Monday, October 27, 2014


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., asked that we judge one another based on the content of our character. I am not one to vote based on party affiliation. Character matters a lot to me. I will not hide the fact I rarely vote Republican. I will say 20 years ago, I voted Republican a lot more than I do today. The old Republican Party died a long time ago.

In the BISD election there is an Anglo trying to pass as a Latina. Why? Because we know, even though it is wrong, a Latina has a better chance of winning than a non-Latina. I do not like this. The blind Latina vote does not serve the people.

But what I dislike even more is an Anglo trying to pass as a Latina. This is the case of Shirley Bowman, running for BISD Trustee. Last time around she ran as Shirley Ann Bowman. This time around she claimed her nickname is “ la” so her name on the ballot will appear as Shirley “La” Bowman.

My mother crossed into the US here in Brownsville in 1947. She met my father first in Nicaragua and then Panama while he was working for PanAm. He was now on to New Jersey to work as radio operator for the airlines. While they were passing through Houston, my father was asked to leave the restaurant because he was with a dark woman, namely my mother, Alicia Conception Cervantes Gonzalez.

While living in New Jersey she suffered so much discrimination she feared speaking Spanish. The fear was so great it was my aunt and grandmother who would promote Spanish among my mother’s children. This discrimination became worse after daddy died in 63’.

Could you imagine a Nicaraguan widow with 7 children in 1963, Salt Lake City? It was no better when we moved to Long Island. People would not speak to her. She was brown, a widow with 7 kids, and Latina. It did not matter she worked as a hall  monitor in what was then called a school for the mentally retarded. It did not matter she attended Hofstra university to study to become a social worker. She was brown.

After being diagnosed with female hysteria [in 1977 women did not have heart attacks] and being put in the mental health ward she died of a heart attack, in the very hospital she spent years fighting to put signs in both Spanish and English. She had pride. Today a widow with 7 kids would not work and go to school at age 43.

Her entire life in the US was a battle against discrimination. But she never gave up. Myself in 1976, at my high school graduation there was no mention of the fact I had a full scholarship to UTEP, or that I was in fact going to a university. You see, my entire time in high school I heard the same thing from my guidance counselor. You are Latino and need to go to a trade school. I said no. Today I hold two masters and a JD. I never gave up – even after finding myself without parents by age 19.  I learned that strength from a Latina.

This is what angers me so about Shirley Bowman. Her total contempt for all the discrimination Latina women suffered. Shirley Bowman was the privileged Anglo during some of the worse times of discrimination against Latinas. But now that she wants to hold public office she wants you to think she is a Latina by having BISD place her name on the ballot as Shirley La Bowman.

This is a question of character, and not race. It is wrong Latina’s have the electoral advantage in Cameron County. I would hope we are at the point that character matters more than race. But it does not. And this is why we keep on voting into office the wrong people.

But in this case, character should matter because Shirley Bowman, not because she is Anglo, but because she is of low character, insults every Latina who has ever suffered discrimination.
And for the record, my mother left a home in Nicaragua with 7 maids.  My grandfather, Jose Angel Cervantes, was the president of the Bank of London in Managua.  My grandmother's family was equally placed as one of the families which held the status of one of Nicaragua's Mayflower families. 
My mother did not come to the US for privilege - she left privilege in her native Nicaragua to learn what it is to be the object of bigotry.  This is why I have so much contempt for Shirley Bowman.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like your family must have been Somozitas.

BobbyWC said...

And out of incredible ignorance you are wrong again - just like during the civil war in the US families were on both sides.

The night before Comandante Cero took the Nicaraguan legislature I was at a Sandanista party in Managua - they were celebrating the next day's events.

I was with my cousin Lucia - her mother became a top diplomat for Nicaragua to Moscow

Her father, my uncle, fled Nicaragua with the remaining children to avoid having them fight for Somoza. Another uncle sent his two sons and daughter to the US to flea the Somozas - one went on to be a chemical engineer on Viagra.

My grandfather died in the mid 50's. My grandmother by the time of the uprising had full dementia. She lost all of her assets in the 73 earthquake and lived off her children.

But she was a Somoza supporter because as she would tell you - contrary to your biblical teachings the businesses Somoza owned were not a creation of god - but built and provided jobs.

She would tell you that before Tacho sr. there was no real plumbing or electricity in Managua - my mother remembers city workers putting out the gas street lights with a cone - the gas was a major cause of the destruction Managua during the earthquake of 33 - so in the eyes of the old guard Somoza was good.

When Somoza fled Managua Nicaragua had the fastest growing economy in Latin America- today it is the second slowest and Nicaragua remains in shambles

Politics is never black and white - generations perceive events based on their experiences not based on some idiot in Brownsville Texas who has no sense of history.

Mind you there were human rights abuses - but tell me what do you think would happen if the NYT did an oped piece calling for the overthrow of the US government?

The government would shut them down. But yet when La Prensa did the same thing in Nicaragua the NYT called it a violation of Freedom of Speech.

Watching how Somoza dealt with the opposition for me was a lesson in bad government I could never learn in a classroom. He reacted in the wrong way and made things worse. Instead of cooperating with the moderate opposition he forced the moderate opposition to align with the Sandistas - sound like Syria to you?

Well La Presas' Violeta Chamorro and her husband quickly found out the Sandistas were not their friends - Comandante Cero became the face of the Contra's

Nothing is simple

Oh, a favorite story - Tio Benie was the personal barber of Tachito - he was my grandmothers brother - one day my grandmother had a new picture of Tacho made for her home. When it was brought in everyone was made to stand - my mother refused - my grandmother told my mother she had no choice - that she did not understand how bad things were before Tacho - history is generational and if you were educated you would know that.

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

You really don't know Shirley, she's not an anglo only her name is. I worked with her for 20 years and the students at Cummings M.S. did call her "La Bowman" so get your facts right and VOTE FOR SHIRLEY LA BOWMAN!!!!!

BobbyWC said...

You really need to learn to read - I have never disputed her nick name was "la Bowman" - the law says you cannot have two words in your nickname - so to avoid that she used just "la" you are pathetic when you try to convince people she is more Latina than Anglo - she knew nothing of the discrimination faced by the Latinas in this country - but yet you want people to believe she was more Latina than Anglo

If La was so important to her why did she not use it last time she ran - she is trying to secure the Latina vote - she is despicable and your post did not help her case.

You simple do not get how much Latina women suffered - and Shirley knew none of it

Just because most of my friends were Jewish growing up does not mean I could ever understand the stigma they faced - no matter how much influence they had on my life I can never ever understand the stigma and shame so many felt at the hands of the bigots and they would never presuppose to understand what my siblings and mother went through

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

I voted for Mary Rey!!!

Anonymous said...

If "La Bowman lies to us now, what can we possibly expect from her in the future?????