Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Middle Eastern Descent and Class Now Officially Puts You in the Back of the Bus

There is a very disturbing comment thread on the release of names of 10 young people who allegedly began the Tea Fire over at Edhat. It seems that Middle Eastern descent and classicism runs rampant but I suppose the real issue is that people are just plain mad. Why that has to bring out the worst in us is one of the mysteries of being human.

We've had our fair share of heated exchanges here at BlogaBarbara. Far from being Edhat's fault (it's just a series of comments on a news story), it's hard to swallow and hard to see why people have to be so mean-- even if we feel like we have to find someone to blame for a senseless tragedy. Cheers to Edhat for being a place where free speech is taken seriously, shame on those that take advantage of it to show their hate.



Blogger Don McDermott said...

Wow! Sarah your post seems to have had an effect on EDONE over at Perhaps it was of his own accord. Regardless it appears as though he or his dedicated staff originally were willing to allow these racists or classist comments. EDONE is now "removing" the comments or censoring his readership. I for one am willing to read these unaltered comments so as not to miss out on just how racist this community can be.

2/18/2009 7:45 AM  
Blogger Don McDermott said...

Here's another local blog
This is also interesting because after the host has apparently altered the original post.

Still can't find any word from Sheriff Brown and other agency personal who seemingly had these students pegged much earlier on. It would be nice to have a real News Press with real reporters so we might resolve the D.A.'s results with the original Press Release that seem so definitive.

2/18/2009 8:18 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

It's pretty typical for us bloggers to delete especially hateful speech. It hasn't happened to me as often since I enabled moderation but I think it's a good idea. There's no reason for it and it turns people off to see hate speech -- you end up losing readers because of it.

2/18/2009 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Cruel Hand Uke said...

I can understand not wanting to have the blog clogged with hate speech. I feel though, that sometimes we really do need to see the unaltered comments. That is truth - maybe not ours, but... Hard balance to strike, Sara. Rock on!

2/18/2009 10:52 PM  
Anonymous Gettin Deeper said...

Set aside the thoughts of millions in property damage (leave that for the following civil suits) and think about the two people who nearly lost their lives. Ask them if it matters where the idiots who started the fire came from? Or where they went to school?

Accountability matters. Responsibility matters. Common sense matters...all have been missing since the start of the Tea Fire. Knowing who these witless fools are is important, where they came fom isn't.

2/19/2009 5:32 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Cruel Hand -- I try to provide unaltered as much as possible but sometimes they go beyond decency! I hear what you are saying

2/19/2009 5:51 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Gettin' Deeper -- yes accountability matters but should these folks be targeted in such a way? Descent is irrelevant to who started the fire -- what people were saying though didn't match that kind of reason.

2/19/2009 5:53 AM  
Anonymous Gettin Deeper said...

Sara...Under no circumstances should anyone be targeted in this way. The ethnic references are sad and stupid. And I truly wish these types of references were an aberration in Santa Barbara but they're not...I wonder how many people would say such things without the cloak of anonymity?

2/19/2009 12:51 PM  
Anonymous city watching said...

Ethnic, nationality references are as shameful as gender and physical references. (It's interesting that with just three of the accused of misdemeanors having Arabic-sounding names, all or most were labeled.)

I imagine this week's sensitive article in the Indy about transgenders and the fears they have from others will elicit many -phobic nasty letters to the Indy. And that none of them will be published. I don't think that level of discourse adds to any useful understandings and thank you for removing such posts.

2/20/2009 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Far-seeing said...

Perhaps the better term is "Middle Eastern" sounding names, rather than Arabic. There is large cultural diversity in the Middle East that goes well beyond just "Arabic".

And since we are woefully ignorant about much of this piece of real estate, the better practice is to stop blaming the "Arabs" for everything.

Persians speak Farsi, yet reside in the Middle East and are not "Arabs". Bedu tribal traditions are not Islamic principles. Petty errors about things "Middle Eastern" have material consequences in our own version of the Dark Ages about this compelling part of the world and its rich cultures.

2/21/2009 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Bill James said...

Sara, you've forgotten that bonafide, real racism has transpired in this town... I'm thinking the arrest of the black students in IV after the computer center takeover, Lefty Bryant (not a Black Panther, although Sneddon claimed he was)... the Anaconda, recent battles on Lower State.

Young people do get treated differently by the DA here if they are black or Latino.

It does look like the DA behaved with restraint in this case. Given the history of poor behavior of the DA's office, it is completely fair to ask whether or not the DA's office was influenced by `other factors' here, like the attorneys of the 10 accused.

Or maybe the DA's office just got better.

There is also another aspect of this: SBCC does attract a lot of wealthy non-Santa Barbara locals to town. Classes at SBCC are simply not that hard. So a lot of those young people have a lot of time on there hands and they party hard. Not bad necessarily, until they go overboard.

A lot of landlords in IV refuse to rent to the SBCC crowd without extra background checks including transcripts. That in an of itself is remarkable. Those who do not do the extra work have especially trashy places.

SBCC doesn't lift a finger to address the impacts of these students in IV. That really should change.

2/22/2009 9:29 AM  

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