Racist violence, White privilege – and real solutions
By Pat Mannix
All over the country stories of police misconduct in the performance of their duties are reported online Facebook and YouTube. In Rochester, we have recently followed the story of Benny Warr, a physically disabled man who, while waiting for a bus, was maced, dumped out of his wheelchair, and viciously kicked by the RPD. The attack was not only caught on video but was personally witnessed by the Commissioner on the Board of Education. Justice was not served for Benny and he, suffering from PTSD from the attack, finally took an ACD (Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal) just to put the whole thing to rest.
This incident was closely followed by another when a family dispute was interrupted by the police which resulted in a 16 year old boy and his pregnant sister being viciously beaten by officers, then arrested. [More after the jump]
This incident was recorded and went viral on YouTube, causing Rochesterians to join the conversation on race and police brutality. This case is still in court and is being watched closely by the community. These are matched by hundreds of lesser incidents weekly of harassment, profiling, disrespect and inequity toward people of color in our community.
Racism on every level—personal, institutional, and structural—contributes to every one of these incidents. Much of it is looked on as simply normal behavior fueled by stereotypes perpetuated by society. For several years the Racial Justice Committee has worked to build a more equitable community for everyone through its workshops. In our Racial Justice workshop, we examine the historical roots of societal racism as well as begin the examination of the white privilege that keeps it going today. Repeatedly, we hear testimony from those who have attended about how it has changed their lives.
Our next workshop will be Saturday, October 19, 9:00 am-3:00 pm. We have a spot waiting for you. To reserve it, call 469-8249 or e-mail [email protected]. Become a more effective worker for justice.