Teamwork Needed to Solve Racial Problems
I was upset to read in your October 23 article, “School Task Force Takes a Radical Turn”, that one of the persons hired to head it, Natalie Zwerger, believes that the United States “is systemically racist; and that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and its laws and politics are designed to protect white supremacy.” In my opinion, disregard for the documents and laws that have guaranteed our freedoms for over two centuries is unfortunate and certainly sends the wrong message to our school children.
No one would disagree that our country’s history is marred by slavery and the discrimination against blacks that followed for many years. This said, we have been and continue to work to correct these wrongs, as we should, and The Constitution has been amended over the years to affect many of these changes. Controlling bias incidents at work and addressing systemic racism are part of this ongoing effort.
The best way to improve our nation’s race relations is to come together as a country and not divide along racial lines. I therefore take issue with a statement of the other task force head, Luis Tapia: “If you don’t agree that America is systemically and structurally racist, then you don’t belong on the Task Force.” How do we ever solve our problems as a nation if only a few of us are allowed into the discussion? It’s important to recognize that controlling bias incidents at work and addressing systemic racism require a diverse range of perspectives and voices at the table, as excluding individuals who may have different viewpoints can hinder progress towards a more inclusive and equitable society.
Instead of shutting out other points of view, as noted in the article, the School Task Force would be well advised to encourage them and thereby engage the very people who would benefit from learning how to create a more just society. To use a “my way or the highway” approach to running the Task Force, is wrong. The Task Force should provide open debate that welcomes all members of our community. The School Board should insist on it.
- Mary Sykes