The bigots among us

If we turn a blind eye to racism, then we’re all complicit it its growth

We said this earlier this year, when a couple of high-schoolers flying the Confederate flag had a run-in with a local family of color, but it bears repeating this week, in the wake of what’s likely a hate crime against a local couple: Chico has a problem with racism.

As we reported last week (see “Hookahs and hate crimes,” Newslines, July 9), Jenny and Sam Dahma, owners of Fusion Hookah Lounge, have regularly had to deal with unchecked incidents of hate, from racial epithets being shouted at them from passing cars to vandalism of their property. More disturbing was the recent attempt to set the building housing their business on fire.

It’s a scenario unfamiliar to most Chicoans, and that’s simply because most of us in this white-bread town are, well, white. Most residents are not the target of such hateful and ignorant comments, not to mention the potentially life-threatening arson that took place at the Dahmas’ business. But that doesn’t mean these things don’t take place.

The thing about racism is that it’s like a cancer. If it’s not dealt with, it grows. So, what can we do about it? For starters, we can support the Dahmas by patronizing their hookah lounge, an operation the couple have put their life savings into. It would send a message to the bigots in our community that they don’t speak for everyone.

And on an individual basis, we need to challenge the views of bigots. That includes friends, acquaintances and family members, too. If we turn a blind eye to racism, then we’re all complicit in its growth.