NPR asked me to do a commentary on "black-brown tensions" in L.A. and I riffed off a scene I observed at a Mexican deli in South-Central on my way back downtown after a visit to Harbor Gateway. A few key lines:
"Person to person, we say, people get along just fine. But having to say so is itself a sign of trouble. Recent racial gang violence is making matters worse, but the subtext is nothing new. As Latinos move to the center of power in L.A., our secret fear is that we’re getting dangerously close to replacing whites as the new faceless black oppressor.
Meanwhile, people working to make things better in civil rights causes, universities, and media have not adapted to the new realities. For many, there are only "black issues" and "Latino issues," and apparently these exist in vacuums. We're too afraid to address our shared struggles, our shared blackness and brownness. We're too afraid to combat racial prejudice among immigrants."
Thanks for the reaction and feedback from all over. Still, I'm afraid to listen to it. Take a deep breath, L.A., we can make this work ... Here's the link.