Nury Martinez's comments show it's not just the average "white supremacist" racism here in California.
Social media went scorched earth over the weekend with the Los Angeles Times reporting of a leaked audio tape of Nury Martinez, the L.A City Council President, using derogatory and racist language against the Black child of fellow councilmember, Mike Bonin.
According to the L.A Times:
Martinez said a white councilmember handled his young Black son as though he were an “accessory” and described Councilman Mike Bonin’s son as “Parece changuito,” or “like a monkey.” Martinez also mocked Oaxacans and said “F— that guy … He’s with the Blacks” while speaking about Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón.
Martinez was in the company of fellow Councilmembers -Gil Cedillo, Kevin de León and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera when this conversation occurred.
It was a whole entire racist conversation with no breaks and no chasers. It sounded like what I imagine Klan meetings sound like when discussing Black children, criminal justice reform, and voting. Absolutely disgusting and concerning behavior. As a Black resident of LA, I am horrified but not surprised. I want to see accountability and a look at the ways in which Nury's racism may have impacted decisions, contracts, etc. -Michael Tubbs
All four have apologized and Martinez resigned as President of the Council but has not resigned from her Council seat yet. The fallout will likely continue as calls for all 4 of their resignations and removal are ongoing. Labor President Ron Herrera has announced he will resign.
The blowback was extremely swift on social media. I was following on Twitter where several hashtags dedicated to Nury Martinez and the audio leak were trending. Many denounced the racist conversation.
What surprised me was that some seemed highly shocked to hear racist comments coming from a Hispanic person of color. I chimed in on Twitter with a perspective that we haven’t talked about in some time, and that is, here in Southern California it's not just the average "white supremacist" racism here.
Race relations between Black and Brown haven’t always been good and may be getting worse.
Loyola Marymount University Public Opinion Poll
Just 8.2% of city residents feel racial and ethnic groups in LA are getting along very well, the study found. Almost 40% say race relations have gotten worse over the last four years- Growing number of LA city residents think race relations are getting worse.
OPINION: Having been born and raised in Southern California I have lived through periods of civil and racial unrest in our state, particularly Los Angeles. I thought it was getting better, in fact, I thought we were getting all kumbaya with each other. I remember recently telling my grown kids how dangerous it was coming up through epic Black and Brown clashes in the 1980’s and forward.
There was mutual animosity for different reasons. Economic competition between Hispanics and Blacks was a big part. But as Hispanics began to grow and grow in numbers, Blacks saw the writing on the wall and started to encourage dating and race mixing along with incorporating Hispanics into our arm of the marginalized community.
That didn't work out quite how we thought. Organizations, local and national, that had been looking out for Black people’s interests suddenly became the POC (people of color) brigade. For example, the Congressional Black Caucus does not focus solely on Black American interests:
Since its establishment in 1971, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has been committed to using the full Constitutional power, statutory authority, and financial resources of the federal government to ensure that African Americans and other marginalized communities in the United States have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. -CBC
As the number of Black residents diminished so did the collective social and cultural voices on our behalf. And now we are beginning to experience what the lack of numbers and political voice feels like.
If you will notice Hispanic groups advocate for Hispanics, not Brown and Black. In fact just about every other race based advocacy group advocates for their own- but for some reason it's just the opposite with us. In fact, other so called marginalized groups use the black discrimination experience and black trauma to get policy and enact laws in the interest of their community.
Once nearly eighty percent Black, South LA is now two-thirds Latino. The demographic change was due to many factors, including a Black exodus driven by economic precarity, fear of crime, and experiences of over-policing and a Latino influx initially spurred by an immigration surge..- Black Experiences of Latinization and Loss in South Los Angeles.
Someone commented on one of my tweets that “thought you couldn’t be racist if you weren’t white” referring to the notion that racism can only be inflicted by a group with power and prestige over another group. Well having the numbers that Hispanics have in California-makes them a very powerful group politically and otherwise.
Now this is not to cast aspersions over any one group of individuals. All hope is not lost. I know even in my own family we have bi-racial couples and children who are proud of both side of their heritage. And it is with these younger generations where the hope lies that the racial divide will shrink even further.
As for Nury Martinez, her political career should be completely over. There is no place in politics and positions of leadership for those who have deeply held racist ideology.
This has solely been my own JADED Opinion. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.