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FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2007
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

‘Hispanic’ tied to Spain, not a synonym for ‘illegal’

To The Daily: These are difficult times for anyone who has olive skin, brown eyes and hair and a Spanish surname. Because of an almost two-decadeslong influx to Decatur of uneducated, primitive people from Latin America, particularly Mexico and Guatemala, the general public now has a stereotype of what a “Hispanic” person is.

Our government, not knowing how to classify many Latin Americans, many of whom are of mixed racial heritage, decided to lump everyone together and call them “Hispanic,” even people who are Amerindian. The word “Hispanic,” when correctly used, implies ancestral ties to Spain, something few of the most recent Spanish speakers coming to Decatur actually have.

When the word “Hispanic” is mentioned, most people picture a short, primitive, dark, uneducated, unassimilated, illegal alien. Lost in the shadows are the Hispanics, who are educated; who use English perfectly, who are legal, patriotic American citizens, sharing nothing in common with the newcomers, other than a Spanish surname, and perhaps, some physical characteristics. While many of these “Hispanics” with desirable character traits are not of solely Spanish ancestry, they carry on a lifestyle in keeping with traditional American family values. No one should assume that because a person fits the public’s Hispanic stereotype that he or she is illegal and up to no good.

Many Spanish-speaking countries are represented by their people in our city. Some are poor, others are rich. Some are dark, others are light. Some are professional, others blue-collar workers. All are human beings.

Let’s not let this become an issue of race, ethnicity or language. The issue against which most Americans, me included, stand is illegal immigration. On that point, it shouldn’t matter whether a person is a six-foot tall Swede or a five-foot tall Mexican. The key word is “illegal,” not “Hispanic.”

Carmen Callahan
Decatur

Don’t want to breathe smoke? Stay out of clubs

To The Daily: I read in The Daily about the ban on smoking in public places. Well, if they take away our rights to enjoy ourselves, even at clubs, then I think they should take away all the drinking privileges that people have also.

Drinking causes more problems than smoking. People leave restaurants and clubs after drinking, which is public drinking, and cause wrecks. Smoking doesn’t cause that. If we can’t smoke in a club, then the ones who don’t smoke shouldn’t drink. They took away the smoking in most restaurants, but a club is a place to relax and I think (and I am sure a lot of people also agree) that if you don’t smoke, then stay away from the clubs. That is one place for us smokers to go. Make an issue out of that. Take a survey and see how many comments you get on this article.

Dixie Rylant
Hartselle

Veto power: Reader prefers out-of-town restaurants

To The Daily: It really doesn’t matter to me if the mayor wants to veto the smoking ban proposed by the City Council. I prefer the restaurants in Athens, Huntsville and Cullman anyway.

As to the lady who doesn’t care for the “upscale” restaurants in Huntsville, she should try them because the food is really good and diners don’t get nauseated from the secondhand cigarette smoke. I am thankful for the City Cafe’s smoking ban because I do enjoy eating there.

William Keith
Decatur

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