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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Feature

Re: “Hidden Monuments to Racism

A renewed push should be made to rename LeConte school.
When my ex and I bought a house together in Kensington, aka "Berkeley Woods" a few years ago, upon review of the original development docs., came upon a clause specifically stating "only those of the Caucasian race" were allowed to purchase homes.
Rather shocking and disgusting

Posted by Diana BB on 09/21/2017 at 12:38 PM

Re: “The East Bay Still Has Some Very Visible Reminders of Our History of Racism

As recently as right now, someone from EBX should take a stroll around Deep East Oakland.

Jobs? No racism there. Crime prevention? No possible racism. Community policing? You betcha. Black kids doing great in school? Uh huh.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 09/21/2017 at 12:06 PM

Re: “Hidden Monuments to Racism

This is the American history that all Americans need to know about. History books and popular culture conveniently forget that beyond slavery, America was brutally hateful and racist for people of color. All those ignorant flag waving alt right Trump fans all around the country spewing hate towards immigrants and talking about this is their country need to be educated. The original wealth of this country was built on the backs of Black and Chinese labor. Poor whites were exploited in the rise of the coal industry and the late 20th century saw Mexican labor exploited for riches and profits. The symbols of the continuous terrorism of Black people are ingrained in the American culture. These need to be exposed and publicly discussed in order for the country to move forward. If we don't, many people will continue to wallow in ignorance believing that their whiteness alone is representative of some divine exceptionalism. The truth is that their elevated stature is reflective of centuries of hate and systemic exploitation.

Posted by Gary Patton on 09/21/2017 at 9:55 AM

Re: “Hidden Monuments to Racism

Is anyone surprised by this? If so, you've been living under a rock. African Americans have been ostracized & treated like scum from the moment they were forced into this hell whole of a country for...having more melanin? I'll never understand the whites only mentality. As if blacks had a choice to arrive in this country or the resources to make an immediate departure. I mean with all that money earned as chattel slaves while watching their family members get lyched/hung from trees at the local neighborhood gatherings they could have built their own multimillion dollar communities, right?????

Posted by light of the dark on 09/21/2017 at 8:33 AM

Re: “The East Bay Still Has Some Very Visible Reminders of Our History of Racism

Mr. Ferrell, if you are contesting the historical facts referenced in this 'SO erroneous' article, could you present your evidence?

Posted by John Seal on 09/21/2017 at 8:17 AM

Re: “One of Oakland's Most Historic Figures Was Also Horribly Racist

Good to know that this article is mostly NOT true. Thank you commenters.

Posted by Francesca M. Austin on 09/21/2017 at 8:12 AM

Re: “The Albany Cross Resurrects Memories of the KKK

Albany Hill Park 4 All calls on the City of Albany to vigorously protect our diverse residents and treasured public park lands from the lawsuit recently filed by the Albany Lions Club. The lawsuit seeks to permanently establish a 20 foot lighted Christian cross on public park land atop Albany Hill and to force the City to sell more than an acre of this prime public open space into private hands. We believe that the park land surrounding the cross should not be made private instead, the cross should be relocated to private land. Public land should not be used to promote one particular religion above others. We seek to make Albany a more inclusive and welcoming community for all.
More information is available at:

Posted by Celine Wallace on 09/20/2017 at 10:30 PM

Re: “One of Oakland's Most Historic Figures Was Also Horribly Racist

Zero fact checking Cygna. Tiny fragments out of context constitute jingoistic writing. Do some reading of the actual source material.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 09/20/2017 at 7:52 PM

Re: “One of Oakland's Most Historic Figures Was Also Horribly Racist

As others have stated, this article is poorly researched and ignores historical context. London was actually relatively advanced in his racial attitudes for his time, and experienced an continuous evolution in his racial awareness throughout his life. As Gene Anderson states, he was raised in large part by a black foster mother, whose family he lived with for a good portion of his childhood. Many of his short stories, particularly his later ones, valorize people of color who are victims of colonialism and oppression by white people. The author could have mentioned "Koolau the Leper", "Mauki" or "Chun Ah Chun", just to mention three of London's dozens of short stories where protagonists of color rebel against, outwit and/or kill their racist colonial oppressors. "The Unparalleled Invasion" is in fact read by most scholars as a cautionary tale about biological warfare rather than taking it on face value as a celebration of Chinese extermination. London stated repeatedly that the real meaning of his stories lay in "the motif beneath the motif" he actually wrote his stories to NOT be taken solely at face value. Regarding the Jeffries/Johnson fight, he admitted that "as a white man" he wanted to Jeffries to win, but gave full credit to Johnson for his overwhelming victory- one of the only white sportswriters to do so. London wrote: "All hail to Johnson... what . . . [won] on Saturday was bigness, coolness, quickness, cleverness, and vast physical superiority."

Even though the author of this article feels that readers must be "forced" to read London in school, only his short story "To Build a Fire" and "The Call of the Wild" are still widely taught in school. London remains one of the world's most popular authors and is better regarded abroad than here in America, where most of his works were purged from the academic canon in the 1950s due to his ardent socialism, rather than his racism. And it bears mentioning that Haley's biography is perhaps the worst and most biased of the half-dozen or so biographies of London published in the last 20 years.

Posted by Chris Million on 09/20/2017 at 5:28 PM

Re: “One of Oakland's Most Historic Figures Was Also Horribly Racist

"This article has clearly had ZERO fact checking" - quotes from the man's writing aren't fact enough for you, Bruce?

Posted by Cygna on 09/20/2017 at 3:54 PM

Re: “The Albany Cross Resurrects Memories of the KKK

At the end of the day, there is plenty of historical evidence that yes, here in the Bay Area, racism has always been alive and well. The best reflection of systemic racism is evidenced by the 20th century pattern of housing linked to race. The banks, realtors and ultimately the cops insured that people of color could not and did not occupy housing in places they were not "supposed" to be. As African Americans migrating from the south came to Oakland and Richmond to escape terrorism, segregation and Jim Crow rules, they were not welcomed everywhere. The City of East Palo Alto was created by the relocation of the African American community from the Fillmore District of SF by Redevelopment projects. Blacks were systematically excluded from getting loans or purchasing homes anywhere else in SF or in any city down the peninsula. East Palo Alto was only fruit orchards at the time and it was decided that this was the spot. Cities like Albany and San Leandro were notorious for harassing people of color by escorting youth of color back to their own cities and closing down most housing opportunities. In the early 60's, my own parents were denied the purchase of a home in the Bayview neighborhood of San Leandro, despite having cash for the purchase. The owner, who had previously agreed to the sale, informed my Dad that the neighbors had pooled their money and overpaid for the house when they learned that a Black family was moving in. In the 1990's, a new Police officer who happened to be Black, was detained by his own department with drawn weapons while jogging under the Bart tracks in Albany in the middle of the day. The daytime patrol had not met the new Black guy because he worked nights.They later divulged that they responded to a citizen complaint that a Black man was seen running under the BART track.That was enough for cops to pull guns and throw their own fellow officer to the ground. There is an area in the Hayward hills affectionately known as "Hangmans Hill".I will leave it to you to guess what kind of community activities occurred here. The Bay Area is no way exempt from American history and facts like who Justin Herman really was and what he did need to come to light.

Posted by Gary Patton on 09/20/2017 at 2:18 PM

Re: “The Albany Cross Resurrects Memories of the KKK

Cross burnings are symbols of the KKK and hate. Illuminated crosses are not. We have an illuminated cross at the top of Mt Davidson in San Francisco and at the top of the Hollywood tunnel in Los Angeles. They are not symbols of hate. Trying to link an illuminated Easter Cross to the KKK is a kind of anti-Christian bigotry.

Posted by perpetua carthage on 09/20/2017 at 1:22 PM

Re: “The East Bay Still Has Some Very Visible Reminders of Our History of Racism

Did you know that as late as the early 70's there were active Klan chapters in Castro Valley? They were shutdown as fast as they were found too.

What exactly is EBX up to here? This type of reporting is SO erroneous as to fall into the category once called "yellow" journalism as practiced by Hearst "news" organization at the time of the Spanish American war ("Remember The Maine!")

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 09/20/2017 at 11:05 AM

Re: “One of Oakland's Most Historic Figures Was Also Horribly Racist

What in the name of whatever deity you follow is going on at EBX?!?!?

This article has clearly had ZERO fact checking and strongly reminds me a story reported at FOX news!

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 09/20/2017 at 10:57 AM

Re: “The Albany Cross Resurrects Memories of the KKK

1. The Albany Lions Club is suing the City of Albany itself and in addition several council members and staff.
2. The entire City Council unanimously declared the cross' presence on public land "inappropriate."
3. The cross does not "technically reside on a small patch of land granted to the Lions Club." The land is wholly owned by the City - the Lions have only an easement for access to maintain the cross. Easements only apply when another entity owns the property, otherwise an easement would be unnecessary.
4. The electrical wires were attached to a eucalyptus tree not simply run through them.
5. The 2010 Census data list Albany as 49.3% White(non-Hispanic) and 3.3% Black.
Comment: The Lions lawsuit states that the cross is "implicitly communicating traditional messages associated with the religious holidays and memorial of certain national events." It is a blind spot that the Lions are unable to recognize and acknowledge that the implied message of a large illuminated cross on public land is perceived very differently, and painfully, by many members of the community for many different reasons.
A. Neil, Albany resident

Posted by ANeil on 09/20/2017 at 10:54 AM

Re: “One of Oakland's Most Historic Figures Was Also Horribly Racist

Jack London wasn't perfect, but this is a terribly one-sided article. Jack London was raised the first years of his life by Jennie Prentiss, a black woman who had been born into slavery. She took him to church, the First African Methodist Episcopal church in Oakland, and he later donated a large sum to the church. Many of the newspaper articles he's slammed for are actually more balanced than the headlines (written by the newspaper editors) for them would suggest.

Posted by Gene Anderson on 09/20/2017 at 10:53 AM

Re: “One of Oakland's Most Historic Figures Was Also Horribly Racist

Well his grandkids that I know went to Cuba with us in 1970 and have worked tirelessly for a better , progressive Richmond

Posted by Earl Marty Price on 09/20/2017 at 10:41 AM

Re: “The Albany Cross Resurrects Memories of the KKK

This article is one error after another. There is no evidence the Lions Club owns the cross. They definitely do not own the land on which the cross sits; the easement only granted access for maintenance. The electrical service was disconnected because it was attached to a tree, which it used as a pole, not because it ran through a tree. The City Council unanimously declared that the cross should go in a February 2016 council meeting; this was not the sentiment of "several officials." Larry Hicok, Coordinator, East Bay Atheists

Posted by Larry Hicok on 09/20/2017 at 9:08 AM

Re: “One of Oakland's Most Historic Figures Was Also Horribly Racist

...not to mention London's support of James Jeffries, the so called "great white hope," to defeat Jack Johnson in 1910.

Posted by Scott G. on 09/20/2017 at 7:38 AM

Re: “Brown's Tunnels Could Start in 2018, and Delta Farmers Say They'll Be Devastated

California is one state and Governor Brown is trying to manage water for the benefit of all Californians. Delta nimbyism would hurt millions of Californians . Yes much of the water will go for agriculture but that food benefits all of us.
Jobs in LA or SanDiego benefit all of us.
Please take a broader view of this issue.

Posted by ed gerber on 08/24/2017 at 9:09 AM

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