News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Immigrants have duty to assimilate to culture

To The Daily: This letter is in response to the recent series about area Hispanics.

The word “Hispanic” implies primary ancestry from Spain, something which very few people from Mexico and Guatemala actually have, including the ones coming to Decatur. Spanish speakers from any country where Spanish is the national language can be white, of Spanish or other European ancestry; black, descendants of slaves; mulatto, a mixture of black and European; mestizo, indigenous and European; just indigenous; and more. The American government incorrectly identifies all Spanish speakers as Hispanic, regardless of race or cultural identity.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no homogenous Hispanic culture. From food to values, from language usage to habits, there are vast differences even within one single country. There are people who identify with that which is indigenous, and others with that which is Spanish or otherwise European. There are educated people and uneducated people. These and other differences greatly determine immigrant assimilation rates and are irrefutably the differences that separate the current group of Spanish speakers from the group who has been in Decatur for almost 50 years.

My late husband and I were born in Cuba to Spaniards. We came to Decatur in 1964. There were then, and are now, Spanish speakers from Spain, Cuba, Argentina, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Peru and even Mexico and Guatemala, who never had the problems the newcomers have. Overly large families, a sense of entitlement and the refusal to learn English were not present. Why? The former group is educated, legal and most are of European ancestry, thus having different habits and values than this current group.

All of us in the older group knew that being an immigrant has its obligations of self-sufficiency, loyalty and pride in one’s adopted country. Would that the newcomers knew these things.

Mrs. Armando F. de Quesada


Tragedy response restores woman’s faith in people

To The Daily: Just when you lose all faith in the goodness and kindness of people, something tragic happens and people react like they did with the owners of the convenience store in Massey.

They helped remove items for storage or commented how much the owners have come to mean to them.

And it restores some of your faith.

Tina Whited


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