Letter to the Editor

How does the Clark County Council think it’s going to have any meaningful change to systemic racism in the county if it can’t even identify that they set up their “listening” sessions in a way that promotes and maintains the very deep seated, status quo, white racial oppression of people of color that is so pervasive in our county and across the U.S. 

The fact that neither the all-white council nor the white moderator (who has what appears to be limited, if any, education much less experience in antiracist work) could see that the entire structure of these sessions were set up for power inequity; from the whites with power (Council) dictating the schedule, agenda, definitions, ground rules, and even the resources that people viewing should review, to the white solidarity rallying to restore stasis of the chairwoman’s hurt feelings after hearing the truth that denial is the heartbeat of racism, to admonishing a presenter to “keep (his) eye on the problem,” and also Councilman Medvigy’s questioning the validity of factual evidence, that the council asked the presenters to give, because he had personally never heard or seen it before. 

This is the epitome of systemic racism in our county and if any of the council members or the moderator understood this or their individual roles in perpetuating racism (systemic and otherwise), they certainly didn’t acknowledge it, which makes them complicit in its stronghold in our local government. All it showed is that the council only wanted to “listen” and hear information that didn’t disrupt or challenge their white fragility.

If the Clark County Council truly wants to listen and learn, and better yet start down the road of challenging and repairing racial inequity in this county, may I suggest that first each member, at the very least, do their own self-reflection on what has enabled them as fully educated, professional white adults to not know about racism and their roles in it. Then create the space for the agenda topics, format and moderator to be set by the people they have invited to hear from rather than dictate what they want them to say so that their white solidarity and white comfort (status quo) can be maintained. 

After all, how can meaningful knowledge and understanding, much less change, even have a prayer of being built without laying a proper foundation? There are many antiracist teachers, lecturers and authors (both current and past) to help us whites to understand how we consciously and unconsciously keep racism “alive and well today.” It takes courage, stamina and a lot of self-reflection, along with our patient friends of color, to do this work. But it is a decision that can and will save lives. I hope the council has the will to choose lives over feelings.

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(4) comments

BGResident

Apologies - references to city council in the above should read Clark County Council.

ILovetheConstitution

Ms. Strappazon, I think you're on to something here. Otherwise, why would the responses to your letter be so strenuous, using stale talking points from the President, a blatant racist?

For proof of racism in southwest Washington, we need only look to the Jeff Davis memorial in Ridgefield, proudly flying the Confederate flag in view of an Interstate freeway. That monument to a traitor to our Constitution, is a beacon of hatred. It also desecrates the memory of the 600 000 fallen, the majority of whom died of disease.

To complete the picture of our beliefs, let's build a statue of Hitler, and fly a flag with a Swastika. Let's make monuments to Soviet spies like Julius and Ethel Rosenberg or Robert Hanssen.

Yesterday, August 28th, there was a Black Lives Matter protest at the Ridgefield monument to treason. Counter protestors yelled "(expletive) you n*****" and "(expletive) Black Lives Matter." I don't dispute counter protesters' or the treason monument's owners right to express their views, but these could only have happened in a setting of bigotry.

For proof of racism on a national scale, look to the young white gunman in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I don't dispute his legal right to carry an assault rifle. After he allegedly killed two people, he walked past a convoy of Police tanks. He was allowed to walk away. If he'd been a black man, carrying an assault rifle, Police would have riddled his body with bullets. Police thanked and gave water to young white men carrying weapons of mass murder.

The vast majority of Black Lives Matter protests have been Constitutional. If anyone has violated the Constitution, it has been Police and the President. To misleadingly call attention to the tiny minority who break the law is itself a form of racism.

The best thing we can all do to counteract racism is to vote against the President.

I do not mean to suggest that I am without racism. I have only reflected on this inflammatory topic in recent years. I can only claim that I've tried to be honest about how I feel about this matter, which is to say that I have racism in my heart, due to a rural upbringing in the Great Plains. I have a long way to go.

Bdad

Horse hockey. Systemic racism is as phony as a 3 dollar bill. White fragility is a marketing gimmick created by a far left wing woman who has consumed too many substances. This letter to the editor is delusional.

BGResident

I'm afraid, Aly, you are foisting a solution upon the Council where no problem exists. Don't get me wrong, the City Council is guilty of many, many things - our ridiculously high, water / sewer bills, trying to bring more people here when we have 5 times more population than this small town can support. Raising our property taxes through arbitrary assessments on our homes /property, all in the name of Progress. But, systemic racism is not one of their problems.

First of all, how is racism in this area pervasive. Where is your proof - where are the numbers? Have you conducted surveys, published results? Besides that, what percentages do you consider pervasive? That dog just don't hunt. I don't believe you can wave that flag here in SW WA, Washington State, or the entire west coast. For an area, say So. Central, LA - CA that was decimated in '65 with the Watts riots, with the same garbage that we see here in Portland, riots, arson, killings, vandalism, looting - this is just an excuse for serious criminal behavior. How widespread would you say this, "systemic racism", extends - 75 percent, 50 percent, 10 percent, 1 percent of the population? One - one hundredth of the population? In how many businesses? How much? Can you prove *any* of this? What good did the laws that were passed regarding 44 years of Affirmative Action do? And lastly, you're white. You have absolutely no dog in this fight. I'm sorry. Take the hysteria, and irrationality somewhere else. Find another cause that's more worthwhile. We've all had a belly full.

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