White supremacist looking at peace march on Monday. By all accounts, he was nice
Photo by Brian Feinzimer
Yesterday, the Anaheim Police Department—which was nowhere to be seen when counter-protestors fought Ku Klux Klan members at Pearson Park, in a melee that's making international headlines—put the blame on the media for the whole fiasco. Per the Los Angeles Times, APD spokescop Darren Wyatt said "unlike previous [KKK] gatherings, the media announced the Klan was meeting ahead of Saturday’s rally and in at least one case, encouraged counter-protesters to show up"—code for theWeekly. Hey, Darren: What part of—and we quote ourselves—"Protest PEACEFULLY" and "Do NOT try to beat them up and feed into [the Klan's] victim narrative" don't you understand?" You can look it up—hell, we even offered a tip on how to make carne asada tacos.
Meanwhile, the Times' editorial board essentially parroted Wyatt's position, writing, "One can imagine that if everyone had ignored this rally,' the Klansmen (and women) would have exercised their 1st Amendment right to spout hate, gotten bored with the lack of outraged response, then left with nothing to show for their deliberate attempt to stir up trouble."
For the Times, Anaheim PD and people who decided to rally against the Klan two days after the Klan actually showed up, racism in the city ended when the Invisible Empire ruled over Klanaheim in the 1920s, and the Kluckers showing up last weekend is an anomaly. "Isolated" incidents shouldn't be acknowledged to this crowd, but rather left alone in the hopes bigotry finally fades away on its own. But to them, to parachuting reporters ready to offer tut-tutting dispatches from Anaheim, and to everyone shocked and disgusted that Klukkers decided to emerge again , we have this to say: you don't know your Anaheim, and you obviously haven't been reading the Weekly.
All of that ancient history that has nothing to do with the present day, you say? Righteous Brothers member Bobby Hatfield declined to perform at Anaheim High School (his alma mater, as well as mine) in the 1980s and right up to his death in 2003 because he thought the school had too many Mexican students by then. The Confederate flag hung at Savanna High School (home of the Rebels!) well into the 1990s, and the school colors are still red and gray. Tom Metzger's White Aryan Resistance (WAR) found many recruits at Katella, Magnolia and Esperanza high schools during the 1980s, especially whenever he appeared on Wally George's late-night show on KDOC-TV Channel 56. A former schoolteacher at Thomas Edison Elementary recently wrote in saying she remembers an incident during the 1990s when jack-booted thugs stormed Sycamore Junior High and Thomas Edison after school and then invaded the surrounding barrio—and police did nothing then, too.
Yet we as the press—as a newspaper committed to exposing corruption in Orange County, as a newspaper run by an Anaheimer whose family has been here on and off since the 1910s—are somehow supposed to ignore all this and let racist dogs lie?
Our 2001 cover story on white-power shows in Anaheim. Strange but true: the next issue, 9/11 happened
OC Weekly archives
Almost none of the above history will you find covered anywhere else. We don't subscribe to the Orange County Register's notion that the default bias of any OC publication should be that Orange County is a great place full of decent, God-fearing Americans. It's as if such chroniclers think that by closing your eyes, hate disappears—and then the Klan shows up and makes everyone crazy. But that's a dereliction of duty. Orange County is the best place on Earth—and it's filled with scum who muck it up for the rest of us.
And that's why we write: to let Anaheim, the county—whoever is willing to listen—know about the hate still present in a beautiful, multicultural town.
We've received plenty of criticism by people over the years for our coverage, by people who say to forget, that the past has no influence on the present. Yet you can thread a noose from Saturday's events all the way to the city's foundation. And when you have a city leadership intent on keeping the brown down by fighting Latino activists and throwing as much money as possible at the Resort District while letting the rest of the city rot, the KKK isn't an anomaly; it's the hometown cheer squad.
And we'll keep our eye on them, hooded or not, every goose step of the way.