Racism: Santee’s Diversity Stigma

Outsiders say Santee is full of racism. Could it be true?

Since moving to San Diego in 2005, numerous people have informed me that East County is steeped in racism. More specifically, Santee is a hot bed for racists and hate crimes. I’ve even heard that during one military organization’s indoctrination, they tell members to avoid Santee for this very reason.

Now, I’m from Texas, so I have seen blatant discrimination and racism. Let me tell you, it’s not pretty. As a woman who just happens to be black (and white), I’ve also been subjected to both.

Since living in Santee, I have yet to experience racism as I did growing up in Texas. I am thankful for this, but there is still a shame associated with living in Santee. Each time I inform someone where I reside, the immediate response is, “Oh, you live in Klantee?”

Immediately, I go on the defense and ask, “Well have you ever been to Santee?” Every time the response is the same, “No."

It is the same answer each time. If they've never been, then why would they think this? Are there some secret Klan meetings held in my backyard that I am unaware of?

I did some quick research on racism in Santee, and stumbled across a few incidents that were labeled as hate crimes by white supremacist gangs. The two most prominent incidents happened more than two years ago. I would say that sums up the incidents of racism in Santee. Few and far between.

Of course, I could be wrong as I am only correlating this to my experience and a Google search. I still feel that it is an important topic to approach for residents of Santee. Even the perception of intolerance is unflattering. That is why it is important for others to know that not all Santee residents have skewed views on other people.

Do we really want people to stay away just because they have this image of white hoods and burning crosses?

People are avoiding our community because of assumptions based on the past or another person’s perspective. This bothers me, especially because I still have to defend “Klantee” from all of the people who believe the negative stereotypes about our community.

Unfortunately, trying to change someone’s opinion or view on matters like race is nearly impossible. It can be done with time and positive stories on the diversity in Santee.

I can only submit my personal experience to the not-so-flattering opinions regarding Santee. I want the rest of San Diego County to know that I’ve lived here for three years without incident. Not too bad, I’d say.

As an aside, not everyone in Texas wears cowboy hats and rides a horse. Remember, not all stereotypes are true.

What is your experience living in Santee?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Rainbow Di February 02, 2013 at 03:49 AM
According to the crime mapping a lot of crime happening on the east side of town. Anyone here lives in the east side of town. We are looking to put an offer on a condo near Santana high school.
adam paul February 26, 2013 at 05:26 AM
Santee and Lakeside used to be the Wild Wild West with a lot of hate etc. Ive grown up here since 1983. My dad before we moved here would always come through Santee for work. There were a couple of instances of cross burning and even a nightclub being threatened by the KKK for having an African-American woman singer on stage. We used to have race fights at Santana when I went to school there but that all went away. It was mainly all the wannabees that picked the fights. I hear the stereo types still today and when I do I educate people on this. Sure stuff occurs but it occurs everywhere. Santee is a great community to live in and do business in and that won't change just because a few dumb wannabees try to do things.
Gil March 20, 2013 at 03:17 PM
My family moved here in 1977. At the time we were one of 4 african american families living in the city. I was 10yrs old at the time and wasn't aware of racism. That ended abruptly as there were two families on our street which did not allow their children to play with us due to our race. I attended Rio Seco elementary and experienced a racial slur pretty much every day that first year either at school or on the walk home. While there have been obvious and not so obvious incidents of racism I was only threatened with physical violence when I was younger as I grew it was more looks and comments muttered in passing. While attending Santana High School there was a day every year where the lockers ( yes we were allowed to have lockers back then lol) were stuffed with White supremecy literature. Of course that always led to people coming to me and saying silly things. The worst thing in my opinion was that while participating in sports whenever we were playing a school that had a majority of a race other than caucasion there would be jokes and such but sometimes realising I was there my team mates would always say "oh you know we're not takiing about you when we say them". In terms of the Santee Sherrifs that I encouintered in my youth 3 times i was asked twice by caucasion officers and once by an african american officer what I was doing out here? When I clearly had a Santee address on my license. My worst offense a headlight on my car that wasn't pointed properly. Really?
Gil March 20, 2013 at 04:11 PM
Racism is learned and sad to say that there are people that still teach this to their children and yes they do live in Santee. I coach at Santanan high and have for over 20yrs and we have had more problems with racism on teams these past 2 years than I can ever remember. As far as crime on the east side of santee it does seemto be on the rise, as in the past few months there have been 4 incidents of car break ins on my street alone I was only made aware of this by a neighbor who was a victim. I think Santee is a great place to live work and play, but it definitely has an element of unwelcomness to certain members of the population..
Lisa Renee July 27, 2013 at 12:27 AM
Hi Cristal, I believe Santee has had a past steeped in people who were not to keen on other colors and other cultures (besides themselves). It was known by a lot of San Diegos residents at the time (1980's and before). Thankfully it sounds like it is and has been changing in a great way.


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