2015-08-06 / Opinion

Racism Conversation is a Good Start

To the Editor:

It was good to see two letters in NTW's July 30 edition in response to the Newport Democratic City Committee’s statement on racism. The authors were in agreement with NDCC that racism is an ugly, reprehensible blight on democracy.

However, there were some disconnects. NDCC is, indeed, a political organization and we did take a partisan swipe at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Yet, there was no effort to assert that the Democratic Party was taking a "holier-than-thou" position on the issue of racism. This is an issue that transcends partisanship and goes to the quick of the values of our society and every human being.

Moreover, we agree that actions need to be taken by the leadership of all political parties. But, in order to achieve that goal, a call to action was made in the form of a statement that demonstrates the concern and generates an expectation that something meaningful will be done. It’s a proverbial red flag being waved at political leaders, saying we need you to pay more attention to this matter.

Doubtless, there are far too many instances, some of which were cited in these letters, where our system of government has failed us through poor policies or ineffective implementation of those policies. We join the chorus that clamors for all of us to do better.

Still, it is puzzling to see people criticizing the ringing of the clarion bell on racism. Is it better to remain silent? Twisting the point of the statement into partisan grandstanding is a real disservice to the importance of the issue itself. Mention, too, was made of marriage equality in one of the letters. NDCC took a stand in favor of marriage equality over two years ago.

The intent behind NDCC’s statement was to stimulate discussion on racism, but it is also our plan to take more definitive action. We will be helping with an initiative to develop some very concrete proposals that will serve our community better. So, we don’t plan to just talk about racism.

Correspondingly, we call upon the authors of the aforementioned letters and others to join NDCC in taking the pledge to speak out against racism wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head. It is a start.

All good wishes.

J. Clement Cicilline
NDCC Chair

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