Monday, July 10, 2006

Racism: a cycle of...?

Interesting local blogging this weekend on racism in politics.

Hogg's Blog has coverage on an anti-racism rally held downtown Friday evening. Hoggard attended the rally and is willing to listen to community leaders wanting to deal with racism in Guilford County, but he certainly sees plenty of flaws in some of their contentions:

I’ve been told that I, as a white man, can’t judge as to what is, or is not, racism. Perhaps this is true, but if I am going to be asked to join an effort to fight racism, I will find it very hard to fight what I can’t see. Suspension rates in our schools clearly smack of some kind of racism in my book, as do the City Council decision to oppose the T&R process and many aspects of the ongoing police investigations. To the black leadership, I say K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, stupid), at least in the early stages, and you will gather more support.

It sounds like a reasonable request to me. I tend to disagree with his contention that suspension rates indicate some form of racism. I don't teach in Guilford County, but I am a public school teacher and from what I've experienced, suspension is a usually a last-resort tool. That doesn't mean race is not a factor, but placing the paramount focus on racism can limit a school's ability to discipline in way that's fair to disruptive students and those who usually obey the rules and desire a more orderly school experience. Nonetheless, a discussion of high suspension rates, no matter their cause, is one that could benefit the community.

Sam Hieb weighs in on the extension of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Forty NC counties would be affected. Sam concludes:

My gut reaction is releasing the electoral system from the stranglehold of the federal bureaucracy will not restrict voter accessibilty but will improve it.

I think Sam should trust his gut.

Racism and politics a mix, more emotional than analytical, that often illicits a rise in blood pressure from many on both sides. While the political system plays a role in protecting Americans against racism, it is unrealistic to see it as the best remedy to cure the racism residing in the human heart.


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