Saturday, April 7, 2007

Hispanic DUIs? Blame their culture.

Culture: This could be one of the most patronizing, insulting excuse pieces I have seen in a while. There has been a rash of drunk driving cases by illegals with dead victims in the news. Alfredo Ramos of Virginia and Hector Velazquez-Nava who killed "A Christmas Story" director Bob Clark. Last week the News Observer ran an article that said being drunk is basically a Hispanic thing being pushed by illegal young men.

In 2005, there were 37 alcohol-related crashes caused by Hispanic drivers for every 10,000 Hispanics in the state, according to the UNC Highway Safety Research Center. That is more than three times the rate of alcohol-related crashes among non-Hispanics.

Hispanic leaders are struggling to stem a problem that they say is rooted in the waves of young men who leave the calming influences of church and family to labor alone in a new country.

"It's difficult because you're trying to compete with the loneliness," said Tony Asion, public safety director for El Pueblo, an Hispanic advocacy group. "Then, as some learn, more come, and we start again."

...Bobby Dunn, who counsels Spanish-speaking DWI convicts in Johnston and Wilson counties, said his clients are often young men far from home with money in their pockets for the first time. Many were too poor to have cars in Mexico, so they have little experience behind the wheel.

They also see drinking as a way of showing their manhood.

"The magic number is 12," Dunn said, or "un doce" in Spanish. "If you can drink 12 beers, you're a man."

Others say heavy drinking is part of a lifestyle dominated by long work days building homes, painting or picking crops.

Walking down Buck Jones Road to his apartment in West Raleigh, Alberto Gonzalez figured he would drink most of the 12-pack he had just bought that night, even though it was a weeknight.

Gonzalez, 29, said he hadn't given much thought to spending a night without a beer in hand. "I just sit and drink," he said. "Maybe a friend will come by. Other than work, this is what I do."

The way the article is written is one of those "Understand readers why so many Hispanics are getting drunk, its all about illegal immigration and their culture, understand!" This is the sort of thing that will infuriate people. Regardless of what the culture is over there, it won't fly here no matter your status/race/gender.

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