How Can We Build a Better World with Roger Hedgecock Playing Hateful Card Tricks?

by on April 17, 2012 · 29 comments

in Civil Rights, From the Soul, Media, San Diego

Oh, did the words, “We’re charging George Zimmerman with Second-Degree murder” ever put my mind and soul at ease.

His walking free said to me that Emmitt Till, a 14 year old black boy who suffered a cruel death when I was 17 – for basically saying “Hello” to a white woman – had died in vain. This tragedy, for a while, practically crippled me with intense emotional pain as a result of my thinking that what had happened to him could happen to me – as my mother and I travelled down south rather frequently. Mississippi, specifically.

I carry within me images of both Emmitt’s battered body looking out at me from a page in Jet Magazine and a sickening scene featuring the men who killed him. A jury of their “peers” found them not guilty in a horribly absurd trial and they mugged in front of a camera smoking cigars and kissing their wives, looking as though they were ready to go out on the town and do-si-do. I imagine it was one big party behind bars also but they did spend time in jail. They sat in the hoosegow. They had some slammer time.

So the reason I was so relieved when Zimmerman was put away was because now things seem to be falling in line. I mean isn’t it routine that when an alleged perpetrator commits an alleged crime he is handcuffed and patted down? Isn’t he plopped down in the backseat of a cop car with a little downward shove on his head? Aren’t his rights read, his prints taken and his body adorned with orange clothes and orange shoes? Or blues? Isn’t a jury gathered for a trial wherein a story is told from a variety of angles with one considered innocent until proven otherwise all the while? Isn’t this justice, American style?

We should all be sleeping a little better with this man in jail and hopefully the rules of “fairness” will prevail and Emmitt will not have died in vain. But in the meantime, based on all the conversations that took place around this Trayvon/Zimmerman case we, as a society, have some serious work to do if we’re to ever find ways to understand each other; if we’re to ever treat each other with compassion.

We, each of us, whether we’re regular Janes and Joes or the powers-that-be, need to take responsibility for creating a social and political environment wherein we can learn to become more accepting of the range of ethnicities that enrich our lives as Americans. Along these lines some of us are blessed with an opportunity to promote togetherness and goodwill in ways most of us could only dream. Like, for instance, San Diego’s Mr. Radio, Roger Hedgecock, a man with multitudes of followers.

But for goodness sake, what will it take? This man took my breath away with his claim in the U-T that Obama was playing the “race card” when he declared that if he “had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” Say what? A man speaks from the pain he’s feeling, an immense pain that was felt deeply by millions of African Americans, based on the horrors committed against us in our collective history, and that is summarized as playing the race card? How trivializing and mocking is that? Come on, who’s really playing the race card here? Not to mention that Trayvon does resemble our president.

How do we become more sympathetic towards one another with attitudes like his at play? But this isn’t new for ex-mayor, Hedgecock.

We should never forget how, a number of years ago, with people crossing our border out of Mexico after having trekked miles upon miles upon miles, looking for jobs, struggling to survive, to stay alive, to house and feed their families – he along with hundreds of others turned their car headlights on these hurting human beings’ hopes and dreams. “Light Up the Border” was the name of their shameful scheme. Who did that help on either side of the demarcation line that separates us?

And we should never forget a time when young gay students and their allies observed a day of silence in protest of the discrimination and harassment they faced in the Grossmont School District. They were struggling to survive emotionally in their schools day to day. Instead of using the power of his radio show to make these young people feel wanted and loved, Hedgecock denounced them as “Storm trooping fascists” and “Gay Nazis” and bad mouthed their schools for “advocating the homosexual lifestyle.” My great-aunt, Lillie, would say: “Sumpin wrong with that man, honey child!”

Now, as though he’s not doing enough harm in our city ala Rush Limbaugh via Talk Radio he’s been given a voice on the Union-Tribune’s op-ed pages.

I don’t expect the paper, with its conservative bent, to cease sharing it’s right wing thoughts about politics and life, in general, but there must be somebody who can express such views without dealing racial, xeno and homophobic “cards.”

With Roger Hedgecock contributing regularly to our daily paper with his wealth of hatefull card tricks I don’t see how we can build a better community, a better world or, since this discourse began with words about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman – a more just world.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

nunya April 17, 2012 at 8:40 am

I don’t think I’ve ever been able to stomach the UT, Hedgecock, Rick Roberts or any of the rightwing clowns with national hate-spew shows. Taking a good hard look at our “justice system” is disheartening also. I can only hope that the spotlilght on the Martin case will have a positive effect in the long run.


Ernie McCray April 17, 2012 at 9:22 am

My hopes are the same.


judi Curry April 17, 2012 at 10:20 am

Another heart-felt article from you, Ernie. One of the things I did when Hedgecock became a regular for the U/T was to cancel my subscription. I think I may be healthier because I won’t have the aggravation that I have every time I read the paper.

I just came across this quote – wanted to share it with you: “Prejudice is hating people because they’re not like you. Hey, I also hate people who are just like me.”


Ernie McCray April 17, 2012 at 10:39 am

Thanks. You’re a trip, Judi. Another friend of mine just dropped a subscription to the U-T over Roger. He said that was going a bit too far for him, especially with Eugene Robinson’s essays cut back.


Andy Cohen April 17, 2012 at 10:45 am

Right Wing Hate Radio. It’s what politics–especially Republican politics–is all about these days.

My favorite line from the 1996 movie “The American President”: “How can you tolerate these people who claim to love America but so clearly hate Americans?”

Sums up Republicans perfectly, if you ask me.


Ernie McCray April 17, 2012 at 10:46 am

Makes you wonder.


Christian Warren Cullen April 17, 2012 at 10:58 am

Ernie, weren’t you supposed to write some pieces for the UT? Did that all fall through when Dougie showed up?


Ernie McCray April 17, 2012 at 11:13 am

Well, the purpose of our group was not necessarily to write but we can. I’ve done two pieces and the only reasons I haven’t written and submitted anything else is there’s so much on my mind I wouldn’t know where to start. But, knowing me, I’ll eventually put something together. We were once called the Community Editorial Board. Under the new ownership we’re the Community Advisory Board. We had a great meeting the other day where I expressed the thoughts I shared in this OB Rag piece. I felt heard and understood so we’ll just have to see. I’m hanging in there for old friends like you, students of mine, who have taught me so much and still do. There are a lot of you wonderful creatures among my facebook friends. So I’ll stand tall for y’all.


Christian Warren Cullen April 17, 2012 at 11:18 am

I think we both have a hard time NOT standing tall, both literally and figuratively. You even more so than I.


Ernie McCray April 17, 2012 at 11:21 am

I hear you, amigo.


Christian Warren Cullen April 17, 2012 at 11:26 am

Don’t blame me, you’re the one that taught me the figurative part. Back in 1977.


Ernie McCray April 17, 2012 at 11:30 am

I stand guilty as charged!


Dan Saeger April 17, 2012 at 12:23 pm

While the Travon Martin killing is tragic, you’re making a connection between a long-ago senseless killing of a young black man by whites – and somehow this recent crime by a half Peruvian/half white man that is now somehow a perpetuation of the same white on black violence? It’s the same with President Obama (who I support) who has a white mother – yet somehow he’s black. The way I see it – that’s claiming color for convenience (as if any of that is even necessary). While I can understand the hypersensitivity, if you ever want to get past being a victim, you can’t go seeking it out.
While I’m not a fan of Roger Hedgecock, some of his topics I do partially agree with. You can pick any social rally point and you will find someone who agrees and disagrees with you – it’s just a distraction. gotta go…


Ernie McCray April 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I don’t think you understood a word I wrote if you feel that I’m claiming “color for convenience” instead of out of the pain I was feeling. Read Roger’s essay and then talk to me about using “color for convenience.” FYI: I am not a “victim” kind of dude so that’s nothing I have “to get past.”


Anna Daniels April 17, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Dan-the salient point is the senseless killing of black men and what happens after that. It doesn’t matter if the killer is black white yellow brown purple. What matters is a senseless killing of a black man and what happens after that (An arrest for starters.) It makes me despair that you would frame this concern as “hypersensitivity.”


Ernie McCray April 17, 2012 at 5:16 pm

That’s what I’m talking about: what Anna said. Hypersensitivity? What is that?


Christian Warren Cullen April 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm


President Obama (I really cherish those words) as you point out is half Kansas white and half Kenyan black, making him a TRUE African-American. He probably sees himself pretty much like that, while the media and 90% of America see him as black. IMHO if he had a child with a woman that looked just like his Mom, those same people would most likely see that child as black as well, even though that child would be 3/4 white.

In reality, we are all part black and not just out of convenience. Some day we as citizens of planet Earth will need to move past all of this and only then will we be allowed into the United Federation of Planets. There, I said it. . . .


Ernie McCray April 17, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Beam me up, Christian.


Molly April 17, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Nice work, Ernie.


Ernie McCray April 17, 2012 at 10:23 pm



Jack April 18, 2012 at 7:49 am

When I read your work Ernie, it makes me proud to count you as a friend and colleague. This particular piece makes want to scratch the itch of social injustice which just does not seem to want to go away. We are blessed to have you among us.

In Peace, Jack


Ernie McCray April 18, 2012 at 11:05 am

The feelings are mutual, Jack. Social injustice is an ornery cuss. We shall overcome but somebody will have to tell us about it in the afterlife (smile).


Jack April 18, 2012 at 11:13 am

Well let’s not explore that avenue too soon…we can keep practicing here for awhile longer…


Ernie McCray April 18, 2012 at 11:25 am

Hey, I wasn’t implying any time soon. Nooooo!


Isaac April 19, 2012 at 10:07 am

I remember when Mayor Roger Hedgecock had a Hispanic Advisory Committee to promote goodwill on both sides of the border (it was the “decade of the Hispanic”) and I remember when the UT exposed Hedgecock’s corruption and helped him get indicted. Now the UT and Hedgecock are collaborating. Amazing how right wing ideology (and opportunism) brings them together these days…


Ernie McCray April 19, 2012 at 11:16 am

Truly amazing.


Ramon Espinal April 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Ernie: I am also joining you and asking the same questions. I just finished reading your thoughtfull and soulsearching analysis, while visiting with a couple of my brothers and sisters in Orlando, Florida. One of the reasons while Mr. Zimmerman was not arrested for about a month after committing his haneous crime, was because of the crazy, backwards and savage “stand-your-ground” law in Florida. I wouldn’t really care if the Hedgecock’s and Limbaugh’s of the world were hater and racists. What really worries me is how this country creates the platforms for these racists to spread their poison. futhermore, what’s also worrisome is how about 4 million of NRA members have such a profound stranglehold on the whole of our country, and how they have bought so many politicians and cowered into silent so many good people in our country to avoid having a frank conversation about the menace an proliferation so many weapons. According to the 2010 sensus, we are about 310 million people. Never the less, there are close to 400 million weapons owned by Americans. The NRA is out of control. This profitable and blood thirsty mafia like interprise and its members are having a field day promoting conceled weapon legislations, and like in Florida, the so-called stand-your-ground legislations. It’s shameful that there are so many coward and ignorant politicians which are allowing this travesty to happen. I believe that no civilized society should put up with it. The so-called “stand-your-ground,” is nothing more than promoting lawleness and the old wild-wild west type of mentality as well as giving hate monger and racists the opportunity to hurt enocent people like Tryvon Marvin just because they are not white, even if they are walking in their own communities. The NRA, Hedgecock, Limbaugh, and Florida Governor Scott must be condemned and be brought to account for such criminal and uncivilized behaviors. Thanks for your insight and contributions towards building a better society.


Ernie McCray April 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm

I hear you, amigo. We shall just keep on plugging away at making it mo bettuh as they say.


Gramma K April 22, 2012 at 3:11 pm

San Diego is full of haters. We have an organization of hate groups called the East County Coalition. I heard @ them from a friend in prison. San Diego’s always been a rich white republican town. I don’t see things changing much! We can vote and pray for change.


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