Letter May 15, 1953
May 15, 1953
Councilman Edward R. Roybal
Dear Mr. Roybal,
On May 14th, I received a traffic ticket for excessive speed, issued to me by Officer E. R. Haberman. I want to make it clear that I have no quarrel with the validity of the citation or with the conduct of the officer.
What irks me, however, is that under the listing of "race" the officer made the notation "Mex."...for Mexican.
Now, both of us know that there is no such thing anthropologically as a Mexican "race" (any more than there is a Jewish race or a French race). The proper division for identification, as I understand it, is either Caucasian, Negro or Oriental.
I deeply resent the unreal classification made by the Police Department. I think it represents, on their part, an unwillingness to use modern, scientific methods rather than old-fashioned prejiduce [sic] in their police work. For example, the federal government has stopped using the "race Mexican technique" for their records.
I hope you will bring my protest to the attention of Police Chief Parker and the mayor.
I have no quarrel with the enforcement of traffic laws... but I feel there is no need to be singled out just because my people were in this part of the country some hundreds of years before our most recently-arrived fellow citizens.
Very truly yours,