Sunday, December 2, 2007

Rallying meets Racism

Can't we all get along?
Remember those words? The LA riots? Rodney King, beaten by police officers, caught on camera? I typically don't blog about my work. But in the waning weeks of the end of my television news career, I witnessed and covered an unusual and perhaps disturbing rally.
In the middle of this photo is Quannel X, a controversial black activist....controversial for his often public outcries of racial injustice. Some question his motive..others accuse him of being a demagogue...while others say he effects change in the black commmunity and exposes racism and oppression.
Here, Quannel and his entourage were marching to the Pasadena suburban home of Joe Horn, a man who recenty shot and killed two burglars who were walking out of his next door neighbor's home.
Not that it matters, but the next door neighbors are Vietnamese who have stayed out of this heated debate over whether Horn had the right to shoot to protect their property.
Quannel's planned protest was met by Joe Horn supporters, some of whom are neighors, and many of whom showed up through a biker's club. Their claim? Horn has the right to protect property (though keep in mind this was his neighbor's home)
Signs of the Times?
This group came armed with signs with all sorts of messages...
Ready to Rally
Things got out of hand. I mean really out of hand. It was nothing short of a melee. Quannel and his people walked no more than a block before being stopped short of Horn's home. They left, only to return with more of his people, and the pushing and shoving began.
Protecting the Public
Finally riot police (yes, riot police in a suburban neighborhood!) showed up to contain the crowd and ensure safety. Yours truly was squished in the middle of all this, next to Quannel. I couldn't help but think "if someone shoots, I may very well be the one"...
Thankfully, I'm alive to recount this
You know it's serious business when riot police arrive. But perhaps more telling about this story were the many racist rants heard. "n-g**er go home!" "Go home to the ghetto!" "Martin Luther King is nothing but a communist!" It was hardly believable. This was supposed to a rally to protest the shootings of two burglars, and a counter rally to support the right to bear arms. Instead racism reared its ugly head. This is a story that has stayed on mind for the last few days. Perhaps because I too have been the brunt of racism. And as evidenced here, racism is transparent. Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest. It's not supposed to be a day of unrest. "But suppose God is black? What if we go to Heaven and we, all our lives, have treated the Negro as an inferior, and God is there, and we look up and He is not white? What then is our response?" Robert F. Kennedy


Ms. Conduct said...

Wow... yeah, I think that would have stuck with me, too. My inital thought was, "This is why I don't live in the suburbs and never will again." What a mess.

Jane said...

wow. Glad you are safe. Really. Be careful. [sigh] Real bad stuff. Is it really 2007?

greyhound said...

I think you've helped me put a finger on why protests never resonate with me. On the one side are the folks who are ostensibly for "law and order" and all they do is provoke disorder and chaos. On the other side are the folks who are ostensibly against racism, and all they manage to do is provoke racism and ugliness. Both sides create what they are ostensibly protesting against.

I think I'd rather just sit down and have a cup of coffee, and if one can't hold up one's end of the conversation, then we're pretty much done here, no matter what your color or political orientation.

Call it the coffee test. Works for me.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you are ok and doing well. I was missing the blog. I have nothing going on...figured I would live vicariously through you for a while. Your endeavors seem much more exciting.

Anonymous said...

Protesting is a beautiful thing in America. It's one thing to want your voice heard. It's another to do it in a neighborhood that has no control over whether someone is brought to justice and held accountable for his actions. You want justice? Quit picketing the quiet Pasadena neighborhood where residents are just trying to live their lives and go stand in front of the pasadena police department and demand to know why it's taking them so bloody long to "wrap" up the investigation. better yet, go down to 1200 franklin and picket outside the courthouse and demand a meeting with harris county district attorney chuck rosenthal. Pressure him into taking a serious look at the fact. Let him know just how outraged you are. But no, Quannell x and his mingions took the path of least resistance, chose the most "sensational" backdrop for their protest. He knows full well the neighborhood with innocent homeowners makes for a much more dramatic, controversial backdrop for a protest. the pd would be boring, so would the da's office. that's not good t.v.. right? quit pandering to these folks and expose them for who they really ae. you're a journalist, Starting asking mister x some tough questions. I for one would like to know who's paying him to do this? Surely you don't think he's doing this out of the kindness of his heart or out of concern? diversity and difference of opinion is what makes this country great. Do it the right way. Don't make a mockery of the system and cry racism just because you think you can.

Tarabay said...

I hope your getting hazard pay..

Lots of good comments here... I'm with Greyhound on this one, I dont mind a good conversation over coffee...

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me??? A rally to support 2 criminals? Had the burglars been Latino, white, Asian, etc.... Mr. X and his band of system raping thugs would be no where in sight. Once again, division for profit. And once again, the Black-American populus accepting zero personal responsibility. Please put down the race card.

The Stretch Doc said...

Hey when ur in Vegas let me know! Would love 2 train wit ya.
And glad ur ok in the middle of that mess... Guess, cant we all just get along doesnt apply there.

pinkgurugal said...

hey guys,

i am taking an unbiased approach to all this only to say i am happy to see discussion over this. thank you for sharing your opinions. and i couldn't get many questions off because it was SO crazy.
ps- channel 11 has done a number of profiles on quannell x and his motives. do a search on i think it might be inciteful

Baun said...

Junichi over at (a great site, btw, funny and insightful about various topics) has an interesting post about this case, from a legal standpoint. Check it out here.

Note the scary pic of the guy with a big ol' confederate flag tattoo ON THE BACK OF HIS HEAD! I'm going to go out on a limb and guess he's not pro-diversity.

(and to the first anonymous poster: chill dude. i think pinkgurugal was just trying to raise a discussion, and pointing out the fact that yes, if you're using racist language and calling people racist names, then yeah, that would be considered racism. you can object to the protest and protesters without resorting to racist language).

Anonymous said...

I would think as a media member, you'd have seen much of this racism in Houston lately. Leaving aside the debate over whether Mr. Horn was right or wrong to kill these men, there is a growing cancer of racist behavior and dialogue going on in this country. It has been around before during the Civil Rights days, etc, but now, it seems to have become darker and more ominous in tone. You have to go no farther than I have to sit and listen to people in stores and shops, read their comments on the Chronicle website or listen to the rhetoric of GOP candidates. I too recently retired from my career and am preparing to travel to other countries and use my photography skills. I kind of wonder what kind of country I would be returning to in say 3-5 years?

Anonymous said...

Baun, actually the "robbers" were not black. They were hispanic.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I didn't see the other post by the other anonymous.

See my post to Baun.