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Why is the San Diego Union Tribune smearing East County?

“My son is Mexican and his godmother is African American"

U-T Opinion tweet
U-T Opinion tweet

On April 22 San Diego Union Tribune columnist Charles T. Clark wrote East San Diego County has an “appetite for racism.” The U-T published the warnings he said a barber gave him when he arrived in San Diego four years ago about “Klantee,” and that he should “probably try to avoid East County.”

The column was written in response to a stabbing incident in Lakeside on April 16. On April 21 a Lakeside local was charged with attempted murder as a hate crime for allegedly stabbing his black neighbor at the 12000 block of Mapleview Street.

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On April 19 the San Diego Union Tribune reported,

“East County, including Lakeside and neighboring Santee, has long had a reputation of being a hotspot for White supremacy in San Diego County.” The reporter pointed out three incidents of racism that made the news, going back to 1998, the two most recent of which consisted of racist apparel worn by a person in public.

On April 20 the U-T editorial board wrote,

“According to the [San Diego Sheriff’s] Department, a 16-year-old White boy was arrested Monday on suspicion of stabbing a 16-year-old Black girl twice in the back.” The sheriff’s press releases about the incident don’t mention the suspect’s race and they didn’t respond to confirm whether or not they have called the suspect a “White boy.”

On April 21 @SDUTopinion tweeted, “The recent stabbing of a Black girl by a White boy in Lakeside is horrible reminder of the region’s long history of racism.”

Neighbors of the stabbing victim and suspect tell me the suspect is actually Hispanic and that while there is no excuse for the stabbing, there is more to the long-running conflict among the residents of their complex than the media has reported.

The suspect’s mother says, “My son is not racist. He is Mexican and his godmother is African American. My daughter had been bullied by the two sisters [the stab victim and her sister] for several months.”

She says on the night of April 16, “They cornered my daughter when she was walking home. The 16- and 17-year-old sisters attacked my 11-year-old daughter. My son and his girlfriend jumped the balcony and ran to his sister, who they could hear screaming for help. When they arrived in the parking lot my daughter was on the ground in the fetal position covered with her own urine.”

One neighbor says kids of every race at their complex have been heard making racist slurs, but most black and white neighbors get along just fine with each other. Many residents of East County have told me the stereotypes about them are unfair.

According to the annual California Attorney General report, “Hate Crime in California,” the hate crime rate in the City of San Diego from 2015 to 2019 has been close to that of the rest of San Diego County, some years a little higher in San Diego, others a little higher in the rest of the county. Comparisons among North County, East County and South County cities are close as well.

In 2018 there were 40 hate crime events reported in the city of San Diego and 37 in the rest of San Diego County, one of which was in the city of Santee. Data for unincorporated cities like Lakeside was lumped together. When factoring in population, the hate crime rate in the city of San Diego was nearly twice as high as the city of Santee. That held true from 2015-2018, with one hate crime reported in Santee each year.

That proportion changed in 2020, when reported hate crime events in Santee rose to three and reported hate crime events in San Diego dropped to 26. Hate crime events in the entire state rose from 1,015 in 2019 to 1,330 in 2020. Most of that increase came from an increase in reported anti-black hate crime events, the largest category, which rose from 243 to 456.

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U-T Opinion tweet
U-T Opinion tweet

On April 22 San Diego Union Tribune columnist Charles T. Clark wrote East San Diego County has an “appetite for racism.” The U-T published the warnings he said a barber gave him when he arrived in San Diego four years ago about “Klantee,” and that he should “probably try to avoid East County.”

The column was written in response to a stabbing incident in Lakeside on April 16. On April 21 a Lakeside local was charged with attempted murder as a hate crime for allegedly stabbing his black neighbor at the 12000 block of Mapleview Street.

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On April 19 the San Diego Union Tribune reported,

“East County, including Lakeside and neighboring Santee, has long had a reputation of being a hotspot for White supremacy in San Diego County.” The reporter pointed out three incidents of racism that made the news, going back to 1998, the two most recent of which consisted of racist apparel worn by a person in public.

On April 20 the U-T editorial board wrote,

“According to the [San Diego Sheriff’s] Department, a 16-year-old White boy was arrested Monday on suspicion of stabbing a 16-year-old Black girl twice in the back.” The sheriff’s press releases about the incident don’t mention the suspect’s race and they didn’t respond to confirm whether or not they have called the suspect a “White boy.”

On April 21 @SDUTopinion tweeted, “The recent stabbing of a Black girl by a White boy in Lakeside is horrible reminder of the region’s long history of racism.”

Neighbors of the stabbing victim and suspect tell me the suspect is actually Hispanic and that while there is no excuse for the stabbing, there is more to the long-running conflict among the residents of their complex than the media has reported.

The suspect’s mother says, “My son is not racist. He is Mexican and his godmother is African American. My daughter had been bullied by the two sisters [the stab victim and her sister] for several months.”

She says on the night of April 16, “They cornered my daughter when she was walking home. The 16- and 17-year-old sisters attacked my 11-year-old daughter. My son and his girlfriend jumped the balcony and ran to his sister, who they could hear screaming for help. When they arrived in the parking lot my daughter was on the ground in the fetal position covered with her own urine.”

One neighbor says kids of every race at their complex have been heard making racist slurs, but most black and white neighbors get along just fine with each other. Many residents of East County have told me the stereotypes about them are unfair.

According to the annual California Attorney General report, “Hate Crime in California,” the hate crime rate in the City of San Diego from 2015 to 2019 has been close to that of the rest of San Diego County, some years a little higher in San Diego, others a little higher in the rest of the county. Comparisons among North County, East County and South County cities are close as well.

In 2018 there were 40 hate crime events reported in the city of San Diego and 37 in the rest of San Diego County, one of which was in the city of Santee. Data for unincorporated cities like Lakeside was lumped together. When factoring in population, the hate crime rate in the city of San Diego was nearly twice as high as the city of Santee. That held true from 2015-2018, with one hate crime reported in Santee each year.

That proportion changed in 2020, when reported hate crime events in Santee rose to three and reported hate crime events in San Diego dropped to 26. Hate crime events in the entire state rose from 1,015 in 2019 to 1,330 in 2020. Most of that increase came from an increase in reported anti-black hate crime events, the largest category, which rose from 243 to 456.

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