Letters to the Editor: Voz is no lair for racist thought

    Editor:

    The April 15 issue of The UCSD Guardian included an opinion article penned by Chris Taylor (“”The Koala is not UCSD’s only ‘racist’ publication””) that highlighted, in a general way, what he perceives as “”racism”” coming from Voz Fronteriza. At Voz, we appreciate the publicity and find comfort in the fact that students are actually picking up our humble newspaper.

    At the same time, though, I have to make it perfectly clear that Voz Fronteriza is not a wimp publication. We will not be made to feel guilty because we have caused Taylor (or anyone else, for that matter) psychological discomfort. At Voz Fronteriza, we have nothing to apologize for — in fact, quite the opposite is true.

    Briefly, Taylor has a problem with Voz Fronteriza denouncing racism. He explains that Voz Fronteriza accuses others of racism while being racist ourselves; that our racism springs from the use of words such as “”Gringo”” and “”Gabacho””; that we attack “”assimilated Chicanos”” as “”pigs”” and “”traitors””; that we attack only “”Europeans of Anglo-Saxon descent”” as imperialists, and not Spaniards; and in case the reader was not yet convinced of our insidious racism, Taylor includes that we advocate for the reacquisition of the entire Southwestern United States for Mexico.

    Taylor should be ashamed of himself. Doesn’t he have anything better to do? The entire planet Earth has been plunged into imperialist violence, led by an illegitimate, corrupt, war-mongering U.S. government, and he feels that Voz Fronteriza is the only thing around that deserves condemnation? Doesn’t he understand that if he should ever reproduce, the future of his children is being put at risk?

    Regardless of Taylor’s skewed priorities, there is also his opportunist interpretation of historical and current realities. The truth is between the lines.

    Taylor is not upset with Voz because we use words such as “”gringo”” or “”pigs.”” Taylor is upset because at Voz Fronteriza, we know history, and we tell it like it is without pulling any punches or beating around the “”politically correct”” bush. This is the real source of his uneasiness.

    This is true because anyone who picks up an issue of Voz can see immediately that our paper is about so much more than simplistic discussions about individual racist terminology. Taylor attempts to liquidate the fact that Voz Fronteriza is an anti-imperialist, anticolonialist, antifascist — and, yes — antiracist publication. Voz Fronteriza is a student newspaper that is on the side of poor and oppressed people everywhere. Finally, Voz Fronteriza has been all of these things for over 26 years!

    So, I repeat, we have nothing to apologize for. Yet, in order to avoid the idea that I have sidestepped Taylor’s criticisms, I can offer these two simple proposals.

    First, regarding the use of “”offensive slurs”” — when Taylor joins the fight against imperialism and for the liberation of oppressed people, we promise not to call him “”Gringo”” but instead call him “”Companero.””

    As for people who support imperialism, colonialism, fascism, etc. — we reserve the right to call them “”gringos,”” “”gabachos”” and “”pigs,”” or whatever else we can think of, because history demands that we do so. To simply ignore or censor ourselves in the face of so much injustice all around us, simply so as not to offend a few people, would make us part of that same injustice. A pig is a pig is a pig, regardless of whether they are Anglo, Spanish or Mexican.

    Second, Voz Fronteriza promises not to take over the U.S. Southwest and give it back to Mexico — at least not before midterms, because we will be too busy studying.

    Concerning The Koala, the comparison between that publication and ours is, at best, a poor one. The Koala staff itself has many times explained that it is a humor paper, and that people shouldn’t take it so seriously. The Koala has printed some really messed-up things, included racist stuff, yet it was not the Voz that called for its funding to be cut. We know that if The Koala were to get its funding cut, the administration would then use that as a justification to shut down Voz Fronteriza. So in that sense, we agree — it really is about “”freedom of speech.””

    Perhaps Taylor should re-read the article he refers to in the winter issue of Voz (an article that I did not write). By doing so, he would see that it is more a critique of that lack of unity and strength among Latinos on campus versus a negative criticism against The Koala, because in the final analysis, that is really what we see as the main problem.

    Due to the lack of strength among campus-based Latino groups, The Koala can print whatever it wants and not feel responsible for its own words and ideas. Voz Fronteriza, on the other hand, is not about making people laugh, and we do accept responsibility for what we print. If anyone out there is up to it — especially Taylor — we can organize a debate and really get our ideas out in the open.

    Finally, there is that reference made about a Voz issue published in 1995. Taylor obviously spent time researching his arguments before printing them in the Guardian. I suggest he spend his time more effectively and perhaps sign up for an ethnic studies class or two in order to find out what racism really is — then perhaps he can sum up the error of his ways for us. We will save a spot for him within the pages of Voz Fronteriza.

    — Adriana Jasso

    Editor, Voz Fronteriza

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