Other Voices: The essence of racism

In R Lisa Bernard’s July 8 column, “Racism in our neighborhood,” she has shown us, probably inadvertently, why it has been so hard to expunge systemic racism from our society.

Other Voices: Los Altos City Council routinely flouts the law

The city government of Los Altos, and in particular its Planning Commission and City Council, is inexcusably hostile toward its citizens and toward development. In an email blast July 8, the city announced: “Los Altos City Council (to) Appeal Court Ruling on 40 Main Street Case.”

Other Voices: Racism in our neighborhood

Recently, a woman who happens to live at the end of my block in Los Altos made a horrific request on Nextdoor. The post was addressed to an African-American friend of mine. The author states that according to the census, there were “150 black people in Los Altos.” She then continues: “But (e)very white person I know says I have never see (sic) anyone black in Los Altos.” She then makes a request of my friend to bring her “whole family, mixed or whatever, to make being black in downtown Los Altos normal.” Apparently, the woman thought this was an “awesome” idea: have the Black family wander the streets downtown, so people can gawk.

Other Voices: The benefits of a pedestrian-focused downtown

Quarantine has not been easy for anyone, but it’s been especially hard on small businesses.

The myth of the ‘model minority’

If you are South Asian American and perpetuate anti-Blackness, you have fallen prey to an oppressive tactic of the United States government, the concept of “model minorities.”
To combat anti-Blackness, we need to understand the history behind the term “model minority.” In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson enacted the Immigration and Nationality Act, prioritizing “individuals with specialized skills” in the immigration processes. Consequently, the only South Asians allowed to immigrate to America were exceedingly intelligent and/or talented in a specific discipline. By only allowing the “best” South Asians to enter the country, the U.S. government predetermined the South Asian immigrant population to be successful.
On the other hand, people from the African diaspora were forcibly brought to the U.S. through the transatlantic slave trade. They had no choice to come to America, let alone indulge in the opportunity to learn and develop special skills to “prove their worth.” Therefore, South Asian Americans were systematically supported to be more successful, making the U.S. government consider them a model minority. However, this detrimental approach to immigration policy allowed our government to rest on their laurels and believe that their work in supporting South Asian Americans was advancing the mission of all inclusivity and diversity in the U.S.
Meanwhile, African Americans, who were forced into immigrating and were not given the right resources to become successful, continued to be oppressed and struggled to survive. The African-American community fought through chattel slavery, Jim Crow, redlining and now police brutality, while the media painted South Asian Americans as good, law-abiding citizens. When African Americans engaged in protests to merely exist as equals in U.S. society, South Asian Americans benefited off of their “model minority” status, playing into the government’s hands, even if it meant turning a blind eye to the continued oppression of their fellow peoples of color.
You might be thinking, “Just because I’m not Black doesn’t mean I don’t experience racism.” The difference here is that the racism that we, as South Asian Americans, have faced and continue to face is not institutionalized and not as rampantly widespread and maintained across U.S. government policies as racism that Black Americans face.
Now, more than ever, the South Asian-American community has the opportunity to reject the model minority messaging. One of the officers abetting the murder of George Floyd was Asian American, and we, as a minority population and a part of the larger Asian community, have a responsibility to strongly condemn this anti-Blackness and racism. The Asian-American population has long played a major role in the United States’ systematic racism: Now is the time to fight back.

Anushka Srinivasan was born and raised in Los Altos.

Other Voices: Group, media mislead on preference for reach codes

Our local journalists failed to fact-check data, resulting in publishing misleading information about an important topic – reach codes. The Los Altos Town Crier and Daily Post relied solely on information promoted by Los Altos Residents (LAR), an organization that claims to represent the voice of the people but is anything but.

Other Voices: Black in Los Altos

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Marie Godderis/Town Crier Editorial Intern
Protesters take to the streets of Los Altos June 5 to protest police brutality and systemic racism.

By Noah Tesfaye

I’ve been a resident of Los Altos for seven years. And as a black resident and part of a race that makes up less than 150 people in our city, I have never felt particularly seen or heard.

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The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at bruceb@latc.com. Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

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