Robert Scheer SI Podcast

Eduardo Carreon: Adopting the Mindset of the Oppressor

Indigenous Los Angeles psychology graduate student Eduardo Carreon analyzes the mindset of disgraced former LA City Council leader, a Latina whose racist bile scorned Black and gay colleagues and others, including indigenous members of her own Latinx community.
A local Oaxcan musical group and dancer protest outside LA City Hall. Racist comments were made by LA City Council Members about fellow citizens and a council member’s black child. 10/11/2020 Los Angeles, CA. USA (Photo by Ted Soqui/SIPA USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

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Much of the discussion regarding racist politicians in the United States usually revolves around right wing Republicans such as Donald Trump and other members of the GOP today. When the racism comes from a supposedly progressive Democratic Party Latina, Los Angeles City Council president, it proves that racism is not exclusive to white people but exists in all cultures and communities, further emphasizing the need to educate people. Nury Martinez, who has since resigned from the council, called a fellow council member’s adopted black son a “monkey” and said he needed a “beatdown,” she called Oaxacans living in Koreatown “little short dark people,” who “are ugly,” and condemned LA District Attorney George Gascón for “[being] with the blacks.”

With national coverage surrounding the story, President Biden had called on Martinez to resign and protests have emerged. Reflecting on this moment, Robert Scheer talks to Eduardo Carreon, a Oaxacan graduate student in psychology at Cal State LA living in Los Angeles. Scheer and Carreon find that this happening serves as an enlightening opportunity to consider the kind of colonial mentality that exists within oppressed communities and how people inhibiting this mentality have the power to bring others down further. They see indigenous people from places like Oaxaca who might be undocumented immigrants as expendable people. Carreon points out that, because they cannot vote, politicians like Martinez don’t care about them despite representing not only their local political interests but overall cultural ones too.

“Oaxaca has a rich history and it’s not only Oaxaca, it’s any other Indigenous group throughout Latin America in the world. They have history. There is some sort of rich history that it’s being undermined by colonial forces and they are still being undermined now by politicians,” Carreon says while he emphasizes the need for these kinds of diverse communities. “We need more diverse cultures because that is what is going to help us become better societies,” Carreon said.

Credits

Host:

Robert Scheer

Producer:

Joshua Scheer

Transcript

Robert Scheer: Hi, this is Robert Scheer with another edition of Scheer Intelligence, where the intelligence comes from my guests, and in this case it’s Eduardo Carreon. And the reason I wanted Eduardo Carreon, he knows a lot, he’s a graduate student in psychology at Cal State LA here in Los Angeles. He has written, published academic papers. He’s been a scholar of considerable interest and significance, but he also happens to be in the group that was maligned by the so-called progressives on the Los Angeles City Council, led by the council president Nury Martinez, who are in the midst of an incredible scandal that is now getting national attention. President Biden has said that the City Council president, who’s already stepped down from that title, but should leave the council, Nury Martinez, two of her fellow councilmen, [and] a top labor leader, all of whom claim to be representing Latinos.

And all of this started as a battle over redistricting and whether the Black community would get less representation and so forth. But in the midst of this, the so-called representative of the Latino community took a swipe at Indigenous Mexican Americans that are here from Oaxaca. And here we are, a matter of days after, it’s no longer called Columbus Day in good circles, it’s now Indigenous People’s Day. And yes, this woman and these people were equal opportunity, showed equal opportunity contempt for Black people, for gay people and what have you. But here they showed contempt for the Indigenous people originally from Mexico. And Eduardo here, I have to say, full confession, Eduardo is the uncle of my grandson. And I’ve known him now for over a decade. I’ve been involved with a large Oaxacan family here in Los Angeles. I’ve seen this community, vibrant, exciting. And actually the best food in Los Angeles, of course, is well known to be the Oaxacan food.

So Lalo, what’s going on here? You’re one of these little brown people in Koreatown that she denigrated. She said, “I see a lot of little short, dark people,” Martinez said, by way of explaining why she wanted to grab the Koreatown here, because there aren’t Koreans now there, they’re mostly people she’s supposed to be concerned about people from Mexico, but no, they’re the wrong people from Mexico. “I see a lot of little, short, dark people.” And then she says, “I was like, I don’t know where these people are from. I don’t know what village they came from, how they got here.” And then she uses a Spanish expression, “They’re ugly.” Okay, well you’re not ugly, you’re very handsome, Lalo. What’s going on here? What is the relationship of this? Are these the colonizers, the more white people from Mexico originally, or their parents in her case? What’s going on?

Eduardo Carreon:  First of all, thank you for having me here, Robert, tonight. Yeah. I think that while they may not be the colonizers that obviously [are] expressing signs of internalized colonization, and also they are expressing signs of colorism, which is greatly ingrained in a lot of Latinos and  Latinas among our society. So I think that when she expresses that all Indigenous people living in Koreatown, which by the way, not only from Oaxaca, there are many who come from El Salvador and Guatemala because Koreatown is also [home] for many Central American families. So what that-

Scheer: This is a section of LA that at one point was dominated by Korean immigrants. Yes, but you’re right, it’s now… And they showed contempt for Central Americans as well. And this dialogue that went on for an hour or so that was taped for people who don’t know this all happened a year ago and was taped. And now it’s a teaching moment. That’s why I want to visit it. And the overt racism towards Black people and then a gay couple that had adopted a Black child they denigrated; this woman was then referring to the kid [who] was only two years old. He needed to be taken to the back of a shed and abused in some way. I mean, it was bizarre, this contempt. And as I say, they were clearly equal opportunity contempt, but it extended into the Spanish speaking community and you’re right, Central Americans and people from Mexico.

And the reason I used a colonizer is because the Indigenous people in Mexico, just like the Indigenous people on this side of the border, were exploited by the dominant population, Spanish or what have you. And as a footnote, just for California history, when the LA Times, which was the dominant newspaper here in California, when they wanted to attract people from back east, they developed a myth called a Ramona Myth. And this was that actually these were not Mexican people. They are Spanish people and they are white. So there’s a history of playing on one kind of immigrant from Mexico, or people who were living here originally when the border crossed them and when California expanded. So give us that history and tell us about Oaxaca and the Indigenous population?

Carreon: Okay, yeah. So Oaxaca’s actually one of the places where one of the most influential cultures in ancient Mexico grew and flourished. The Zapotec and Mixtec cultures in Oaxaca were greatly influential back in the days. And so as of-

Scheer: What years are we talking about?

Carreon: Oh, this is precolonial times. We’re talking before [the] 1400s before that. So we’re talking about almost a thousand years old or like 1,500 years old.

Scheer: So one of great civilizations.

Carreon: So those are one of the great autonomous civilizations in Mexico. What we know right now in Oaxaca, Oaxaca is one of the largest states in Mexico and also it’s home to over a hundred small villages. Out of those, those 500 villages, at least 400 are still run by old cultures and traditions. So they still use some sort of communalism and collective work, and they still abide [by] their cultural tradition. So this is very important to acknowledge. And going back to your point of colonization, I think that what the comments are also entitled and highlight, it’s the long history of oppression that people or Indigenous people in Mexico, not only in Mexico, but the whole Latin America have suffered. So we know that once the Spanish arrive, they impose this caste system where the Spanish were on top and then their kids and then different mixes.

And at the very bottom you will find Indigenous people and Black people. And so what that translates to today is that when somebody says you’re a Oaxaco, they’re not referring that you’re from a specific region in Mexico. What they’re saying is you’re Indigenous. And when[the] City Council says that, Oh, they’re “feos”, meaning ugly, what they’re entitled or trying to say is that we do not have the European features and therefore we don’t have the standard of beauty, that they desire and we’re not supposed to be seen as beautiful. But also we are not supposed to be included in these cultures in our society, we shouldn’t be taken into consideration. And that also kind of brings to my mind that a lot of the people that refer in Koreatown as Oaxacans, they’re immigrants as you said. And unfortunately, many of these immigrants do not have the right to vote. Not because they don’t want to, but because policies that in many instances are put in place by racist comments or racist politicians like the ones that we’re talking about today.

Scheer: Including ones that claim to be of Mexican origin.

Carreon: Because again, racism, it’s nothing, it’s not unique to a specific sector of society. So racism is a social construct, that it’s been ingrained into the minds of many people, including brown and Blacks and Asians and anybody. And so that’s what these comments kind of express here or show. It’s that over 500 years of oppression and belittling specific groups of people can be seen as normal. So if you see they’re talking in a very casual way, so they’re not talking in a way that they will say, Oh, I am being racist. They’re just talking as if they’re talking to their friends or their family members.

And this is what I said, is they have internalized some sort of racism and colorist ideas. And this is a legacy of 500 years of oppression on these people. And unfortunately they don’t see that as a continuation of that historic oppression to these people, which going back to my point, which in many cases do not have that right to vote. And so therefore it’s easy for politicians to dismiss them. And they say like, “Oh, Oaxacans? We don’t care about them because they don’t have that right to vote. They don’t vote for us. They don’t bring any political power to ourselves,” which is something that is clearly a focus point in this talk that they’re trying to remap that region of Los Angeles in their favor.

Scheer: Deeply cynical political hacks are what they are. They can call themselves progressive, but anyone who listens to that tape… And that is what has shocked a lot of people in Los Angeles. The cynicism, the contempt, and many aspects are being discussed. Contempt for gay people. As I say, there were equal opportunity insulters and [the] contemptuous. But the reason I wanted you here is because they turned on their own supposedly countrymen. And yes, one problem is that these are politicians. So they care about people who have been documented and they can talk as this woman Martinez did about her grandparents and parents and what they did. But that’s not the life she has led. These people are leading the lives of prosperous Americans and have all the benefits and political clout. They run the leading political party in the state. They’re very well connected and so forth.

And yet in their rhetoric, they claim to be speaking for the entire population of Latinos and Latinx and what do they really represent? And that’s what came out in this. It was shocking. And I’m not minimizing the overt racism towards the African American community. The contempt, as I say, was extreme, but it’s a teaching moment. So teach, and your own work challenges any kind of denigration, because you deal in complexity. I should mention here, I once heard you give a talk at LA City College on the psychological roots of Indigenous life that was absolutely brilliant and you connected it with some of Freud’s achievements and so forth. And your academic research is really on the complexity of the immigrant experience, right? So tell us about these Oaxacans that were dismissed by this political class of professional representatives, they claim, of the Latino community.

Carreon: Yeah, I think that, as you mentioned, this is a teaching moment, but more than that, it’s kind of more an enlightenment and trying to highlight the issues that in many instances, many people have highlighted in the past in saying there is anti-Blackness in the Latinx community, there is homophobia in the Latinx community and it is a good time to start talking about it. But more importantly, it’s a time to start addressing. So what’s the solution here? So we know that politicians are going to play this game, whereas they’re going to try to please the groups of people that will put them in power. And if that means that I will play that good guy in front of cameras, in front of others, I will do so. But if closed doors, I have to show my true colors, which is like, I don’t care whether you’re Black or brown or Asian or Indigenous, I just need the power.

And I think that, that’s exactly what these politicians are doing, that even though many of them had been upfront in calling out other politicians who have manifested anti-Black, anti-Hispanic sentiments, now they’re doing the same. And the thing is that, as you say, my research has to do with race and racism in psychology and in psychology, what we see is that now racism has become in a new form. So now we see more microaggressions. So we don’t see overt acts of racism because nobody wants to be seen as racist. Even racist people don’t want to be perceived as racist. And so what they do is…often microaggressions. And that can be from simple comments as to where are you from? Or I have a Black friend and therefore I can say this, or I have a gay friend and therefore I said, different things. And so they try to use different social objects or some sort of currency to excuse their behaviors here.

And so I think that just because these politicians are Latinx doesn’t mean they’re not racist. It just means that they have internalized it in a way that they may not even be aware that they’re racist. And that’s what that real problem is, where I think I’m progressive, but I’m not really, my actions don’t really reflect that progressiveness. And it is true that in the case of Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo, they have advocated for the Latinx community, for the undocumented community that have put on different legislatures that have helped this community. Suppressed communities. But on the other hand also we see that their legislations are not being explicitly going to the levels that they could go. For example, Kevin De León a few years ago, he refused to advocate for-

Scheer: He was one of the council people that was in on this discussion that they didn’t know was being recorded a year ago. And that has now given us this teaching moment or this revelation. Yeah.

Carreon: And so what we see is a few years ago there was a bill that was advocating for or will allow for single payer to take place in California. And he said, No, we don’t have that budget for that when obviously we do have the budget. It’s just that it was not in his best interest for his political movement. And so we also see, for example, I believe he’s the one who help us driver licenses for undocumented people. And a lot of people praise that. What we don’t see here is that these politicians don’t act on their own. They’ve been acting because there is a group of people pushing them to do so. There is a group of people kind of saying, you need to take any stance and either you do it or you don’t, but we are going to move you away.

So I remember when the driver licenses were passed away behind that, there was a group of countless grassroots organizations which I was part of confronting police checkpoints where they used to take the cars away [from] Black people, undocumented people under the slogan that we are protecting the city of drunk drivers. So that was the excuse we’re protecting the city of drunk drivers and therefore we’re going to put [up] all these checkpoints. When in reality it was a scheme to take away the cars of anybody who didn’t have insurance, anybody who didn’t have a license. And that was generating thousands and millions of dollars for private corporations and companies that in many occasions they had links to these politicians. And so I think that if these politicians were able to step away and push for…a specific legislature, it’s not because it was coming out of their own heart. It was because a group of citizens who were concerned about these wrong doings pushed them to that.

Scheer: Well, I mean the main contradiction here is, and it goes to class, do you care about powerful people, well off people or do you care about the vulnerable, whether they’re homeless, whether they’re Black, whether they’re brown, women, gay or what have you, people who are hurting because of oppression of one kind or another. And to pick a fight over districting and to make that your main energy means you care about your personal power, not empowering brown and Black people who face, as you point out, very similar issues, why are they being divided? Why wouldn’t you have a lot in common with a Black City Council  person? Why would this be… I mean, that is so interesting, there wasn’t anything that they said that the Black council people don’t care about brown people.

Isn’t this not true when it comes to policing, when it comes to a decent welfare system, medical aid. Of course there’s a natural alliance and we had a Latino mayor, Villaraigosa, and he did very similar things to Black mayor Tom Bradley. And on the key issues they were united. What was so bizarre about this recorded conversation, they didn’t say one word of concern about their own constituencies, real needs. There was not one word that, Oh, we don’t want these Black council people because they’ll vote against us. They didn’t even say that. We just don’t want that what? Their leadership because we want to be the leaders. It was so, and in the deepest sense, apolitical.

Carreon: Yeah, I think that you highlight something, right? So this issue, it’s not only racial, this is a multi-layered issue. So it’s full of intersectionality. So for example, now we’re talking about social class. And so social class, what we also know is that historically Indigenous people had been deprived of the means of production to better off. So they had been… their lands were taken away when colonization came, their rights were taken away. And that’s something that didn’t end with the independence movement throughout Latin America, what would’ve happened is that they transformed to new forms of institutions. And in many instances those institutions are political institutions. So now what we see is that, I think one thing that we need to be clear here is that these are, what we see in this case is two levels of racism. So we see personal racism, but we also look at institutional racism. So it’s easy to just focus on these individuals and say, “Oh, they’re Latinx and they’re showing others being racists at the personal level”.

But what we are not looking at here is at the institutional level, where what they’re discussing …dividing, it’s a strategy that was imposed by the colonizers themselves. You divide and you conquer. And so by keeping all these groups of people that have the same issues segregated from one another, from united one another, what you do is you continue the status quo, which only benefits a specific groups of people, which like many of these politicians Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo are part of now they’re not part of the groups. Yes, they belong to a group that have been marginalized, but due to their success in politics, they’re not part of the super marginalized. So I think that, that’s something that we need to look at the layers that exist within different groups, the intersectionalities that exist. And we can also see that with the homophobia that they express. So as heterosexual males, I will assume that they’re a straight heterosexual males, they do have some sort of privilege and therefore it’s okay for them, or they think that it is okay for them to belittle anybody who deviates from that social construct.

Scheer: You’re talking about their contempt for a white gay couple that adopted a Black child who at the time was two years old and who was having, on a float in a Martin Luther King parade, was having some fun and they thought the kid should be taken back to the woodshed or something. And according to Nury Martinez, the president of the City Council, she would know how to do what, tough love, I guess. It was so bizarre when you think about it. But what I’m trying to get at here is we’d like to think, and there should be a common alliance of people that have been oppressed by a dominant power structure that certainly includes gay people through the entire history of this country is certainly includes Black people, it certainly includes brown people. What we’re really talking about is a false consciousness of people who are successful and they forget where they came from.

They forget what it’s like to be on the other side. That’s what this reeks of. After all one of this all happened in a central labor headquarters, well labor in LA that’s most effectively organized outside of the police and fire department has been janitors. There [ara] a lot of Oaxacans, there are a lot of Black people. There are a lot of, what are we talking about? Why are you creating divisions between the most economically, most oppressed people in the community, whether they’re oppressed by policing, whether they’re oppressed by lousy jobs and so forth. It’s absolutely bizarre. There wasn’t one word expressed in that conversation, that taped conversation, where they said, well, but that’s a progressive Black person. We vote the same way. There was not one word about good outcomes. It was all about their power, their personal power to have a safe district and be able to exert as much personal power. It had nothing to do with social outcomes.

Carreon: Yes, I think that, that’s a good point. I think that what we also need to look at is the reaction of the community. So what we see is, for example, yesterday there was an action where members of Black Lives Matter and the Indigenous community here in Los Angeles got together and other Latinx organizations got together and they start demanding the resignation of these politicians, of these public servants. So I think that that shows you something, but also you see that other organizations, so people over the media are kind of saying, this is not okay, this shouldn’t be welcomed here in Los Angeles or anywhere else.

So we need to move past forward, this source of divisions. And it’s not only Latinx people expressing that. It’s also like Blacks and Asians and other racial groups or racialized groups who are showing this sentiment and this solidarity among others. Again, I think that the other layer that you’re talking about is the solidarity that exists among the working class. And so what we see is that a lot of workers are also, I forgot the name of the union leader who was present at the meeting too. So…

Scheer: Herrera?

Carreon: Yeah, Herrera, yeah, I believe. And so what we see is that he’s not representing the working class because as you say, many of the immigrants of the Oaxacan immigrants that they refer to are part of the working force. And they do have more commonalities and they see those commonalities with Black workers. They see commonalities with the roofing workers, with the construction workers. They see that their lives are not different because they’re all subjugated, by the same political system, by the same economic systems. And so I think that, that’s something that we need to stress. This is a class issue, this is a race issue. And like I said, it’s an intersectional issue that needs to be expanded on. Just focus on that racial aspect of it.

Scheer: And I think here we have an example of careerism and personal power gives you reactionary consciousness no matter how you define yourself. But the reason I wanted to do this show, because there’s a lot of discussion about other aspects of this case, I want to get back to Oaxaca. And every time I’ve heard you talk or I’ve gone to events that you’ve taken me to exhibits and so forth, we’re talking about a unique history, a rich culture. And we don’t have that much time, but this is a lot about what your research has dealt with. First of all, how many languages are represented in Oaxaca?

Carreon: Well, there [are] at least eight different languages. So in each language can have different variations. So again, Oaxaca’s one of the centers where many precolonial cultures existed, I shouldn’t say precolonial because they still exist to this day. And so there is at least eight different languages, two of the most common languages or the ones that people know the most Zapoteco or Zapotec and Mixteco or Mixtec. And so those were the two of the most influential cultures in Oaxaca and in the whole Mexican region before colonization. And so we’re talking about at least 1500 years ago were these cultures were able to develop a formal society where they develop an educational public education system.

They developed some sort of collectivist societies where everybody had access to food, they had access to shelter, and they also were able to develop some sort of writing system. And that writing system was also implemented throughout Mexico and different parts of culture throughout Mexico or pre-colonial Mexico. And so Oaxaca has a rich history and it’s not only Oaxaca, it’s any other Indigenous group throughout Latin America in the world. They have history. There is some sort of rich history that it’s being undermined by colonial forces and they are still being undermined now by politicians. And so I think that what we need to, it’s bring that diversity into the forefront and say we need more diverse cultures because that is what it’s going to help us become better societies in a way.

Because a lot of the kids from these families, from these Oaxacan families living in Los Angeles, they go to school and they are bilingual. And in many instances they are trilingual because in this household they speak languages like Zapoteco, Chinanteco, Mixteco, Nahuatl. And they also have a different form of learning. A lot of these cultures they learn through other traditions. So they still kind of learn through verbal cues. So maybe we can implement those into our society and we shouldn’t just focus on one type of learning. So I think that by adopting all this knowledge from traditional societies, it can make us better and to cater better social services to our communities, not only for our benefit, but for the benefit of the world because we can provide better goods and very social services to the whole world.

Scheer: But it should be pointed out that this border of the United States and Mexico is an artificial border. As Dolores Huerta pointed out about her family. They never moved anywhere. The border crossed them, they didn’t cross the border. And what we’re really talking about is the problem of the eradication of memory of Indigenous culture and the continued inherently racist notion that there was no life worth respecting in North or South America. That’s what we’re really talking about. This insult that was visited upon Indigenous Oaxcans. Could have been visited upon tribes that were right here in California all during this time that had their agriculture, that had their civilization.

And so what really was on display here was supposedly educated progressive Democratic Party politicians. By the way, these are not southern white racists and so forth, or Donald Trump’s crudeness, these were supposed to be progressives and they’re showing contempt for any life that came before colonization. That’s really what this is. I mean, and it happens that Oaxaca was the center of one of the more important Indigenous cultures, but they would show the same contempt. They wouldn’t dare about Native Americans now because there’s been so much education about it. But that’s really what was revealed here. It was that they actually had accepted the mindset of the colonizer. They claimed they were representing the community, but they no longer were representing most of the people in the community. In any real sense.

Carreon: Yes, I think that their claim to be something they’re not because on the surface of things, they’re progressive. But when you dig deep inside, they’re not progressive. And something that you said is very important. When we think of native people, when we think of Indigenous people, we try to divide and we continue ignoring their existence. So a lot of the times when we say Native Americans, we just think north of the border and we don’t think of south of the border. And it’s ‘cause then you stop existing. And so if we try to integrate Native Americans, then we should just talk about just one region, which is the whole continent. And anybody who was here before colonizers, they should be seen as such. And I think that by just picking and choosing when to be conscious, when to be inclusive of a specific people, [is] a real problem.

And I think this is what they’re showing. They’re picking and choosing when to be inclusive. It’s important to be inclusive of Native Americans, but it’s not important to be inclusive of Indigenous people. And I think that that shows that what we need to do, it’s not just call for the resignation of these politicians. What we need to do, it’s also demand that anybody who’s going to use or who’s going to be in a public office, they do take a sensitivity training like the inclusivity trainings. That’s what we need. Because nobody should be in a public office if they don’t know how to be inclusive of others, whether they’re Indigenous, whether they’re members of the LGBTQ plus community, where all these layers that we talk, different social classes, they need to be able to include them in order for them to develop better policies. Policies that will actually make change and not policies that will only reform a specific sector of society, but it still benefits the status quo.

Scheer: And underwriting all of our problems. All of our problems [are] a conceit, a cultural arrogance that, and for Mexico, it begins with the Spanish and in parts of California that until…the world was gifted with European culture, that life was on a lower inhuman level. That’s the conceit. And yet it’s this dominant European white culture that has raped the planet, that has messed up I mean here what north or out to the border, We had an environmental, agricultural system of sustenance preservation. I mean Benjamin Madley, the great scholar on Native American life in California, pointed that out. There was balance. And the community, you’ve written about this and your papers, there was even something we don’t consider off.

And one of the papers that you wrote [was] about the psychological wisdom, mental health, caring for people, community and so forth, that I found very impressive in your paper. And so this idea, and in the case of California, maybe we’ll close on this, but the LA Times, which at least now covers these things, for most of its history [it] celebrated the idea that the only Mexicans we had in California were people who were basically Spanish. They weren’t even called Mexican. This was the Ramona myth. So, come here from New York and everything to California, this paradise, we don’t really have brown Mexicans, we have white Spanish people who happened to come from Mexico.

And so racism was built into it from the beginning in a very ugly way. And here it pops up and it pops up. I’ll conclude on this, but it really pops up over the pursuit of power for individuals and wealth. The ultimate Western idea of this perverse notion of individualism, that you only care about yourself and your career. That’s what was manifested here. These people wanted to preserve their council districts. They wanted to get to be higher positioned. And if you have to sacrifice the common interests of exploited Black and brown people and so forth, Oh yes, we can’t have an alliance with those people. They get in the way of our career trajectory. That was the ugly thing demonstrated that these people who claimed to care about their community they were representing really only cared about their career.

Carreon: Exactly.

Scheer: That was it. And the suffering that people going to work and getting lousy wages and having to wait for buses that don’t come and everything else that is experienced, the homeless—I mean, we have a community that’s a bloody mess of indifference and contempt [for] people. But these hot shots, that’s what they were going to feather their nest and they were going to alienate. That’s the sad thing here. Why would you attack a progressive gay representative? Why would you, by inference Asian and a very large community, you would attack them, You would attack Black prog… I mean, no one ever said in these discussions, but those Black people are reactionary or they don’t care about our people. There was nothing of that. This was all about personal greed and ambition.

Carreon: Yes, I think that you put it perfectly. And like I said, this [is]  like the internalization of colonial mentality, like the internalization of oppression, the internalization of the ideas that one race, it’s better than the other, or one form of living, it’s better than the other. And that is still very alive today. One thing that they say, again, going back to the whole statement of this, we don’t know where this, what happens come from where these villagers come or what villagers they come from. They just show that they even, it’s kind of show saying that these people are not acculturated. And I think part of another comment that one of the members of this meeting, and maybe we just prolonging it, But yeah, I think that they’re just showing overall, just to wrap it off, they just showing how the internalization of ideas, oppressive ideas that should not be continuing. They shouldn’t be reinforcing in our communities by anybody. Whether they’re politicians and regardless of their race of those politicians.

Scheer: They don’t see people. That little kid was two years old and they see, oh, he’s a Black kid with gay white parents, therefore he’s… It’s annoying to us because they’re flaunting the Black kid. Or it’s an adornment on their accessory. The most cynical treatment of human beings. And I want to get back and end with this quote, this is what this Nury Martinez said. She considers herself a progressive person. “I see a lot of little short, dark people.” What does that mean? That they’re not people, they’re not human beings. They don’t have aspirations, they don’t have love, they don’t have complexity.

I’m talking to one of them right now who writes about psychological developments and an Indigenous community a thousand years ago. “I see a lot of little short, dark people”, she said, of that section of Koreatown. And as the [Times] pointed out, employing stereotypes long used against Oaxacans in Mexico and in the United States. And she, quoting her, “I was like, I don’t know where these people are from. I don’t know what village they came from, how they got here, how they got there”. And then she says, “They’re ugly”. How they got there is the same way her grandparents got there, right? So now because of skin color, again, this is what divided the Black community, even under slavery. I mean it’s… What do you call it? Colorization.

Carreon: Colorism.

Scheer: Colorism. Well explain that and we’ll end on it. I like it when you take me to school.

Carreon: Well, colorism, it’s a concept where it’s similar to racism. It’s just that it’s something that we see in different racialized groups. And so for example, within the LatinX community, you will see that although the LatinX as a whole, it’s an oppressed group, there are different levels of oppression when you start looking at it. So those that are lighter skin, they usually have more privileges than those that have more darker skins. But you also see that within physical complexions, for example, those that look more Indigenous, meaning short, dark and all those things that the representative talk about, then they’re supposed to be seen as inferior or less desirable. And that has a very strong psychological consequences as well as social consequences because people can then deny services to you. They can keep you down from obtaining better jobs just because of your looks.

Or they can just say, We don’t find you’re attractive because we’ve been told that you’re ugly. And the social and psychological consequences can be very pervasive. So I think that, again, the effects of colorism, it’s something that we need to explore more. And that’s something that we need to talk more about. But more than just talking and exploring, it’s something that we need to find a solution to it. And the solution, it’s not going to be just by resignation and by exposing people. The solutions are, by creating institutions and programs that will in a way rehabilitate people and take away those internalized forms of oppression, internalized colonization away. And instead of saying diversity as something welcome and something that we need because we need diverse societies.

Scheer: And the old racist and well, it was actually in the blues music, if you’re white you’re alright, if you’re brown, stick around. If you’re Black, get back, get back. And what you term colorization, it has been the cruelest me mechanism for exploiting people obviously. I mean, slavery was based on colorization in its main form. And so I want to thank you, Lalo. I am looking forward to your academic work, and I hope that this is progressing well and that you’ll write more about this. And I just want to thank the folks at KCRW, Laura Kondourajian and Christopher Ho for getting these shows posted. The Good Station in Santa Monica, Joshua Scheer, who I believe is your brother-in-law again full confession is our executive producer, although he had nothing to do with booking you. I did that. Natasha Hakimi Zapata, who is part Persian and part Mexican showing a crossover, does the editing and the JKW Foundation and the memory of a really terrific writer, Jean Stein, for helping fund these shows. So you next week with another edition of Scheer Intelligence.


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9 comments

  1. We are all a part of One Humanity, Period. The races, colors, minute distinctions are irrelevant and shold be so long as no person uses them to deny a human being of their rights, or makes false allegations based on these distinctions.

    It appears that wealth influences the way people think, and the wealthy like to keep the poor at each other throats, in a state of perpetual conflict. When we focus on where the money is that pays for starting racist lies or conflicts, we see it comes from the top as always. The few Fascist Corporate State controllers who profit off of war and conflict. These soul-less beings must be exposed for who and what they are. Once we make all of humanity a priority for love, compassion, equality, and basic human rights, we will have made a large step toward a better world. Namaste EWC

    1. I would go a bit deeper and suggest that “race” is not simply an “irrelevant” concept, it is an imaginary one, “constructed”, as they say, in order to justify the ascendancy of one group over another on the basis of “science”, or religion – both have “justified” the concept of race.
      As you cannot have “racism” with out a concept of “race” – the basic, fundamental, task is to give it the lie at the same level of debunking that “the earth is flat” or “the sun goes around the earth” have been discredited and discarded
      My version of “critical race theory” is one that is critical of “race” and that can, and should be, taught at ALL levels of education from the very youngest – that we are all members of one race, the human race – we come in all sizes, shapes and colors and isn’t that great!
      I wonder who would object to that – I suspect we might be surprised …

  2. Bob I know you and Edwardo are the salt of the earth. I loved his explanation of how his people have been and are discriminated against. He is a good man.
    But my question is who recorded this and why did it sit with your former employer the LA Times or some where for 1 year. Why did it come out now? 3 weeks before the election.
    We must know they have recordings of everything (Assange/Snowden)
    And they use it.

  3. Chris Hedges has it right. How can we consider ourselves free if they know everything about us and we know NOTHING ABOUT THEM.

  4. Frankly, I’m “shocked” that you are “shocked” at this … there has been evidence for some time that there are “racial” animosities involving other than white folks – one of those “inconvenient truths” that has been minimized, or shoved under the rug, because it doesn’t fit the “politically correct” idea that only whites can be racist – by defining racism as something that can only be expressed or practiced by people in power, because whites were the only people in power, ergo only whites could be racist!
    But, surprise, surprise “……racism, it’s nothing, it’s not unique to a specific sector of society. So racism is a social construct, that it’s been ingrained into the minds of many people, including brown and Blacks and Asians and anybody.” ANYBODY Yup! So wouldn’t you think that we should all roll up our sleeves and make sure that this social construct” is nipped in the bud at the earliest possible time in peoples’ lives – but I don’t see any body in this piece or elsewhere advocating for that . Instead, we have reams and reams of discussions of how colonial history, as a history of racism, shaped people’ thoughts and actions and is felt up to the present .
    I am not denying the power of this history, which, btw, is much older than 500 years -the idea of a “chosen people”goes back a looong way – initially (and still) justified by texts in “sacred writings” and then by “science” which is still considered “sacred” in Western thought, though discarded or ignored when it doesn’t follow the preferred narrative – a narrative which serves people in power, or wanna-bes as a justification for their power – “we deserve to be in power because we are a ‘superior’ race, or it is our turn to be in power” And anybody, as the gentleman suggests, can be “colonized” by the idea that one “race” is fundamentally different from another and, as such can be placed on a scale of “better or worse” in many different areas …
    So I would hope that this “shocking” expose of something that has been true for a looong time would now energize people into dealing with it at the core, the root – what a radical idea!
    But I am not holding my breath – the idea of “separate races”, or the equivalent thereof, serves too many causes among people of all colors to be willingly discarded ….

  5. Again Chicanos are not Latinos or Hispanics! Never have anything to do with a word that has panic in it. The head of the council is not Hispanic or Latino but is Asian, a Filipino. Many so-called Hispanics or Latinos are actually black /African either from the carriben or their ancestors from the Carribien. So the use of Latino or Hispanic is used to exploit the huge population of Chicanos for the benefit of blacks and Asians and the Chicanos get all the blame and hate.

  6. this double racism reveals american hypocrisy—use race when it supports 1 agenda; don’t when it does not. never examine a policy based on merit—values and truth have ceased to exist north of Mexico…..”in Mexico little works but everything works out; in USA everything works but nothing works out”. Morris Berman

  7. The story told here showcases the blatant, ugly, visible form of racism. Racism is one manifestation of classism, but not the only one.

    Michael and Carolyn Chute have proposed a classification that is much more accurate than Right v Left: Up v Down. We, the Downs, are forced to create the wealth that the Ups then enjoy.

    The late Joe Bageant illuminated the classes we see around us: if our name is on the building where we work, we’re securely in the Owner Class, the Ups If it’s on our office door we’re Overseer Class, striving to become Ups, just like back in slavery days. And if our name is sewn on our shirt, we’re Working Class, the Downs, the grunts. (And if it’s someone else’s name on that worn-out shirt, we’re Poverty Class, the very bottom of the pyramid)

    Why do they enjoy the wealth when it was we who created it? Why aren’t *we* the ones who enjoy it?

    We don’t get to enjoy what we create because we continue to allow the Ups to dictate the language in which such things are talked about. Why do we do that? For example, the Owner Class claims to do all the real work, and therefore they are entitled to enjoy all the fruits. That’s delusional. Instead of automatically nodding like a bobble-head doll, why don’t we call them on it?

    If we working people were *all* suddenly to disappear, what would happen? Chaos. There would be a lot of starving owners and overseers with nowhere to turn.

    What if the overseers disappeared too? The owner class would be dead in a month. Their idea of work is to tell the overseers to use their whips more.

    How about if the owner class disappeared? We’d put the overseers to doing real work and eventually divvy up the owner class’s stuff. That’s how important they are.

    What owner-class and overseer-class language can you think of that we use unthinkingly rather than language that recognises the primacy of our working-class roles?

    Post some of it here. Let’s see whether we can get up a pan-working-class lexicon.

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