Collectively wiping out hatred

Pasadena city workers acted efficiently last week when they quickly wiped out racist and anti-gay graffiti from two Northwest Pasadena sites. The sooner hatred is wiped out, the better for us all.

Sadly, bigotry does not disappear in the short time it takes to clean off mailboxes at the King’s Village apartments or a restaurant wall on Fair Oaks Avenue.

The graffiti that surfaced may be the work of know-nothings or pranksters, but it lays bare deep-seated prejudice that all too often results in violence or injustice in the United States. Its appearance also aggravates efforts to create positive connections among different ethnic communities and neighborhoods in Pasadena.

The best way to turn these unwelcome words to the good is to launch a meaningful dialogue in their wake. If police reach out to neighborhood leaders — and Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez has been doing just that — they will hear about trends or problems long before they flare up.

If residents use this moment to talk about where they see racism in and around Pasadena and what should be done to remedy it, they’ll have done the same.

From time to time, Pasadenans talk about the Pasadena Way, which means cultivating open dialogue and tolerating reasonable confrontation on the way to solving a problem. Sanchez mentions it on his welcome essay on the Pasadena Police Department website.

Of course, tackling problems through honest and civil discourse isn’t unique to Pasadena. But it is a time-tested way to strengthen the fabric of a community and stand against intolerance. One message residents of this diverse and culturally rich city can agree on is that there is no room for ethnic- or gender-based hatred here. If only they were as easy to wipe out as a message scribbled in paint on a wall.

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