Monday, June 23, 2008

Not so Klandestine San Diego Anti-Mexican Shenanigans

I am in debt to all-too-infrequent correspondent Mark Dery for this link to this fine article by my friend and colleague Emeritus Professor of Chicana/o Studies Richard Griswold del Castillo and Carlos Larralde on the back history of the Klan in San Diego. In our days of heated anti-Mexican sentiment and sentimentality to an era that was beaner-free in the hearts and minds of Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, and their klans, the piece is a sobering bit of detective work--especially for SoCal Mexicans.

Here's Dery's note:

"Here's the nut graph (as journalists say) in the article you linked to:

During the 1930s, the Klan began to merge with like-minded organizations such as the Silver Shirts League, the MinuteMen*, and the White Guards. Historian Stephen Schwartz affirmed, "Many adherents of the Silver Shirts were former members of the Ku Klux Klan." The San Diego Silver Shirts League, "a deadly fascist inspired group," was planned with the purpose of attacking blacks, Hispanics, and Jews. Inspired by the Nazi SS mystique, the Silver Shirts saw themselves as an American counterpart, enforcing Aryan racial superiority through intimidation and violence. ¶The Silver Shirts had other branches scattered throughout the United States. The San Diego chapter was well-known but ignored by most city officials who did not consider their anti-Semitic and anti-Mexican propaganda a problem."

*The Minutemen*. Italics mine. File this one under Santayana's Ghost: "Those who forget the past," etc.

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