We poorly stereotype Ventura County’s Hispanic population too much

August 25, 2009

Race relations are not very good in Ventura County.

Since I’ve lived here, I’ve seen our Hispanic community derided by conservative whites for doing nothing but just being here, whether legally or not. There are a lot of Mexican families trying to make a living just like the rest of us, but acceptance is not easy to come by, especially when you read comments posted on a certain online newspaper message board.

It’s pretty obvious that a lot of the negative opinions surface from gang violence rampant among the Latino community of Oxnard, and it’s driven a proverbial wedge so far between that city and bordering Ventura that Thousand Oaks seems like a closer neighbor. Hateful comments abound whenever stories are published about said gang crimes, and even for the good news … I’m thinking of a report on Hispanic kids obtaining internships at local doctors’ offices.

Online posters concocted some hair-brained explanations that somehow it’s the teens’ way of allowing for illegal immigrants to milk the American health care system for free.

This week, a melee ensued during an outdoor soccer match at a Ventura park, whereupon authorities were called to break up the fight, and, since it was not the first of such complaints, the league in question was sadly banned, permanently, by the city’s parks division from all Ventura playing fields.

The reasoning, I imagine, is firstly because one adult player assaulted a teen aged teammate, resulting in his arrest. Secondly, the team can duly find enough room to play in Oxnard, their home city, without bringing crime to Ventura.

Did I mention the team was Hispanic?

Of course not: because it shouldn’t make a difference what race or nationality these soccer players are. Disturbances were made and a crime committed. Rightfully so, the team should ante up the money Ventura Police say they are owed for their troubles, no matter if the men are white, black, Hispanic, or Asian.

These guys are poor sports and sore losers.

Yet, on first mention that the Agricultural Soccer League is Latino, the Internet ire flared up in typical fashion today, generating every kind of racist allusion possible.

In fact, responses I read today weren’t nearly as bad as the “Most Ignorant Comment of the Year” attached last week to an article on county gay pride groups, “It’s my right to be intolerant if I want to!” Spelled in caps, which denotes shouting.

It’s unfortunate we can’t be objective and judge a crime and its consequences for what it is already without placing racial prejudices on top of it. Posters did worse than suggest banning the soccer players from Ventura parks; banning them from the U.S. was more like it.

I’m curious to know what suggestions would be offered if the team was white. A slap on the wrist? Was the penalty not harsh enough for some people because these players were Hispanic?

There are a lot of hard working Latinos in Ventura County who I’ve found to be friendlier than most Caucasian people I encounter here.

It’s time we start developing some understanding — and an ability to relate better to others — for our Hispanic neighbors before we drive this county back into the 19th century with our NIMBY values.

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2 Responses to “We poorly stereotype Ventura County’s Hispanic population too much”

  1. Whiteman Says:

    If you like mexicans so much, move to Oxnard or better yet Mexico…

    • estatenumberfour Says:

      Well, if it meant getting away from racist bigots, especially ones who exploit white power in their screen names …

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