The recent insult made by councilwoman Claudia Álvarez to downtown property owner Irving Chase, which she apologized for the day after, reveals the seriously deep level of tension, resentment and distrust that some Whites and Latinos in Santa Ana’s downtown have towards one another.
This incident at city hall will serve to expose this problem. There still is an underlying distrust and misunderstanding on both sides and neither side is right to damn the other.
I have been patient up to now about not exposing the racism that I have experienced in the downtown, for the sake of focusing on people’s better selves, but there are less than exemplary people in the downtown that have made blatant remarks like “the white man is taking over,” and the incorrectly generalizing comment “these people” in reference to me and people of my Mexican background, made by a hot-headed and bitter employee in the downtown. What am I supposed to think when blatantly disrespectful comments like these are made in front of me? The arrogance and the audacity of making comments like these in a majority Latino city is outrageous and wrong. These are only two examples but there are more.
Indifferential, and disrespectful, attitudes towards Latinos do exist in the downtown. You and I would be naïve to think otherwise.
Herein lies the reason for distrust on the part of Latinos towards Whites in the downtown. Some Latinos do not trust the intentions of property owners, new businesses and their collective. It turns out that Álvarez has been influenced by the voices of distrust.
At the end of the day, not all is bad. The balance of my positive and negative experiences with Whites leans towards positive. There are those less than exemplary types and those that have treated me with genuine respect and appreciation.
It may be easy to think that racism is the cause for the ousting of the political hot potato known as El Centro Cultural de México, an organization that no one ever bothers to criticize openly, but they didn’t help themselves by defacing a historic building nor by being poorly organized. The Knights of Pythias building, where El Centro is being evicted from, is owned by the Chases. I’ll delve further and save any criticisms of El Centro in a different article. And why would I dare to criticize this group? Because I’m a Mexican citizen in addition to an American citizen and I always want Mexico to be portrayed in a better light. El Centro fails to do this because they give an incomplete picture of Mexican culture.
It may be that the ousting of El Centro is what caused councilwoman Álvarez to side with the emotional voices of distrust and pick her battles but Ms. Álvarez, we can do better than that. It should be stated that other council members appealed to have El Centro’s lease extended but they too should know that we can do better. It became a touchy issue and it upset many but notice the pattern of instability that El Centro has shown over the years and just know that things can be done better.