Features Magazine Volume 69, Issue 2

Nextdoor: Racism Affects Las Lomas

by Grace Gonsalves and Molly Scanlon

“‘Colored individuals who don’t belong in OUR neighborhood,’” read the Nextdoor post concerning Las Lomas student Senior Ana Manto and her friends. 

They were hanging out in their car, talking and driving around on Halloween night. “My friend in the driver’s seat was making the revving sound while driving through the neighborhood although we weren’t going dangerously above the speed limit,” said Manto. A group of parents got “so startled from the sound that although we apologized, they were still aggravated because they thought we were a threat to other trick or treaters.” They parked the car, and the parents surrounded it and threatened to call the police. “We eventually fled the situation and left the car where it was parked to get the next day.” It was later that night when Ana noticed a post on Nextdoor referring to her and her friends. She said, “They implied how us “reckless” kids didn’t belong in their “white” neighborhood.”

Racism is not uncommon in Walnut Creek, and the post concerning Manto is not the only one she has seen, “I saw a post about colored kids hanging around in a park late at night. Although they weren’t doing anything that could cause any harm, they were still being targeted through this app due to the strongly white community that they we’re in.” Another student, Junior Jessica Hallock said, “Obviously I’ve seen it online. I myself have never experienced it, but I know a few people who have.” Most Las Lomas students are not on Nextdoor as often as say Instagram or Snapchat, but there are still a lot of Las Lomas users: “I normally just check it because [of] what’s going on in the community and I know a lot of other Las Lomas kids [use it], I see them on there all the time. There’s definitely a little Las Lomas group on the app,” said Senior Graham Rossi.

Racist cyber bullying is not uncommon, and social media seems to be a perfect forum for it,“I mean all you need is a cell phone. Anyone can use it,” said Rossi. Nextdoor has particular systems in place to stop cyber bullying (see Issue 1), but they don’t prevent it from appearing in the first place, and it can take hours or days for the posts to be taken down, often after emotional or social harm has already been done. Mr. Bruce Giron from Las Lomas Administration said, “I feel that people filled with hate will spread the negativity in any way they can.” 

He added, “I would hope that people would walk around with the goal..[to] minimize…the negative effects of their actions. I believe that like the butterfly effect, our actions have the ability to echo throughout the Universe. My goal is to echo positivity.”