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Dr. Julio Noboa wrote the following response to the August 3, 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, during which a gunman — reportedly targeting “Mexicans” — killed 22 people and injured two-dozen others.
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It is ironic that the mass murderer of El Paso should refer to the “Hispanic invasion” of Texas, a state with centuries of history under six flags, the first two being those of Spain and Mexico long before the Anglos arrived.
In reality, it wasn’t the Hispanics, but the Anglos who invaded Texas, a well-known historical fact, beginning early in the 1800s, with waves of mostly southern confederates coming to the Mexican state of Tejas. It was Tejanos who founded the cities of El Paso, San Antonio, and Laredo, so often mentioned in Western song and legend. It was Mexicans who brought from Northern Mexico the entire ranching tradition bequeathed to the Great American Cowboy as documented in the language of corral, rancho, rodeo, lasso, mustang and palomino in the semi-arid land of arroyos, mesas and canyons.
All these Spanish words, as well as cities such as San Diego, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe, not only contradict the fallacy that Spanish is a foreign language in the United States, but also confirm that it was Hispanics who established the very foundation of what evolved into today’s Western ranching lifestyle and architecture with verandas, patios and plazas. It was Hispanics who established schools, courts, churches and printing presses in these cities as well as the first orchards and vineyards in the verdant valleys of California.
The original Spanish conquistadors were indeed cruel toward the indigenous populations they dominated and the Africans they enslaved, yet their descendants, unlike the majority of the Anglo invaders, actually combined their cultures and their very genes through racial mixing, thus creating the mestizo and mulatto populations of Mexico, Costa Rica and Latin America.
It is precisely this very racial mixing that is roundly condemned in the suspected murderer’s Manifesto and even criminalized by U.S. federal law until Virginia vs Loving just a half-century ago. Keeping genetic purity is a common racist motive going back to the Nazis, the KKK and evidently still among the white supremacists of today.
Nevertheless, Americans of all colors and creeds are meeting, mixing, falling in love and finding their common humanity in schools, churches, sport teams, work places and even in the streets, marching together to end the scourge of rage, racism, and ignorance that generate vile acts of hatred and violence.
We can overcome the evil troika of guns, racism, and misogyny only if we come together to pressure our elected officials, demand an end to accessible automatic weapons, and confront all forms of hatred based on race, gender, religion or nationality regardless if it comes from a brain-washed bigot or from the United States’ very President!
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Dr. Julio Noboa is a writer and retired Social Studies Professor. He joined the faculty at the University of Texas at Brownsville in 2004 as an Assistant Professor of Social Studies and subsequently the faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso in 2008. His research interests focus on multiculturalism, curriculum studies and critical pedagogy. He retired in 2014, and is living now in Santa Ana, Costa Rica. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.