Freedom Folks

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Import Mexico And Get?

Source: Yahoonews
Young Latinas need our attention - now

The neighbors felt sorry for my grandmother. "Pobrecita! (Poor thing!)" they used to say. "Five daughters to marry off!" The whispering blew around the block like the desert winds that swept through El Paso.

Occasionally the murmurs would reach Grandma's ears. "¿Qué le importa? (What of it?)" she would fume. "I am not raising wives; I am raising young women."

In those days in el barrio, daughters were supposed to learn cooking, cleaning and embroidery. Yet Grandma used to say, "These are my girls, not maids." Despite her limited education, she sent all her children off to college and careers.

Having grown up surrounded by strong, educated Hispanic women, I'm troubled that today's young Latinas constitute an at-risk population. The government and the community bear equal responsibility.

Latina teens have the highest rate of attempted suicide of any adolescent group - roughly 15%. Why? They are often caught between the conservative values of their parents and the freewheeling ways of contemporary society. They end up feeling isolated and hopeless. Mental health care isn't always an option because of financial constraints, limited bilingual resources and the stigma it carries.

A teen pregnancy epidemic envelops these same girls, and Latinas fare the worst among ethnic groups. About half will become pregnant before age 20.

About two-thirds of Latino teens are children of immigrants, likely to be raised in traditionally Catholic households where birth control and abortion are taboo. These young Latinas also face confusing identity issues; they're expected to fulfill customary gender roles - helping their parents, tending to siblings.

Despite red flag after red flag, not enough is being done to help this vulnerable population. In the short term, this will play out in individual tragedies and a steady uptick in disturbing statistics. In the long term, society as a whole will pay as these trends explode along with the booming Hispanic population.

So what can be done? With increased awareness, the same cultural forces that often serve as barriers to Latina teens - family bonds, religious beliefs, community ties - can be used to help them succeed.

We've recognized what ails these young women. Now it's time for Latino advocacy groups to step forward and ensure that our society - indeed, our government - treats this crisis with the proper urgency.

More than ever, I appreciate Grandma's legacy of independent, capable women. She simply wanted the best for her daughters and refused to let tradition stand in their way. Today's Latinas deserve no less.
And let's make absolutely certain we don't mention the one thing that would make a difference. Stopping the importation of Mexico into this country. Until these girls stop living in mini Mexico's in the states why on earth would we expect anything other than the very same behaviors we see on display in Mexico?

Yes, America can make a difference, but only if allowed to work it's magic and that magic does not appear to be working in the barrio's does it? So why do we insist on creating more barrio's.

Immigrants around the turn of the century did not truly enjoy the fat of this land until mass immigration was shut off, knowing this historical fact, is it not the height of insanity to pursue the same policies and expect a different outcome?

They also did not begin to truly assimilate until mass immigraiton was shut down, again the similarities are striking. History often has lessons for those willing to take off the stylish rose tinted glasses and simply look at what has come before.

If you want to help these girls the simplest and most direct way we could possibly assist them in breaking free from the bad habits of the old country would be to help them truly live in this one.

Until then? They will continue on in the suicidal ways of the very land they supposedly came here to escape, a truly cruel irony.

Oh, and as to the cappucino swilling asshat, brushing crumbs of carob biscotti off the front of their silk blouse as they write this tripe? Since La Raza wants Mexicans dumb, barefoot and pregnant as much as humanly possible? They will be as much help in this as my pecker would be at a four alarm blaze.

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