Letter: Marching is well and good, but serious work is more productive

A rebuttal to letter on crime, policing and Black Lives Matter

To the Expositor:

A response to the Gavin Adamson letter regarding racism and Black Lives Matter (BLM) (‘Some balancing of misleading John McWhorter quotations,’ June 30, Page 5).

Contained in the headline and the first sentence of the letter are the following barbs aimed at my letter the previous week on the same subject matter – “misleading McWhorter (JM) quotations, badly interprets and selectively paraphrases JM’s take on racism and BLM.”

First of all, anyone familiar with JM’s work would find that the quotations that I included are an accurate reflection of his views. If any of the statements attributed to JM are “misleading” what are they and how are they not accurate? In addition, the Adamson article demonstrates perfectly what McWhorter is trying to point out. Anti-racism as currently configured and as exemplified by BLM forces people to think less about real work helping people on the ground through socio-political action and instead emphasizes things that are harmful or of little value. For example, BLM turns a blind eye to Black on Black homicide and turns a blind eye to issues effecting the upward mobility of young Black people. The list goes on. I might add that the current madness attempting to “defund” policing is another good example. Most Black communities need and want more policing, not less although most taxpayers would like to see budget reviews aimed at doing things more efficiently.

Readers for the most part will have observed that Adamson did not address any of the issues that JM and Glenn Loury talk about. What is more troubling is again the blind acceptance of the BLM rhetoric by people like Adamson and the telling statement that one believes that systemic racism exists or one is part of the problem. A typical reaction by “true believers” is to shut down debate and brand a skeptic as guilty of apostasy. Discussion and debate and a search for the truth doesn’t seem to strike a chord with BLM and supporters.

The point is not that more Blacks are killed proportionally than Whites. The point is that in a confrontation between a suspect and the cops, there is always a chance of a tragedy regardless of the ethnicity of the suspect. It will also follow that the more confrontations there are, the more killings there will be. It should not be a big surprise to learn that there are more cop/Black confrontations than cop/White incidents. 

The point is that there are problems in many Black communities. There are many situations that need to be improved starting with the quality of education and the cultural issues influencing the poor performance of many schools. No thinking person would claim that racism does not exist. We all can agree that racism is bad. What JM and others like him have been saying for years is that racism does not explain the problems in the Black communities. In addition, racism should not impede making progress on real issues that have the potential to help people in need. 

In short, marching up the hill in Kagawong might seem like a fine gesture, but that is all it is. Time spent trying to understand the complex issues facing Black communities would be a more useful exercise. A good start would be to look at the statistics associated with policing and crime within the Black communities. Not as much fun and involves some serious work but much more productive than waving placards and shouting slogans. 

Shane Desjardins