Hate Equation: Targeting
By Juan Santos
08 May, 2007
the mayor of Los Angeles admits "Nobody, nobody should be victimized
in a way we saw women, children and families victimized just a few days
He was referring to the openly
brutal assault by the LAPD on a peaceful rally of migrant families and
their supporters on May 1 in LA’s MacArthur Park, where dozens
of pigs in riot gear viciously and repeatedly fired volleys of tear
gas and rubber bullets into a crowd of Brown families with children
and babies, even before a helicopter hovered overhead announcing –
in English only – that the Park must be vacated. The rally had
a permit until 9 P.M. But, according to eyewitness accounts collected
by the National Immigrant Solidarity Network, hundreds of cops arrived
at 6, a mere hour after the event started, and, unprovoked, immediately
began harassing a crowd watching Mexica/ Azteca danzantes, driving their
motorcycles straight into the onlookers and sending a wedge of riot
clad cops into their midst. More people gathered in the area to denounce
this outrage, as waves of cops shot their way into the crowd of ten
thousand nearby. The LAPD tried to blame “agitators” and
“anarchists” for their attack, but this as a straight up
lie. Reporter Ernesto Arce of LA’s KPFK told Democracy Now!, “they
were trying to clear the Alvarado Street for ongoing traffic, and there
was a gathering, a large gathering, a circle of people that were gathered
around Aztec danzantes, or pre-Columbian Mexican dancers, and they were
holding a ceremony. And police on motorcade decided to forcibly break
that up, and they drove their motorcycles through this crowd.”
A reporter for Telemundo
said “One minute I was on live, the next minute I was running
for my life. It was excessive force. They basically hit women, children,
Another reporter wrote, “Television
news crews captured images of the police swinging their batons at an
arm’s length of a frightened child who cried as he stood frozen
in the chaos.
Let’s be clear. This
would never happen to a gathering of white suburban families. No one
would tolerate it for a moment if white babies were fired on by pigs
using “less than lethal” weapons” that have been known
to kill, hurling projectiles with the force of a 95 mile per hour baseball.
Is a 95 mile per hour baseball “less than lethal” when hurled
at an infants’s skull? If it strikes a baby’s eye? About
600 cops, including 100 from the ultra elite Metro Division, fired hundreds
of rubber bullets and tear gas canisters and systematically beat Brown
mothers, fathers, youth, and members of the news media with batons.
Tear gas projectiles have long been known to have lethal potential.
LA Times writer Ruben Salazar was killed by the LAPD with a tear gas
canister during the police riot against the anti-war Chicano Moratorium
as far back as 1970.
But Brown children are expendable
in Los Angeles, and migrants are the new scapegoats for a nation steeped
in a deep tradition of white racism.
The race equation, the hate
equation is that simple. The Conservative voice website called the families
“criminals” taking to the streets, and, in an effort to
justify the LAPD attack, launched a racist war of words on the children
themselves ,saying ”the children of illegals, who are themselves
illegal (sic), do not share their parents’ work ethic or docility.
The children are often lazy, are predominantly hateful, and commit crimes
at rates far above the American statistical norm. Imitating the worst
qualities of American blacks, they refuse to patiently work their way
up the ladder of social mobility, and despise everything that America
stands for. Meanwhile, they demand that everything that law-abiding
Americans have worked so hard for be taken from them and given to the
The website called the families
“Thugs hiding behind children, and backs the claim with a citation
from the virulently racist website VDARE:
I wonder if the plan to
Boycott America also includes not giving birth to their 'jackpot' babies,
not driving while drunk, not accepting welfare payments, not using food
stamps, not dealing drugs, not murdering, stealing or raping, not attending
government schools, not buying homes using government financing, not
clogging our court system, not sending remittances to Mexico, not breaking
our laws by being here and not insisting that we speak Spanish?
The essay concludes that
white “Americans” should “begin exercising their legal
right (sic) to effect citizens’ arrests of illegals.” What
the Right wants is for even more intense brutality to be unleashed on
the Brown community, by police and vigilantes alike. “The Americans,
writes the Voice,” will need to break into march lines, make citizens’
arrests, and force policemen to choose their allegiances: To America’s
laws and citizens, or to foreign criminals and their American accomplices.”
The Hate Equation is so simple
and so transparent that the nation’s most brutal police chief,
William Bratton, was forced to apologize- but his early efforts were
apologies were to the brutalized news media, and to the cops themselves,
for “what happened” to them - not to the families who were
Bratton finally admitted,
“ “I'm not going to defend the indefensible. Things were
done that shouldn't have been done."
But the outrage over the
police riot grew so intense that LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was forced
to return from a trip abroad to calm the troubled waters- and prevent
any potential rebellion- by promising justice at home.
But we’ve seen the
kind of “justice” the system offers. Just the week before
the May Day police riot, LAPD shut down a protest by the parents of
children from L.A.’s Academia Semillas del Pueblo, a charter school
that teaches indigenous Mexican culture – and that has been targeted
by Minuteman- style racist talk jocks at Disney-owned KABC, who have
claimed the children are being taught cannibalism and trained as terrorists.
The school recently filed a suit against the station, noting on- air
racist attacks on the children and
a bomb threat against the children that resulted from the
station’s hate talk.
When the children’s
parents picketed peacefully on the sidewalk outside KABC, Los Angeles
police moved in to “disperse” them.
A counter-demonstration against
the Minutemen in Hollywood was also viciously attacked by riot squads
without provocation. See the video here.
Bratton is the king of “zero
tolerance” police tactics, a cop whose policies have led to a
record of brutal police murders in both New York and LA.
But street level thuggery
on the part of police, Minutemen and radio hate talkers is only the
beginning. The physical targeting of Brown children only mirrors the
orientation of politicians and the extreme Christian Right, which is
mobilizing to strip our children of the birthright citizenship provided
by the 14th Amendment, creating a permanent under- caste of not –quite-
human, non-white workers of indeterminate legal status, who will lack
the rights afforded the children of the generations of white Christian
colonizers who brought genocide and slavery with them when they came
here. The Minutemen call these children “Anchor babies”;
the Conservative Voice calls them “Second generation illegals,”
- which is to say, permanent, ready made scapegoats.
In the meantime families
are being split apart by the thousands by intensified ICE raids and
deportations, even as children are being locked in immigration prisons
Carol Lloyd writes in Salon
“…we are treating children of all ages (many of whom are
U.S. citizens) essentially as prisoners. Initial findings by the ACLU
found that the children wore prison garb, received one hour of recreation
a day and no formal education, and were kept in small cells 11 to 12
hours each day without food or toys. Other complaints involve psychological
abuse, including guards telling children they would be separated from
their families if they didn't stop crying. (For a great Q&A with
ACLU's Lisa Graybill, click here.)”
Protesting these attacks
on families was one of the major focal points of the May Day demonstrations
across the US, and in Los Angeles, the answer of the capitalist state
to these protests was clear and concise – another brutal, merciless
- and racist - attack on Brown parents and their children.
Juan Santos is Los Angeles
based writer and editor. His work can be read at
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