Santa Ynez Valley Journal: Is it time to talk about the race card?

Santa Ynez Valley Journal

Is it time to talk about the race card?

OK. Someone has to talk about it. It is time to object to the “race card” being played on the good people of the Santa Ynez Valley.

This anti-social tactic has been over-used so badly during the recent fiasco of the Governor-vetoed ID No. 1 water bill (AB 2686), that it can no longer be ignored. Let’s review the record.

It starts at the top with Assemblyman Pedro Nava’s office. His legislative aide reportedly said that Nava felt the opposition to AB 2686 was unrelated to water concerns — it was “because of the Chumash Highway thing.”

Another member of Nava’s staff reportedly called the valley opponents of AB 2686 “a bunch of uneducated idiots with nothing better to do …” and added,  “They’re all racists over there …”

Please don’t misunderstand — I am not saying that there is no racial or ethnic discrimination in America, or in the Santa Ynez Valley. Undeniably, there is — and undeniably it is wrong.


This discrimination shows itself in the act of treating people differently because of race. This discrimination works in favor of some people, and works against others.

It is not restricted to the benefit of white people. When my Irish ancestors arrived in America they were treated horribly by my English ancestors. Today, in northern New Mexico, discrimination against “Anglos” is not uncommon among the long-time Hispanic residents of the area.

Also, it does not always run to the detriment of minority groups. Affirmative action programs are examples of making racial or ethnic distinctions that favor minorities.

So, we need to be a bit more thoughtful in our analysis of racial or ethnic discrimination in America and in the Santa Ynez Valley.


In my opinion, a very small amount of discrimination in the Valley may run against the tribe in general, but an overwhelmingly larger amount certainly runs in favor of the tribe. Ask yourself this: If  casino expansion, removing property and businesses from the tax rolls, and immunity from county regulations were being proposed by a rich white guy like Donald Trump, would fewer people in the valley express objections? Or, would far more people speak out in protest?

Instead of continuing with this race card language, how about returning to a neighborly discussion of the merits of the issues, based on mutual respect.

We will all be better off when we do.


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