Earlier today, El Paso attorney Donald L. Williams shared his: "AN OPINION AGAINST THE NAMING OF A 'HISPANIC' CULTURE CENTER"
His words are eerily similar to Mr. Huppenthal's of Arizona. His use of "La Raza" eludes to just how quickly the once oppressed now wear the clothes of the oppressor.
Thank you for sharing your opinion against El Paso’s Mexican American Cultural Institute (MACI). It is not every day that we see such blatant disrespect for a group of people and their contributions to a global community. Your objectionable opinions are, at best, misguided, and, at worst, outdated.
Today, the Chican@/Latin@ demographic graduates a mere 46% of our students – lagging behind all other cultural and ethnic groups. Clearly, this does not constitute a faction of people having the most power by virtue of its larger representation or electoral state. It is highly problematic that you claim Mexican Americans in this region are the majority while also stating that majorities control the political, social, economic, and educational systems. El Paso lags in Texas high school graduation rates; Texas is #50 in the nation for high school completion. El Paso also lags Texas in postsecondary graduation rates.
Your comparison of MACI to a “White Anglo-Saxon Protestant” Cultural Center is absurd. If you mean to object to a Cultural Center based on exclusivity, it stands to reason that you also believe The El Paso Holocaust Museum & Study Center is only for Jewish people.
To name an historical center “El Paso del Norte” is to exemplify the colonization of this region, pointing out that perhaps you believe the masses of people that live here today are not descendants of and belonging to the original indigenous tribes of the Americas. It is widely known that indigenous groups not recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs are “not real.” Thankfully, we as a people have moved beyond this type of miseducation and mindsets of one-drop rules.
You point out your 63 years of Black History Week/Month and 50 years of Bloody Sunday observations, however, you miss the point as to why we observe such events. If we do not make it a point to share these experiences, and those of our predecessors, how many public school children would know about them? The lack of historically responsive education is prevalent in many black and brown communities, which is exactly the purpose of Cultural Institutes – the sharing of knowledge and experiences in a welcoming educational environment.
Study Centers, Cultural Institutes, and Museums are educational environments welcoming to all cultural and ethnic groups. In order to achieve knowledge-based economies, we must support the building of more museums, more study centers, and yes, the Mexican American Cultural Institute of El Paso.
georgina cecilia pérez
You can read Mr. Williams' letter below.