LETTER TO THE EDITOR: In response to Tina Vasquez

Dear Editor:

Unfortunately people will always be divided into groups; whether by race, class, color, income or education level. And people will always decide whether others are acceptable or unacceptable to them. It’s not right and it’s happened to me. Please don’t think it only applies to Latinos.

Part of being American is assimilating and there’s nothing wrong with that. What unites us as Americans is our shared culture. My parents had to assimilate when they came to this country in the early 1960s. They never left their culture behind; rather they were proud of it and celebrated it with their children.

And how do you know they, and I their child, are unwilling to discuss racism. It’s a sad fact that racism still exists in America today but I feel it’s incorrect to think that certain people are unwilling to talk about it. 

It’s too bad that Ms. Vasquez doesn't read the editorial page of The Patriot because there are non-whites who complain about (illegal) immigration. Jorge Montero is a notable example and I hope he doesn’t mind me mentioning him by name. We’ve never met but his name doesn’t sound “white” to me. Overt racism? No. Latinos are targeted because the United States is absorbing millions of poor people from the countries below it (Latinos) and that’s going to bring about problems. Just try to sneak into Mexico and see how its immigration officials react. If the same thing was happening with Canada, the same people would complain. 

Regarding Downey residents pressuring a supermarket to change its name, was it only the white residents who were upset? Downey doesn’t have a majority white population last I checked... And Mario Guerra’s opinion as to why Trader Joe’s won’t open a store in Downey sounds pretty racist and inflammatory to me. Maybe that’s why the white residents angrily addressed him? He’s making race the issue.

Don’t run from the police. While the death of Michael Nida is tragic, he fit the description of a suspect in the area and resisted and then ran from the police. While running, he made a furtive movement and the officer thought he might be reaching for a weapon. As for being shot in the back, it’s probable that the bullets struck Nida as he was turning away from the officer to continue his flight. This tragedy could have been avoided if he had just stopped when told to. No one is talking about personal responsibility and the consequences of our actions.

I’d think you’d agree that there’s nothing wrong with upward mobility for anyone. Just because a newspaper article highlights upwardly mobile Latinos doesn’t mean that the author deems the rest of them as not acceptable. I think it divisive to state that Latinos will always be put into two groups: Those who are acceptable and those who are not. It seems to imply that this is somehow the fault of others-maybe others who are not like you? Can you say with certainty that this entire country’s population (not to mention Downey’s) is against embracing anyone? The majority of Americans accept their neighbors.

If someone doesn’t aspire to be upwardly mobile, no one is condemning them. And I think that the average reader is smart enough to figure that out as well as that there’s not just one “Latino Experience”. Just as there’s not one “Black Experience”, “Middle-Eastern Experience” or “White Experience”. To just assume this is insulting.

Lastly, how do you know that Downey prefers not to talk about its “invisible population” and the Latinos who “haven’t ‘made it’” and the reasons why? It was the Los Angeles Times’ decision not to discuss it. Stating that Downey isn’t ready to have that conversation is insulting as well. You live in Downey; start that conversation if you think it’s so important!

Kevin Kott
Downey