January 19, 2017

Peace, Love and the American mosaic! ‘Anti-white’ graffiti in gentrifying LA neighborhood sparks hate crime debate

Posted by D.A. King at 1:29 pm - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  

Photo: The Guardian


The Guardian


‘Anti-white’ graffiti in gentrifying LA neighborhood sparks hate crime debate
Friday 4 November 2016

Police in Los Angeles are investigating the vandalism of art galleries in a Latino neighbourhood, including the spray-painted message “fuck white art”, as possible hate crimes.

Three galleries were targeted last month amid rising concern in Boyle Heights that an influx of galleries heralds gentrification.

A coalition of community leaders and leftwing militants has mobilised over the past year to protest, confront and in some cases intimidate galleries whom they fear will pave the way for development that will push out residents and erase a cradle of Chicano identity.

‘Hope everyone pukes on your artisanal treats’: fighting gentrification, LA-style
Read more

“We don’t know who actually did [the vandalism], but because it actually made a reference to anti-white art or anti-white, it’s basically saying that it’s a hate crime based on that,” detective John Parra of the LAPD’s Hollenbeck station told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday.

Police recently met gallery owners and requested advance notice of future exhibitions so that police could consider additional patrols, he said. The vandalism incidents remain under investigation.

Boyle Heights is a largely low-income neighbourhood which sits across the LA river from downtown, a formerly depressed zone which is being transformed by new museums, galleries, loft apartments and skyscrapers.

Over the past year activists, some with masks, others with megaphones, have confronted realtors and tour groups, picketed galleries and used a brass band blowing with all its might to sabotage an open air-opera.

Activists scorned the notion that tagging galleries represented a hate crime. “The walls in my neigbourhood are the people’s newspaper. That’s people expressing themselves,” says Xochitl Palomera of the advocacy group Corazón Del Pueblo. “You’re talking about someone spray-painting a wall with truth. Whoever wrote that is hurting and is angry.”

Xochitl Palomera: ‘We want these galleries out.’
The dozen or so galleries that have crossed the river were almost all white-owned and were opening the floodgates to economic forces which could drown the culture of Boyle Heights, said Palomera.


“We want these galleries out. They are going to be destructive to the things that we have been creating.” She said there was no such thing as reverse racism. “Because you know what, we’ve been experiencing oppression for hundreds of years. We’re not going to take this sitting down.”

She said the true hate crime was the LAPD’s killing of Jesse Romero, a 14-year-old boy, in August. Police said he was tagging gang-type graffiti and may have fired a gun when confronted by officers. Romero’s family disputes that and called the killing excessive force.

Ruben, an activist with Serve the People LA (STPLA), a Maoist offshoot, said “righteous anger” over the risk of displacement fueled the graffiti. “We didn’t do it and don’t know who did it, but we celebrate it.”… READ MORE HERE.