Letter: Regarding Racism in Laguna – First the Bad, Then the Good

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Racism. Does it really exist? If so, what is it? If I’m not prejudiced, can I still be a racist? Is Laguna Beach “racist”?

Melissa Juniper Harris addressed this in her extremely well-written and heartfelt Guest Opinion. The former basketball player Charles Barkley made an interesting comment some weeks ago. “It is hard work being Black.” Think about it if you are white, do you want to be Black in Laguna Beach? Think about each time you see a Black person in Orange County’s whitest city. Think about it if you need to have your house appraised or somebody delivers something to your front door in the middle of the night that you didn’t order. Think about the Laguna Beach incident a few years ago when watermelon was thrown at the house of a Black student by white students. Think about it if a police officer stops you. Aren’t you glad you are not Black at that point? Think about when Black parents tell their young sons and daughters about the prejudice they are likely to face as they venture into a very white South County.

I am an 80-year-old Republican that hasn’t voted for Republicans recently. You can guess why. I have friends with many different beliefs including many who say, Black Americans have the same rights we do and the government is simply placating them. “They just need to get with it.” (Another take on this is Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, May 25, 2021).

Last year I finally realized that if I didn’t speak up I would be complicit in accepting the status quo. A group of us started Bleed the Same who along with Braver Angels (braverangels.org) are meeting June 26 to civilly discuss some of these issues. If you are interested in joining us I can be reached at [email protected][dot]com.

Finally, Melissa you are courageous and have stirred my heart and I’m sure many others.

Dan Ardell, Laguna Beach

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