Florida’s S.B. 988, Philanthropic Giving, and the Public Good

This post was written by Calixto Melero Jr. and Marco Portales, Texas A&M University

Florida’s S.B. 998 allows nonprofit tax-deductible foundations not to disclose race and gender information regarding their administrators, staff, and grant recipients. This law legalizes and encourages money and power to continue to flow largely to privileged people and to organizations with resources. Disguised as a post-racial “color blind” policy enhancement, further legislation legalizing such laws and policies will continue to dismantle and kill the Public Good.

Driven by Tea Party and neo-conservative minds, Florida’s S.B. 998 dismantles civil rights laws and policies that are in place to empower communities of color.

Unlike other public and private sectors that have embraced and benefited from minority perspectives, tax-deductible nonprofits in Florida today can continue to exclude non-whites from their boardrooms, funding mechanisms, and grant giving.

In 1982, CEOs and board diversity memberships nationally consisted of 1.6 and 4.3 percent, statistics that slightly improved in 2006 to 5.8 and 13 percent, according to a 2008 article, “Philanthropy in a Changing Society” by Chao, Parshall, Amador, Shah, and Yanez. That’s why a U.S. House 2007 committee found private foundations were “not doing as much as they could or should” to channel dollars and support to racial minorities. Nonprofits “were not growing in pace with overall charitable giving” and with society’s demographic changes.

A Mexican Revolution Photo History, 100 Years Later

What do most Americans know about the Mexican Revolution? It disrupted everything in Mexico 100 years ago this November, prompting several waves of Mexican immigrants to enter the United States five generations ago.

Most of us may have heard of President Porfirio Diaz, Francisco Madero, Pancho Villa, Emiliano Zapata, the soldaderas, Venustiano Carranza, Pascual Orozco, Victoriano Huerta, Álvaro Obregón, and others. In different contexts, we also know about William Randolph Hearst, President Woodrow Wilson, General John J. Pershing, George Patton. But do we know the latter were also participants in Mexico’s civil war upheaval?

Do we know who did what to whom when during an 18-year uprising by Mexicans that changed Mexico and the United States, a history that has continued to shape both nations? The Mexican Revolution is part of our unrecognized U.S. border history, and knowing the events of 100 years ago helps us to understand current immigration issues.

Here, for example, are the opening words of “Chapter 7: Rebel Armies Advance on Mexico City”:

Despite the unexpected developments that the revolution unleashed throughout Mexico, a feeling of expectancy, of widespread hopefulness prevailed. Even then, people had no idea what to expect, given the changes and uncertainties. What would happen when the revolutionary armies from the north and the south met in Mexico City?

People kept hearing they would be “liberated,” that the revolution would free them from Porfirio Diaz’s tyranny, but how that would happen remained unclear.

The Porfiriato had both shaped and created the Mexico that everybody knew for more than 30 years. After a generation and a half under Porfirio Diaz, and now in the grip of the revolution, most Mexicans were destitute. The country was in shambles, and Mexicans and the foreign investors wanted stability.

The advancing rebel generals–Villa, Obregon, and Zapata–were daily moving toward Mexico City with their armies. All three had supported Francisco Madero, but Madero was now gone. Obregon was beginning to fight for Carranza, and Zapata and Villa simultaneously inspired and scared the people because no one actually could say what they were going to do once they were in the Palacio Nacional, the National Palace.

The uncertain developments caused some Mexicans to be cautiously optimistic while others were depressed, and the rest didn’t know what or how to feel.

The great majority of the citizens were anxious and bewildered, for no one could control events that clearly were unpredictable. Even then, reports of battles, skirmishes, and disastrous encounters between the armies in different cities and regions of the country constantly surfaced. No one could say with certainty what would happen if and when soldiers from the different revolutionary factions met in the capital, Mexico City.

Would the losing soldiers be killed, imprisoned, or what? Would the victorious leaders meet and celebrate despite the unrest? What would they say? What would the people hear? What would they decide for Mexico? No one could say anything for sure. Clearly, it was not a good time to be in Mexico City or anywhere else in that vast country with so much unrest and unclear future. Most Mexicans didn’t know how other people they daily met on the streets felt about the revolution. It was awful because everything was in turmoil. No one knew what the following day would bring, or the next hour, or the next few minutes.

My 132-page photo history narrative contains 80 carefully selected photographs from the more than 483,000 pictures taken by Mexican, American, and foreign photographers who rushed to Mexico in 1910 to capture the revolution’s developments.

Note: Copies of Why Pancho Villa & Emiliano Zapata Wore Cananas: A 100th Year Photo History of the Mexican Revolution, 1910-1928 are available from Marco Portales at 3800 Chaucer Court, Bryan, Texas 77802.

Arizona’s SB 1070 and the State’s Minimum Wage

U.S. citizens uncertain about Arizona’s new immigration law would do well to remember who has been doing the actual hard labor under the hot desert sun long before Arizona became a state in 1912. Like the rest of the U.S., Arizona was initially Native American land. It used to be part of the Territory of New Mexico. During Lincoln’s administration, Congress made it a separate territory in 1863. Both Arizona and New Mexico have been territories of the U.S. since 1848, following President Polk’s two-year war with Mexico. At that juncture, Arizona had less than 1,000 Hispanics, 4,040 “Indians,” and 2,421 whites. 1848 was the same year the famous Kit Carson rounded up the Navajo with the help of American soldiers and the Ute. After, 8,000 Navajo were forced to undertake the Long Walk to the Bosque Redondo Reservation in New Mexico. The Navajo were permitted to return in 1868, but the Apache continued to resist until the Chiricahua were forcibly relocated to Florida in 1886. Today, more than 14 tribes live on 20 reservations, and Arizona reminds us of Geronimo and Cochise, the great chiefs who fought Indian removals. Although initially sparsely populated, Arizona has been slowly transformed from the wild, unbearably sun-scorched terrain it used to offer residents to the moment the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix air-conditioned the hotel in 1962. Indeed, the air-conditioner is most responsible for turning Arizona into a tourist destination, enhancing the state’s economic engines in copper, cotton, cattle, citrus, and electronics. Two-thirds of the U.S.’s copper is still mined there, and mining has been king since gold and silver dwindled and electricity gave the metal value in the 1870s.

When mining, cotton, cattle and citrus were introduced, who largely provided the work force? Arizona’s economy has always depended on the region’s minority people for cheap common labor, on Native Americans and on the Spanish-speakers who have lived in the desert long before Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821. Arizona has always offered more work opportunities than residents can handle, and for that reason it used to welcome and even encouraged Mexicans to cross the border to help upgrade its ranches and farms. That commerce progressively altered Arizona from a suffocating wilderness used by outlaws into a chic, spa-and-golf environment used by movie stars and the rich since Marilyn Monroe lounged at the Biltmore.

That is why Arizona’s recent SB 1070 law is so stunning and incomprehensible. Arizona, of course, is not the only state or part of the country that has relied on immigrant, cheap labor to turn our economies into global world market leaders. Texas, California–name most states or U.S. regions–and economists will tell us that cheap, foreign-hands labor has been in there doing the hard manual work needed to transform society’s infrastructure, promoting and giving visibility to “Progress.” Since many “illegal aliens” historically leave their countries to throw in their fates and the futures of their children with the regions that have employed their skills and talents for generations, isn’t it rather thankless now to disinvite and actually to throw them out of the U.S.? These workers have long survived on pauper’s wages. Our country has labeled them “illegal,” allowing our citizens to pay the “aliens” whatever we have wanted. But since January 1, 2009, Arizonians have had to pay them at least $7.25 per hour of work, too. Illegal workers interviewed by Univision now say that not enough people are hiring them off the curbs where for years they used to be picked up to cut grass, repair homes, and provide other services. How fair is it to use language–to mix our good, reliable workers with “terrorists” and “drug gangsters,” as Arizona’s new immigration law does? What SB 1070 underscores is that whites who voted for it enjoy being domineering.

Marco Portales is a Texas A&M professor and author of Why Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata Wore Cananas: A 100th Year Photo History of the Mexican Revolution, 1910-1928. (Copies available from mportales@tamu.edu)