Letter: Racism printed on this page every week

Posted 10/15/20

To the editor:

We enjoy many comforts in this town. The streets are well maintained, our neighbors keep tidy yards, and our schools are among the best in the state. However, we'd be remiss to …

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Letter: Racism printed on this page every week


To the editor:

We enjoy many comforts in this town. The streets are well maintained, our neighbors keep tidy yards, and our schools are among the best in the state. However, we'd be remiss to assume that means everything is faultless and we need not look any further than the letters submitted to this page for proof of the problems.

Racism, both the quiet and loud kinds, is printed on this page every week. There's the loud gas-lighting, what-about-ism, nice white lady tone policing, and shrugging it all off in the name of economic gain.

A recent letter to this page suggested Black Americans aren't really dying at the rate the Black Lives Matter protests suggest.

Black Americans experience a grossly disproportionate amount of police violence. In absolute numbers — as referenced in previous contributions to this page — it appears only a small number of Black Americans die in police-related shootings. But that's bad data. It doesn't account for the fact Black Americans make up a smaller percentage (~13%) of the overall population than white Americans (~62%) and that comparing raw numbers is unproductive.

Black Americans are approximately two and a half times more likely to die in a police-involved shooting. Since the government does not thoroughly track police shooting incidents, these numbers are approximate — but we know it's too high. Any argument of that fact is rooted in racist attitudes and must be challenged.

An additional letter to this page offered a binary of supporting the police or supporting Black Lives Matter. That's a logical fallacy. We're smarter than that.

It's possible to affirm that Black Lives Matter and support the police. It's possible to support the police and acknowledge many communities need greater social services networks so that law enforcement doesn't continue to operate as stand-in mental health counselors, social workers, substance abuse treatment professionals, and family services. It's possible to recognize that racism is embedded deep in the fiber and foundation of this country and continue living in this country. It's possible to do all of those things at once.

Another recent letter suggested the people of Barrington aren't shouting down the racism that's published here nearly enough. I agree. We're giving a ton of free, unchallenged air time to antiquated beliefs and harmful messages that reinforce the worst stereotypes about predominantly white suburbs such as Barrington.

The ethos of suburbia is niceness. Everyone is always nice and polite, and we never speak up when hateful words are spoken in the death rattle cough of racism. It's known as nice white lady racism, the type that has accepted the comfort and protection afforded by our place in American society in exchange for our silence and complicity. We let the hate keep flowing, the quiet and the loud. We don't speak up even when it's terrible. We focus on our families, our work.

That ethos is a denial of reality and it doesn't serve us or our families to pretend racism isn't a pervasive disease in need of rooting out.

Another letter indicated that while the current president isn't a "Boy Scout," he's done plenty of good things, namely progress for the middle class, despite normalizing plainly spoken hate, misogyny, and fanatical, dangerous theories. The middle class barely exists. It's been eroded away and replaced with a vast swath of Americans who feel significant financial pain from missing two or more paychecks. A remarkable portion of Millennials don't have the savings for a down payment on a home and many more survive off a grueling gig economy. Anyone who has benefited under this administration's economic policies wasn't middle class to start.

More importantly, there is no amount of financial gain that can or should ever excuse hate--and that's a discomfort we have to accept in this town.

Kate Crowe


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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.