Letters to the Editor: When a big institution talks about its racial reckoning, be skeptical

A police officer faces a crowd of protesters, some carrying signs.
Police watch as protesters supporting the Black Lives Matter movement demonstrate in Santa Monica on May 31, 2020.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: Reading Jean Guerrero’s piece about anti-Latino racism in Santa Monica, I found the sentiment she attributes to Oscar de la Torre, recently elected to the Santa Monica City Council, particularly powerful: “It’s easier for city officials to support initiatives like the ‘Black Agenda’ to address systemic racism in Santa Monica because the smaller Black community doesn’t pose the same diluting threat to the city’s primarily white power structure.”

Let De la Torre’s insight be a reminder that when any institution makes what seems like a progressive move, it’s worth asking whether it is an action taken purely in the interest of justice, or if it is a convenient move made with the full knowledge that no real concessions of power or privilege will have to be made.

Coming to the conclusion that the latter is the motivation doesn’t necessarily mean that the move shouldn’t be made. It might mean, however, that we need to be even more scrupulous of the institution and less placated by its “progressive” actions.


KJ Ward, Hollywood


To the editor: I’m afraid I must corroborate Guerrero’s observation.

A few years ago as the Black Lives Matter movement was starting, my church, at the corner of 18th Street and Arizona Avenue in Santa Monica, put up a six-foot banner expressing support for Black Lives Matter. The banner was torn down — rather violently, it appeared, almost in anger.

We replaced it, hoping that the vandalism was just a fluke. The second Black Lives Matter banner was also swiftly and mysteriously removed.

Karl Lisovsky, Venice