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Ethics & Religion
Column #2,047
Nov. 5, 2020
Latinos Deserve More Help
By Mike McManus

As a White man, I grew up with many advantages. I attended an elite university which then did not accept Blacks.

Upon graduation, I was privileged to land a splendid job as a TIME correspondent which in those years did not accept minorities.

About 1975 I began writing a syndicated column, "The Northern Perspective." It proposed solutions for economic problems in the old industrial states. inspired by a sermon, I began a second column, "Ethics & Religion" nearly 40 years ago. I have written several books and enjoyed a privileged career.

In recent years, 2,000 newspapers have closed, and the number of papers publishing my column has fallen. Yet I consider myself privileged. I have enjoyed the American Dream - which others - due to their skin color have not.

However, this weekend I read a moving article in The New York Times about the plight of Latino Americans, who have experienced one closed door after another. The headline for the article was "The Dream." Individual Hispanic people told their stories.

By contrast, Lizania Cruz, a Dominican artist, says the American Dream died for her "when I became aware of the fact my family was considered `illegal.'...when I realized that after working 50 hours a week was not able to save; when I realized how many of my fellow Americans valued selfishness over community, power over justice, prejudice over fairness, greed over generosity, demagogy over science."

The New York Times, which quoted Ms. Cruz, invited other Latinos to respond with their views of the American Dream. Here are some of their comments:

Karen Kimmerly of Williamsburg, Ohio, said, "My American Dream died when the auto plant where both I and my husband worked, closed in 2008. He was able to move to another plant; I regret to say I took a buyout to go back to school. Now, multiple degrees later, I earn less than half of what I did as a skilled trades person, with a good union job. I have a master's degree, and I love my job as a public librarian, but if anything happened to my husband, I would be unable to support myself."

Franklin Pena, of the Bronx, asserted, "The first day I landed in Los Angeles, I realized the concept of inclusion and progression didn't have me or my people in mind. I realized my community is expected to work for others but never develop sustainability outside the realm of manual labor. It was the day my soul split in two. My disappointments and ambitions exist within my pursuit of happiness. My American Dream died, but not my desire to be great."

Justin in Iowa, said "When I saw the wage breakout for my company, my boss made $400K while the average worker made $35 K. The death, though, was the year he decided not to award raises or bonuses to anyone but himself. He took the entire $300K of money that should have been divided between employees and then told everyone the company was struggling."

Rebecca Miralrio of New York City reports, "Sometime around the age of 5 when I became aware of the fact that my family was considered "illegal," my childhood consisted of me fearing "la magra" and having terrible anxiety over the fact I would someday be separated from my parents and siblings."

Raquel of Cicero, IL laments, "My American Dream was that one day females will feel confident enough to walk the streets wearing whatever they feel like it without having to look over their shoulders every few seconds because they feel unsafe. This dream died a long time ago because I realized that no matter what you wear you will always be objectified."

Angelio E. Owens of Brooklyn, asserts "Growing up in a low income household I took pride in stretching a dollar. I grew used to thrifted clothes (before they were cool) and discount grocery stores. My parents put so much weight on my education, as if my grades could save me from the systemic racism I would face. My awareness of my class was heightened once I moved to New York for grad school. I got caught in the never-ending cycle of working to afford my materials to make my art while not having the time to make my art because of work."

It is time for we White Americans who have been blessed, to turn and help our Latino neighbors to be successful.


Copyright (c) 2020 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. To read past columns, go to Hit Search for any topic.


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