterprise reporter whose column
appears each Monday.


Stop slide now to easy killing

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On Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court (took up) the weightiest moral
issue since Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion: Is it acceptable for a
physician to help a patient commit suicide? The answer, quite simply, is

... Opposition to euthanasia is inevitable for those who believe that
only God is empowered to take away innocent life. But it is also shared
by those who fear the social implications of moral flexibility. They
believe that when an erstwhile taboo is declared acceptable behavior, it
can soon afterward become normal, even desirable.

... But, most of all, opponents fear the proverbial slippery slope: the
slide from terminally ill to chronically ill or merely old; from
unendurable physical pain to mental anguish; from voluntary to
involuntary euthanasia.

Anyone who doubts that this slide is possible should study the history
of euthanasia in the Netherlands. Although it began with the same noble
intentions less than 20 years ago, it is now practiced on patients who
are not dying, are in no pain and do not give their consent.

... God forbid American doctors should ever get that power.
-- Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle


Air bag mandate raises questions

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With the release of newly proposed air bag regulations, federal traffic
safety officials have acknowledged that air bag requirements imposed on
automakers more than a decade ago have since killed 32 children and 20

For this, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has
tentatively approved new regulations for less powerful air bag
deployment mechanisms and authorized auto dealers to disconnect air bags
entirely for car buyers who request it. Still further regulations aimed
at modifying motorist behaviors are pending.

It needs quickly saying that air bags are effective lifesaving devices
in head-on collisions. ...

That said, the underlying federal justification for mandated air bags -
that they save many more lives than they take - is presumptuous and
invites congressional review of the policy. Even accepting federal
estimates that air bags have saved 1,700 lives while taking only 52, the
appropriateness of the mandate is questionable on its face. ...
-- The Greenville (S.C.) News
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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