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Special Reports
Race In LA
How does your race and/or ethnicity shape your life and experiences? We want to hear your stories.

This Series

Race In LA was conceived following the 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. LAist staffers gathered and shared stories about being racially profiled; about being put in a racial or ethnic box; about feeling unsafe; about never being "enough" of an American. Our newsroom realized there was more we could do to make sure diverse voices are heard in our coverage.

In June 2020, we began publishing your stories each week to continue important conversations about race/ethnicity, identity and how both affect our lived experiences.

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Essays
For the past year, we've published a series of personal essays called Race In LA, in which Angelenos reflect on how our race and ethnicity shapes our daily lives. Now the series is coming to The LA Report, our daily news podcast, which will feature special Race In LA episodes on weekends.

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THE ORIGINS OF RACE IN LA

The conversation started around a table in summer 2019. It resumed two days after a mass shooter in El Paso went gunning for Latinos at the local Walmart. And it's more relevant now than ever.

On Aug. 5, 2019, KPCC and LAist staffers gathered around the big newsroom table where we usually talk about stories, to vent, grieve, and try to wrap our heads around what had just happened.

As we talked, and some of us cried, many of us began sharing personal stories about how our skin, face, surname, perceived national origin — any and all of these — have factored into our lived experience.

A Latina producer with dark skin talked about the time a store employee treated her like she could not afford to pay her bill; a Latina reporter with light skin talked about the anti-Latino slurs she has heard when people are unaware of her ethnicity.

It was an emotional conversation — and now, we're having it again as we once more try to wrap our heads around the senseless death of a black man at the hands of police. Another. Again.

So we are grieving again as our community, and the nation as a whole, faces a reckoning. It's a reckoning sparked not just by the shocking killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, but by an ongoing catalog of abuses suffered by people of color in this country. The protests are fueled by centuries of racism and institutional violence that is disproportionately directed at black Americans.

We know that racism is pervasive. We also know that even in L.A. — diverse on the whole, but still very segregated in reality — it happens every day, casually and overtly. And we know the media bears responsibility for failing to speak more forcefully about this injustice.

This is how Austin Cross explained it in an essay he wrote about coming to the realization that as a black man he had no way to escape racism:

"For so long, I wanted, needed, to think that there was something I could do to be safe in the world. There wasn't. There never was, really."

In hearing the raw emotion of colleagues willing to share stories about being profiled; about being put in a racial or ethnic box; about feeling unsafe, daily; about never being "enough" of an American; about privilege and discomfort, we realized there was more we could do to make sure those voices are heard. Our job is not to lose focus on this. We are asking for your help, both in joining the conversation and holding us accountable to keep it going.

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