If you're going to talk history, Russell, you could get it right

Q. Tate Williams

Russell Contreras says he's not coming to Frontier Fiesta. Good! I'm sure he won't be missed. Instead of being there, he will be "dancing at Crystal, typing a column to a Selena CD ... reading Juan Gomez Quionez." That's nice. I know we're all convinced what a good Tejano he is.

Once again, Russell Contreras has succeeded in proving to the world that he is a narrow-minded, angry young man who misrepresents historical phenomena for his own selfish purposes. Last year, he wrote a Houston Chronicle column that chastised Gracie Saenez because she supported the white candidate instead of the fellow minority. He also supports affirmative action, which is a form of racial, albeit politically correct, discrimination.

For years now, we've all read Russell's "Brown Man Good, White Man Bad" rhetoric. He has recklessly defamed people such as Ronald Reagan, Strom Thurmond and many others as racist, not on the basis of any empirical evidence, but because they have different ideas than he does.

Why should we listen to him? As the great crusader of all things Hispanic, he should realize that this label, his surname, and the English and Spanish tongues have very little to do with the cultural groups that make up the Mexican-Americans. Most of them are descendants of Indian tribes like the Aztec and Yaqui.

The names they now possess and languages they speak are the chains of their European masters. Russell, why don't you emulate Cassius Clay and get rid of your slave name? You could call yourself Ruchultepec.

Then you might be free to face the true essence of your heritage, a culture more barbarous, cruel, bloodthirsty and sexist than any the Europeans brought to this continent. You know, the things you never mention in your columns.

Have you never studied the history of cultures like the Maya, the Aztecs or the Navajo, who engaged in genocide and slavery, exterminating whole cultures and stealing their land after conquest in battle?

Or read about how the land taken by the United States from Mexico that you are always whining about was stolen by the Mexicans from the Spanish, who stole it from the Indians, who stole it from each other after stealing it from animals, who stole it from God?

Or that other Mexican provinces, like Yucatan, were in revolt against Santa Anna too, and that the Texas Revolution wasn't just about slavery? Have you forgotten the many Tejanos who fought and were ruthlessly massacred at the Alamo and Goliad alongside their Anglo comrades?

Why don't you ever mention that many Tejanos owned black slaves and that 7,500 Hispanics fought for the Confederacy?

Why don't you ever talk about the "Buffalo Soldiers" and how they helped wipe the Indians from the face of the West and hung around long enough to help fight Pancho Villa and "liberate" Cuba?

Haven't your studies taught you that women on the American frontier were allowed a level of independence and power to own land and run businesses they had never enjoyed before in Europe and still don't in Latin America?

While I realize the UH history department has the reputation of being less than stellar, I can't blame it all on second-rate professors and bad administration. Which is it Russell? Did you sleep through class? Not read the material? Or is it just a selective memory inspired by Latino-separatist organizations like MEChA, whose raison d'etre is to carve a separate nation out of the American Southwest?

What is your real motivation for writing? Is it to educate the public about real issues, or to present a slanted view of history in a weak attempt to justify your extremist politics?

The story of the American Frontier is America's creation myth, and, like the book of Genesis, we shouldn't take it all too seriously, but examine it for the lessons it has to teach us. What it teaches us is that every culture is capable of great humanity and great destruction.

Just because the Israelites stole the holy land from the Canaanites doesn't mean I should stop going to church and quit celebrating the fulfillment of that covenant. And neither will I cease to hoist my Shiner Bock and wave my hat at Frontier Fiesta. I don't expect you to get it Russell; you never will. You have anger in your heart for people like me because of some wrong you think we've done you.

Williams is a second-year law student

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