Letter: 'Racist in this equation is The Barrington Times'

Posted 8/25/20

To the editor:

The Barrington Times editorial “We’re Not Racists” is yet another attempt to silence and minimize the voices and experiences of people of color who actually do …

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Letter: 'Racist in this equation is The Barrington Times'

Posted

To the editor:

The Barrington Times editorial “We’re Not Racists” is yet another attempt to silence and minimize the voices and experiences of people of color who actually do experience racism--the kind of racism that the writer wants to believe doesn’t exist. Insidiously, the editorial perpetuates the myth that the only way to be a racist is to use racist language--and thus lets the majority of Barrington residents off the hook for examining their own beliefs, behaviors, experiences to better understand their role in systemic oppression. Do you really believe that racism is as reductionistic as asking people to self-identify (“everyone with your hands up, step aside”) and the rest of us have no role in a racist system? Is the writer of this piece actually that naive? Racism is only the act of using horrible words? If you truly believe this, I invite you to a conversation to explore the nuances and subtleties of human behavior, systems of oppression, and the history of the US. Seriously.

In contrast to the Times, I appreciate the leadership of Town Manager Jim Cunha and Town Council President Mike Carroll for proactively making a statement underscoring their intolerance for racism--I only wish that had been more forceful in calling it “racism” instead of the softer (and maybe to many Barringtonians), more palatable “racial overtones.”

To the Barrington Times and the East Bay papers: I’m tired of being told by white folks in overwhelmingly white communities what is and what isn’t racism. And I’m tired of being told that people are over-reacting. If anyone is “backwards, revolting, old, tired and closed,” it is the Barrington Times for their myopic insistence that standing up and calling out racism is a problem. It is, in fact, our duty: not speaking up colludes with an overwhelming societal problem. The irony is that the racist in this equation is The Barrington Times.

Leadership comes in many forms, and I’m sorry The Barrington Times failed its call this time around. I hope those who have the privilege and great responsibility of penning the editorials for this paper take a moment and reflect, that they look beyond themselves to recognize the magnitude of our history and institutions, power and privilege, and the work to become a more just society.

Nicole Jellinek

Barrington

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