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Wednesday, Dec 6, 2023

We Americans Give Good Hate

Over the past 250 years we’ve managed to hate Native Americans, the Irish, Italians, Catholics, the Chinese (we were masters of that in Los Angeles), the Japanese, Jews, African Americans, Latinos, Communists, the French,(who can forget freedom fries?), Muslims, homosexuals, and a whole lot more. In fact, at some time, we’ve managed to hate just about everybody. Have a different color skin we’ll hate you. Worship differently we’ll hate you. Even vote differently we’ll hate you. In fact, one might call us equal opportunity haters. They say good things come in threes evidently so do bad things. Just in the past month we’ve witnessed an attack on the U.S. Memorial Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC; the murder of a doctor who performed abortions in Wichita, Kansas; and Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who told a columnist for the Newport News Virginia, Daily Press, that “them Jews ain’t going to let him [President Obama] talk to me they will not let him to talk to somebody who calls a spade what it is.” It’s easy to think that hatred of people based strictly on the color of their skin, the place where they worship, or the land from which they come, is a problem faced by those far from Our Valley. But let us not forget that the beating of Rodney King (Lakeview Terrace); the 1999 attack on the North Valley Jewish Community Center (Granada Hills); the vandalizing of a string of houses of worship (Encino and Tarzana); and the defacing of Councilman Jack Weiss’ office (Sherman Oaks), all occurred here. Sadly, we can claim a long history of hatred in Our Valley. Before it was renamed Woodland Hills, the community at the far end of the Valley was known as Girard. Its newspaper, the Girard News, reported on December 27, 1924, that “San Fernando Valley churches were surprised last Sunday night when 15 Knights of the K.K.K. in full regalia visited eight Van Nuys churches and one Reseda church in a body a leader presented the minister with an envelope the message was a cordial season greeting and attached to each was a check for $25 made payable to the church Enthusiastic applause greeted the gift in every instance.” CSUN’s Oviatt Library Digital is a treasure trove of this history of hatred in our own community: & #711; There’s a photograph of a Ku Klux Klan Parade on Van Nuys Boulevard on September 15, 1966. & #711; During the same week, a flier was widely distributed across the Valley inviting “All White Christians” to a “Gigantic Cross Burning” and rally on September 17, in Soledad Canyon. If you wanted to attend, you could contact Rev. William V. Fowler of La Crescenta. & #711; And then there’s the late 1950s photograph of a property parcel for sale in Reseda. Three men are sitting near a sign that reads: “Lots for sale to colored only, H. G. Weaver, DI. 8-1835.” And in case you think this is all ancient history, the following is from a June 2004 post on the Storm Front’s website, which defines itself as standing for “White Pride World Wide”: “There are National Alliance members in the Valley. There are Aryan Nations members in the Valley. There are Creators in the Valley. There are W.A.R. members in the Valley. There are SFV Peckerwoods in the Valley. There are members of each of those groups and more.” As recently as May 3, 2006, Rachel Uranga, a Daily News staff writer, wrote: “There was an unwritten policy that you didn’t have a reason to be in the West Valley unless you lived there,’ said the Rev. Zedar Broadus, former director of the NAACP chapter in the San Fernando Valley and lifelong resident. ‘You stepped out and the police pulled you over.’ “Pacoima was the only area where blacks could buy homes in the 1950s and 1960s. Japanese returning from internment camps were forced into housing tracts in Burbank and the Northeast Valley. And in San Fernando, there was an unstated rule that most Mexicans lived on the other side of the tracks. “Being non-white in the Valley during the decades after World War II was tough. Making matters worse, during the 1960s a neo-Nazi party found its home in Glendale and Panorama City.” Of course, we don’t have a monopoly on hate. In the mid-’30s, Martin Niemoller, one of Germany’s leading anti-Nazi pastors, was arrested for treason on Hitler’s direct orders. From then until the end of WW II, he was held at the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps. In 1946, he wrote this famous poem: First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up,because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up,because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up,because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me. Rev. Niemoller outlived Hitler, dying in West Germany at the age of 92 in 1984. As in so many other things, we Americans are state-of-the-art when it comes to hate. Wouldn’t it be more fun to be state-of-the-art in love? “Let us develop respect for all living things. Let us try to replace violence and intolerance with understanding and compassion. And love.” Humanitarian Jane Goodall ___________________________ Martin Cooper is President of Cooper Communications, Inc. He is President of the Los Angeles Quality and Productivity Commission, Founding President of The Executives, Vice Chairman-Marketing of the Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley, and a member of the Boards of the Valley Economic Alliance and of the LAPD’s West Valley Jeopardy Program. He is a Past Chairman of VICA and Chairman of its Board of Governors, Past President of the Public Relations Society of America-Los Angeles Chapter, and Past President of the Encino Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached at mcooper@cooper comm.net .

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