USA

“I hate n….s” – Fijian family’s home vandalised with racist graffiti

Bentley and Dee Wan immigrated eight years ago and lived in Santa Rosa in California with their five sons.

Staff Writers

August 21, 2017 6:48 pm

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT: Bentley Wan, 50, said it hit him “like a brick wall” when he came home Saturday morning — both he and his wife are in-home caregivers — to discover someone had scrawled “I hate n…..s”’ in large black letters on his garage door.

“It shocked us. We’ve seen stories like this in the news, and now it’s happening to us,” Bentley said. “I didn’t know what I should do, or if I should do anything at all. I brushed it off a little bit. But finally, it dawned on me that this is unacceptable.”

One of the Wans’ five sons, who was home at the time, spotted the hate tag and called Santa Rosa Police.  The Wans had a security camera outside their home and captured footage of the perpetrator, which they gave to police.

In the meantime, Bentley had determined that the vandal was a 28-year-old man who had been visiting the son of a neighbour.  The Wans tracked down the man, who does not live in the neighbourhood, and invited him to come over and talk.

The man showed up Sunday night, Bentley said, and spent about 90 minutes talking with his family. He told them he lashed out after he found his car, parked near the Wan home, vandalised. He wound up apologising.

He told them he lashed out after he found his car, parked near the Wan home, vandalised. He wound up apologising.

“I was trying to understand why he did it,” said Bentley Wan, who was a teacher of math and economics in Fiji. “Was he coerced? What did he mean? I concluded he was just a young, drunken man who was mad and wanted to vent his anger and frustration. I don’t know why he chose the word he did.”

Helen Tucker, who lives a few streets over, had walked past Di Wan at a park and approached her after noticing she’d been crying.

“If it happens somewhere else it’s hard to do anything about it. But I can do this, and it feels terrific,” said Tucker, who has lived in the neighbourhood for 25 years.

For the potluck, she looked up Fijian recipes and made a traditional banana cake.

Despite the words left on his garage, his faith in the community remains unshaken thanks to the support from acquaintances and complete strangers.

“Thank you. The only word that comes to mind is that we’re overwhelmed by your love and care,” he told the gathering after several took up rags and solvent and wiped off the words in a display of solidarity.

caption
Dee Chong, right, shares a laugh with neighbour Patty Geisler as they come together for a neighbourhood party in support of Dee’s family after racist graffiti was spray painted on the garage door of their home in Santa Rosa, California. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat).
Pam Van Halsema embraces Usaia Wan during a block party in support of Usaia's family. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat).
Pam Van Halsema embraces Usaia Wan during a block party in support of Usaia’s family. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat).
Isaac Wan and his friends scrub away the racist graffiti. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat).
Isaac Wan and his friends scrub away the racist graffiti. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat).
Bentley Chan's neighbours on Bentley Place in Santa Rosa organised a block party on Sunday to paint over racial graffiti sprayed on the garage door of the Chinese-Fijian immigrant's home.  John Burgess / The Press Democrat).
Bentley Chan’s neighbours on Bentley Place in Santa Rosa organised a block party on Sunday to paint over racial graffiti sprayed on the garage door of the Chinese-Fijian immigrant’s home.  John Burgess / The Press Democrat).
Bentley Wan's neighbours organised a block party to support the Chinese-Fijian immigrants.
Bentley Wan’s neighbours organised a block party to support the Chinese-Fijian immigrants.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.