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Diablos Blancos

March 4, 2009

(image: echo park)

As Manny Ramirez finalizes a $45 million deal to return to Dodger stadium for the next two seasons, all is not well on the other side of Chavez Ravine. According to the LA Times, a gang-related bloodbath played out in Echo Park over the past weekend:

Miguel Chavez was taking a Sunday afternoon nap when he was startled by what sounded like fireworks outside his Echo Park home.

When he shuffled out to his balcony to get a better view, he saw a man in a black truck pull up to his neighbor’s house on Baxter Street, lean out the window with a gun, and say “Eric, how about if you die today?”

The man in the car fired two shots and sped away.

The story was picked up by Curbed LA where a comment originally made on the LA Times article was republished (the LA Times comment section is now closed). Commenter Erica apparently thinks the best course of action, given the circumstances, is to trash white hipsters who have adopted the hood:

ALL YOU CRACKERS SHOULD BE LIVING IN ORANGE COUNTY HELLO…..YOU MOVE INTO A NEIGHBORHOOD THAT HAS A HISTORY OF GANG VIOLENCE AND YOUR SUPPOSED TO BE SO SMART SO DEAL WITH IT!!!! GO MOVE TO O.C OR BEVERLY HILLS IF YOU DONT LIKE IT!!!! YOU WHITE PEOPLE ARE COMING INTO OUR NEIGHBORHOOD TRYING TO TURN IT INTO A HIGH CLASS TRAILER PARK KNOWING THAT THIS BELONGS TO US LATINOS….MY GRANDPARENTS OWN MUCH REALESTATE IN ECHO PARK SINCE THE 1950’S AND KNOW WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH WIERDO’S EVERYTIME WE LOOK OUT OUR WINDOWS……WE HAVE TO LOOK AT PINK SPANDIX AND PURPLE SHOES AND CRACKED OUT HAIR DO’S AND FAKE ASS SMILES….THIS AINT KENTUCKY OR ALAHBAMA….PUT UP AND SHUT UP!!!! BY THE WAY WHAT THE HELL IS CHANGO’S???? YOU TALK ABOUT PEOPLE YOU DONT KNOW BUT HOW DO YOU LIKE IT WHEN PEOPLE JUDGE YOU??? SALTINES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

R.I.P ERIC WE ARE GOING TO MISS YOU GREATLY!!!!!!

What the hell is Chango’s, indeed. This anti-gentrification sentiment is echoed in a letter to the LA Weekly from “Jason” in response to their article about crime in Silver Lake:

All you transplants moved [to Echo Park and Silver Lake] because of the gentrification, the hip scene and affordable prices. This history of poverty and gangs will not disappear overnight. Because you “CHOSE” to live here and take over, it is YOUR responsibility to become proactive in the bleeping community… If you want it to be safer now and in the future you must get involved in helping the troubled youth in the area. YOU transplants forget what being a part of a community is about. You walk around like you own the place and treat the original inhabitants as if they are invisible. SURPRISE SURPRISE! They see you and your wealth. You might not be rich, but you’re richer than they are. If you don’t care to get involved, then move to the suburbs or to Beverly Hills! The gangs were here way before you. Change will only come if you help make it happen.

Image: Hipster GirlsThese letters express contempt for the ugly racist undertones of white gentrification; but the only problem with their charges is that the racism doesn’t exist. The LA Times article goes out of its way to show pictures of coffee clutching, plaid vested hipster girls, but doesn’t mention them at all. The robbery victim in the LA weekly article took the loss of his wallet in stride, and the article’s interviewees seem to accept crime in the area as a calculated risk. Nowhere in any articles do there seem to be irate whites, demanding an end to all crime in the neighborhood and the removal of Latinos.

All people, regardless of race, have the right to live where they want. If white people want to move to Echo Park, that’s their decision, and they should accept the consequences that come with it (which they seem to be doing). If simply being white in a particular neighborhood is now an act of racism, then we need to stop and think about what racism really is. It’s also worth noting that not all white people are rich, and neither are all “hipsters” white.

It’s also worth noting that several Echo Park institutions, which on the surface seem to be simply products of Anglo hipsterism, are actually an integral part of the community. The Echo Park Film Center provides a robust education program for the area’s youth, and 826 LA, while running a kitchy “time travel” store, also holds literacy classes for underprivileged children. And even the white hipsters who don’t organize outreach programs are still generally tolerant of Latinos in the area.

No one likes being robbed or shot at, but some white people accept the risk in return for being able to live in a more vibrant community. In short, can’t we all just get along?

dalmatian

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 23, 2009 11:49 pm

    fuck hipsters

Trackbacks

  1. Update: Pink Spandix « LA Loyalist
  2. Hipster Girls! « LA Loyalist

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