Elected Officials Must Set The Bar High
To the Editor:
The Newtown Bee recently published a letter written by a member of Newtown’s Legislative Council. In the letter entitled “Marxism Is Not The Answer” the author, behind the smokescreen of a lesson on history and ideology, espouses beliefs commonly seen as racist.
The most revelatory and alarming paragraph in the letter claims that systemic racism does not exist in the United States. As proof, the author cites the election of Barack Obama to the Office of the Presidency twice and the success of Oprah Winfrey, “one of the most influential women in our country, and a billionaire.” She argues that if systemic racism existed, neither could have succeeded. The author’s simplistic analysis more than misses the mark in attempting to prove that systemic racism does not exist.
Systemic racism means, in the simplest terms, that there is a large, white-created, disparity between whites and people of color in employment, education, incarceration, healthcare, wealth, homeownership, and on and on. In other words, there is an unfair disparity between whites and POC in every facet of American life. POC are treated differently in every part of their lives, every single day. Denying the existence of systemic racism perpetuates racist thinking. Systemic racism is real, needs to be acknowledged and changed.
Our elected officials need to set the bar for exemplary behavior at the most basic level, which includes acknowledging that problems exist, not denying them. It is deeply troubling to read what could be interpreted as prejudicial views from anyone in a position of power in this town. That anyone with such views could play a part in the decision-making process that determines so many aspects of life in Newtown frightens me.
The people of the United States are finally opening their eyes and minds to inequities that should have been remedied decades ago and acting in support of those who are suffering. It is time that all leaders in Newtown do the same.
6 Pinnacle Drive, Newtown July 22, 2020