From the Right: Racist views spanning among multiple races

By Don Schmitz 

Racism is not the purview of any one race — individuals of all races suffer from it. Ignorant racism isn’t predicated on the amount of melanin in our skin. 

There has been a powerful philosophy by some in America that only Caucasians can be racist, but that notion has been incontrovertibly debunked by the vile racist recordings of L.A. City Councilmembers Kevin de Leon, Gil Cedillo, and Council President Nury Martinez.

Their meeting pertained to redistricting the council boundaries, and it laid bare that there is a pervasive racist mindset in the political structure in L.A. Martinez, who resigned under intense pressure from the council, spoke about District Attorney George Gascon, stating in one of the recordings “F— that guy.. he’s with the Blacks.” She joked about the adopted black child of Councilman Mike Bonin, using a term that was Spanish for “little monkey,” and complaining that he was being raised “like a little white kid.” The reason for bashing Bonin? They concluded that he voted with the Blacks because of his son. In discussing decisions by the City Controller Ron Galperin, Martinez said, “You need to go talk to that white guy … It’s not us. It’s the white members on this council that will mother-expletive you in a heartbeat”.

This naked racism is repugnant to any decent person and suffice it to say most of us wouldn’t want to have such people in our homes for a dinner party. Even more troubling however is that these three represent some of the most politically powerful people in our area. 

Kevin de Leon (D) was a state assemblyman, state senator, and the president pro tempore of the Senate. He ran for the U.S. Senate against Diane Feinstein and was a candidate for L.A. mayor this year. He was a labor organizer for the California Teachers Association, and is a professor, senior analyst, and distinguished policymaker-in-residence at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, as well as a distinguished fellow for Climate, Environmental Justice, and Health at USC. How many of his racist views permeated his influence in the legislature, academia, and the City Council?

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Ron Herrera, who was the head of the powerful County Federation of Labor was in the meeting. The federation represents 345 unions with 800,000 people, funneling copious cash into campaigns, and directing the votes of their members. Herrera told the three that they were the “little Latino Caucus.” He advised them to push for the appointment of a vacant council seat to Heather Hutt because she would support their Latino agenda, and, in fact, Hutt was appointed to the council on Sept. 10. Remember, the entire point of the meeting was to strategize on aggressive gerrymandering of the political boundaries in ways that would promote Latinos over Blacks, Whites, and Jews. This isn’t just offensive bigotry, it is raw, naked political power, to pursue a racist agenda.

Gerrymander is the manipulation of the boundaries of an electoral constituency to favor one party or class. Political parties of all stripes have historically tried this to gain advantage, which is why more communities are forming nonpartisan committees to redraw political boundaries. The Supreme Court has upheld redistricting for partisan purposes, but racial gerrymandering, which is intentionally drawing district lines to diminish the voting power of a particular race, is illegal under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. That law was passed to address overt racial gerrymandering primarily in the South to suppress the black vote. Reasonable people can and do argue over when redistricting crosses the line, and there is currently litigation in the U.S. District Court over redistricting in Georgia. These questions hinge on population demographics and geography, yet sometimes it’s obvious that race is the driving factor, like it is now in L.A.

For decades many on the left have abandoned the core principle of us being a meritocracy, and the dream of Dr. King that all should be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. When we hyphenate what type of American we are, defining our “community” by the race of people within it, this type of balkanization becomes all but inevitable. In the 2020 census Hispanics were 39.4 percent of the California population, the largest ethnic group in the state, certainly not a minority. 

One of my best friends is a prominent Democrat Latino politician — he and his wife are family to us. We often discuss this issue, and I argue that the time has come for us all to move past the ethnic classifications. How can we ever hope to achieve a color-blind society when everything from the Chamber of Commerce to the legislative caucuses are broken up into ethnic classifications? Kudos to mainstream liberals calling on these three to resign, but we should all commit to expunging racial classifications from our civic and political organizations. E Pluribus Unum!

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