Random Acts of Racism #90210

Alberta Wilson
3 min readAug 28, 2021

What goes on beyond the front doors of Beverly Hills mansions? Most have no better idea of that reality than they do about life on the moon. The images evoked from the zip code 90210 come from the tv show (remember that?), various reality shows (based on?), or glamorous photo shoots, videos and films. Real people do live there, but their everyday lives are often worlds away from most random zip codes in America.

Some of their quotidian might cross over into activities and concerns of you or me; their regular though, has elements we dream of and wish for: private chef, nanny, personal staff, pool, add your wishes to the list. One would think, with so many material enhancements, there would be little space for pettiness, bigotry and racism. Certainly many forego these faults in favor of generosity of mind, spirit and hand. Those who believe themselves superior to others, are mean and cruel in ways they don’t think are so terrible, just ordinary. This random act of racism was related to me by a Honduran housekeeper, about a friend of hers.

Rosa was very happy to get a maid’s job in the middle of the Beverly Hills Flats, the part of the zip code that slopes down from the hills and is relatively flat. The place where luxury lives and shines. Interestingly enough, the area was planned as an all-white enclave from its early 20th century inception, specifically forbidding any non-whites or Jews from renting or purchasing. Exceptions to the restrictive covenants were made for employees of Beverly Hills white folks. Those discriminatory rules remained on the books until 1948 when the Supreme Court determined they could not be enforced. By this time, some wealthy and prominent African-Americans and Jews, although challenged by white locals, had already moved into the neighborhood. Unlike other American neighborhoods across the land where colorful new neighbors caused precipitous falls in property values, their presence doesn’t seem to have had the same effect in 90210.

Rosa was happy, grateful, and excited to land a maid’s position in Beverly Hills, so she didn’t mind entering through the back door. A fact: many maid’s quarters and amenities in BH are far superior to what one finds in the “average” home’s facilities.

For those unfamiliar with the set-up of Beverly Hills rear entries, there is a system of alleyways for services throughout the Flats. There are garage entries for example, and spaces dedicated to garbage and recycling pick-ups. Some houses have passageways into…