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Tortillas – Tecate Beer – Spanish Music?

Author: Herman Baca
Created: 04 September, 2009
Updated: 13 September, 2023

, President
Committee on Chicano Rights

 Ninteen Hundred and Seventy Nine… as I prepared to journey to attend a National Mecha conference in Denver Colorado I remember walking into my living room and hearing a local TV news reporter interviewing a farmer in San Ysidro (along the U.S./Mexico border) as to why his cows were not giving milk? Unbelievably, the farmer replied, “illegal aliens” were sleeping in the cows hay! At the time I thought it unbelievable that a news station would actually air the story to U.S. residents who lived (supposedly) in one of the most educated and technological countries in the world. 30 years have passed since that story was aired. During the following 30 years I have heard “illegal aliens” accused and held responsible for everything from global warming to terrorism. I thought nothing could ever top the above story until persons from the com-munity begin to complain about a news report aired (9-28-09) on NBC Channel 7/39. The news report stated that the U.S. Forest Service had issued a federal warning to campers in national forest to beware of people that, “EAT TORTILLAS, DRINK TECATE BEER, PLAY SPANISH MUSIC, SPEAK SPANISH, BECAUSE THEY COULD BE ARMED MARIJUANA GROWERS.”

  The news report further stated that, warning signs had been included in a slide presentation put together for drug agents in Colorado and for the public, urging any campers who encountered long-term campers meeting the profile to “hike out quickly,” and call police.

 After confirming the above (true), its obvious that racism is so endemic in U.S. institutions that U.S. Forest Service officials do not have the slightest idea what their press release and slide presentation to law enforcement has done to every person of Mexican ancestry (whether legal or otherwise) in the U.S.… stigmatized and indicted all Mexicans as (criminals) “potential armed marijuana growers,” especially campers!

 For the record, knowing Mexicans all my life:

 1. I do not know any Mexican that does not eat tortillas,
 2. I do not know any Mexican that plays “Spanish” music,
 3. I do not know any armed Mexican marijuana grower, nor Anglo, Columbians, Sicilians, Chinese’s, etc. that could or might be involved in the drug trade?


 1. I know many Mexicans (especially those born in the U.S.) that do not speak Spanish,
 2. I know very few Mexicans (in the U.S.) that drink Tecate beer, and
 3. I know large number of Mexicans that play and listen to MEXICAN music, but not Spanish music!

 To most thinking persons the U.S. Forest Service public pronouncements are insane, ludicrous, stupid and even laughable, but history has shown that the above pronouncements can also be extremely dangerous when placed in the hands of overzealous law enforcement officials, or in the minds of Lou Dobbs type “Americans.”

 One can only assume the U.S. Forest Service officials issued their pronouncement for political reasons (due to their incompetent inability to stop the growing of marijuana), ignorance, stupidity, good old fashion racism, or maybe after high-ranking Forest officials inhaled some of the marijuana confiscated?

 Whatever the reasons the facts are, U.S. Forest Service officials have abdicated their impartial professionalism by scape-goating and stigmatizing person of Mexican ancestry.

 To attempt to stop what has become a daily occurrence, especially from tax supported officials, i.e. Sheriff Joe Apario, politicians, etc., our organization is calling on the Obama administration to condemn the U.S. Forest Service public pronouncements, investigate, discipline, fire guilty officials responsible, and have the Service issue a public apology to all persons of Mexican ancestry.

 The only question remaining is; what are you personally, all community organizations, and elected “Hispanic” public officials going to do????