The din surrounding the mention of the names of Kenan Moos and Los Altos City Councilmember Lynette Lee Eng is fueled by many individuals who are not willing to confront their own (gendered) racism.
By projecting attention onto two people, far bigger issues can be ignored or glossed over. There are those who would have one believe that if we do “this” or “that” to the people they mention, we can deny the reality of systemic racism. These two residents of Los Altos are being made to carry the weight of a discussion that our community, state and nation avoids.
When we are made to focus on the names of these individuals, discussion of the inherent structures of racism can be hidden under the flash-bang pyrotechnics of character assassination. History has shown that when people of color are pitted against one another, white people benefit.
So, who is profiting here? What entrenched patterns of whiteness are consolidating behind the drama? As a community, state and nation, we must keep our eyes on the prize: the end of racism toward Black Americans, the end of racism toward Asian Americans, the end of racism toward all people of color.
Affordable housing, inequities in medical care, minimum wage sufficient to allow a decent living for hardworking families, addressing food insecurity throughout our area, the impacts across our city of real-estate-driven politics, the urgency of equal access to quality education and a critical discussion of changes in the structure of community protection are some of the issues made invisible here by noise and self-righteous white privilege.
Let’s name this conflict for what it is, take on the bigger structures/issues together and move away from personalizing it on the backs of two community residents who have much to offer all of us.
Liz Beard is a Los Altos resident.