Religious Bigotry Attacks Los Angeles

THE VIEW FROM HERE - For years, official Los Angeles has been free of religious and ethnic bigotry. 

Perhaps the huge distaste left after the anti-Gay politics of the religious right wing made such behavior taboo. The US Supreme Court’s acknowledging that Gays have inalienable rights, and thus, could not be singled out for discrimination probably dampened the public prejudice.   Los Angeles City Council is a paragon of diversity, as long as one overlooks the lack of representation of old white males. No one cares – including old white males. 

The Bigotry Explosion! 

Seemingly out of nowhere, religious and ethnic bigotry erupted, and Angelenos’ responses have been woefully unacceptable. 

Rick Caruso’s Religious Bigotry 

Los Angeles’ lack of response to Rick Caruso’s interjection of religious bigotry into the election has been shameful.  Since Caruso is no fool, he did not target any established religious group.  Rather, like a bully and coward, he attacked Scientology.  Let’s be clear. Caruso did not make any charges against specific members of the religion and link them to Karen Bass but attacked Scientology as a religion.  One may assume that his political consultants had data showing that no one would defend Scientology due to the litigation against its leaders.  Caruso probably thought if he falsely linked Karen Bass to Scientology, enough voters would shy away from Karen Bass to increase Caruso’s chances of being elected. 

Caruso’s use of religious bigotry was all the worse since Scientology has nothing to do with city hall corruption.  Karen Bass is not a Scientologist, yet he re-named Scientology “Church of Karen” as if she was somehow complicit in the alleged wrongdoing of some Scientologists.

One need not be a Scientologist to be disgusted with Caruso’s bringing religious hatreds into the midst of the mayor’s race.  How must individual Scientologist feel when Channel 4 and Channel 11, among others, routinely air anti-Scientology hate messages and no one objects?  

Let’s Turn to Kanye’s Brand of Anti-Semitism 

Since I am Gay and Jewish, I am familial bigotry. Whether the hate spokesmen are mentally unbalanced or coldly calculated like Caruso with his hate campaign against Scientology, domestic anti-Semitism results in murders, e.g., the aftermath of the Nazis’ march “Chanting Jews Shall Not Replace Us.”  Since we Jews, however, have had to deal with anti-Semitism since the time we were slaves building store houses in Egypt, it is incumbent upon us to be more sophisticated.  After all, we spend millions of dollars each year on agencies like the American Jewish Committee (AJC) (eons ago I was AJC’s L.A. assistant area director – lowest rung on the ladder) and on the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which has recently lapsed into wokeism. The classic premise had been “prejudice against one endangers all.”  Thus, whenever one group is marginalized by hate speech, we all have to step forward. 

Where were the AJC and the ADL when LA’s smallest religious group was attacked?  Maybe, AJC and ADL leaders did reach out to Scientology’s leaders and maybe they all thought a very low profile would be best. Or, maybe our defense agencies forgot that “prejudice against one endangers all.” 

While mental illness, e.g. Kanye’s Bi Polar, may be the true origin of his bizarre outbursts, hate-mongers do not say, “Let’s treat Jews decently because Kanye is crazy.”  No, they hang banners over the 405 Freeway declaring that Kanye was right. On the other hand, the vital message which the general public needs to hear is that anti-Semitism (and anti-Gayness) often are the product of mental illness.  The purpose of making this information to be publicly known is because it is true – there is a strong correlation.  Kanye is not some brave hero fighting against some hidden Jewish cabal, but rather he suffers a mental illness were anti-Semitic paranoia is a feature.  Perhaps, Kanye needs Get Well cards with our wishes for a speedy recovery, but until that happens, social isolation seems appropriate. 

Anti-Mexicanism Completes Los Angeles’s Trifecta Bigotry 

Far more dangerous to Los Angeles’s future than Caruso’s anti-Scientology ads and the current flap over Kanye’s foolishness is the despicable anti-Mexicanism which has erupted after the release of the illegal tape recording of councilmembers Nury Martinez, Kevin de Léon, and Gil Cedillo.  The recording was legal as to Los Angeles County Federation of Labor’s former president, Ron Herrera, since he had to know about the taping.   Many different people had their conversations taped recorded without their consent while meeting at the Federation offices.   Oct 10, 2022, LA Times, Labor Federation Says Leaked Audio Is ‘Illegal,’ Vows to Investigate, Seek Prosecution 

Three vital points: 

(1) The authorities know who made the tapes.  They do not want the public to know who was behind the tape’s release. When all the tapes were made in the same place which was under the exclusive control of the Labor Federation, it is obvious the Federation made the tapes.  It is not a big step to find out who was involved in the tape’s release. The authorities are not telling the public because they do not want the public to know. In brief, a cover-up! 

(2) All news sources seemed ready with the same false cover story that the councilmembers were racists.  A few media like Channel 5 are now referring to the tape as the “controversial tape,” but most like Channel 11 and Channel 4 are still falsely calling it the “racist tape.”  Since the tape is not racist, how come all the media push the same false theme?   

(3) The tape is not racist.  Before the public heard the tape, the media was falsifying the tape’s contents by saying that Nury Martinez had called a Black toddler, son of Councilmember Bonin, “ese changuito” (that little monkey).  Within Anglo culture references to Blacks as monkeys is racist for the same reason calling a Black man ‘boy” is racist. It recalls that Blacks were brought here from Africa as slaves and the alluding to that part of their history with terms like “monkey” or “boy” is taken as derogatory. English speaking America has no monkeys, but monkeys are found in the jungles of Mexico and Central and South America.  Also, Mexico never had slavery.  Thus, people whose culture is Mexican do not ascribe the same negative meanings as Anglos attach to various phrases.  

The important truth is that Nury never called the kid a monkey. She said “este niño,” this kid, which Mexicans use for kids of any race.  Later, when she was describing his hyper activity, she said his behavior was “parece changuito,” like a little moneky. Again this phrase is very common in Mexican households for kids who are “bouncing of the walls.”  After the falsehood of her calling the kid ese changuito was debunked, the news outlets continued to label it, “the tape racist,” intentionally polluting the public’s mind with prejudice.   October 27, 2022, CityWatch, Wokeism Has Become Anti-Mexican Racism   

The notion that a few Mexican councilmembers may not discuss among themselves the over representation of Blacks and under representation of Mexicans on the city council is anti-Mexican racism.  Blacks constantly discuss it; yet no one calls the Black community racist when it tries to increase its representation.  As the Jewish community has pointed out, when Jews or any other group is singled out and criticized for activities in which other groups engage without any criticism, we have racism, e.g., anti-Semitism and anti-Mexicanism.  Sad to say, the joint AJC, ADL, JFC mayoral “debate” allowed this anti-Mexican racism go unchallenged.  Maybe they forgot that “prejudice against one endangers all.” 


(Richard Lee Abrams has been an attorney, a Realtor and community relations consultant as well as a CityWatch contributor.  You may email him at [email protected].   The opinions expressed by Mr. Abrams are solely his and not necessarily those of CityWatch.)