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Cesar Chavez Holiday

By David Chandler



[Letters to the Editor to the Fresno Bee, in April, 2000, in response to an earlier letter. I have omitted the earlier writer's name here, although it is, of course, publicly available in the Fresno Bee archives.]

Mr. Cxxxxxxxx (in Valley Voices, April 15: Cesar Chavez deserves no admiration, no holiday) objects to Cesar Chavez's "career of criticizing farm work conditions" and portraying the "San Joaquin farmer as a slave-driving, wealthy tyrant victimizing helpless Mexican-American workers." He then turns around and characterizes the requirement for long-handled hoes and toilet facilities for farm workers as trivial accomplishments. Mr. Cxxxxxxxx is not making his point very convincingly. I doubt that anyone laboring under (literally) backbreaking conditions, while lacking the most fundamental considerations for human dignity would see these victories as trivial. Mr. Cxxxxxxxx observes, "They earn above minimum wage and enjoy their work, buying cars and homes, marrying and having children, although one wishes they learned English much faster." It sounds like paradise to me! They're not slaves, after all. What more could an inferior race possibly want?! Geeze Louise!! Does this guy know what he sounds like? If this is the kind of mentality Cesar Chavez had to contend with he's more of a hero than I thought!