Photo: California Chicano Lawyer, Jaime Segall-Gutierrez with Dolores Huerta
Chicano lawyer, Ruben Salazar writes with regard to Santa Barbara News Press’ usage of the term “illegal” when referring to immigrants. It’s too bad they won’t drop an antiquated offensive word and follow the Associated Press’ suit. Please sign this petition Chipsterlife began here. In the below, Jaime Segall-Gutierrez gives the Santa Barbara News Press a history lesson.
Santa Barbara News Press Needs to be enlightened
By Jaime Segall-Gutierrez
On January 3, 2015, the Santa Barbara News Press headlines read “Illegals line up for driver’s licenses”. The headline implied volumes by its single sentence. It implied that people, labeled as Illegal were breaking the law by acquiring driver’s licenses. It implied that a human being can be illegal, as if gods beautiful creation could be deemed illegal. It implied that these human beings by their mere existence are breaking this fine countries democratic laws. It put a bad taste in the readers mouth that something is afoul here, when in reality its not.
Santa Barbara is a city older than the News Press. It has a culture, celebrated every year (Fiestas), by most revelers in the city, which is older than the Anglo-American presence. Procession participants yell to the revelers “Viva Fiestas” in homage to the Spanish / Mexican culture which blessed the city with its names and uniquely stylized architecture. It is a cove of Spanish / Mexican ambience.
While Santa Barbara celebrates its centuries old culture, the descendants of said Spaniards and Mexicans are ridiculed, mocked, harassed, marginalized and now dehumanized by the News Press.
Interestingly enough, Santa Barbara prohibited Spanish Immersion for which much of the student body boycotted the schools. Recently, the powers that be, attempted to create a gang injunction, which would have made the residents of the East and West side prisoners in their own home. The dichotomy of celebrating a culture and attempting to oppress it is perplexing and for the most part dysfunctional.
Santa Barbara is home to some of the wealthiest people in the world and some of the most reactionary people in the U.S. The City and County depends heavily on cheap Mexican/Chicano labor, whether it be in the landscape industry, service industry or just plain cheap labor.
Rather than thank this community for its beautiful and unique culture and for its support, Santa Barbara punishes them for wanting to drive legally. Rather than see the virtue in everyone having a driver’s license and insurance, the News Press takes a callus stab at human beings whose only sin is being born Mexican.
Apparently, the News Press is not in compliance with the Associated Press’s Stylebook, which is the news industries standard bearer for language, by using Illegal rather than undocumented.
An apology would be greatly appreciated. Gratitude for Mexicans/Chicanos would be justified.