The Bell Chimes

Racism Around the Corner

What do you do when you confront a bigot in your own neighborhood?

Robert Sandoval


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“Deport the illegal kill gringo aliens out of Afghanistan,” the flyer said.

On March 5, 2017 I was walking home in the afternoon. From a distance I noticed a white man dressed very nicely in a suit, with a clean haircut. He was kind of tall, and he was posting something on a street pole. (See photo)  This had caught my attention, and I wanted to know more about what he was doing.

Robert Sandoval

I approached the man and said to him, “Good afternoon sir. I am a journalist from the Bell Chimes at Bell High School and I was wondering what your little note says?”

His response was, “It’s a message from the citizens.”

I asked, “A message for who?”

He said, “All these Mexicans and other illegal people here. They need to leave. You can’t just come to the US and make a taco stand or work selling cheap items at the swap meet. This is not a place for free money. You need to work hard and go to school.”

I responded, “Excuse me sir I understand how you feel, but do you know that I’m Mexican and my family is illegal? You need to be careful about what you say on this block.”

He said, “I don’t give a shit.  I have freedom. Something you beaners don’t have. All you have is nothing. You are worthless.”

“You are being very disrespectful sir and to be honest with you, you are getting me mad,” I replied.

“I don’t care what you have to say, just leave,” the man said.

As I walked away from him, I had a lot of thoughts running through my mind. I was very upset, but I understood that violence was not the way to handle such a situation.

I really didn’t feel as if it was safe to let my little sister walk to her school even though it is only one block away. What if my sister had to hear this man’s racist comments directed at her?  She might run back home in tears. This could impact how she felt about who she is and her family forever. If it had been my mom who approached him, how would she handle it? She would no longer have felt comfortable or safe living in this neighborhood.

After having encountered racism personally, I felt like I needed to tell someone, but I felt like there was no one who could really understand.

I could have told my family about it at the dinner table, but they would have been very upset with me for not saying anything sooner. They would have wanted to do something about it.

If I would have called 911, I honestly feel as if the police wouldn’t have done anything more than simply telling the man to leave: a temporary solution.

I could have told some people who live on my block what the man had said; these people are willing to do anything if they feel there is a threat.  If these people confronted this man, he could have ended up in a body bag.

Now that I have pondered the situation, I feel like it was a mistake to leave without asking more. I could have tried to make him understand my point of view and try to hear him out. Maybe there was a reason behind his racist comments.

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7 Responses to “Racism Around the Corner”

  1. Karla Acevedo on June 21st, 2017 8:05 pm

    It’s crazy that there are so many people in the United States who have such foul and racist mentalities. And ever since Trump won his presidential election, I feel like he gave those people even more courage to come out and act on their racist opinions. People like that man make others feel unsafe and unwanted in their own home, and no one should ever have to feel like that.

    Karla Acevedo
    Track: Magnet
    For detention hours

  2. Yesenia Jimenez on June 22nd, 2017 12:34 pm

    I’m sorry you had to go through this Robert. By just reading what the man had to say it got me mad as well. It is sad how racist people like the man think Mexicans are the cause of everything that happen. If we were to test the man on working, how he said the “tacos stand,” he wouldnt even be able to make
    one. Robert it is fine if you didn’t get the chance to make the man understand and see your point of view. They never listen and at the momment what he said bothered you which is totally normal. Good job for stepping up and letting him know where you and your family are from. Never be ashamed of that. It just so sad how so many people are so close minded and how rasicm still exists.
    Track: 12A
    Mr. Jansen
    ps-sorry im reposting it i forgot to put my info

  3. Bianca Solano on June 22nd, 2017 7:39 pm

    I’m so sorry that you were put in a situation that is so infuriating. people who are culturally uneducated don’t know the struggles and the beauty that other cultural are about. Racism is something that we as a newer generation have to work towards fighting. The discrimination of people will never be okay, there’s only one race, the human race. People fail to realize that a person’s skin color doesn’t even matter. Judge a person based on there character not the skin tone.

    Bianca Solano (12/M)
    detention hour

  4. Jeselle Brijlall on June 22nd, 2017 9:38 pm

    Not many people have the courage to speak up for what they stand for. I envy that you actually did Robert. It’s 2017 and some people still don’t understand that this is a free country!!! American citizen or not, we are all human. We might look differently from the outside but we are all the same within. Discriminating each other does nothing but cause more problems. We should not be scared or feel unsafe within our own community. No is more or less than one another.

    Jeselle Brijlall
    Track: A Grade:12
    detention hours

  5. Lizette Urias on June 23rd, 2017 10:59 am

    I’m really upset you had to go through this racist encounter. The way you handled the situation was perfect. Violence shouldn’t be promoted. I know if it were me, I would’ve not handled the situation the same. Never be ashamed of where you’re from.

    Lizette Urias
    Clear detention hours

  6. Alexandra Cruz Mr.Jansen 12/A hours on June 23rd, 2017 11:44 am

    Racism has surrounded all of our cities and it is heartbreaking. Bell High School is a Latino filled school that is why coming to the realization that racism against us exist. The feeling of being unwanted and hated is horrible but instead of letting it bring us down we should prove everyone wrong. Going to school getting our degrees and finding good jobs should be the way of getting back at these people not using violence and mean words. Let’s all come together to prove them wrong. Roberto did an amazing job and I feel for him for having to go through such a thing.

  7. Ashley Moreno 12/C on June 23rd, 2017 12:44 pm

    This article impacted me greatly being that I am also a Mexican. That being said,My parents are immigrants and I find that there is nothing wrong with being onet Although thoes are my thoughts many people do think that that it’s wrong and that they don’t belong here. In my point of view it makes me upset because we should all be treated equally no matter race we are. Sadly, it is not that way. People should understand that it is not right to make a person feel less. #ProudLatina

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