Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A reflection after the first talk on "Who are we? Race and Identity in Rural PA"

The two events this past week were hard, but great opportunities to talk about the struggle toward equality here in the US, and the opportunity for our region to be a leader in the national debate around racism.

We are lucky to live under a federal Constitution that frames for us the nobleness- not of blood, or wealth- but human conscience.

Where are we now in this struggle? We have come a long way from our colonial cradle- it has been a fight, and we still have work to do.

It is hard to look at racism, but we have a responsibility to reflect and make a choice about who we are, who we want to be as a community here in Central PA, and what we will do next:

Scroll down in this study to see that PA is the only northern state that joins the South East in being The Most Prejudiced states in the US- that is based on "The National Annenberg Election Survey ask[ing] people to rank the intelligence, trustworthiness and work effort of different groups of people, on a scale from 0 to 100"

A plea from Penn Live's opinion editor to end the 'quiet racism' here in PA.

A Penn Live report on Racism in PA school sports: Unchecked, Unchallenged, Unabashed: Is Racism in High School Sports Being Tolerated?

A devastating case: PA Police Chief accused of cover up in fatal beating of a hispanic kid in Shenandoah.

HOW will non-white citizens respond to this abuse?

Recently in Sunbury: After a bar fight (no one asked what the fight was about) two men chased a black man down, and the black man stabbed them. Notice the discrepancies in stories- "black man chases down and stabs two white men" and "the white men had black man on the ground, and then he stabbed them." Let's ask ourselves- if a black man chased a white man down and had the white man on the ground and then, the white man shot the black man- what would the story be then? Self-defense? This young black man has been sentenced to jail on multiple counts.

Recently in Sunbury: After being called "Nigger" in Sunbury, a young black man chased down the taunter with a bb gun to scare him. The young black man has been sentenced to jail.

Community is a relationship, let's reflect on the white/non-white relationships we have in our communities, and the role we each play.

I want to thank everyone who has been brave enough to look, like the Sunset Rotary in Lewisburg, who recently gave me the opportunity to share the talk: "Who are we? Race and Identity in Rural PA" I know people here care, but perhaps we don't know what to do. As a first step, let us be open to a discussion about racism.

*this post recently erroneously stated that PA had climbed to #1 racist state on the Top Tens list, in fact it currently ranked #18.