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Second Opinion / OTHER MEDIA : THE SENTINEL : ‘We Are Masters at Knowing Racism When We See It’

<i> The Sentinel is an African-American weekly published in Los Angeles. </i>

Compton Police Officer Michael Jackson, an African American, was caught on videotape pummeling a Latino youth into submission, first with a nightstick to the head and torso, then with a knee to the small of the back.

The officer claims that the victim initially took a swing at him, and that the videotape doesn’t tell the whole story.

The Los Angeles Sentinel--and we dare say virtually the entire African-American leadership in Southern California--have long been leading critics of police brutality against minorities of every hue, religion and sexual preference. We dare anyone to say otherwise.

We raise that issue because there are many in the Southland who believe that the beating was racially motivated. And, they have used this issue to raise other issues of alleged racial friction between African Americans and Hispanics, both in Compton and in other communities.

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It is interesting that the Compton incident is being heralded by many as a racial issue, but other issues featuring Latino instigators are not. Cases in point: criticism of the black-brown employment situation led by County Supervisor Gloria Molina at the Martin Luther King Jr./Charles Drew Medical Center; and last week’s attack on black employment within the U.S. Postal Service by the Latino head of the State Republican Party, who is also vice-chairman of the executive board of governors of the U.S. Postal Service.

Again, the Sentinel abhors police brutality no matter who perpetrates it. But we take issue with those who want to tell us what racism is in Southern California when we are past masters at knowing when we see it.


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