A history of racism

Americans have a long way to go reach equality

Chico has come a long way in race relations during the past 25 years. That’s clear from Associate Editor Meredith J. Graham’s story this week on the 25th anniversary of the planting of Chico State’s Tree of Peace (see “Peaceful giant,” page 11).

It’s hard to imagine that what happened on campus back in 1988 could happen today. That’s called progress and we applaud the university for commemorating the learning opportunity that came out of such ugliness.

At the same time, we recognize that race relations must continue to be a priority. As we know from the recent scandal involving L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling, America’s long history of racism is hard to shake. Sterling has been widely condemned for his audio-recorded tirade in which he denounced his mistress for taking photos with black men, including Magic Johnson, and ordered her to not bring black people to Clippers games. He’s been banned for life by the NBA and fined $2.5 million.

But the fact is, his deep-seated racist views are nothing new. Sterling was fined $2.9 million in 2009 following a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into housing discrimination. The real estate mogul allegedly would not allow blacks, Latinos, or people with kids to rent his apartments. It wasn’t the first discrimination lawsuit he’s faced.

In short, while America has made strides toward equality, we still have a lot of work ahead of us.