Abcarian: Almost no one was spared in that racist conversation among top L.A. Latino officials.
In the 1990s, L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky started a “Hispanic Advisory Committee” comprised of the top Hispanic officials in L.A. County. Yaroslavsky said he wanted to show that the county was open to diversity.
“There are two parts of what I hope to accomplish with this group,” said Yaroslavsky. “The first part is to show them the county administration is open to diversity. The second part is, as I see it, is we’ve got to create a Latino leadership.”
Yaroslavsky said that L.A. County has no one of its own to lead its Latino community.
“We want to say the word Latino but the word Spanish is not working for everybody out there. We need a different way to do it,” he said.
Yaroslavsky said he wants to use the group as a way to bring more Latinos into the public sphere.
“I don’t want to go in and have a meeting with everybody’s wife and kids, or girlfriend and kids. I want to go to a meeting where they say, ‘Yo, I’m here to help you.’ They want to learn, what are the issues and problems with our county? And so I want to use this group to bring the Latino community into the public sphere.”
When asked if he could create a similar group from federal bureaucrats, Yaroslavsky said, “We need to learn from our Latino brothers and sisters in government.”
At the time, Yaroslavsky said he didn’t think the issue was one of power, but that “they’re Latino and I’m Caucasian.”
“For me to call myself a Latino is a big change, right? And I don’t have a single Latino in my family. I don’t even have Mexican blood. My father is Russian. I have a Cherokee ancestor, but I will not let that define who I am or the role I play… I see myself as one of