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Forum, Nov. 29: Three Types of Racism


Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Three Types of Racism

The recent public debate surrounding the Hartford Committee on Racial Inequality has engendered considerable heat (negative emotion) and also light (rational insight), as well can be expected with such an important and loaded issue as this. Steve Nelson’s Nov. 24 column provided much of the latter when he said, “Racism requires the power to oppress, not merely the inclination to hate.” However, I contend, as I do in my classes on race and ethnic relations, that there are three kinds of racism in America. I hope this articulation will provide some light as well as reduce the emotion surrounding the confusion of Olivia LaPierre’s statement that “white people are socialized to be racist,” and provide some accurate understanding about what I think she really meant.

Racism type one: what is usually thought of when the word is used to connote an individual who is bigoted, prejudiced and hateful. This type is not accurately applied to many white people, and to imply that one fits into this category naturally and obviously creates an angry and regrettable backlash.

Racism type two: This refers to institutionalized and systemic advantage — institutionalized racism — created by historical realities and is associated with the existence of white privilege. This, I believe, is what Ms. LaPierre was referencing in her statement that rankled her fellow committee members and a lot of the public. 

Racism type three: Here is my personal categorization for those white people who are not type one but when enlightened about type two choose not to accept their personal privileges of being white and choose not to work to change the systems of institutional racism in America. 

If our nation is ever to really address our problem of race we need white people who a) understand type two, b) accept their “corporate guilt” by virtue of their birth color, and c) then work strenuously to address and change type two. If the Hartford community (as well as the rest of the Upper Valley) will focus on the “real” issues and have the courage to engage in the painful dialogue about the realities of America’s 400-year history of oppression of its people of color (black, brown, red and yellow), this will be much more productive and move our society one day to a resolution. 

Philip Eller

Sharon

Bad Signs in Lebanon

I just got back from my morning walk with my dog in downtown Lebanon along the river, and am not very pleased with what I’m seeing. I have lived in Lebanon for over 20 years and really enjoy living here. I was on the Planning Board for a while, and try to be a good neighbor and citizen. What I’m seeing on my morning walk is a lack of respect and discipline. I’m walking by the same old trash every day. I pick some up and it is quickly replaced. Today I witnessed two teens in a car racing through the CCBA parking area.

I also walk my dog in some of the many parks that Lebanon is quite fortunate to have, and I’m running into burned-out campfires in areas that have enough leaf litter to burn for quite awhile. We use to have a noticeable police presence in downtown. I don’t see that anymore ... or trash barrels for people to use. (That seemed to work on the pedestrian bridge over the highway.)

The worst we can do is ignore these signs. The best we can do is to try to come up with solutions to a growing problem.

I’m willing to do more than just complain, and I’m not blaming the city crews who do a good job but have other things to do, I’m sure. If the city would provide a dumpster, I would be willing to try to organize a community service project with local schools. We would have to do it fairly soon, however, as winter is coming quickly.

James Duffy

Lebanon

Laughable GOP Deficit Stance

Sen. Rand Paul’s website shows an alarming display of accelerating numbers representing the national debt. As if he cares. Sen. Paul is on record supporting the hurriedly presented Republican tax plan. Like their health care plan, the tax plan is far worse than what it attempts to alter. It benefits the rich, hurts the poor and does little to nothing for the middle class, while adding $1.4 trillion to the deficit.

The next time a Republican tells you the party cares about debts and deficits, laugh in his or her face.

John Lajoie

Charlestown