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A Reader Writes by Scott Fullerton: The last volley of the battle?

May 13, 2002

Here we go again. Francisco M. Hernandez, your dismal attempt to reiterate, indeed justify, the lame suppositions you make in your last letter is profound for the vacuous silence it creates. You continue to play this insipid game of telling me what I really said when what I said was plain. So, for the last time, Bright Eyes, I will explain. By the way, it is telling you omit my most salient points while selectively dwelling on what you think is important. Listen up.

Concerning the "very Mexican Latina," I mean to say, here is a young lady who has been in this country for barely two years, just about whipped the language barrier and recently been accepted at Point Loma Nazarene University. Like every Mexican national I've encountered, she exemplifies what they believe: while all the raza stuff is nice, it won't put food on the table.

Only hard work in the things that count, such as mastery of the English language, excelling in school and immersing oneself in the ways of one's adopted country, will guarantee success. Persons like you who adhere to the tired Marxism of those who make racismo a cottage industry are shameless. And all on the government dime.

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Which segues properly into the "cultural or racial backbiting" exemplified by the conflict with our previous regime. I will speak only as an individual on this one but a vast majority of my colleagues, I am certain, will agree with me. There is no doubt in my mind that an agenda was being served by Mssrs. Medina, Parra and the then-majority bloc on our school board. It centered, I believe, on the promulgation of bilingual programs, abetted by the underperforming schools grant, that sought to water down curriculum. Too, there was the real perception that the program would be used to selectively root out those teachers who might refuse to toe the party line.

But it wasn't that at all, really. It boiled down to the bald grab of powers by that clique in the crudest possible manner. Mssrs. Medina, Parra and, in particular, John Hernandez, brooked no questioning of their methods or motives, reverting to stonewalling and insults in their clumsy attempt to steamroller any and all opposition. I regret reopening these wounds but it stands that had they treated teachers with the respect they deserve and not as conquerors, they'd be with us today. They made race an issue when it was totally unnecessary. So I concede your point but, as is becoming all too apparent, you choose to see one side only. That is hardly the stance of an academic, as you purport yourself to be.

You make a big deal out of the fact that in my seventh-period class I awarded only one "A"; that is incorrect and I apologize. There were two, the other earned by an AFS student from Germany. Two out of 20. I am fond of telling my students on the first day of class that to earn a "B," "C" or "D" is fairly easy; to earn an "A" or an "F," well, that takes a bit of work. I suspect you are one of those who have taken too many hits on the crack pipe of grade inflation. I personally believe students must prove they are outstanding. If they want self-esteem and warm fuzzies given to them, they can go elsewhere. To me, the greatest self-esteem comes from a job well done. And if one doesn't do well, then I am always available for tutoring before and after school, cheerfully so.

Your snotty insinuation that "el Valle won out over (my) job prospects at the other end of the state" is misinformed, like everything else in your sad little diatribe. I was born and raised in San Diego which, if you will check your geography, is not in Northern California. I never applied for employment there, reflecting my desire to stay close to home. Besides, it ain't so bad out here.

You accuse me of "hand-wringing," "huffing and puffing," "speaking in tongues" and being a "bully," behaviors totally foreign to me. And to say I can't cope when someone my own size has "called me out" is absurd. Who has called me out? You? Is that what this dialogue has come to? It was said that if one scratched the skin of a Russian, the blood of the Mongol would appear. Although this aphorism was used to describe Russians in general, it was pointedly directed at Lenin (with his Asiatic features), who fancied himself the intellectual theorist as opposed to the brutal tyrant he was. So, if your skin were to be scratched, which is it? The well-adjusted university man or the insecure respect-obsessed macho? Call me out?

The rest of your missive is the usual cute name-calling except for one thing, very close to home. I would never have to call in the Marines. I will be a Marine until the day I die and, although I'm almost 30 years removed from active duty, attempting to explain that to you is impossible. While your cohorts at Berserkley bitched about the Vietnam War, I fought it. If you haven't walked the walk, shut up.

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