Letters to the Editor: Blacks and Latinos have a shared history. Teach it in schools to fight racism

Leon Simmons is among hundreds of Black workers who say they faced racial harassment at Inland Empire warehouses.
Leon Simmons is among hundreds of Black workers who say they faced racial harassment at Inland Empire warehouses.
(Moises Castillo/AP)

To the editor: As an African American, I was disheartened to learn of the disturbing level of racism that exists among Latinos toward Black people. Latinos and Blacks have a shared history that, if known, might contribute to mutual respect. (“In California’s largest race bias cases, Latino workers are accused of abusing Black colleagues,” Aug. 22)

During the Middle Ages, Black Moors dominated and civilized Spain for nearly 800 years. Vicente Guerrero, a Black man, was one of the great heroes of Mexico, and briefly served as its president.

In Spanish legend, California was named after Queen Califia, a fictional Black Moor. Pio Pico, a Black man after which Pico Boulevard is named, was the last governor of California under Mexican rule. Furthermore, more than half of the 44 original settlers of modern Los Angeles were Black.


If educational systems across America focused more on our shared history — rather than banning books and condemning “wokeness” — this might ultimately lead to a racial healing in our divided nation.

Legrand Clegg, Compton


To the editor: I was not surprised to read of the racist attitudes of Latino workers toward their Black colleagues. I was appalled, however, at the language and actions directed toward Black workers. I felt very ashamed.

I was raised in Port Arthur, Texas, in a Mexican household with family members who were heavily prejudiced. Whenever Blacks (or “coloreds”) were mentioned, it was with disparagement.

We moved a few times when what we considered too many Black people moved into the neighborhood. More affluent Mexican families moved out farther to local cities with smaller Black populations.

The first time that I went to school with African Americans was in 1963, when I went to Lamar College in Beaumont, Texas, which had been integrated a few years before. Full desegregation took place in the Port Arthur district in the 1966-67 school year.


Unfortunately, it cannot be said, “That was a long time ago.”

Martha Strapac, Bellflower


To the editor: People low on the totem pole often scorn those even lower, unless education and social interactions have had a chance to open their minds. The fault lies with the owners and managers, who are responsible for fairness and civility in the workplace.

But that’s not all. I can’t get over the appalling working conditions in this article.

Six-day weeks. Fourteen- and 16-hour days. Ninety-degree heat. And for $12 an hour. Add supervisors refusing bathroom breaks, making unfair assignments and (the cherry on top) threatening to fire workers for complaining.

No one should have to put up with these grotesque conditions.

Grace Bertalot, Anaheim