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Reply to "People of Color' are All One? Latino Inmates in L.A. Don't Think So"

I was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, in the town of Watts. In regards to the Black/Mestizo situation, I've noticed a few things:

When Mestizos are a very small minority in a predominantly Black area, no one pays them any mind. In fact, many of the middle aged and older Black women will often be very friendly, and be a little sympathetic b/c the Mestizos (in this phase) are usually very poor, have many children, and don't speak English. This is my experience, so I don't want to hear anyone crying about generalizations.

As their numbers continue to increase, Blacks become more aware of them, and both groups are on generally good terms, although they are happy to remain socially isolated even when living right next door. Mestizo children will often adopt to urban culture and befriend Black children.

When their numbers increase to where they are approaching half the population, trouble starts. As more of their fellow countrymen join them, the Mestizos tend to group together and take refuge in their own ethnic enclaves. Schools begin to overcrowd, and the Blacks that remain are getting angry that so many of them are can not (or straight out refuse to) speak English. The two groups clash due to cultural differences such as music, food, habits. Furthermore, the Blacks feel as if they are being overwhelmed by an alien people who don't want to integrate. Even though each group was happy to leave the other to itself before, with more numbers the segregation really starts to get apparent, and angers the Blacks.

After the Mestizos pass the half-way point in numbers, they get more economically established, and then they start getting do the Blacks. Several individuals (sometimes more than a dozen!) will pool their money and buy a house, then buy other houses and rent them to other Mestizos. They establish stores and businesses. The Korean and Arab store owners, and some big chain stores like Home Depot and Walmart, will hire illegal Mestizos over Blacks because they can pay them for a fraction of the price. Blacks begin to get angry at their success, partly ebcaise they feel it comes at a cost to them (in cases like Home Depot, they ahave valid points). Mestizos will straight out refuse to hire Blacks in their businesses, even if fluent in Spanish. The libertarian part of me almost doesn't care, but they have a tendency to be rude to their Black clientel. I've actually seen them let their fellow Mestizos use their restroom, but then deny the Black customers in the same breath. They also talk shit about Blacks in Spanish. Their attitude changes from just wanting to be left alone and get on with their lives to having a "reconquista".

More billboards and signs go up in Spanish, thus further isolating the Enhlish speaking Blacks. Low-rider gangs form, which clash with the Black gangs. On a side note, I'd be tempted to think this were a good thing if it meant that they'd just exterminate one another, but unfortunately too many innocents are hurt in the process, and too many good but wayward kids are pulled into that mess. Blacks start harrassing the Mestizo store owners for their shaddy treatment. The store owners in turn start treating the Blacks worse. As Mestizo kids now have plenty of classmates of the same ethnic and cultural group, they no longer attempt to integrate into popular urban culture. A divide forms between the Black and Mestizo students.

Once the Mestizo population has reached 2/3 of an area, it gets REALLY bad. As the fastly increasing majority, they begin to reshape neighborhoods. The Blacks feel their communtiy is being stolen away; you can't even walk into the nearest McDonalds and order a meal sometimes b/c the employees don't even speak English. Tempers flare, stereotypes flourish. Both sides begin to see any slight--real or imagined--as being due to racism, even if it isn't the case. The groups are now firmly polarized. The more well-to-do Blacks of the area flee to the suburbs or other Black areas. In South LA, there is a trend to either go to Crenshaw (a strongly middle class Black area), the San Fernando Valley (which is already being overrun with Mestizos) or Atlanta, Georgia.

The influx of Mestizos and their high birth rate, and the fleeing of Blacks, creates a Mestizo majority. At schools, the Black children are harrassed by them, and the Blacks in turn get proactive and start bullying lone Mestizos where they can find them. It all goes to hell from there.

Sometimes I feel that segregation isn't such a bad idea......