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There was no walking through the Carousel (aka Central City) Mall in San Bernardino alone.

White Supremacists Leave Lasting Memories

To not have a crew meant being confronted with the question, “What set you claim?”

There was no right answer.

Back at school, the dress code ballooned: No blue. No red. No bandanas. No sagging. No Raiders or Kings or White Sox or team gear on the “gang attire” list. No Locs (or similar sunglasses). No bucket hats. No baseball caps. No beanies (aka hoodie hats). No durags or wave caps. No pagers.

On TV, middle and high schoolers had lockers. Ours were wired shut.

White supremacists did what white supremacists do. They terrorized people.

After our apartment was burgularized and drive-bys came to our neighborhood, my father made the conscious decision to relocate our family to the most suburban, milquetoast community we could afford to live in.

And yet, my high school still had an In Memoriam yearbook insert thanks to drugs and gun violence.

Segregated, most of us were strangers to one another in high school. In stereotypical fashion there were those who lived in historic Victorians or fancy homes in the hills with pools and tennis courts, and those who lived in tract homes out toward the wash or in apartments and small properties along the avenues and boulevards parallel to, or connecting with, the train tracks.

Overcrowded, clashes were common. Before the 1992 uprisings the SHARPs outnumbered the skinheads. That was not the case thereafter. Black students were targeted, as were recently arrived immigrants from Mexico and Central America. And unfortunately instead of banding together, divisions between Black and Brown emerged and intensified.

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White supremacists did what white supremacists do. They terrorized people.

An Ahimsa practicing Hindu friend and his family were the victims of a hate crime. Their home was vandalized with rotting meat and animal blood.

A Conservative (Masorti) Jewish friend and her family were the victims of a hate crime. Their home was vandalized with spray-painted slurs and swastikas.

Both had their street-facing windows broken.

It’s easier to fight and act out of anger than to process anxiety, sadness, powerlessness, and fear.

It took me becoming a father to admit that I didn’t know what to do with feelings that I couldn’t channel into a confrontation or campaign.

I was always able to self-diagnose the performative and other aspects of toxic masculinity at play.

But I was never able to own the trauma.

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I was afraid.

I felt hurt. And I still do.

Unai Montes-Irueste