It is understood that we all make mistakes, but I believe that minorities in and around Calaveras County have been the subject of blatant uncalled-for racist remarks. I don’t like the way this issue has made me feel. I am filled with many of the same emotions I felt from childhood when confronted with intolerance, discrimination and racism – anger, sadness, frustration and disgust.
I have lived in Calaveras County for 26 years. I have been a contributing member of society. I have strived to create a contractor and handyman business. I have volunteered time to coach children’s sports teams. I have volunteered time to support my local church. I am a Mexican, born and raised in California. I am proud of my contribution to this community.
I have been following the story about Planning Commissioner Kelly Woost-er’s comments comparing Mexicans to an invasive species. I heard what Wooster said and the subsequent laughter from a broadcast by a local television news station. The newspaper said that his comments were based on experience with criminal trespassers thought to be associated with drug cartels. These biased assumptions are unsophisticated and simplistic.
By labeling Mexicans as an invasive species, Wooster divided people by separating them from the human race and classifying them as a separate species. I would think that all humans fall under the same category whether Native American, Middle Eastern, African American, Asian or Caucasian. It angers and saddens me that in this instance a minority group was singled out and described as invasive to the human race. I took Wooster’s comments personally because I am one of the races that his remarks target.
I am ashamed to say that we have at least one bad apple on the planning commission and many more on the board of supervisors. I say this not only because of the initial remarks made but because little was done to aggressively resolve the problem. These comments and the manner in which they have been handled are inexcusable. It shows that the board and the county condone racism.