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The streets of Oak View are calm, almost serene on a bright fall morning. Mothers stroll their children down quiet streets; men wash trucks. Every so often, someone jaywalks across Slater to line up at Tacos El Chavito, a lonchera selling delicious 50-cent tacos and offering free pineapple juice.

About 20 men hang out next to the alley connecting Queens and Keelson and watch a group play poker. This is where the Nazis assaulted Jose. This is where the Slater Slums united to beat the Nazis out of town.

Jim Rugg
Jim Rugg

All of the men know about the incident, they say. None wants to talk about it.

“The only white people who come here want to buy drugs,” offers one man. “If you try to mix with them, the police will follow you.”

Another, who calls himself Carlos, says he lives in an apartment complex down Keelson and remembers sirens that night, but he didn’t think anything of it. “We hear those all the time, but it’s usually because of cholos,” he says.

Still, they can’t help but smile. They know of Huntington Beach’s reputation for skinheads—one claims he was called a “beaner” by a group at the Main Street Pier, while a younger guy talks about the harassment he faced at Huntington Beach High for his accented English. But racists coming to their neighborhood to assault one of their own? That thought provokes laughter.

“Racists are just the dumbest people,” an older man says. “You can’t expect them to do anything smart. They don’t scare me. They’ll always get caught.”

“The Nazis should know better than to come here,” Carlos says with a laugh. Then he turns serious. “There’s too many of us.”


Portions of this story originally appeared on the Weekly’s Navel Gazing blog.

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