Yes, Absolutely, Do It For Santos

Mark Graham
As we mentioned in 2001, Santos Rodriguez is buried at Oakland Cemetery amongst Dallas's elite.

This is the kind of morning I dread. I wake up. I pour coffee. I turn to The Dallas Morning News editorial page. I read things there that make sense. I hate this.

Not just sense. I would have to say brilliant. The News today in its lead editorial is proposing that we resolve our Hispanic street renaming controversy by retitling one of our many streets named at present for trees with the name Santos Rodriguez, in commemoration of the death of a 12-year-old shot by Dallas police 35 years ago. (It's a suggestion a Friend of Unfair Park actually made here last Friday.)

Brilliant. The Santos death really was a major turning point in Dallas history.

A negative turning point? No, you know, people really do need to look around.

Mexican-American history negative? Hardly. The story of Mexican-Americans in Dallas in the last 35 years, like the story of African-Americans in Dallas in the last 35 years, is one of enormous success.

But these have been hard-fought successes. Nobody handed it to them. These are sagas in which all Americans can take pride – endorsements of our values. Stick up for yourself, work hard, get a piece of the action. Life will come your way.

That’s the story we never do tell in the media: If you look at this city 35 years ago and this region today, the experience of black and Latino minorities has been one of overwhelming upward mobility by every metric. That mobility had a lot to do with people fighting back when they needed to instead of knuckling under. That is, after all, the American way.

This is a great idea. It doesn’t have a downside. Someone has devised a good way out of a bad corner. I just wish it hadn’t been The News. I’m not going to feel right about this until a week or so from now when they say something stupid again about the Trinity River.

Then on the op-ed page there’s an opinion piece by Dallas wag Rawlins Gilliland that is the best-written, funniest, pithiest paean to inner-city life that I have read in a long time, maybe ever. This day sucks. --Jim Schutze


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