This is my response to Kenneth Eng’s column in AsianWeek, published on February 23, 2007, titled “Why I Hate Blacks”.
The past few months I have noticed a trend I find extremely distasteful; the resurgence of racism in America. If you follow the reports of institutionalized racism of blacks across our country, you will find it is alive and well, although we would like to believe things are getting better.
When the story in question came across my computer, I told myself I would ignore it. Everyone would forget the hateful words flowing across the media. Then a close friend urged me to say something, anything, to counteract the vitriol and ignorance of a select few.
As a child my father’s best friend was a black man named Bob Quincy. The two worked at the Los Angeles Times together as truck drivers and also rebuilt car motors as a hobby on weekends.
Bob and his family would come to our home and we would visit their home, and both our families got along very well together. As a child my first experience with blacks was a positive one, which has stayed with me as an adult. A few short years later I was working with Bob, as a rider, in his Times truck to South Los Angeles. So, naturally we would stop at many different Coffee shops such as the famous Holiday Bowl on Crenshaw Blvd. Again, I never experienced a problem with the many black men and women we would meet.
My first black girlfriend was Carmen Jones; this was back in 1974, so everywhere we would go people would stare. Seeing black men with white women was still not the norm yet, but a white man with black women was rather rare at the time.
Today, depending on what part of Los Angeles I’m visiting, the stares by disapproving individuals have lessened but, occasionally some people sit and stare at my partner and myself. When this happens, I usually give them something to stare at by showing public displays of affection which are genuine.
When the Los Angeles Times moved the employees from the Facilities Department (Janitorial) to the Operations Departments, we became “integrated” in the pressroom. You cannot work side by side with someone without forming long lasting bonds, no matter what race one might be. This is why I feel integration should be reinstated again, especially in elementary schools, so children can become acquainted with other races.
Six years ago I took my second course of African American Studies, at East Los Angeles College, and on the first day of class our professor was late arriving to our classroom. As I strolled into the classroom, I noticed the class was made up of mostly black students, and I had a pretty good idea of their thoughts
“This is our professor, a white man?”
Knowing what the students were thinking about me, I walked to each desk and introduced myself as Edward. I was doing my best to contain my laughter inside, as everyone was talking to one another about me. Professor Aaron, our instructor, steps in with hair in dread locks, looking cool, and made his introduction to the class. You can imagine the relief the students had at this point!!!
As I exited the classroom a crowd had formed outside, the kids were all waiting for me, with smiles on their faces. One of the students, that happened to be on the football team, spoke for the group. He said, “If you were the professor, we had planned to drop the class Edward” I was called professor by the children the remainder of the semester.
Two weeks ago my friend Jahmark contacted me regarding the use of the “N” word on You Tube, directed at him. He requested I write something meaningful and with love to the person, which was done in a peaceful manner which echoes the sentiments of Reggae music. Jahmark sings in the Reggae Band Jahmark and the Soulshakers, and his lyrics are one of unity of the races. I felt saddened by the fact that someone would even attempt to harm him with such language.
It’s really easy to throw hate back at racist people, but as intelligent beings with decency that all human beings should possess, we must not lower ourselves to their level but, lift them up to ours.
In closing, it was reported in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune this morning that Kenneth Eng was put on suspension, and the Blogosphere has reported that he has been terminated. The editor and publisher of Asian Week should also be terminated for allowing such hate to slip by.
Edward and Debi Padgett