Saturday, April 26, 2008
Ruben Salazar stamp
A reporter from Excelsior, a Mexico City newspaper, called me the other day. She wanted to know who Ruben Salazar was, why the U.S. Postal Service was issuing a stamp in his honor, and whether it would spark another hissy fit over Mexicans invading America.
No, I said, there won't be any such nonsense. Ruben - we called him by first name in East Los Angeles - was a provocative Latino columnist in L.A. during the late 1960s, but he certainly wasn't a militant bent on the reconquista of the Southwest. Aside from former readers and a shrinking group of people who once called themselves Chicanos, most Americans know absolutamente nada about him.
He was one of five American journalists honored with first-class stamps Tuesday. Salazar deserved one because, as a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, he was an immensely strong voice and a martyr for Mexican-Americans searching for political power and cultural identity. He was killed - some still say assassinated - by a tear gas missile fired by a sheriff's deputy during a Chicano anti-war march in 1970.