In Support of Rudy Acu?a

A life dedicated to humanizing common struggles Latinos face

By Tara Yosso
Published on LatinoLA: September 16, 2002

In Support of Rudy Acu?a

I write in support of Professor Rodolfo Acu?a, who took the time to raise awareness about the potential danger of Miguel Estrada's candidacy for the Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia, which would put him in line for a Supreme Court nomination.

Normally, I would not even take the time to respond to a letter as disrespectful, incoherent, and fabricated as Fernando Oaxaca's. However, I appreciate Dr. Acu?a's clear and consistent arguments and his willingness to engage in an issue that has a huge potential impact on communities that I care deeply about--low income, people of color, and immigrants--inspires me to note my support.

In essence, Dr. Acu?a explains that Estrada does not represent the interests of low income Latinos and he should not be paraded around by Bush and others as a previously low income, Spanish-speaking immigrant who struggled like other Latina/o immigrants to work himself up by his bootstraps. Dr. Acu?a's work challenges and exposes the layers of privilege enjoyed by Estrada and thereby reveals the underlying vested interest in putting a "brown" face on the bench, when the "brown" face actually advocates on behalf of White upper/middle class interests. Dr. Acu?a is asking us to critically listen to the discussions and ask, "Who benefits from putting Estrada on the bench?" And conversely, "At whose expense would this appointment come?" These are important questions.

It should also be noted that being a person of color or a low income person does not mean that you will automatically support empowerment for people of color against discrimination or that you will support raising the minimum wage for example. People of color who agree with agendas that are anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-union, anti-bilingual education, or anti-civil rights are often given a platform and supported in the mainstream press and politics. Examples of this can be found with right wing think tank leader Linda Chavez, who writes about the necessities of cultural and linguistic assimilation and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, whose writings demonstrate his stance against the civil rights of people of color and of women. In contrast, people of color who critique such "right wing" agendas are often silenced.

Instead of trying to intentionally misinterpret and fabricate what Mr. Acu?a wrote through personal attack and ignorant commentary about a Mexican versus Honduran conspiracy, I encourage Mr. Oaxaca to consider his own role in supporting agendas that hurt low income people of color: immigrants, women, and youth in particular. And since he mentions a supposed "Chicano" fable about "Mexican" crabs in a bucket pulling each other down out of jealousy, perhaps he can critically reflect upon Chicanas/os as people instead of crustaceans. Dr. Acu?a's life has been dedicated to humanizing the history of Mexicans in the U.S. and the common struggles the majority of Latinas/os face. He is joined by communities across the U.S. who are committed to "lifting as we climb."

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