Letter: Barrington has a problem
To the editor:
All around Barrington there are signs expressing positive messages that many of us appreciate. Some of them say “Hate has no Home here.” Unfortunately, many recent …
Letter: Barrington has a problem
All around Barrington there are signs expressing positive messages that many of us appreciate. Some of them say “Hate has no Home here.” Unfortunately, many recent events, some yet to be investigated, have shown that hate does have a home here. An incident last week became at least the third act of bigotry and hatred in Barrington since May.
We can no longer cling to the illusion that Barrington doesn’t have a problem. It’s time to build a welcoming and inclusive community and to ensure that hate feels unwelcome in our town.
Like many of you, we learned of the most recent hateful episode via Facebook where videos of a Barrington family being victimized by a neighbor were shared. The details of this incident and current legal ramifications are described in a press release issued by Barrington’s Chief of Police. The story was also reported by Channel 10.
As stated in the press release, a pending investigation will determine if the alleged perpetrator will be charged with a hate crime in addition to other charges. However, regardless of the formal designation, we condemn the racist language used in the video by the alleged perpetrator of violence. The racist slurs and derogatory language are compounded by a very serious offense. In the video, the white individual threatens to lie to the police about his role as perpetrator, and eventually did misrepresent the incident and claim to have been the victim of the person of color. This episode exposes an ugly facet of white privilege; power is derived from believing one has the impunity to act on bigotry and express hate. As in the cases of George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery, had the video not been shared, would justice have been served?
This statement is made now because regardless of any further outcomes of the investigation, or any other issues we have as a community, using hate-filled language and racist slurs is unacceptable. No resident of Barrington, nor anybody anywhere, should be subjected to threatening attacks, bullying or harassment, and certainly not to violence, because of their race or any other identifying trait.
As a community, we must engage. Peaceful protests have begun in town. This spring we began to address the creation of policy issues surrounding diversity in Barrington in our town council meetings. Public engagement can shape the future of Barrington. The next council meeting is Sept. 14, and will be held via Zoom. The public is welcome to participate.
Our reaction as a community must include holding our government accountable for administering equity and justice and as such, we must allow our legal system to mete out justice; with our advocacy.
Barrington belongs to all of us. Let’s engage.
Hate either has a home here, or it doesn’t.
Jacob N. S. Brier
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