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Friend of Curie LSC Chair speaks out

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Mitchell Column: Curie fiasco reveals growing rift between blacks, Hispanics

Frank Avila claims Tom Ramos is getting a bum rap. Ramos is the local school council chairman at Curie High School, where the Hispanic-majority board voted twice to oust Jerryelyn Jones, an African-American principal who has led Curie for eight years. Avila, a lawyer and fierce Daley critic, called me last week to rant about how Ramos is being portrayed in the media.

"One of the most unfair things about this is they are trying to turn this into a racial incident," Avila said. "This man's wife came to me and said she couldn't handle all of this stress."

Usually, I dread those types of calls. But I was eager to have a conversation with Avila.

As one of the attorneys for Aaron Patterson -- the South Side man who was released from Death Row, only to end up back in prison charged with other crimes -- I didn't think Avila would bite his tongue.

If anyone ought to understand why race is often a subtext to larger issues -- whether it's police brutality or school funding -- it ought to be him.

More important, Avila is part of the fragile coalition between blacks and browns that is threatened by the racial accusations.

I really did want to hear what he had to say about the fallout from Jones' dismissal.

Although Jones won't say her ouster was racially motivated, there is still the perception that the Hispanic voting bloc didn't renew her contract so that they could give the job to a Hispanic.

Arellano comparison wrong
The perception has unleashed a barrage of anti-immigration sentiments, with people calling into talk radio shows and sending e-mails bashing Ramos and other Curie board members.

"I remember the '60s when the black community embraced the Spanish community because the black community 'felt their pain,' " said one reader in an e-mail. "Now the table has turned and only the Mayor and immigration can fix this mess."

Some of this negativity can be traced to the frustration that builds when people can't talk openly about race.

And if Jones were white, there likely wouldn't have been such media scrutiny of her firing since a number of white principals were fired by predominantly black councils at the beginning of school reform.

But the strained interactions between African Americans and Hispanics is an anomaly. Although both groups have been oppressed, they haven't formed a solid coalition based on mutual respect.

For instance, a lot of African Americans were disgusted when Elvira Arellano, an illegal immigrant, compared her plight to that of blacks during the civil rights movement.

I couldn't blame them.

Although immigration laws should be reformed to allow illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, there's no way back in the day that a sister would have been allowed to hole up in a church for four months when the law was looking for her.

'It wasn't a front-page s'
Then there's the competition for jobs. Although so many blacks have been locked out of the trade unions over the years that the Chicago Urban League now considers it a civil rights issue, Hispanics have had easier access.

Unemployed black workers aren't blind. They see who's on the construction sites. They also understand that while they have been written out of Chicago's economic picture, skilled Hispanic laborers are welcome.

So the longer this Curie matter drags on, the uglier the talk is going to get.

"This has only increased the tensions among African Americans and Hispanics," Avila said.

"I think it's unnecessary. Even if the LSC was wrong in your opinion or in the mayor's opinion, they didn't do anything illegal," Avila said. "It wasn't a front-page story."

A self-described activist, Avila recalled words he attributed to the Rev. Jesse Jackson when Jackson formed his Rainbow Coalition:

"He said blacks and Hispanics should not be fighting for crumbs," Avila told me.

"We're fighting over Curie's principal when there are over-arching issues of education, like school funding. By fighting over one principal, we are taking a small piece of the pie when a huge feast is on the table."

But this isn't about one principal.

The Curie fight over who will be the school's next principal shows how far African Americans and Hispanics have to go.

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47 Comments

"Although immigration laws should be reformed to allow illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, there's no way back in the day that a sister would have been allowed to hole up in a church for four months when the law was looking for her"
"Why should a law breaking person from another land get rewarded for their crime?? And a person in Colubia lets say waiting legally, never gets the call.You want them, and want to support them? Take em in your house then. Its ironic to me this whole Curie thing. White people get ousted from positions all day because they need to make room for a minority. Now that a black is feeling the same oust, there is an up-roar from our lowly disgusting,media?? Where is Daley when a white teacher can never even have a shot at principal ,simply becuase they are white?? Get used to it Mary and all blacks, you want illegals here? This is what happens when millions pour in and produce off spring that are legal. They run the show now, a new stronger minority is born. Family or no family they put themselves in this position (illegals) send them all back a bus at a time. Blacks had their window of time , now the Illegals are demanding the same window....Funny how they can demand things here for the better, but at home they did'nt demand anything of that weak corrupt goverment.

Several of my workers are hispanic and they do talk openly about the differences between the issues facing hispanics and blacks. Bottom line is that they see many more differences than similarities between the two groups. First and foremost, they believe their overall value system and family structure is dramatically different (their words) and everything begins from there.
I think this also comes out at the broader level when you see "leaders" speak out on issues. It is always Rep Guitierrez speaking out on issues facing Hispanics (immigration, etc) and black leaders speaking out on issues facing the black community. Very seldom if ever do you see someone speak out on issues facing both groups even though there are many.

OOps I said "minority" in my blog refering to illegals, I meant majority. They are not the minority in the populice of Chicago, but neither are African americans.

Black and Hispanics fight under the table about who has suffered the worst discrimination. Meanwhile, the Hispanic community rolls up there sleeves and take the personal initiative to better their life. The black community listens to how jesse jackson or al sharpton have plans to better the black community; and then blames everybody else, including hispanics, for a lack of improvement.
As they say, lead by example, the hispanic community is running away with the minority spotlight.

I see nothing wrong with the council at Currie wanting a black principal replaced by a latino principal. The school is majority latino so they should have a latino principal. That same logic is used at black schools when they dump a non black principal. So I guess what goes around comes around. My advice to the school council at Currie and to the parents of Currie students is to stand firm and not back down from the race hustlers who are trying to demonize them.

Avila says that the LSC didn't do anything illegal, so dumping Jones was OK. He's right, but Jones is a good prinicpal, well-liked by her students.

Several members of the LSC did not even understand what Jones said in her statement to them because they don't speak English, and a translator was conveniently missing. Why didn't those council members ask for a translation? Didn't they want to know what this woman had to say about their children and the school? The answer of course is "no" -- they didn't want to know what she said. This may have all been legal, but it certainly wasn't fair, and it certainly isn't setting a very good example for the kids.

Jones will easily be able to find another job. That school will now be served by a board who can't even take the time to learn the English language, or demand to understand the complete picture when making decisions about their kids. The kids lose.

I do think Tom Ramos is getting a bad rap in this respect. There are OTHER board members at Curie, also. So why only focus on him? Besides, if he feels more comfortable wanting a hispanic principal in charge of hispanic students, why does that make him evil? Nobody called black school board members evil who insisted that it had to be a black principal in charge of black children. Even though well-qualified whites were axed as a result. Hey, I got an idea. Why don't the papers write more about the REAL non-sense some school boards have done. Write about the time the Englewood High School board gave awards to the Black Gangstra street-gang and a guy whose sitting in prison for putting eight bullets in a man's head (Larry Hoover). Yet, lo and behold, this same neighborhood would have a couple of innocent children murdered later on by drive-by shootings. Maybe the papers need to ask the city fathers some real curious questions concerning the Chicago system. Like how come they lack alot of opportunities for the children as far as math, science, music, and the art clubs go in alot of areas. Sighting money problems. But they seem to find money to send a basketball team to England (Prosser) to play games and another one to New York City (Simeon) to play. By the way, if African-Americans are angry the principal at Curie was let go, maybe they should ask the hispanic community how they felt when Alderwoman Emma Mitts said, "there's always alot of rats around cans and dumpsters when you have latino's in the area." Or when Alderwoman Dorthey Tillman said, "the Voting Rights Act pertains to African-Americans, not those mexicans." I'm sure they felt a little bitter to say the least. Like I said in another post, what we have is the hispanic community waking up politically. And that's their right.

"...there's no way back in the day that a sister would have been allowed to hole up in a church for four months when the law was looking for her."

Back in the day there wouldn't have been dozens of news agencies, cameras, and reporters waiting in front of that church ready to air at the slightest movement of either the holed up hermana (Latinas are sisters too) or local law enforcement. Back in the day Ms. Arellano would have forcefully been removed from that church like any sister from back in yourday. Cameras negate police action and brutality; as a sister you should know that.

Furthermore, how many Latino's were murdered, incarcerated and/or brutalized at the border during the Arellano saga? She may have been holed up safely within the church walls, but hundreds of my sisters and brothers suffered at the hands of over-zealous vigilantes and crippling foreign policies.

"Unemployed black workers aren't blind. They see who's on the construction sites. They also understand that while they have been written out of Chicago's economic picture, skilled Hispanic laborers are welcome."

Unemployed Latino workers aren't blind either. They see who's in City/County employment. They see the staggering difference between employed blacks and employed Latinos in City and County government. They see that blacks hold a majority (over Latinos) of the assistant, mid-level management and executive levels of management positions within City employment; the widest gap being at the mid and executive levels of Management (ex. Stroger, Jr. takes Stroger, Sr.s’ position then gives well paying Executive position within County to member of family). They see black alderman empowering the black constituents of their ward while doing nothing to empower the Latino constituent. My point: since blacks have an upper hand on these jobs and a Latino’s can’t gain employment through the City without someone claiming it as an HDO hiring, then all we have left is construction.

"And if Jones were white, there likely wouldn't have been such media scrutiny of her firing since a number of white principals were fired by predominantly black councils at the beginning of school reform."

What's good for the Goose must be good for the Gander!

"This is what happens when millions pour in and produce off spring that are legal. They run the show now, a new stronger minority is born. Family or no family they put themselves in this position (illegals) send them all back a bus at a time."

That's right Tim, and we are only getting stronger by taking back what is rightfully ours - the WESTERN HEMISPHERE.

Please be reminded Tim – we had to cross a river to get here while Europeans, Africans, Asians and everyone else had to cross an Ocean.

Mitchell comment:

As a sister, what I know is that news cameras were trained on the civil rights marchers in the South--marchers who were set upon by police dogs and fire hoses. Those images were captured and broadcast around the world. So no, the cameras don't always negate police action.



Notwithstanding the injustice in the firing of the Curie principal, I strongly believe in and stand by the Local School Council's ability to perform its functions in the Chicago Public Schools.

However, there needs to be another governing body to appeal to when the LSC errors in any way; not arbitration.

John,

You're the only who's making any sense here. And let me add along with City and County jobs, the CTA is practically a monopoly also.

this principal who got fired can get a job ANYWHERE she wants - with 25 years experience. i don't see why anyone feels sorry for her. she's in a better position than i am. and i HAVE a job.

This is off topic, but did anyone catch the video on Fox this morning of that off duty cop beating up a female bartender at a bar on the northwest side? That's almost as bad as that guy who robbed and beat up a 101 year old woman in New York.

If she was fired because of her race it probably was illegal and Avila should know that. Both federal and state law prevent a firing based on race.

Mitchell comment:

Firing someone because of their race, or age or gender is illegal. But people don't usually come out and say someone isn't being hired or fired for one of those reasons. That's why what's happening at Curie High School is interesting. Because LSC's don't have to give any reason for not renewing a principal's contract, they are open to allegations that the dismissal was based on race under these kind of circumstances.

If having a Black mayor didn't help Blacks in detroit, how is it going to help Curie students if they have a Spanish-speaking principal. You might get a chuckle and a pat on the shoulder from White people who are happy to see Blacks "finally get theirs" but the truth is that this entire nation is hostile to Spanish-speakers right now. The majority may tolerate the expulsion of a non Spanish-speaking black principal but they will not tolerate Spanish speakers moving in on their "turf".

The majority strictly opposes measures to make accommodations for Spanish speakers; they do not want public documents or signs printed in Spanish, nor will they tolerate their public officials speaking in Spanish. In the end, the majority knows that measures like these will serve only to handicap both Blacks and Hispanics. The replacement of non Spanish-speaking Blacks will be tolerated. Infiltration of the Spanish language into the greater society will not be allowed. This will result in further isolation for both groups.

I find it so interesting, "RACIAL INEQUITIES" how ironic about your 2 groups. Demanding this and that, crying foul when it suits
you. Its to bad, so sad, boo hoo. Speaking as a REAL American, my ancestors were slaughtered, had there land stolen, many many Govt.
lies. Put in concentration camps called reservations, had their religion and culture decimated, nearly wiping us off the planet.
This is RACISM, not the firing of some principal. Now can we move on to something more important, like, reparations for Native American Indians. Yeah like that will happen?!!!

In his book, The Devaluing of America (1994), Dr Bennet speaks of Education Heroes, pp. 79-81. One of these three heroes is John Murphy, superintendant at Prince Georges District, the fifteen largest district in the nation, Washignton D.C., who by all accounts had done remarkable educational accomplishments. Dr. Bennet is obviously furious that Mr. Murphy had to be let go in order to make room for a black superintendant. In 1983 Blacks and Hispanics came together to hand Harold Washignton a victory. That was good. Such is the art of politics. The 1988 school reform act established the LSC, giving parents, community members and teachers the power to hire and fire principals and approve discretionary budgets, among other things. LSC was also sought after by activists as an alternative tool to disegregation. School age children need leaders in the schools that they can relate to; although, it is not a necessary condition. Because the education system in CPS is majority minority, these political issues tend to "pit a group" against the other. I agree with Mr. Avila that we, Blacks and Hispanics tend to do best when we come together. The inuendos, insults, and other race related issues tend to take an unncessary ugly turn; thereby, not needed. We have more in common than we have differences. Consider this: only 9 percent of all African slave cargo came to what is now known as the USA. The other 91 percent went to the Caribean, South, and Central America. Regardless of where they found themselves in the end, they suffered.

Mary, I know that you spend most of your column talking about life in this big city, and I must congratulate you on the things you write about. I know where you come from and I too was born in that era. I come from 51st and Prairie Ave, where I lived most of my life, with my 7 brothers and sisters, and being raised by a single mother, who worked at the Avenue Hotel on 50th Street. This intro is let you know what you already know about us kids who were raised in that era. I too used to catch the jidneys down King Drive to Dunbar High School, and played up under the "L" tracks for fun. How I had friends that lived in the Projects and how much fun it was to go and visit and ride the elevators to the 16th floor, and watch the garbage as it went down the incinerator, and you wondered where it went. How much fun your neighborhood was even though there were winos and prostitutes, and pimps. But you just took that as a sign of everyday life in your neighborhood and you knew that was not what you wanted. I am writing to you to tell you something that I did not realize but was a part of for so many years. I am waiting to go see the movie "Pride". It is, I know a very good and true story. I have not seen this movie yet and you wonder how I know this will be a great movie? It is because me and other kids who went to the Y.M.C.A. on 50th and Indiana back in the late 60's and early 70's experienced every bit of the movie. You see, we were the only Black Swim team on the inner south side. We had a coach "Herbert Cobbs", who took the time to teach us , train us, and instill the will to win at something that we were not supposed to win at. I remember being the only black swim team and going to compete against the white suburban YMCA's swimmers. We competed in places like Downers Grove, Il and Countryside YMCA's. We went to swim meets in most of the white suburbs to compete against other teams. Now mind you, we were inner city Ghetto kids, so that is to say we were not very nice and mannerly when you turned your head. We got into some mischief as this movie will portray. The experience was what was rewarding. Also you got to go to places that in that era, black people were far and few. It was away from the hood, and that in itself was exciting. the movie wil show some racial parts of prejudice, as well as some of the stranges looks from white people, you will ever see. We were only 12 and 13 or maybe even 14 years old at that time, but we knew we were special. I will be seeing this movie tomorrow, and I believe it will give me my sense of Pride, again. I suggest to you to see it and know that there is a movie that really tells the truth, of how a experience in one era can stay with you the rest of your life. Just ask The Bertrands, the Langdon Neals, and some of the most prominent african american families in Chicago whose kids were part of out swim team. They will tell you that just as in Philadelphia, we had Pride in Chicago too. I just really wanted to say Thank you Coach Cobbs, a black man who took kids who were supposed to be "bad" and instilled something good and Prideful in us. That is really who this letter is for. He was the father for some of us who was not raised by one. I grew up to be a Lifeguard all the way to Lifeguard Instructor with the Chicago Park District for many years. I now live in another city, but I just had to tell somebody this story, and Mary, I figured it might as well be you "home girl"

Respectfully, Marshall


Mitchell comment:

I'm planning on taking my grandson to see the movie this weekend.

What is the voting percentage of Hispanics ( in particular Mexicans) in Chicago?

Mexicans can complain all day everyday about what they aren't getting but most don't vote.
If they do it is rarely for Black candidates.

Can ANYONE recall a Mexican leader even suggest a coalition with the Black community, for any reason, under any circumstance?

It never happens.

Yes once upon a time, Guiterrez (a Puerto Rican)voiced a need to coalesce with Blacks but in recent years he has abandoned that stance and is most noteably consistently vocal in favor of rights for illegal (mostly Mexican)immigrants.

Mexicans in particular have benefitted from the civil rights struggle waged by Blacks(and for that I have no problem) but they continuously tell Blacks (by their non acknowledgement or embrace) "you ain't got nothing coming...from us"

I think Blacks should just reconize the reality of what they have been trying to convey.

Mexicans are all about themselves.

Spend any time during work hours in the same setting with two Mexicans ( with yourself being the third person)
They will most always speak exclusively in Spanish.

Let me conclude by saying ultimately they most likely did her a favor by her dismissal.

Marshall,

Speaking as a Mexican born, naturalized U.S. citizen, I completely agree with your assessment of the narrow-minded view of most of the Mexican community in Chicago. However, not all Mexicans are like that. There are some of us that do acknowledge and are thankful for the struggles of Blacks during the civil rights era and would love it if there were a true and equal coalition that can kick out the Daley mafia (Hispanic Democratic Organization) out of office for good.

One question I have for you and everybody is, what's this hangup about people wanting to speak Spanish or about Mexicans not wanting to fully assimilate? What's wrong with wanting to retain our culture? We are not the same as Europeans that came to this country in the early 1900's. We are not white and are reminded of this by everybody every day.

Irish, Italian, Polish and all other Eureopean immigrants came to this country and could easily hide their native origins (willingly) because of the color of their skin. Most even changed their names to sound more American. Even if Mexicans try to change their names, there's no mistaking their Mexican-ness.

I'm sure it's the same for Blacks who fall for the American dream as well. Go to the wrong neighborhood, and you are reminded that white Americans are more equal than non-white Americans.

BTW, I too cannot stand Luis Gutierrez or any Hispanic/Latino politician from Chicago because most are Daley's puppets.

I believe the Curie incident highlights the sentiment that African Americans have done the difficult work, and Hispanics have not paid their "dues", but are reaping the benefits.

I read an article about African Americans working in the farm raised catfish industry somewhere in the South. African Americans felt that they have worked hard to obtain proper respect and wages that allowed them to live on and raise their family. In some cases Hispanics were taking these low wage positions at an even lower wage and African Americans felt that all of the hard work that they had accomplished in the past was slowly eroding.

To my knowledge the Hispanic culture is a very diverse community where in some cases there are just as many differences between different ethnic Hispanic groups as there are between African Americans and Mexicans for example. Even in some Hispanic cultures dark skinned Hispanics are treated differently in the USA than the way they would have been be treated in their country, and this by other Hispanics. That treatment usually is not positive. I assume that a dark skinned Hispanic or a Hispanic who was born and raised in the USA, but speaks little Spanish would also be an acceptable replacement? How about a mixed raced Hispanic who is 1/2 Hispanic and 1/2 English, or is that person English?

I personally don’t buy the Hispanic can serve the school better angle for the termination, and in my opinion Mr. Ramos does not have the schools best intentions in mind. Look at how this has divided the school, and it will probably only get worse during the appeal. From what I have read in the papers Mr. Ramos and his attachment to the school sounds a little out of whack to me, but maybe I am a little too cynical.

Does this mean that teachers of Native American, German, Haitian, Irish or of a decent other than Black, White and Hispanic have very little or no chance of becoming a principal in Chicago? What happened to a diverse workforce and equality for all? It seems to me that Chicago should be taking the time to retain the great leaders at all cost regardless of the make up of the student body, and the staff at the school.

Why would anyone want a change if the person has provided positive results for the school? I don’t know the background of the previous cases, but usually if it “ain’t broke” you don’t try to fix it. It is very sad that it has come to African Americans vs. Hispanics. I think what upsets me the most is the thought that because we are both "minorities" we should have more in common than differences. Comments like that sound very arrogant and narrow minded to me. I don't have any whites that work for me so I can't ask their opinion on this subject

No one understands why prosperity seems to elude many African Americans, but all ethnic groups have some type of issue that they just can not seem to get past. I personally don’t blame anyone for our “lack of improvement” and I never want to be in the “minority spotlight”, but I would like to be able to get a taxi after midnight in your great city of Chicago, Washington DC, or other metro areas without blaming others for my lack of success.

You people are all a mess. Immigrants coming here for handouts these days, not a "chance at a dream"...its different. Sure, mexicans work hard, but, having so many kids overburdens and offsets what you actually pay into the tax system.

MAybe you can stop sending so much money home, and start paying taxes like good citizens.


both latinos and african americans need to get their acts together. productive citizens know that simply handing more of their tax dollars over to social welfare programs and schools is not going to counter the bad cultural practices of both groups. ITs to the point in cook county that it is not worth living here. Too many lazy people not paying their child support, taxes, and overbudening the schools. If you make $40,000 or less, than you have no business living in this area and sticking others with your costs.

And, then filing multiple bankruptcies. Most individual bankruptcies are filed by african americans. most of the violent street crimes are caused by mexican-latino gangs, and of course, african americans.

It is cleary a cultural problem, not a socio-economic one. You people ahve little- to no work ethic.

Mexicans need to make social change at home, and remove gang affiliation from their list of cultural values.

Balcks, well, you need a politician who will tell you get a work ethic, and stop tolerating violence as a cultural value. It amazes me how so-called black leaders defend this kid who beat that poor white kid for his cell phone in the park, how these black teens kill each other over a basketball game...what gives? This isnt about poverty. Its cultural. Plenty of poor people arent violent.

But, in cook county, the perpetrator becomes the victim.\

Single parents may be "bone-tired" at the end of their day, but, they need to energy-up and motivate, find that work ethic, and turn off American Idol, and make your kids do homework all evening. No excuses, its about work ethic.

thats what white people in wilmette do.

To John Jenkins, I am just curious as to how you know how the "majority" thinks. It sounds like you are lumping all white people into one group and saying we all think alike, which is racist. As for a black principal being dumped by a latino school council, deal with it. Welcome to the world of "diversity" that us white people have to deal with all the time. BTW, Micha Eatman, one of the three criminals who beat that kid in Beverly Park last summer was found guilty of all counts except for attempted murder. He can receive up to 7 years in prison. Also, I read about this verdict in the March 23rd edition of the Daily Southtown and I would like to commend the people who came to the victim's aid and probably saved his life. I would also like to commend the people, as the article says, who surveyed and followed these three criminals when they entered the park, before they committed this violent crime. The article says an off duty cop saw them from his frontyard and got into his car and followed them, as well as two high school kids who followed them in their car as well. The prosecutor in the case even commended the Beverly community for being vigilant and watchful and for saving the victim's life and for chasing down the suspects after this happened. This makes me proud to have grown up in the Beverly-Mt. Greenwood area. And if anyone on this blog is from that area you should be proud as well of the way your community rallied to this innocent victim's defense.

To John Jenkins, I am just curious as to how you know how the "majority" thinks. It sounds like you are lumping all white people into one group and saying we all think alike, which is racist. As for a black principal being dumped by a latino school council, deal with it. Welcome to the world of "diversity" that us white people have to deal with all the time. BTW, Micha Eatman, one of the three criminals who beat that kid in Beverly Park last summer was found guilty of all counts except for attempted murder. He can receive up to 7 years in prison. Also, I read about this verdict in the March 23rd edition of the Daily Southtown and I would like to commend the people who came to the victim's aid and probably saved his life. I would also like to commend the people, as the article says, who surveyed and followed these three criminals when they entered the park, before they committed this violent crime. The article says an off duty cop saw them from his frontyard and got into his car and followed them, as well as two high school kids who followed them in their car as well. The prosecutor in the case even commended the Beverly community for being vigilant and watchful and for saving the victim's life and for chasing down the suspects after this happened. This makes me proud to have grown up in the Beverly-Mt. Greenwood area. And if anyone on this blog is from that area you should be proud as well of the way your community rallied to this innocent victim's defense.

So far the only objective indication I've seen that there's racism involved is the fact that the removed principle is black and, those that fired her are not black. That's just not enough to make a case of racism in my opinion and until something more concrete is presented to make the case, it's nothing more than a personality clash or a bad decision by otherwise well meaning people.

If the booted principle is as good as her supporters claim she is, she'll find another position to continue her work. I just can't see the problem at this point with a LSC exercising it's prerogative. If there was a pattern of racial dismissals there might be something more to be said but I haven't seen it reported any place that I've looked.

Until then, I just don't know why local people can't be allowed to do what they're elected to do. In other words, if there's racism involved, prove it. It hasn't been proved yet that I can see.

First off lets just put it out there that the majority of Latinos oppose illegal immigration just as any other citizen does. People who sacrificed and came here legally are more likely to resent those that do not. The whole Arellano thing is a joke. She should have been deported immediately. She put herself in that situation by being a criminal and disregarding the law. I sympathize but she understood the risk she was taking and knew she was breaking the law.

2. Blacks are not the only people that waged the civil rights movement. We have pretty short memories don't we? Jewish people in particular helped and in some cases, paid the ultimate price. Yet, they are often the target of Black anger.

3. Why does the Latino Community have to offer a coalition of any kind? The recipe to a decent life is really pretty simple. Life is sometimes very unfair. Sometimes you have to work twice as hard as the next guy to get ahead. Unfair? Yes but it is a reality. No one in this world is going to tell me what I can and cannot accomplish. I will accomplish it. I do not need a combination of Jesse Jackson and Luis Guiterrez to do it. If you can't live on the wages from one job, get a second job. My Father did, I did and still have a second job. In short, if you want your life to be better, take responsibility for it. Don't leave it to some Pastor or Politician that makes 10 times what you do and made thier money by strong arming deals for thier relatives and cronies.

4. The firing of a good principal, no matter what the race, is a disgrace. We have seen this in all communities. Unfortunately it was thier right to vote and replace her. I wish her the best.

5. Yeah, I can see the point that was brought up about "setting with 2 Mexicans, they will always speak Spanish". Anyone remember the push for "Ebonics"? Or as I like to call it, improper English. I'm sorry I forgot, that falls under the category of culture. Let's not cast stones.

6. We all have problems. White folks have to deal with Affirmitive action to correct a problem they did not create. They were not alive. Blacks have to deal with the lasting effects of slavery and racism, Latinos have to deal with the stigma of illegal immigration. Instead of people taking responsibility for thier own lives, we seek blame. After all it is easier to blame someone else for your lot in life.


“You're the only who's making any sense here. And let me add along with City and County jobs, the CTA is practically a monopoly also.”

James – Thank You!

I couldn't go by without rebutting Amirah:

"Mexicans in particular have benefited from the civil rights struggle waged by Blacks(and for that I have no problem) but they continuously tell Blacks (by their non acknowledgement or embrace) "you ain't got nothing coming...from us"

Amirah - the Civil Rights movement was NOT waged by blacks alone nor was it a fight to claim rights for blacks only. This was a revolution against a systematic attack against ALL PEOPLE who were not White or Male. Although the face of the movement came from leaders such as Malcolm, King, and Evers you do the entire movement a disservice by not acknowledging what made the movement succeed - THE PEOPLE. People of all genders, cultures and races came together to fight the social injustices levied by the US government (Federal & State).

It wasn't called the black struggle; it is known as the Civil Rights movement. At the same time the Panthers were fighting for the rights of blacks in Oakland, the Brown Beret's (pre-dominantly Mexican) were fighting for all minority (brown and black) rights in Southern California, the Young Lords (pre-dominantly Puerto Rican) were fighting for all minority rights (again Brown and Black) in New York, Boston and right here in Chicago.

When you say "Mexicans in particular have benefited from the civil rights struggle waged by Blacks" (this is an opinion held by a majority of blacks I have debated with) then follow it with "Mexicans are all about themselves" it makes me wonder who is really all about themselves...Latinos who are trying to succeed in this nation of black and white OR individuals such as yourself who believe blacks were the center of this important period of AMERICAN history, while everyone else piggybacked the cause.

"Can ANYONE recall a Mexican leader even suggest a coalition with the Black community, for any reason, under any circumstance?"

I ask, can YOU recall a black leader suggest a coalition with the Latino community? If so, please enlighten me. As I have already mentioned, the Latino community has always been prepared to assist in the struggle. In reality, blacks in general (not all, but a wide majority) have never supported the Latino community in our efforts to grow politically, economically, and socially. This very issue [Jones’ firing] is case in point to the growing animosity blacks have towards a Latino community empowering itself.

Ms. Mitchell - to say "So no, the cameras don't always negate police action" logically suggests yes they do sometimes negate police action. Specific to Ms. Arellano, police action would have had the officer's overtaking a house of God. This, Ms. Mitchell, is not made for T.V.


Mary what's going on with you. You seem to be a scatter-brain in your columns. You're on all sides of an issue depending on which direction the wind blows. Case in point. You are for illegal immigration. You don't support building a fence or enforcing current immigration laws and you think somehow the illegals from Mexico are going to join hand in hand with you, the liberals and all minorities to brimg this utopia fo freedom and justice. WRONG! The illegals don't give a hoot about anyone else but their economic opportunities and MEXICO. Don't you understand the reason the reason for the Mexican flag at their demonstrations? Wake up Mary Mexicans only ally with blacks when it serves them. You need to get beyond fighting whitey and fight for America. After all you are American. I know our ancestors originated from Africa but our home is AMERICA.
Just think what's going to happen when there are 100 million illegals here.

to James: You know where I'm coming from. Tom Ramos is NOT the only Curie HS school board member. Others could have over-rode him. But they DIDN'T ! Hey, the new fad it seems like is everybody nit-picks when it comes to race. And 'cherry-picks'. You brought up the CTA. You know alot of the African-Americans are bringing up that mexicans get alot of the construction jobs. I think Mary even brought it up. So I'll ask this: How many of those mexican workers are actually union, have their card, got employed at the union hall? I'm not totally sure. But I do know two INDEPENDENT contractors and they've told me alot of these mexicans are non-union working at different INDEPENDENT construction sites for cheaper wages. And lets say they are in the union, then once again these African-Americans complaining need to ask the Democratic Party why? Because ALL (and I do mean ALL) of the union chiefs are people who work for, campaign, and are democratic party cadre and influence their policies. And James, here's a nit-pick and cherry-pick on my part. We all know about this off-duty policeman (thug) who beat-up that small WHITE lady bartender . The video has been shown on various talkshows. It was horrible. So I ask, "why aren't the usual protesting camera-seekers such as Rev. Jackson so quiet about this? Not a word. Hmmmm." James, had the bartender been black, do you really think Jackson would have been quiet? Or the columnists would still not be writing an article about it? The point-being, there are people (and there's probably no harm meant) who look at different controversies from different views. You brought up what indeed seems like a near-monopoly on CTA jobs. And a much higher then there percentage on Postal jobs. James, you got me thinking, so good reply.

Its sad that the 2 groups are at odds, but it is a product of normal anger displayed during the transition period when other groups move up in society. I would make the statement that their position is the same ones that afro-americans took when attemping to gain control of our own neighborhoods and financial futures. It appears that we are displaying the same anger and sense of entitlement that white america did when we moved into the post office, police force, fire department, cta and etc. Instead of focusing on 1 principle position at a school that has become mostly hispanic, we must move on to greater areas of responsibilites. After all everyone wants control of their own future.

to Amirah: You stated "Mexicans are all about themselves." You also stated mexicans feelings, in your view anyway , "you ain't got nothing coming...from us." I'm not a Mexican-American, so I can be neutral. So I'll ask you, "what would mexicans owe blacks?" Really, ALL people if there civic-minded should try to help others, regardless of race and origin, if and when they can. But nobody is owed nothing just because of what they are. Again, you said, "Mexicans are all about themselves." Guess what, there are an awful lot of non-blacks who may think that about blacks. Just like others think that about whites. I mean, again, take this little 120 pound WHITE lady bartender who was beaten to a pulp by that drunken 230 pound off-duty Chicago POLICEMAN. Do you what the one thing about this disgusting travesty that has struck me? People like Wallace 'Gator' Bradley and Mark Allen are always on Mary's and Lynn Sweet's Blog preaching 'police brutality' and 'community activism'. What a perfect format for them. I mean I'm waiting for Gator to say, "see, I told you so." I figured he'd be knocking the furniture over trying to get to the computer. Instead, NOT ONE WORD. Oh, I get it. Police brutality and rogue cops are no big thing if the victim is WHITE, or should we say not African-American. Jesse Jackson hasn't said a word, either. I guess its only wrong if the victim is black. So Amirah would you blame me if I thought blacks were only about themselves? Another example is that white boy with the bad heart in Beverly. Who was beaten by those three young blacks. The black activists, such as Jackson, never said a word. Would you tell me why? Not one word. And I know alot of whites who are asking, "why was the Clark beating in Bridgeport always on page one, but the results of this victim's trial only page twelve and everything is hushed?" So in closing, I would say all of us perhaps should step back and think first before we make allegations against another group. Because, you may not think so, but in the end, we are all nothing more then human beings and we are all in this together. Nobody is better than anybody else. No group has a 'halo' over its head.

Gee, whatever happened to hiring the best candidtate for a job w/o ANY reference or knowledge of their race? Professional ethnic hustlers just want job security but claim "discrimination based on race" whenever it suits them. Of course, they want to be preferred for jobs based on race.
How about doing the job right and choosing candidates based solely on their experience, their educationn and qualifications regarding education? These people need to put aside their "racial issues" and do what is in the best interest of the children, W./O regard to race of candidates or the children themselves.

Frank Avila has called for Black and Hispanic alliances many times and has done it. He and the worlds conversation starter Morgan Carter formed a group called BALA--the Black and Latino Alliance. Commissioner Avila Sr.'s victory was because of that alliance--Harold Washington--the best Mayor we ever had, Alderman and State Rep Juan Solis and there are others.

You have the bad alderman who are racist to Hispanics like Dorothy Tillman but you also have good alderman like Ted Thomas, Ed Smith, and others who treat their Hispanic constituents with respect and dignity as human beings.

Ramos deserves to be heard and this issue should be mediated by Rev. Jackson.

both ethnic groups need to surb your breeding. cook county taxes are increasing in order to cover the increased costs of this. If you have 5, 6 kids in the schools, who picks up the bill?

I reer to the tribune sunday article about the lady who chose not to abort her 6th kids. Good job...who pays for the day care? the food? the housing? not her, obviously. make rich white people from wilmette pay it, right?

subsidized day care, welfare, food card...when are you people going to catch up with the rest of us?

keep running up those credit cards, and file yet another bankruptcy.

On 3/20/07 Steuban wrote, "Black and Hispanics fight under the table about who has suffered the worst discrimination. Meanwhile, the Hispanic community rolls up there sleeves and take the personal initiative to better their life. The black community listens to how jesse jackson or al sharpton have plans to better the black community; and then blames everybody else, including hispanics, for a lack of improvement. As they say, lead by example, the hispanic community is running away with the minority spotlight." My response: What a racist, sterotypic, overly broad generalization and an outright lie! Regular everyday black people work hard everyday to improve the plight of black people, while at the same time being inclusive of other groups who are also marginalized in our society. It's people like Steuban who help to make this world an ugly place. If all black people did were sit around and wait for someone else to improve their condition, as Steuban states, they would still be in slavery or certainly still subject to Jim Crow. How disrespectful and ignorant it is to berate an entire race of people and to not acknowledge the historical sacrifices, including the ultimate sacrific, that blacks have made to obtain equality for all people of this nation, including Hispanics.

Jesus Garcia, a former state senator, supported the late Mayor Harold Washington.

As an Hispanic, I beleieve that EVERYONE needs to learn English & ENOUGH with catering to anybody in their own native tongue.
www.ReyFloresAmerica.com

"That's right Tim, and we are only getting stronger by taking back what is rightfully ours - the WESTERN HEMISPHERE.

Please be reminded Tim – we had to cross a river to get here while Europeans, Africans, Asians and everyone else had to cross an Ocean."

Um, that is not true, well not totally true, considering that Spanish is an imported language and Catholicism is an imported religion and that a lot of Mexico is very race based (what is a Mestizo and an Indian?).

The truth is that tthe principal was replaced because she was a problem for the school board, it was as simple as that. She did not make nice with them and she paid for that. I am sure that the president of the school board who led the charge to replace her has some other political aspirations (alderbug or a member of the state legislature) and so he is just learning how to play the game is all, exploiting racial ignorance and fears as well as significant portions of ethnocentricity for personal gain. That is the American way.

I guess that because it is so rare to come across a member of a legislative body who puts the good of the community above his own personal gain and greed, that is we do not believe that they exist, and find it easy to fall into the familiar traps of race baiting and ethnocentrism. It is almost certainly not for the goodd of the community that the principal was replaced, but then is it for the good of the community that people like Todd Stroger, Dorothy Tillman or Ed Burke are elected? Not really.

Are we going to ever get to doing what is really good for our community? What is our community?

Why have many of the folks weighing in on this topic failed to mention that the ousted principal (who happens to be African-American) has effected positive academic change at Curie? Isn't that truly the bottom line?

I feel that in some degree the firing of Principal Jones is racially linked. I don't think the LSC at Cuire H.S. can ever discredit what Principal Jones has accomplished in her tenure. Who in their right mind would replace something that is not broken. Come on now! Especially, when test scores and attendance is up and continues to rise.

Something here is not right!

I am a former student of Curie H.S. and I fully support and stand behind Principal Jones. Tough my time at Curie was when Jones was serving as a teacher and then as an assistant principal, she was in my views the ideal canidiate to one day of being a principal. What I believe speaks volumes here is that this statement comes from not a hispanic nor black, but from a white person.

As someone who now works as an employee for the Board of Eduction and the reason that I believe that this issue is racilly linked is because their is a personal gain for a hispanic teacher who has the certifiction required to become a principal. The teacher had been knowingly to have rallied the hispanic community around Curie H.S. and had also helped position those on the LSC to be elected. In return, the teacher in question will be hired as the next principal at Curie H.S.

One thing that I had observe not just in the school that I work in but in the surronding community as well is that the hispanics stick together and rally behind each other. More and more I find it many times that they are mislead by those who are vocial. Those that are vocial leaders nine times out of ten use race as a desparate resort to rally and keep their support of the hispanic community.

The views that I am sharing today is because I live in the community around Curie H.S. and the principal hopeful works at my school.

to Ben: Very good reply. And with alot of common sense.

to Sammy: Remember this, these Mexicans crossing the border are doing so only because there are employers waiting to hire them. So you need to demand that these employers get punished (fine or jail). Then again, perhaps guys like you will pick the berries, cabbage, etc. for 12 hours a day for low-pay. Then these folks won't be coming across the border.

President Donahue released the following statement to the press on Wednesday, 28 March 2007.

The event reported in the media over the past two weeks is despicable by any standards but even more so to the men and women of this Department who honorably serve the people of this City day in and day out. The frustration level depicted by the Superintendent is the same for each and every man and woman who is a true representative of Law Enforcement.

That frustration level is heightened due to the fact that when the media plays the same clip for weeks on end, all law enforcement is depicted with a presumption of guilt. Typically the presumption of innocence does not apply to police officers. That being said, the action caught on tape and the action taken by a Captain at Area 5 yesterday are indefensible. The Superintendent’s policy adjustment is well within his right to manage this Department. Our job is to ensure that our members receive their rights of due process in the performance of their duties and we will not falter in that responsibility. The public must understand that these incidents do not typify the objectives of the members of this department but that understanding becomes extremely difficult when media saturation occurs. It should be important to all of the citizens of Chicago that we purge ourselves of those that betray their oath and equally so that we ensure that those who risk life and limb in upholding their oath receive the unbridled support of everyone in the community.

I am amazed at reading some of these responses. I would like to touch on few of the subjects that were brought up:

Breeding? I have children, beautiful children. I do not "Breed". No, neither you nor some guy from Wilmette pay for my expenses. I work 2 jobs to give my children a better life. You can kick out the cinder blocks and move on with that one.

Gangs? The Latino and Black communities do have a serious gang problem but do not think that White kids are immune. I see them every day. I'm not talking about Aryan Nation but gangs that are traditionally Black or Latino. In fact gang classes taught to Law Enforcement stress the fact that looks can be deceiving when it comes to gang membership. Recently an off-duty Chicago Police Officer was attacked and stabbed by 5 White gang members. Once again, do not cast stones. In fact, I'm surpised they called them gang members at all. Usually when White kids commit crimes like wiping 10 of thier classmates, they are called "disgruntled youth" even though they have a gang name and wear the same clothes.

Mexicans? Who are you referring to when you say "Mexicans"? You see a bunch of people protesting on the television and believe all Latinos are alike? My Father came this country legally as a young child and after some years was with one of the first regiments in Korea. He returned home after being decorated with the Bronze Star. The man worked two jobs his entire life and made a better life for his children without asking anyone for help. At the age of 50 he went back to school and received his GED. I myself work two jobs to make life better for my kids. I never know if today is the day that as I leave for work, if it will be the last time I kiss my wife and children. I believe I earned the right to be called "American". It is easy to blame other people that do not look like you for your lot in life. Its the easy way out. Lump everyone together that way you don't have to feel awkward about meeting someone that looks like me and having to shake my hand while you harbor feelings that you will only discuss after I walk away. Its safe that way. Open your eyes and look around. We are all inter-connected whether we like it not.

As a final note, I can't believe that in my forty plus years, there is still no progress when thinking about race. I remember my family being probably the 2nd or 3rd Latino family to move into the Bridgeport area. I remember the hate mail, the broken windows, the racial slurs and occasional beatings as I went to school. I was a child but I remember. My Father used to tell me not to worry because someday it will all change, they are just afraid right now. The neighborhood did in fact change and it now pretty diverse, and yes even Black folks live there in peace. I now wonder what people think and discuss behind closed doors. After eading some of these responses, I now think, what do I tell my sons?

bEN:

hERE IS WHAT YOU TELL YOUR KIDS: "your grandpa and others in his generation came here to be individuals. They were more than happy to have a chance to succeed- AND FAIL- on their own. they woul dhave rather fallen flat on their faces (failed) than to stand in line like sheep, guaranteed their handouts."

now, its the opposite. People think they are owed a job, health care, education, a big house and car, a vacation,and every thing else they want.

You see, the nagging question is this: why dont mexicans and others make social change in their own coountry.

ITs 2007 people: why does central america insist on living at a standard far below what is possible? not even sewer systems and fresh water are provided by the leaders in those countries, who regualrly espouse Euro-socialist ideals.

You cant all come here. You know that. So, its time to make change. Blame your catholic churches, whatever, but go make change. control the population, develop economic systems.

Mexico is not in poverty simply because america took texas many years ago. Static cultures never do well, regardless of the geography.

Again, sure, latinos work hard, everyone says. but, keep in mind the tax base suffers - the schools, parks, infrastructure in general, when there are too many siblings and kids under one roof.


come here, sure. But, when in Rome, do as the romans do. change your culture to get on birth control, and pay your own bills.

Karen- So when Mary Mitchell uses the term 'Black Community' or 'Latino Community' it's ok, but for me to say 'Black Community' it is stereotyping, ignorant, and racist??
Nice Karen.

David, you really don't get it do you? Read my post. I am a self sufficient man that actively provides for his children and participates in his community. Most Latinos are legal, hardworking people that do the same. We fight for tougher immigration reform as much as the next American BUT you only see what your narrow vision will let you. YOU CHOOSE to lump us together by your comments that smack of ignorance. "You people need to curb your breeding"? That was all you needed to say to display your feelings. You are entitled to your feelings and comments, I will defend them with my life.
Ever hear of Appalachia? Yeah guess who is paying for that? Me. Thats right, me. Have you suggested birth control for Appalachia? Did'nt think so. Why? Because you think of them as human and American. Too bad that a guy that risks his life for you everyday is not entitled to the same benefit.

David - you make reference to countries in South and Central America and the lack of sewage and fresh water systems. I am assuming you live in Illinois somewhere near Chicago, so it's safe to say you probably haven't been to these countries (unless it was on spring break) as well as not visiting every corner of your beloved united states. If you have then you would know that there are hundreds of small towns and communities in this country which lack proper sewage and access to fresh water supplies. Some of these towns are right here in the state of Illinois. Where's Bush?

You also question why "Mexicans and others" don't attempt social change in their countries. Pick up a history book and you'll see that the united states has and continues to run clandestine operations throughout all of Latin America meant on creating/maintaining economic and social instabilities within that region; Salvador, Chile, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Venezuela have all been affected by this countries covert foreign policies. So yes, this country is at fault for stunting the growth of all Latin American nations. If you don’t believe me, read what your Pope has to say about world powers and the plight of 3rd world countries. Furthermore, U.S. wealth and power grew after the Mexican/American war of 1846 when the White House decided that “Manifest Destiny” was all the reason needed to steal land and natural resources from Mexico; Texas oil & California gold.

Ben – at the root of the problem is White & Black Americas ignorance towards the Latino contribution to the history of the united states as well as the world. Mathematics, agriculture, science, astronomy, and architecture all have roots in the Western Hemisphere Civilizations of the pre-Colombian era. European conquistadors arrived to the new world awe struck by what they saw: civilizations that rival all that was known before it. Even today, while as a people we continue to excel in the world community as leaders in Science, Art, Music, and Prose, white and black America is intent on belittling our contributions by claiming that all Latinos have to offer are non-English speaking illegal immigrants who steal their jobs.

Ben, my uncle fought in Vietnam and received a Purple Heart for this country. My other uncle graduated from Harvard with a degree in education and used his degree to help all children succeed. My second uncle also served in Korea in the highly decorated Fighting 65th Infantry.

-The 65th Infantry Regiment "Honor and Fidelity" By Lt. Col. Len Kondratuik, Chief, NGB History-

“For the next three years the men of the 65th fought their way up and down the Korean peninsula. Any doubts about their fighting ability were quickly dispelled. The regiment earned a distinguished combat record. Fighting in some of the toughest battles of the Korean War, the 65th earned two U.S. Presidential Unit Citations, two Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citations, two U.S. Meritorious Unit Commendations and the Greek Gold Medal of Bravery. Four of its soldiers were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest award for valor.”

We are more than bean pickers and illegal immigrants.

Finally, Mr. Flores, being a writer for a bi-lingual newspaper whose purpose is to bring the news to all Latinos, both English and Spanish speaking, your statement strikes me as insensitive to the readers you depend on/cater too for a living and down right hypocritical.

David,

Your ignorance on Latin American affairs is the reason the U.S. government is free to do as they please around the world. Please read up on how the U.S. government has interfered with democratically elected governments in Latin America since the late 19th century.

Your saying about doing as the Romans do when in Rome is hilarious. How can you expect your Euro-Centric American culture to be respected when the Native American and Mexican cultures were not respected?

The American culture is changing and there is not anything you or other racists like you can do about it. Learn to speak Espanol my friend, or get left behind. LOL

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This page contains a single entry by Mary Mitchell published on March 20, 2007 8:45 AM.

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