To the Editor:
In a letter “Yale, a ‘third rate’ institution, promotes delusional stance on immigrant ‘take-over’ ” (12/5), Paul Streitz criticized Yale’s relationship to American immigration policy. Because many of his arguments are not only incendiary but also based on false premises, I find it necessary to respond.
Streitz claims that illegal immigration is a “take-over promoted by the Mexican government.” Obviously, this argument is based on the inaccurate assumption that all of the illegals in America are Mexican; this is its first flaw. However, what is perhaps more worrisome is that Streitz cites the views of Jose Angel Gutierrez (“We have got to eliminate the gringo…”) in order to represent an entire people.
Yes, Gutierrez’s views are radical and disturbing to many. Yes, he is not the only person who holds those views. But he does not speak for every immigrant of Mexican background in the United States — legal or illegal.
He does not speak for the Mexican mothers I worked with in New Haven this past summer, who insisted on speaking to me in English even if I greeted them in Spanish. Learning our language so late in life — and insisting on using it — seems like a sorry way to take over our country.
Moreover, Gutierrez certainly does not speak for MEChA at Yale, though Streitz implies that he does. MEChA is only tangentially related to Mexico, and its mission statement includes “communication and cooperation while respecting all segments of our community.” It says nothing, even obliquely, about eliminating cultures. The words are not just a false front, either: MEChA has been very welcoming to me, a so-called “gringa,” in the past. I have yet to see any desire to eliminate or even “Latinize” me.
I do not mean to assess the legality of the New Haven ID card or the value of the Bush presidency; those debates are secondary and tired. But I do mean to assert the diversity of a population that Streitz’s editorial portrayed as one-sided, violent and radical. There may be radicalism in the Mexican community in the United States. But it is not omnipresent. Nor does it stem from MEChA, from New Haven or from Yale.
Trickey is a sophomore in Davenport College.