This paper has rightfully dinged the Orange County Register's readers over the years, specifically their insane Letters to the Editors that have advocated everything from darkie-dumping to homo-hating to machismo and, always, always Mexican-bashing. But a letter this past Sunday by Lou Shaver of Irvine tops anything this longtime Register reader/critic has ever read in the paper for absolute stupidity.
What set Shaver off was news that the indefatigable Sandra Robbie is seeking to make California schools teach about Mendez vs. Westminster, the landmark 1948 desegregation case that happened here in beautiful, idyllic Orange County, California. We have reservations about the State Legislature telling Californians what to learn in school (a Chula Vista assemblywoman wants to introduce a bill that would make Mendez mandatory) only because we can foresee a Republican whackjob force all kids to worship Reagan, but let's set that aside for this post. Shaver not only doesn't care for Robbie's efforts, he questions the importance of Mendez vs. Westminster!
"I believe that the article...could unintentionally create an inaccurate view of California public schools in Orange County," Shaver writes. He goes on to say that he had Mexican classmates during the 1930s in Huntington Beach and San Diego and Los Angeles counties.
"While the statement, 'the landmark case ended segregation in California schools,' may be technically accurate, it leads the reader to believe that the state of California had an official school segregation policy, and that is inaccurate."
Shaver is right on that point--Mexicans couldn't officially be discriminated in California schools because they were technically white. But that sure as hell didn't stop schools from doing some segregatin'. We can cite ad nauseam, but since it's the holidays, I urge you to buy Lisbeth Haas' Conquests and Historical Identities in California, 1769-1936, which goes into the muy racist ways SanTana gabacho parents made sure their kiddies didn't mix with any Mexicans.
But segregation against Mexicans didn't arise because of racism, according to Shaver. No, it was the Mexicans' fault! "My knowledge of that time causes me to believe the separate school was created to accommodate the children of the farm labor force who came to the United States during World War II," Shaver rants. "It may have been lack of English language skills, and not a racial bias, that created the separation."
Shaver obviously didn't talk to his Mexican classmates way back when, most of who would've responded "Chinga tu madre, asshole" for his idiotic bigotry. Again, buy Haas' book for further English-speaking proof.
But Shaver's most ludicrous thought follows:
Also for consideration, the early 1940s saw occurrences of Mexican gangs called Pachucos or Zoot Suiters who beat and robbed servicemen of their pay. It could be that Westminster had a related public-safety issue.
Those violent Mexicans! Not only that, pachucos were far away from Westminster in those days. There were zoot suiters in OC, and they were fightin' zooters: buy Leo J. Friis' Orange County through Four Centuries, one of the first histories to treat the county as an entity, for some mentions.
In conclusion, Shaver is a dummy. And, while we're on the subjects of buying books, buy mine!