News and views from the award-winning author of the novels The Skinny Years, America Libre, House Divided and Pancho Land

Monday, May 14, 2007

What really happened at MacArthur Park? Depends on who you ask.

On May 1, a demonstration for immigration reform in Los Angeles's MacArthur Park attended primarily by Latinos turned ugly. No one will argue that. A number of video cameras recorded the mayhem between the LAPD and the demonstrators. Who was responsible for provoking the violence? It depends on the preconceived views of those who watched the footage. Already, both Anglo extremists and Hispanic separatists have chosen to put their own spin on the incident. For a demonstration of political axe grinding at its worst, watch this YouTube footage "edited" by Americans for Legal Immigration. Then watch the video the same event presented by the Mexica movement for a contrasting perspective (number 1694 in the Related videos).

The truth is that these two groups need each other. Their memberships will continue to swell as long as we choose to view every tragic event as a justification for our own views. If we continue to demonize those who disagree with us on the immigration issue, there will only be two hostile camps left.

And we will all be on the losing side.

For more information on Anglo extremist and Hispanic separatist groups, visit my author's site.

[photo: Rick Loomis - Los Angeles Times]