Opinion: Columnists

Don't let nonwhite racists off the hook

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Gregory Kane,Columnists,Analysis,Race and Diversity

Fewer than two weeks ago I did a column about media mogul and millionaire Oprah Winfrey’s curious notion that only old white people in America were racist.

In that column I mentioned the racism of nonwhites against either whites or other nonwhites. Specifically, I mentioned how Cheryl Green, an African-American, was murdered in 2006.

The perpetrator was a Latino gang member in Los Angeles named Jonathan Fajardo. I didn’t have enough space to give all the details in the last column, so in this one I’ll continue. And one thing is clear.

Anti-black racism among some Latinos – especially gang members – in Los Angeles is worse than we think.

Read this Los Angeles Times account from June 2012 about how Ernesto Alcarez, the last suspect in Green’s murder, was sentenced to 238 years in prison for the crime. The article also mentioned Fajardo, and gave more details about the chilling murder.

On Dec. 15, 2006, Fajardo faced off with a black motorist in the neighborhood earlier in the day. He went to a stash house for a gun and then walked back to the neighborhood with Alcarez in two looking for the motorist, according to testimony in previous court hearings.

The pair came upon Green and several other African Americans. In broad daylight, Fajardo opened fire without a word, hitting the girl in the stomach., and wounding several of her friends. Green’s friends rushed her to the hospital, where she died.

The crime cast light on long-standing violence by Latino street gangs against blacks in many neighborhoods of the city. The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations said Latino street gangs were the most violent perpetrators of hate crimes in the region, mostly against blacks.

The tiny Harbor Gateway neighborhood where Green lived became a symbol of those tensions. Black residents told The Times that they were often harassed and beaten by the Latino 204th Street gang, and could not patronize the area’s only market, which the gang used as its hangout. The neighborhood had averaged about one Latino-on-black homicide a year since 1997, according to LAPD figures. Most of the victims were not affiliated with any gang, police said.”

So the primary motive for the killings was racial, not gang affiliation. And as I mentioned before, let’s all recall that Oprah didn’t cover this topic when her show was still on the air.

Traditional black misleaders — the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton — don’t mention it either. Black pundits like Tavis Smiley, Cornel (I Just Loves Our Brown Brothers and Sisters) West and Michael Eric Dyson — ever eager to tell us how racist white folks, especially the conservative and Republican ones, are — don’t even mumble so much as a syllable about this matter.

Also off their radar screen is the other incident of blatant nonwhite racism that I mentioned: the 1993 murder of Korean-American Joel Lee on the streets of Baltimore.

A suspect – black and young – was arrested and tried. At his trial four witnesses – including three of his friends that knew him well, so there was no possibility of mistaken eyewitness testimony – identified the suspect as the man that shot Lee.

After a predominantly black jury acquitted the suspect, one of them took to the radio airwaves and proclaimed that not one of the four eyewitnesses that identified the suspect as the shooter was credible.

This story gets even more outrageous and infuriating. Later the suspect’s uncle tried to get U.S. attorneys to file charges against the suspect for violating Lee’s civil rights. The uncle said his nephew admitted the killing to him, and said the reason was he hated Koreans.

Don’t take my word for it, the uncle urged the feds. Strap a wire to me and I’ll get it on tape for you.

The feds completely blew off the uncle, telling him they didn’t cut deals with lowlifes. Not exactly accurate, since just about everybody knows the feds cut deals with lowlifes all the time.

Later Joel Lee’s father met with me and lamented how he and his family had received no justice. This was around the time that Camille Cosby, wife of entertainer Bill Cosby, lost her son to a murderer. A white one.

Said murderer was tried and convicted, which means Camille Cosby got more justice than Joel Lee’s father ever will hope to get. That didn’t stop Camille Cosby from writing an op-ed piece titled, “America taught my son’s killer to hate blacks.”

Like Oprah, Camille Cosby sees only one type of racist: the white ones. That in itself is a particularly egregious brand of racism.

GREGORY KANE, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.
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Gregory Kane

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