.NUZ Pro-Tip: Don’t Defend Racism on Social Media

OK, everyone. Former Santa Cruz City Council candidate Ashley Scontriano has an important message about Chinese food.

Last week, she posted on her public Facebook page to let everyone know the food at O’mei—which closed two years ago due to protests over the owner’s horrible racism—was actually really good. “Who else misses the BEST Chinese food in the city of Santa Cruz?” she wrote, with a bunch of hashtags including #runoutoftown and #freespeech. Yikes. O’Mei owner Roger Grigsby’s public bigotry included his support for former KKK leader David Duke’s U.S. Senate campaign in Louisiana—prompting a community boycott. The establishment quickly closed in 2017. The Facebook page, Ashley Scontriano for City Council 2018, was the same one that Scontriano used for her unsuccessful campaign last year. In what appeared to be an edit of the original post, she made sure to let everyone know that she isn’t interested in running for office again.

Phew, that’s a relief, but you might also say that it’s common sense (which coincidentally is the title of Scontriano’s weekly radio show on KSCO, a station that’s itself no stranger to bigotry). Seriously, someone who did want to run for the council again would surely make sure to denounce racism as unequivocally and succinctly as possible. Not only that, but such an individual with ongoing political ambitions would go the extra mile, making sure to also proudly defend the boycott against O’Mei, right on cue.

And it would be so easy!

“Voting with one’s dollars to not frequent an establishment where the owner is donating to a former KKK grand wizard is as American as apple pie,” former Councilmember Richelle Noroyan wrote, commenting on Scontriano’s post. “I would be concerned if this establishment was able to stay open after knowing about his contributions. I am proud of my community who voted with their dollars to not support this restaurant.”

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  1. The only thing more disturbing about a candidate like. Ashley running for any office in Santa Cruz’s is the fact that the Santa Cruz police Officers Association endorses her. Let that sink in

  2. Perpetuating the shallow narrative of name calling accomplishes nothing. True racism wins when an indoctrinated society of key board warriors buzz like bees to their next target. Everyone’s need for a quick feel good attack does nothing to tackle socio-economic racism. A quick google search, or reading of my comments on the post would serve everyone a quick history lesson. Either way, Santa Cruz has proven yet again, that not everyone is afforded free speech. The lack of listening, learning and being tolerant is lost in progressive Santa Cruz.

  3. Assuming the Krohn/Glover recalls make it to ballot, who runs to replace them? If it’s well-funded known names encouraged as they say by wad-flashing supporters, which is likely, the divisive attacks and the apologies promise to be high melodrama theatrics. “Trusted” old guarders who come out for and against, and who remains publicly silent, and when, is destined to rock the local political Casbah. Couple this with the red-light fixin’ Judge Ariadne Symons re-election, the March primary will be fun indeed.

  4. John Smith, freedom of speech is a constitutional right that no one is impinging upon. It means that the government can’t censor or retaliate against you for expressing your opinion; it does not mean that there are no social or communal repercussions (it also doesn’t protect against speech that incites hatred or violence). I fully support everyone’s right to believe and say what they want, and I fully support the community’s right to respond to those beliefs in whatever (legal) way they want. Freedom of speech isn’t some sort of free pass to say whatever you want with no consequences.

  5. The level of privilege it requires to say that support for white supremacy is a form of free speech is beyond comprehension. It’s important to point out that this restaurant owner was no mere podunk uncle, but was a strong operative of this racist movement, using his economic power to try and spread this message to UCSC students.

    The reason why white supremacy is not merely some kind of “alternative viewpoint”, like being a conservative, is obvious to the people affected by these views.

    It’s obvious to the hundreds of innocent black brothers and sisters getting executed by police officers every year.

    It’s obvious to the thousands of undocumented neighbors who are having their doors kicked in by ICE, being deported, put in concentration camps, or separated indefinitely from their children.

    It’s obvious to the members of the LGBT community who are harassed and abused on a daily basis for not conforming to “traditional white American values”.

    It’s obvious to the homeless, who are effectively told to “go away and die” by folks who share this ideology.

    Besides all the people that these ideas hurt, dehumanize, and exclude, there’s the fact that white supremacists are a movement of propaganda. They rewrite history. You can’t have a debate with a white supremacist because they will change facts and muddy the waters. They will lie and act disingenuously. They are nihilists for their cause, which is deeply anti-humanitarian.

    White supremacy is a death cult, a radicalized form of human hierarchy, with only one policy subscription– removal of people.

  6. This article exaggerates and mischaracterizes the O’mei incident. O’mei’s owner was revealed to have donated to David Duke’s senate campaign, yes, but he never used his restaurant to promote supremacist views, hold KKK meetings, or anything like that. And some people who abhorred David Duke were more concerned for the many employees who would lose their jobs if O’mei were to close. It was not easy. It was not simple. It was not just good people vs. bad people. And there’s nothing wrong with saying that the food was good there — it was! I’ll say it. And I’ll say this too: I hope all the workers put out of jobs by the hatefully virtuous are doing OK now.


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