Where Does the Anger Come From?

With the flap over the Obama/Pastor comments and his historic speech, I’m reminded of my old friend and neighbor Yvette, an African-American woman from New Orleans.  She and her husband Ernest left Irvine last July because of a job change and they are back in Louisiana; before Irvine, they lived in Alaska.  The family was among our Thanksgiving Day guests for two years and we walked our kids to school together every morning. 

Despite Irvine’s reputation and record of cultural and racial diversity, Yvette often confessed that she had encountered more racism in the OC than in the South or in Alaska.  Some of her stories were quite shocking, especially some of the abuse her second grade son would get from some classmates.  I miss Yvette and her family (and her awesome Peach Cobbler).  But today’s cartoon in www.CrooksandLiars.com from the Springfield, IL Journal Register newspaper reminds me of Yvette and her family more so than Barack Obama.

Cartoon by Chris Britt at the Springfield (Illinois) Journal-Register


  13 comments for “Where Does the Anger Come From?

  1. March 20, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Yes, people are angry and Obama recognized their anger in such a way not to marginalize it but to also ask that we not embrace it for it would keep people from moving past it. All so true and all so wise.

    It’s unfortunate that Obama might be marginalized as the black candidate, the angry black man and everything that he’s said will be wiped away by this blindness.

    It really breaks my heart to hear that racism is alive and well in Orange County and it should never be tolerated. Never. But the only way we learn from each other is to hear the anger and to continue to press each other to grow past our own anger, bigotry and fear. Obama was wise to see this and even wiser to know that anger can also be channeled for good. The only people that divisiveness benefits are those who profit the most from our continued bickering.

  2. Gustavo Arellano
    March 20, 2008 at 10:26 am

    This is one of the best political cartoons I’ve ever seen–almost to the level of Thomas Nast, it is…

  3. March 20, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Although I agree that racism towards Latinos, Asians, and Middle-Easterners is very much alive and well in OC, the African-Americans I know generally indicate they don’t encounter it much. So “color” me suspicious.

    I don’t know if any of our readers are African-American, but if so I’d like to hear their stories.

  4. Dan Chmielewski
    March 20, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Gila —
    I heartily disagree; Yvette isn’t the only one. I have other stories from the white mother of a bi-racial basketball player and their friends.

  5. just...asking?
    March 20, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    I am not african american, but have participated in discussions on this subject. And yes I too was amazed at how common stories of racism occur. I sat at a table of professional consultants, all with advanced degrees and by all accounts models of successful American dreams.

    The stories shared were incredible. One constant that was discussed was that most would rather deal directly with racisim than feel slighted inadvertantly by those who were unaware of their slight.

    Another interesting sidenote was that groups, not only african americans, were many times hardest on their own sub-group.

    As a nation we have come so far from seperate facilities, but issues persist and we must continue to recognize and deal with them head-on.

    Obama’s candidacy and his viability to be our next President is forcing us to deal with some delicate issues. I for one believe we will be better for it!

  6. March 20, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    There are racist people in OC, but most know to be covert about their feelings.
    When she was in college, my oldest sister had a job as a cashier at a local chain drugstore. One of her co-workers, a middle aged woman, would always have to take a break when an African American got into her line. She would call for another cashier and make a quick trip to the break room as soon as they appeared. When no other cashier was available, she would abruptly tell the customer that her line was closed. When confronted by another cashier, this woman claimed that she “was not brought up to serve those people.”
    It happens.

  7. March 20, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    One constant that was discussed was that most would rather deal directly with racisim than feel slighted inadvertently by those who were unaware of their slight.

    Now this I do understand, and I don’t discount the idea that there are racists in OC as Publius describes. No community is totally free of racists.

    I’m interested in knowing more about the slights described by Just Asking. Are we talking about ignoring a black person, failing to call on the black kid in class, or what? Or we talking about being patronizing or being overly attentive to the only black person who shows up for an event?

  8. Gustavo Arellano
    March 20, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    Gila, didn’t you read my recent post revealing a Klan member officially founded Orange County? Orange County is racist to its Sunkist core. And then, ask yourself this: why is Orange County the only major metropolitan area in the United States with a black community of less than 5 percent?

  9. Urizen
    March 20, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Gustavo, perhaps you should ask a Mexican. I grew up in the OC and witnessed lots of chasin the mayates; witness Durant. Check out the racial violence that keeps black kids concentrated in a few schools. Wake up, homes.

  10. March 20, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    why is Orange County the only major metropolitan area in the United States with a black community of less than 5 percent?

    I dunno — maybe our quota for minorities was already filled by Mexicans?

    Look, the only place in the world where my people are considered a minority is Latvia. I’m no expert here, and I only know what others tell me. I have an local acquaintance who is black and married to a Mexican. He tells me his wife experiences more racism than he does.

  11. Gustavo Arellano
    March 20, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Wasn’t Mexicans who burnt down the African-American beach club in Huntington Beach during the 1920s, Urizen (aka: anon coward). Wasn’t Mexicans who drove out Jamaican laborers (who took over for Mexicans, Gila!) from Brea and La Habra in the 1940s. Wasn’t Mexicans who discriminated against the Mulkeys in SanTana in a case that went to the Supreme Court. You’re quite the clever one–and if you read my column, I decry any anti-black racism by Mexicans all the time–but don’t try to distract with idiocies.

    Gila: African-Americans probably get less discriminated against than Mexicans, but only due to the small numbers. There’s a reason why a major African-American organization (can’t remember if it’s the NAACP or another) pulled out of holding its annual convention at the Anaheim Convention Center, and it wasn’t because of the horrendous traffic.

  12. Les Morrals
    March 21, 2008 at 5:51 am

    There’s anger but I think beyond that it’s heart breaking disappointment at the very root of it all. I had the experience of learning the term Nigger Be Good Bat from a very close friend, someone who is almost like a brother. For those not up to speed on the lingo, the term is used along the lines of, “if those guys start to f with us, I’ll break out my Nigger Be Good Bat.” I asked my friend years later about it and he didn’t remember using the term and was shocked he had said it in my presence. Of course I remembered and still do. It’s in those quiet moments when these anvils fall out of the sky and you’re left wondering wtf.

    I’m sure everyone has heard the stories of German POW’s being able to use bathrooms and other facilities during WWII that the Blacks GI’s were restricted from using and, on the heels of that, it taking almost another 20 years for the Voting Rights Act to be passed. My father fought in the Korean war and then worked for the Navy as an electrical engineer but it wasn’t until he was 38 (more than old enough to run for president) that the Voting Rights Act was passed.

    I think I’d be remiss in not stating so much of this is so very well known and so well documented that people asking where the anger comes from makes me angry.

  13. Urizen
    March 21, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Good historical citations, Gus. But does recent SA history count? I think your anger is just dandy, Chapmanesque, even.

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