Letters Feature

Name Withheld by RequestWest Miami

The recent Hispanic-Anglo "debate" (called "bashing" by some) is, in my opinion, a healthy development of free expression not often found in other papers. I'm from the North, of mixed ethnic genealogy, and know several languages, including Spanish. Here are some of my impressions of the South Florida scene:Middle-age Cuban women working as store clerks and complaining to each other - in Spanish - about the English-speaking customer's body odors. The hags seemed unaware of the possibility that the English-speaking customer may have been bilingual.It is quite understandable for an English-speaker to resent being "left out" when he or she is with a group of bilingual fellow workers and they suddenly switch to Spanish. That's bad manners - a thoughtless lack of consideration - on the part of the Hispanics. But then there are the arrogant Anglo psychopaths who seem to think that their English language makes them the superior race! They resent hearing strangers speaking Spanish and - irrational as it is - they seem to think that their culture is being "destroyed." Their anger is, in part, a subconscious attempt to rebuild their damaged egos. They often seek positions of exhibitionistic authority such as lifeguards, firemen, and policemen.Then there are the grouchy, brash, and nasty old Jews complaining about everything - and the Jewish little old ladies hitting you with their shopping carts at the supermarket and trying to sneak in front of you in line. What the chamber of commerce won't tell you is this area is a complex concoction of conflicts, casual capriciousness, cockroaches, crime, crazies, corruption, crack cocaine, cunning Cuban capitalists and crooked cops. Except for the Cubans, the same can be said about some other American cities up North - where I come from. So let us not be all negative. I think that Florida is the most beautiful state in the continental U.S. - almost as beautiful as Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and other islands. And hey, there are some very nice people around regardless of their ethnic, cultural, and language differences. I'm glad I'm not in politics, because if I were, I wouldn't be able to honestly express myself.

Don Renato Ortiz, Miami Beach

I'm a native Miamian, and by the time I was ten years old, my neighborhood in Grapeland Heights was probably 90 percent Cuban. When I attended Miami High in the late Seventies, the ethnic make-up of my neighborhood was, if anything, even more heavily Latinized. Every day as I walked the two miles home from school, I would stop at a grocery store or sidewalk cafeteria along the way to buy a soft drink or a pastel. Almost invariably my feeble and halting attempt at ordering something in Spanish would be greeted by a warm smile and an equally feeble and halting response in English.

That was thirteen years ago. Today many of the Cuban shopkeepers and homeowners in my old neighborhood have been replaced by immigrants from Nicaragua, El Salvador, Colombia, and half a dozen other countries in Latin America, all of whom have taken their place in American society, and whose sons and daughters will, like my classmates from Miami High, go on to become doctors, lawyers, soldiers, policemen, journalists, entrepreneurs, and other contributing members of our city. Those who would deny the efforts and achievements of our newest citizens are relics of an earlier time, whose opinions and prejudices have been shaped by a Miami that no longer exists. Perhaps they, more than the people they condemn, deserve our understanding and sympathy.Jim MurphyCoconut GroveJust a simple question, why do your letter writers all hate Cubans so much? Is it because of our success? And you know what? We built this city out of nothing.

C. Molina, Miami

We all agree on the fact that Cubans have made Miami what it is today. Miami is traffic, blowing horns, hurriedness, cursing, high-rate insurance, clutter, a rude and inconsiderate society. Miami was lovely before the Sedano's Supermarket signs began to clutter the streets. Miami was more than just land.

Most Cubans will never understand why non-Latin Americans dislike the Cuban population. Cubans in Miami are the only Cubans in the U.S. who still act as if they are in Cuba. I hear one language and it is not English. These "wordly Cubans" know one world - their own.Refugees flee to Miami for a better way of life and freedom. We as Americans can accept such reasons. What we cannot accept is to have our way of life and freedom taken away in the process. Non-Latin Americans have lost their homeland to a society that cannot speak the English language or attain the desire to learn the English language. These reasons and more have caused the non-Latin community hardship and have caused a great many to leave Miami. Sadly, the Cuban community remains unconcerned. Non-Latin Americans have paid an enormous price for welcoming refugees from Cuba into Miami. The price was as much as losing communication, respect, and consideration from our neighbors. Even more was the loss of a city we once felt proud of and where we felt welcomed.Diana ElizabethMiamiI see New Times won six first-place awards in the Florida Press Association's Better Weekly Newspaper contest. What - no first-place award for "most bigoted and hate-filled letters published"?

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