Friday, May 14, 2010

Texan teacher suspended over alleged racism

Was a San Antonio, Texas high school teacher rightly removed for making racist remarks in class or unjustly punished for allowing an open discussion? It depends on whom you ask.

Jefferson High School senior Augustine Ortiz arrived late for his English course where students where discussing the highly controversial Arizona immigration law. According to the website of the San Antonio Express-News, Ortiz was singled out by the educator who declared, “Mexicans with their attitudes are the racist ones.” The unnamed teacher then said that the U.S. would soon become “the United States of Mexico” and that Mexicans “expect handouts” from others.

Ortiz’ claims were corroborated by another student who said, “it didn't feel like a discussion to me. It felt more like an attack, and like she was judging people from Mexico.”

However, the teacher was defended by other pupils who said that Ortiz misunderstood what happened in class that day. "She told us time and time again 'I'm just trying to give you a different point of perspective, maybe the perspective that the media doesn't give you,'" said one student to a local TV station. Another student said that Ortiz overreacted to what was being discussed in class and was singled out since he was tardy, not due to his ethnic background.

The teacher in question has been placed on “administrative leave” while school officials investigate what occurred. According to 2009-10 enrollment figures from the Texas Education Agency 90% of Jefferson High School’s students are Hispanic.

The incident in San Antonio comes in the midst of a very heated debate on Arizona’s new immigration law, which grants police the ability to seek identification from suspected illegal immigrants. A poll released yesterday concluded that views on immigration differ sharply between Latino and non-Latinos:
Illegal immigrants are a boon, not a burden to the country, a resounding majority of Hispanics say, according to an Associated Press-Univision Poll that underscores sharp contrasts between the views of Hispanics and others. Most non-Hispanics say illegal immigrants are a drain on society.

In addition, most Hispanics condemn Arizona's law targeting illegal immigrants, while only 20 percent of non-Hispanics oppose it. Much of the poll – which was compared with a separate survey of the general population – reads as if soundings were taken of two distinct worlds, an impression fortified by follow-up interviews.
Image- ABC News (“In a Wednesday, May 5, 2010 file photo, a group of protesters against Arizona's controversial immigration bill march on the State Capitol in Phoenix.”)
Online Sources- WOAI,, Dallas Morning News


Anonymous said...

de Clermont - unfortunately the people against the Arizona law immediately define it as racist so they win a great part of the PR battle with the hispanics. This is the same as a PR campaign saying that all those who are against the law are criminals and having something to hide, therefore they are against the law. Hispanics aren't against the law on its merits, they are against the law because they are told that it is racist and that it targets hispanics. The people who passed the law have NEVER said that immigrants do not bring value and are not needed. Quite the contrary. However, the fact is that there is too much illegal immigration into the USA and the right system needs to be adopted to allow for all the needed guest workers. Until that new system is planned and approved we shall see this running battle.

Dhesbar Publications said...

The article states "9%" of Jeff kids are hispanic; I'm sure that is a typo; 90% is more like it.