Editorial: Hate is present

Racist graffiti shocks Diablo Valley College campus

By Editorial Board

Much has been written about the increase in hate crimes over the past three years. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report they have increased 17 percent from 2016-17.

California is not immune to such an unexpected hike in hate and despite the appearance of a liberal-leaning population, the state has seen its fair share of these egregious crimes.

Surprisingly, Contra Costa County reported the same number of incidents that fit into the broad category of hate crimes, 21 in 2017 that were reported in the previous year.

This bodes well for this area of the East Bay. However, when incidents do occur, their rarity may compromise official responses.

Earlier this month, racist graffiti depicting a stick figure being lynched with the words “No ni**ers in trades” was discovered in a bathroom of the Engineering and Technology Building on sister school Diablo Valley College’s campus.

The vandalism was discovered at approximately 3:30 p.m. on the afternoon of March 6 followed by an email condemning the act some six hours later, at 9:23 p.m., by DVC President Susan Lamb.

Lamb’s initial email explicitly states, “Both rest rooms were closed and the messages were photographed and removed.”

However, points of contention were uncovered in her statement when, two days later, DVC students who entered the rest room saw the offensive imagery had not been removed and had only been covered with an X.

Images of the graffiti, and the X that attempted to cover it, were sent to the DVC Enquirer courtesy of student Panda De La Torre two days later on March 8.

Nowhere in Lamb’s email did she directly address African-American students, the actual target of the offense. She instead opted to offer support for all students.

To be clear, the message was not directed at all students. It was directed at black students.

In response, DVC students organized a rally a week later to voice their concerns and proposals for change to DVC administrators.

Students who attended the rally spoke of a culture of intolerance that undermines the otherwise quiet Pleasant Hill campus.

Surprisingly, in data from the California Attorney General’s Office, only one hate crime was reported in the city in 2017.

With roughly 5.5 percent of DVC’s student body identifying as African-American, accompanied by state data that shows hate crime reporting in the area surrounding the campus at near zero levels, college administrators’ laissez-faire approach to racial problems is predictable.

It’s also irresponsible and speaks to the disconnect between the plight of African-American students and administrators from different backgrounds who purportedly work to serve them.

The Attorney General’s data also shows anti-African-American hate crimes disproportionately outnumber hate crimes committed against other races.

With more than 50 percent of hate crimes being identified as racially motivated in California, African-Americans incur the brunt of these attacks and are over 27 percent of the reported victims.

Will it take a physical attack for administrators to properly respond?