Editorial: ‘We’re not racists'

Posted 8/25/20

Who, in 2020, condones racism? Everyone with their hands up, please step aside. You can stand in the corner with your backwards, revolting, old, tired and closed view of the world. If not already …

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Editorial: ‘We’re not racists'

Posted

Who, in 2020, condones racism? Everyone with their hands up, please step aside. You can stand in the corner with your backwards, revolting, old, tired and closed view of the world. If not already obsolete, you soon will be.

The remaining 98 percent of you, we know you don’t condone racism, especially overt, ugly and disgusting racism, so rest assured you do not need to stand up and shout your objections to racism every time you see it. You are certainly welcome to — there’s no harm in exercising that beloved freedom to assemble, and it does invite the TV cameras every time you do — but personal actions, especially from those in positions of power or influence, will be far more impactful than words. That group includes you, Town of Barrington.

For some reason, you felt compelled to defend yourself even though you were not under attack.

About two weeks ago, one single man was captured in cringe-worthy video, shouting racial slurs at a neighbor. The video showed a minuscule glimpse into what racism can look like. Turn off the video, take a deep breath and remember, however, this was a singular moment by one single person, a private citizen on his private property. Was it harmless? No. Is it indicative of a larger corruption or culture in this community? No.

Barrington is not a racist community.

Yet the Town of Barrington was so troubled by this singular incident, it convinced itself it absolutely must make a statement. Signed by Barrington Town Council President Michael Carroll and Town Manager James Cunha and written on letterhead with the town seal, the statement tells the world that the town wanted to charge this man with a hate crime, but the R.I. Attorney General’s Office determined it was not appropriate.

How often has the Town of Barrington told the public about crimes it wanted to prosecute but couldn’t? Never.

Of course, it seems something changed, because four days later the attorney general’s office announced it was adding “hate crime” stipulations to any guilty sentence in this case. So the Town of Barrington was either wrong (or too quick) in its first statement, or the state developed more information as it investigated the history of the case.

Either way, the town’s involvement in the case seems a little off. They rushed to make themselves part of the story, gave more fodder to the media throng that was already gathering en masse, and brought even more attention to a community that would rather not be associated with the very few racists living here.

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Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.